Dust settles among Dogra, CAA clients
In the six months since Ben Dogra was fired as co-head of CAA Football, 27 players he represented or co-represented there have terminated their contracts with him and re-signed with CAA, sources said.
An equal number chose to remain with Dogra, who is now co-CEO of Relativity Football, according to sources and SportsBusiness Journal research.
|Ben Dogra (right), pictured with Tom Condon in 2008, has retained many of his clients.
Contract representation was considered, but not a player’s marketing representation. It was not possible to tell when each of the players changed agents or why.
Twenty-one players who were clients of Dogra’s and were not co-represented by his former partners, CAA Football co-heads Tom Condon and Jimmy Sexton, have stayed with him. They include Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Williams.
Seven more players who were co-represented by Dogra and other CAA agents, including Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green, have terminated contracts with CAA agents and re-signed with Dogra.
Among the 27 players who chose CAA are Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. Of those 27, many were co-represented by Condon and re-signed with Condon, according to sources, who asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on player representation.
It is common at large agencies for players to have more than one agent listed on the representation contracts that are filed with players unions. In some cases agents work in tandem on representing players, and in some cases agents list their partners as part of culture of teamwork of the agency.
But when agents leave agencies, as a practical matter, the clients stick with the agent with whom they had the closest relationship.
Such is largely the case here, said Rusty Hardin, Dogra’s attorney.
“Most of the players who had Ben as their primary contact stayed with Ben,” Hardin said. “Most of the people who had Tom Condon stayed with him. They basically stayed with the person who brought them to the dance.”
Hardin is representing Dogra in an arbitration case he broughtagainst CAA. Hardin said that although CAA President Richard Lovett told Dogra he was fired for cause, they have not told him what the cause is, and that the agency owes him money.
CAA Sports officials declined to comment for this story.
Hardin is also representing Dogra in an investigation the NFL Players Association has launched.
There are still players who have not decided whether to stay with CAA or sign with Dogra. Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell, Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Luke Joeckel, Miami Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes and New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson remain shared clients of Dogra’s and agents at CAA Football for contract work.
In addition to those clients, three other Dogra clients — Redskins offensive tackle Trent Williams, Tennessee Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan and free agent tight end Jermaine Gresham — left him and signed with agents not associated with CAA Sports.
Players involved in situations where an agent has left an agency often don’t change agents until they need a contract negotiated.
Dogra, who is known in the agent business for his ability to recruit top prospects, joined Relativity around the time of the Super Bowl, after most high-profile draft prospects had already selected agents. Between 2001 and 2014, he represented or co-represented 55 players who were taken in the first round, more than any other agent.
When he was with CAA Sports, the agency had the most first-round draft picks of any agency every year from 2006 to 2014.
This year, Relativity Sports had the most first-round draft picks, with six. CAA Sports had one first-round pick.