REGGIE JOHNSON REVEALS PATHWAY TO NFL SUCCESS
The agent of New Orleans quarterback Jameis Winston, Xavier McKinney and other stars talks about our growing NFL division and why ICM Stellar Sports is attracting some of football’s brightest prospects
As he looks over his client list, Reggie Johnson is a happy man but also a man who wants more.
The ICM Stellar Sports agent has been a trailblazer in more ways than one. Coming into the business with the aim of doing things differently, he took a look at what soccer agents were doing for their clients and decided to test whether this same “360-degree service” would work in the US.
The results speak for themselves.
Reggie joined ICM Stellar in 2017 and the new US Sports division’s first act was the signing of British-born athlete Menelik Watson.
At the time there was scepticism in the industry that a soccer agency could break into the NFL but that view was quickly revised when Menelik, then 28, signed a free agency deal with the Denver Broncos making him a top 5 highest paid player at his position.
It was the first time that a sports agency based in Europe had negotiated an NFL free agent contract and people started to take note.
“Jonathan and Joshua Barnett had a lot of faith in me and what we could do together. In the beginning we had Menelik and his move was the breakthrough that opened a lot of doors but we were still relative newcomers and so the important thing we had to do was to earn the trust and belief of the players we wanted to recruit,” says Reggie.
“From the start it was all about the vision of what we wanted to do, the vision of ICM Stellar wanting to connect with athletes on a different level, and be there for them as people just as much as we’re there for them in their athletic pursuits. I believe in that vision, everyone here does, and each and everyone of our clients can testify to it.”
For Reggie, the ICM Stellar way marks an evolution in the way agents do business.
“In the US it is common for agents to appear when contracts need to be signed then take a back seat. What ICM Stellar has always done differently is to offer a 360-degree level of service so clients know we are taking care of everything for them – negotiations, legal matters, endorsements, and actively setting up their life after football. We do all that so they can concentrate on performance. Our goal is to be an active resource and each step of their life after they sign with us.”
Reggie was behind Jameis Winston’s new deal with the New Orleans Saints that he signed at the beginning of the free-agency period. A deal Reggie feels provides Winston with the structure to experience both team and individual success.
“Jamies has a great opportunity to showcase his talent and win games,” Reggie adds. “Predicting seasons is always tough because in football there’s constantly the unforeseen element of injury that can derail your hopes. At full strength the Saints are a team that have shown they can win at a high level. This marries well with Jameis and his passion for winning so I’m looking forward to what he will do with that organization.”
Looking down the list of Reggie’s other clients, Xavier McKinney signed in 2020 and was the first safety drafted in the 2020 NFL draft. He has been tabbed by many publications as a potential “breakout player” for the 2021 NFL season. Deion “Shaq” Calhoun signed with the Arizona Cardinals earlier this year and looks to provide a boost to their offensive line. In the 2021 draft Tre’ McKitty was one of the top tight-ends drafted when the Chargers selected him in the third round. Kenneth Gainwell was later drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles and Antonio Nunn signed on with the Atlanta Falcons.
Reggie speaks at length about his high hopes and expectations for all of them as he plans to add to the roster with new emerging talent.
“When we started we knew we had to be patient and set the foundation the right way. We were never going to sacrifice our client-centric mentality. We knew the opportunity would come where we could showcase the value we provide to each and every player.” says Reggie.
“Everything is on track for that to continue. We don’t look at this as a numbers game. For us, it’s about finding the right players, the ones we really believe in and connect with. The one’s we know have the potential to be the best on and off the field.”
With the college season due to start at the end of August, the search for the next round of ICM Stellar stars begins now.