Caleb Williams to enter NFL draft without an agent: reports

Caleb Williams to enter NFL draft without an agent: reports originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

USC quarterback Caleb Williams will not hire an NFLPA-approved agent ahead of the 2024 NFL draft, according to a list the NFL sent to teams, and a congruent report from NBC Sports' Mike Florio.

"The list of draft-eligible players and their agents, published by the NFL Players Association on Wednesday, does not include the former USC quarterback," Florio wrote. "After sending a couple of texts, we’ve confirmed that Williams has not hired an agent — and he apparently does not plan to do so."

Williams may not need an agent, as he is presumably the No. 1 pick in the draft. The majority of the league appears to believe Williams is a special talent. And regardless of who is drafting with the No. 1 pick, that team will take him.

Navigating the draft/contract sphere without an agent is a risky game, however. As Florio noted, agents of NFL prospects will try and attack opposing draft prospects to persuade teams into drafting their clients. That may not be a problem for Williams, but it could promote problems down the line.

Remember, Bears general manager Ryan Poles has shown what happens in cases where players don't have agents. Roquan Smith, who didn't have an NFLPA-approved agent in 2022, didn't get the record-setting extension he desired from the Bears. Instead, he played on the fifth year of his contract before the team traded him to the Baltimore Ravens. There, he got his record-setting, $100 million deal.

It's not an impossible feat for unrepresented players to get the deal they're seeking; for quarterbacks, too. Lamar Jackson worked out a five-year, $260 million deal with the Ravens without an agent. But because he didn't have an agent heading into the 2018 draft, that played a factor in him being drafted with the No. 32 pick in the NFL draft, well below where he should've gone, as the two-time MVP has proven today.

It's a risky game to play. And if the Bears want to draft Williams to become the franchise's next signal-caller, they'll have to navigate that road with him, too.

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