Martz lashes out at Barron's agent
Martz blisters Barron's agent
By Jim Thomas
Of the Post-Dispatch
Saturday, Aug. 06 2005
Mike Martz's frustration over the continued absence of first-round draft pick
Alex Barron bubbled over in a big way Saturday.
Martz accused Barron's agent, Roosevelt Barnes, of placing his interests ahead
of Barron's. He said the difference between the Rams' offer and Barnes'
proposal is insignificant. Martz also said that Barron has missed so much
training camp that he won't be ready to play in the Rams' regular-season opener
Sept. 11 in San Francisco.
"It's impossible for him to get ready to play in the opener," Martz said.
"There's no way. There's no way in the world in this offense with the high
level at which these guys out here now are playing.
"We've moved on. To have a chance to play, he needs to get in here. I know Alex
well enough to know that he wants to be here."
Through Saturday morning's workout at Rams Park, Barron, an offensive tackle,
had missed 10 days of training camp and 16 full-squad practices. Martz also
said Saturday that Barron had missed the Rams' rookie camp - a session held
prior to training camp to get incoming rookies ready for the season - on the
advice of Barnes.
"His agent said to keep him out of (rookie camp), which is absolutely
ridiculous," Martz said. "That really hurt him. So I'm not upset with the kid;
I'm upset with the agent. I just think it's not right."
With a largely veteran cast on offense, Martz said the unit started at a higher
level this camp than in recent years in terms of installation.
"We're at midseason in terms of what we have in, which is a first for us,"
Martz said. "So Alex is not going to come in and get caught up. He's just not.
To think that he's going to start . . . I'm not going to say he can't
necessarily, but if he does, then he's a phenom. But he's going to have to
"The preparation for him, to get him ready, he's got to come in the right way.
To come in the right way, you've got to come in when you're learning your
stance. Your first step. Your drop-back. All that stuff. He missed all that.
"All the foundation of what we do. The (line) calls. Look at all the blitz
periods and the nine-on-sevens that he's missed. How do you make that up? I
don't know how you do that."
In a telephone interview Saturday, Barnes said Barron will be ready to play
against San Francisco, if Martz wants him to play.
"Sometimes you have self-fulfilling prophecies," Barnes said. "Now, if Coach
Martz believes in his mind that Alex Barron won't be able to play in the first
game, then it won't happen. But if Coach Martz believes in his mind that Alex
Barron can be ready for the first game, then it will happen.
"It's really going to be up to Coach Martz. Because AB - Alex Barron - is going
to do whatever it takes. Alex Barron is going to make sure it happens."
On several occasions during his seven-minute vent Saturday morning, Martz said
he wasn't blaming Barron, just his agent.
"Let me just say this about this agent," Martz said. "This is not about the
player; this is about the agent. Because what the kid is going to get out of
his contract, the difference (in money) is insignificant. What this agent is
doing is recruiting other players by doing this stuff.
"He's thumping his chest out there. It's bad for professional football. It's
bad for agents, you know; just the business of being an agent. It's just wrong.
He's not taking this kid's best interest at heart. I want you to print that. .
. . What he's doing is promoting himself as an agent, and that's just not
When informed of those comments, Barnes replied: "I know Coach Martz is a
little frustrated. I wish we could have the deal done, too. I would've
preferred him to be in camp on time, also. But we're not there yet.
"You know, there's always two sides. I don't control the checkbook. We just
want what's best for the team and what's best for Alex. I don't think we're
asking for anything that's unfair. We're just asking for a market deal, really.
"If the difference in offers is insignificant, instead of attacking me, what he
should do is go to his people and say, 'This is insignificant. Let (Barron)
have it, so he can come on in.'
"That's what I would say. But Jay (Zygmunt) is a good guy to work with, and I
think we'll be able to work this stuff out."
Zygmunt, the Rams' president of football operations, is handling negotiations
As of Saturday afternoon, 23 of the 32 first-round draft picks in the NFL had
been signed. There are two logjams of unsigned players in the round:
Five of the top eight picks are without a contract.
Pick nos. 17, 18, 19 (Barron), and 22 remain unsigned.
Martz pointed out that clients of Maximum Sports Management, which is headed by
the Indiana-based Barnes and Eugene Parker, are in the middle of both logjams:
Chicago Bears running back Cedric Benson, No. 4 overall, remains unsigned and
offensive tackle Barron at No. 19.
"For these kids to stay out for the (financial) differences that they're
talking about, it's just not right," Martz said. "I know that we've moved on
this thing pretty good. I know that there's really no reason for him not to be
here, other than the agent is posturing. And while he's doing this, his name's
in the paper and all those good things.
"To heck with that. I don't have to deal with those guys, thank goodness. But I
do know what's going on. I feel bad for Alex. I know he's a good kid, and I
know he wants to be here."
Martz strongly hinted that Barnes is simply trying to wait and see what
unsigned Minnesota Vikings defensive end Erasmus James gets at No. 18 overall -
one ahead of Barron - and then will try to top that deal.
"He doesn't care about his kid; he's worried about next year's recruiting
class," Martz said. "If he can squeeze it out of us and leapfrog the guy that's
in front of us financially, he's going to look like a genius, and he can
recruit better next year.
"What's that mean to Alex? Well, he's missed all of camp. Maybe he's got a
little more money, but he's come in on a bad note. There's enough of these
agents, unfortunately like this guy that's representing him, that it just makes
Barnes denied that he was waiting for James to sign before closing the deal
with the Rams. Barnes said he has sent three different contract proposals to
the Rams over the course of negotiations.
"Be clear: I'm not waiting on anybody above us," Barnes said. "I think we can
get a deal done quickly. I never have been waiting on anybody. It's just that
we haven't come to terms yet.
"I'm just kind of surprised that Coach Martz lashed out at me. But I forgive
him, and I understand. . . . Coaches, they get emotional, and the natural thing
for them to do is to lash out at the agent."
Didn't see this posted, but it offers some good details on the situation.
Re: Martz lashes out at Barron's agent
This is all stupid. It's stupid because it is avoidable. There is a finite amount of money to go around therefor all negotiations could be ended using a carefully constructed mathematical formula that is fair to all players and would end the agents role in the business. Some of the total money to be paid to players would be set aside for players who over achieve such as leading passers, rushers, linemen, and every position. Any player that does not like the fact that he will be paid the same amount of money as the same player at the same position with the same experience and generally the same career statistics can just go find another profession. There would be exactly zero "0" players walk away from the NFL because if most of them tried to do something in the real world they would suddenly be slapped in the face with reality which would cause them to run crying all the way back to league head quarters begging to sign a contract.