Let’s start with step 2, because it’ll make it easier to understand if we momentarily skip step 1. Oh, and all the numbers — salary cap and stuff — they’re just for explanation’s sake. I didn’t try and balance them to make sense.
Step 2: It’s the first year of the league. The GMs have their auction. Each GM has a $120 million budget for this year. Players are auction off as you would in a regular league auction.
Before we get to Step 1, let me explain how agents make money, at least in this fictional world for the game.
1) Take paid a percentage of their players’ contracts and
2) Maybe get some money if a player does well and/or if his team does well. Think of this as a proxy for endorsement deals — if an agent represents the guy who lead the league in homers and his team won the World Series, the player would probably get some big deal from Gatorade or Nike or someone, and the agent would probably get a cut. I don’t know if this one is workable, though. It’d be cool, but may be too hard to pull off.
So anyway, Step one.
Step 1: Agents have their auction. I don’t know how it’d work exactly, but here’s what I’m thinking:
So taking Step 1 and Step 2 together, let’s say you’re Albert Pujols’ agent — and to make it simply (and stupid), he’s your only client — and you spent $1m entertaining him and agreed to take only 3% of his contract. The GM who won him at auction bid $20 million. You’d end up with 3% of that, or $600k. So you have $5m - $1m + $600k = $4.6m in your war chest… if it ended there. (And you’d clearly suck as an agent.)
But wait, there’s more.
Step 3: GMs and agents negotiate long term contracts.
Consider the auction bid an offer sheet, and one which either side can unilaterally impose upon the other at any given point in the negotiations, ending it right then and there. It’s not a floor, necessarily, although practically I guess it would be.
What’s up for negotiation? I’d keep it mostly simple:
But you can get creative if the league allows. Imaginations can come up with really neat things.
After that, it’s mostly a regular league, except that agents are involved in transactions.
For regular player salaries, players — and therefore agents — get paid in quarter increments, one each on Opening Day, June 1, August 1, and October 1. This has an effect on both GMs and agents. For GMs, it means that if you have $20m left in your budget on August 2, you can take on effectively $80m in player salaries, because 75% of those salaries have already been paid out.
Agents get paid when the player gets paid. However, that gets locked in once the deal is signed. So as long as the deal isn’t renegotiated, the agent gets paid even if he no longer represents the player, up to one year after he or she lost representation of that player. (So long as what?? We’ll get there.)
The implication here is that agents have to manage their cash flow a bit — and of course, they’ll prefer signing bonuses to buyouts. (Whether the league allows the agents and GMs to put in other $$$-laden clauses is up to them; again, your imagination is the limit.)
Agents can try and steal players from other agents. I have no real good way to do this, but here’s what I’m thinking: a morale check, followed by an offer and option to match (maybe?).
Each player has a morale number. It’s calculated — and I’m doing this off the top of my head — by:
(Note that the last two bullets encourage agents to try and manipulate rosters.)
The morale check: If the player’s morale is 7+, he can’t be stolen.
After that, the terms of the steal attempt are up to the stealing agent. He spends some dollar amount on a steal, and if the current agent matches (with morale notes below), the current agent keeps the player and the stealing agent can’t try again for six months. If the current agent doesn’t match, the player switches agents and gets a +4 morale boost which wears off, 1 point per payday (as above) until it hits 0 in a year.
The terms of the agreement between the new agent and player — as well as what it takes for the current/old agent to stop the steal — are determined by the morale check described above:
Too complicated maybe. Too D&D, for sure. Maybe it needs a few d20s, dunno.
I think this could be fun. Stuff like no-trade clauses would be awesome, where you basically have to buy out the agent, and the agent may really really not want a player traded because of the morale hit other players would take, etc.
I don’t know how the second year would work. Part of me thinks free agents should negotiate contracts via their agents; part of me thinks it should be done via auction, just like the initial year. I also don’t know how unrepresented players would enter the league. None whatsoever.
But that’s the basics. What do you think?