Andy Simms has spent most of his career as an NFL agent running his own agency.
The Hawken High School graduate and resident of Solon is doing just that again after he and four of his colleagues parted ways with Young Money and formed APAA Sports 1 of 1 agency.
Young Money, owned by renowned rapper Lil Wayne, acquired a majority stake in PlayersRep Sports Management in 2017. PlayersRep, which Simms co-founded with Wesley Spencer, had been in the business since 1999. Then Simms’ first client, former NFL defender Chike Okeafor, became about to graduate from Fall Western Reserve University’s law school.
In early 2018, after Simms and five other PlayersRep agents partnered with Young Money, Simms told Crain’s that “the ability to build our clients’ brands” was a primary reason for the move. However, the past few years have encouraged Simms that his group had to be in charge.
“There were things that were great, but there were things that we realized we could do better,” said Simms of his time at Young Money. “Ultimately, I knew that in order to build a company for the next 10 years we were looking ahead, building it our way, doing things the way we needed to, and being in control of all these aspects of our business, really is what we need back to. “
Six agents switched from PlayersRep to Young Money. Five – Simms, Spencer, Ken Sarnoff, Cody Recchion and Dave Lee – will continue to represent the 50 NFL players who move from Young Money to 1 of 1. Nicole Lynn, who was also part of the PlayersRep and Young Money teams, left Wayne’s company shortly before the NFL draft to join Klutch Sports as the agency’s new president of the agency’s football operations.
Marketing and branding the athletes they represent – crucial elements that led to the young money deal – are still important areas that need improvement, Simms said.
“At 1 in 1, we were able to assemble a team with more in-house marketing options, more digital graphics, and more off-field opportunities to help players in so many different ways that we weren’t equipped to do.” do either as PlayersRep or as Young Money, “said Simms.
The great thing about the new agency is that all the athletes have moved with the five agents.
The group includes Jalen Hurts, a sophomore quarterback who could be the Philadelphia Eagles’ future in that position; Lane Johnson, three-time Pro Bowl tackle for the Eagles; the McCourty twins Devin and Jason; Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller; outstanding wide receiver Tyler Boyd; Kansas City Chiefs Speedster Mecole Hardman; and Chiefs Defensive Lineman Jarran Reed.
“Business was good before Young Money, it was good when we were with Young Money, and now that we’ve moved on from Young Money, it’s getting even better,” said Simms. “The business of what we do as agents – how we look after the players, how we deal with the contracts, how we meet all of the needs of the players off the field – that’s just something we have to keep improving at, we’re coming Ahead.”