Toppin and Huntington worked hard for Cruz. They showed up to at least four UMass games this year to prove how serious they were about him. They saw he wasn't highly touted in the scouting reports, but they saw with their own eyes how amazing he was; 262 yards on 13 receptions, as a junior in the team's game against James Madison.
When the two met with Cruz, they pitched the small operation they had. They would pay attention to him. They would get him ready with a trainer in Florida just like the big agents do for their clients. They were straight up with Cruz. They wouldn’t be financing his Escalade. He wouldn't be living on the water in a beach house. And they tried to convey to him that big-time agents couldn’t affect his draft position.
Cruz took their pitch and signed on the dotted line.
He ran a 4.47 on his pro day and had eight teams call. But when Cruz didn't get picked, only the Giants called and offered him a 3-year contract that would pay him $320,000 this year if he stayed on the active roster.
The story you will hear might be about Cruz and his success, but the story that's just as intriguing will be for Toppin and Huntington to hold on to Cruz as a client.
The standard 3 percent commission on this year's salary is $9,600 — not even enough to cover the costs of recruiting Cruz. The money comes if the UMass product defies the odds further and becomes a great NFL player. And as that becomes clearer, more and more agents will be swarming around Cruz, who at his discretion can go to whoever he wants, whenever he wants.
It’s why Toppin and Huntington have to feel a bittersweet feeling from their client’s night being so big. Monday Night Football. In the New York market. Against the Jets.
How loyal is Cruz? And will Toppin and Huntington be able to prove they can do what the well-known names in the industry can do? Only time will tell.
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