Video After The Jump
There was a lot of jokes and snickering among established sports agents when Jay Z announced that he would be representing athletes with his new Roc Nation Sports company. Jay doesn't have a degree in business and certainly had never brokered a deal between any team and a star player, but he's quieted his critics.
RNS' first big signing was Robinson Cano, who at the time was playing for the New York Yankees.
Cano took a huge leap of faith by firing longtime sports agent Scott Boras and counted on RNS to get him a big contract when he would become a free agent at the end of the season.
Lou Merloni, a former major league player-turned-Boston talk show host, called Cano an "idiot" for leaving Boras for Jay's Roc Nation Sports, according to ESPN.
Cano hardly looks like an idiot now after signing a 10-year, $240 million deal with the Seattle Mariners last week. It's the third largest free agent contract in baseball history.
|Player||Total value||Year signed|
|Alex Rodriguez||$275 million||2008|
|Alex Rodriguez||$252 million||2001|
|(tie) Robinson Cano||$240 million||2014|
|(tie) Albert Pujols||$240 million||2012|
|Joey Votto||$225 million||2014|
|Prince Fielder||$214 million||2012|
|Derek Jeter||$189 million||2001|
|Joe Mauer||$184 million||2011|
|(tie) Mark Teixeira||$180 million||2009|
|(tie) Justin Verlander||$180 million||2013|
"The perception is that it's all Jay Z's victory," Florida sports lawyer Darren Heitner, told CNBC. "This deal takes Cano until he's 41 years old, meaning players still have leverage," Heitner said. "I thought 10-year deals were dead. Though there's a $70 million discount off that $310 figure (that Cano wanted), it's a fantastic agreement. Ripped by the media, the deal now lets Jay Z be perceived as the able negotiator."
The deal did have one major hurdle to overcome. The Mariners initially offered Cano a 9-year deal worth $225 million. At the last minute Jay insisted they add a tenth year to the contract. Mariners executives reportedly broke off talks at that point, before eventually agreeing to Jay's terms.
The Yankees tried to retain Cano, but in the end the Mariners deal was too big to match.
“He was a great Yankee. He was a great player. I think everybody tried hard to get the deal done. We just never got close enough obviously. We wish him the best. We hope he has a long, healthy career,” Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said Friday. “We’re going to keep going. We’re still looking at all the same guys that we were looking at a week ago or two ago. We’re going to continue to improve. We’re not done spending.”
Other sports agents can only wonder how Jay pulled it off.