Who Is Ken Francis? Uncertified Representative Purportedly Negotiating With NFL Teams

The NFL sent a memo to all 32 teams informing them that an uncertified representative, Ken Francis, may be contacting clubs on behalf of Lamar Jackson.

The Lamar Jackson saga continues to roll on as we enter the tentpole events of the offseason, and it’s only getting weirder and wilder. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the league sent a memo to all 32 NFL teams informing them that a man named Ken Francis may be contacting clubs, attempting to persuade them to negotiate with the Baltimore Ravens’ star QB.

Who is Ken Francis, and is he playing a role in Jackson’s ongoing contractual situation?

Who Is Ken Francis?

The memo sent from the league to all 32 teams reads as follows: “The NFLPA has informed us that a person by the name of Ken Francis, who is not an NFLPA-certified agent, may be contacting Clubs and attempting to persuade Club personnel to enter into negotiations with or concerning Lamar Jackson, who is currently under the Non-exclusive Franchise Tender with the Baltimore Ravens.”

Jackson, who was franchised-tagged by the Ravens just before the start of free agency in mid-March, is free to negotiate with other teams. However, teams may only speak with the QB, given that he doesn’t have an agent.

The league’s memo continues, “As an uncertified person, Mr. Francis is prohibited from negotiating Offer Sheets or Player Contracts, or discussing potential trades on behalf of any NFL player or prospective player or assisting in or advising with respect to such negotiations.”

According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Francis said that he “[doesn’t] speak for Lamar.” Francis explained that he is in business with the former league MVP to the extent that he sells portable gym equipment on which the two are partners but that he isn’t involved in any football-related dealings.

MORE: Lamar Jackson Free Agency Predictions

Jackson himself refuted the idea that Francis has been negotiating on his behalf, tweeting, “Stop Lying that man never tried to negotiate for me.”

Shortly after the release of the league’s memo, Jackson posted an advertisement on Twitter highlighting the portable gym equipment, titled TheEntireGym, that he and Francis are working on, saying, “My business partner Ken and I will be Dropping the @TheEntireGym this Summer.”

The Role Agents Play in the NFL and How It Impacts Jackson’s Contract

NFL agents play a pivotal role in negotiating deals between players and teams. The vast majority of players are represented by agents certified by the NFL Players Association, giving those representatives the ability to negotiate on behalf of athletes and act as the go-between for both players who are free agents and those under contract and seeking extensions.

However, as the NFL’s memo explains, teams cannot negotiate with agents who aren’t certified by the NFLPA. “Violation of this rule may result in disapproval of any Offer Sheet or resulting Player Contract entered into by Mr. Jackson and the new Club,” the league emphasized.

Under the rules of the non-exclusive franchise tag, should a team come to an agreement with Jackson, the Ravens would have five days to match the offer, which would result in the electric signal-caller being contractually tied to Baltimore. Should the Ravens decline to match, the team that signs Jackson would owe the Ravens two first-round NFL draft picks.

MORE: Best Contracts from Free Agency

Jackson is currently set to earn $32.416 million for the 2023 season under the tag. That number pales in comparison to other QBs in the upper echelon of the league.

Twelve quarterbacks — Aaron Rodgers ($50.2 million), Russell Wilson ($48.5 million), Kyler Murray ($46.1 million), Deshaun Watson ($46 million), Patrick Mahomes ($45 million), Josh Allen ($43 million), Daniel Jones ($40 million), Dak Prescott ($40 million), Matthew Stafford ($40 million), Derek Carr ($37.5 million), Kirk Cousins ($35 million), and Jared Goff ($33.5 million) — all signed contracts that average more money per year than Jackson’s tag.

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