My third day in Mobile started and ended later than I thought it would. My goal was to wake up and head to the coffee shop before it opened but my night wrapped up a lot later than I had anticipated. Between reviewing my notes, rewatching the day’s practice, and making a few calls, it was pretty obvious the coffee shop just wasn’t happening this (now yesterday) morning. Did I miss some insanely valuable piece of information by sleeping in? It’s possible but I most likely just missed watching some young scouting assistants get coffee for them and their bosses — at least that’s what I’m telling myself.
Instead, I had breakfast in the hotel restaurant before making my way to Hancock Whitney stadium to see what I could get myself into.
I made the mistake of believing that it was going to be overcast all day. This lapse in judgment resulted in the left side of my face, both hands, and the back of my neck almost the same color as a nearly ripe tomato. Lesson learned. I get that the weather where you are might have really sucked compared to the sunny 75-degree day I had yesterday, believe me, I’m not complaining. I just wish it hurt less.
Before practice kicked off I truly, accidentally, positioned myself in a gaggle of agents. The music pumping through the stadium speakers made it tough to make out most of what they were talking about but I was able to get a few nuggets, though nothing Colts related. Here’s the dirt, all the same:
Travis Kelce’s contract really sucks
Travis Kelce’s contract extension sucks for the superstar tight end. Kelce will be 33 when the new deal takes effect and will only earn $7.5 million in the first year. In the second year of the deal the 34-year-old Kelce is scheduled to earn $13.25 million, then $15 million, then $17.25 million at 36 years old.
See an issue with any of those numbers?
Kelce was only guaranteed $20.75 million and after 2022 (when the new contract starts) he can be cut without the Chiefs having any dead money on the cap. In short- Travis Kelce is unlikely to see ANY of his non-guaranteed money given his age and the structure of the contract.
So why did Travis Kelce, or more specifically his agent agree to such a deal? According to an agent who would know, Kelce wanted an extension with the Chiefs and was growing impatient with his agent’s lack of progress in the negotiations. The agency was worried that Kelce would fire them if a deal wasn’t done soon. Under this pressure, worried about his own paycheck, the agent essentially took the deal that the team offered without much negotiation.
As a result, Travis Kelce likely missed out on tens of millions of dollars.
Jack Easterby is Unhinged
After the Houston Texans announced the hiring of Ravens 65-year-old position coach David Culley and the football world reacted with collective shock I took to Twitter to talk about what I heard earlier in the day:
Today I listened to two agents describe a text message thread one of their clients had from Jack Easterby and I just want you to know that everyone inside the NFL, thinks Jack Easterby is as crazy as everyone outside of it thinks he is.— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) January 28, 2021
This hire makes complete sense in context https://t.co/I2pr44H9EV
So what is it, exactly, that I heard?
Long story short it was like a series of texts from an abusive girlfriend. One text would be insultingly critical with no reply the next would come a few minutes later "apologizing" saying it was just because he "cared so much" I won't mention some of it but it does get worse.— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) January 28, 2021
Weird things go viral on Twitter all the time so I didn’t want to go too far into the specifics over there, but since you good people are here reading this article I’ll fill in some details as my article probably isn’t in any danger of “going viral”.
As I said, Easterby is alleged to have sent texts like an abusive lover to this agent’s client but after he got no response (from an alpha-male- professional athlete- millionaire in his 20’s) Easterby took the time out of his day to then text the player's mother to let her know how concerned he was with the player's life choices. Seriously.
As long as Jack Easterby is the one influencing ownership in Houston, the Texans are likely to struggle. The rest of the AFC South probably doesn’t need to spend too much time worrying about their yearly trip to Texas.
Recent Alabama Crimson Tide prospects have been scumbags
Tide fans, don’t shoot the messenger on this one, I’m just telling you, literally, what I heard. Given this nugget of information, it is interesting that Chris Ballard has never selected a player from Alabama and Ballard has been maniacal about building a strong culture and “scumbags” usually aren’t great for culture. The agent did mention a Tide player here in Mobile but I was unable to hear if that player (hint: not Mac Jones, I’ve heard he’s actually a really good person who genuinely enjoys doing charity work) breaks the scumbag mold or if he’s just another in a long line.
Either way I wouldn’t expect Ballard to use an early pick on a guy from ‘Bama, unless it was Mac Jones, but even that seems unlikely.
Agents aren’t impressed with Marshawn Lynch’s Beast Mode Marketing
One agent was overheard saying “Yeah, it’s great if you want free Skittles.” — a fair point.
Those are all of the interesting pieces of information on the day. Again, nothing Colts specific but I’m keeping my ears and my options open for my last day in Mobile. Once practice got started the Agents slowly spread themselves to get better looks at their clients. I also looked to relocate near midfield. Not long after the scouts from the Blue Bombers sat down nearby and the action got started.
The practice was fine but admittedly I spent more time talking to the CFL scouts than watching. I knew that the film of practice would be online and I got to pick their brains about some of the differences between the Canadian and American games. At one point I asked what they were looking at when watching a specific drill, they answered and one asked me “What are you looking for?” they were both very amused when I told them I was looking for a good story. If it was a story I was after, they told me, I should head to Veets after dinner.
After practice, I headed back to my room, made some calls, wrote an article, and then got ready to hit the world famous Veets. Veets is the bar for Senior Bowl attendees to visit. My biggest mistake of the evening wasn’t going to Veets, it was in realizing who my targets were.
I arrived a few minutes after 10 PM and the bar was almost completely dead. Inside I did find my Canadian friends, a very drunk agent that only wanted to talk about his inability to get clients and his inevitable career change that seemed to be coming soon, a couple of guys from teams with their wives (who weren’t talking football and were separated from everyone else in the bar anyway) and a few locals drinking heavily on a Wednesday.
It was hardly what I hoped to find but I decided to enjoy the moment all the same.
A little after midnight I walked back to my hotel and turned in for the evening. So if you were wondering why this article is late, well, you can blame Veets. I can’t be the first person to use that excuse in Mobile.