Some fans weren’t happy with Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh when he signed CAA super agent Jimmy Sexton back in March. Word had come out a month earlier that he was working with Jay Z’s newly founded Roc Nation, and the “Suh’s a Diva” narrative was at full steam. Suh made the boring choice and went with one of the best agents in the NFL instead.
It was said back then that he would still be using Roc Nation to handle his non-football related contracts and PR, among other matters. So when I saw an innocuous post on Instagram by Suh last week, declaring that he had signed with Roc Nation, my reaction was more along the lines of “Didn’t that already happen?” than to lose my mind.
Suh made that post a week ago and the NFL Twitterverse erupted in a collective outcry, claiming that he had fired Jimmy Sexton in the pursuit of a massive, over hyped super contract! Only that’s not what happened. The post came and went largely ignored. A small footnote if it was mentioned at all. Surely such a high-profile signing would have overtaken all of social media, and been headlined on ESPN, NFL.com, and other sites!?! Nope, not even a whisper. Most sites didn’t even post on it, it was so low profile.
So why, then, a week later, am I seeing posts on relatively reputable sites claiming that Suh had fired Sexton (Or at least implying as much) and that Roc Nation had taken over full control of Ndamukong Suh? It’s all in creative wording. That tweet I posted above? It’s being used as the SOLE source for posts on some sites claiming that Suh had fired his agent in favor of Roc Nation. Now wait a minute. Wouldn’t Roc Nation have been blasting that all over the air waves for the past week if they had landed a client as high-profile as Suh for every part of his contract negotiation?
J.J. Watt recently signed his much deserved mega deal. He and Suh share an agency in CAA, so Roc Nation landing a player who could contend for largest contract ever would be HUGE news. So doing my due diligence, I did some searching in the hip hop scene. I found this nifty article, posted the day Suh posted his signing, which references the previous engagement he had with Roc Nation. I’m sure Roc Nation would have some sort of announcement on their own web page, though, if they had signed on to represent him in full.
This is their statement in full:
"Roc Nation Sports welcomes NFL defensive tackle and 3x All-Pro Ndamukong Suh to the roster. Watch Suh and the Detroit Lions take on Victor Cruz and the New York Giants tonight at 7:10 ET on ESPN."
Well that’s a little underwhelming.
Now, Roc Nation very well may have signed Suh on to cover ALL of his contracts, and Suh may have actually fired Jimmy Sexton, one of the most well-known agents in football. If that is truly what happened, you can sign me up right now, because that agency is PHENOMENAL at keeping things under the radar. It’s been a full week and nobody even knew about it until today!
Most of this rumor started by an article on Bloomberg, though the CBS article came later. Some posts also mention J.J. Watt and his contract, and allude that Suh is signing with Roc Nation because they got J.J. Watt his big contract. It was not Jay Z and Roc Nation, but Tom Condon and CAA that represented Watt in his megadeal, however, so if Suh is staying for that paycheck like Watt, he’s better off with his present agent. It’s notable, however, that Suh is no longer listed on CAA’s site for their football clients…
More likely, this signing was simply the official announcement those following Suh’s contract situation knew about seven months ago. Suh retains agent Jimmy Sexton to handle contract talks between him and teams (Hopefully just the Lions), while Roc Nation takes on Suh’s other contracts and handle all PR related activities.
This is similar to how Roc Nation’s other NFL clients, Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, are working with the agency. Both Cruz and Nicks also utilize CAA for their NFL contract and Roc Nation for other deals. Until we know more, I’m going to follow this story to its most likely conclusion.
One of the best players in the NFL firing one of the best agents in the NFL isn’t something that generally falls under the radar, and it isn’t something vaguely alluded to in the PLAYER’s instagram account, either.