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Why hasn't Cardinals' Marvin Harrison Jr. signed the NFLPA's licensing agreement? Here's what we know

Here's a breakdown of the agreements that have impacted the early days of the Arizona rookie's NFL career.



Why hasn't Cardinals' Marvin Harrison Jr. signed the NFLPA's licensing agreement? Here's what we know
Why hasn't Cardinals' Marvin Harrison Jr. signed the NFLPA's licensing agreement? Here's what we know
TEMPE, Ariz. -- It's been two weeks since the Arizona Cardinals drafted Marvin Harrison Jr. with the No. 4 overall pick in the NFL draft, and fans still cannot buy Harrison's jersey or play with him in the video game Madden.

Why? Harrison Jr., son of Hall of Fame wide receiver Marvin Harrison, has not signed the NFLPA group licensing agreement (GLA), which allows partnering companies such as Nike and EA Sports to use a player's name, image and likeness. For most players, signing the GLA is a formality, typically inked at the NFL combine.

The GLA not only allows the NFLPA to market its players, but it also helps every player who signs to earn additional income.

What exactly is the GLA? Here's a breakdown of the agreement that has impacted the early days of Harrison's NFL career.

It's an agreement between a player and the NFLPA for the players association to have exclusive rights to market a player's name, image, likeness, signature and voice. It's how players end up in Madden and have jerseys and memorabilia sold by retailers. The NFLPA developed the GLA in 1972 to protect the marketing rights of its players as a group and ensure players receive a share of the revenue generated.

If a company wants to use six or more players in a promotion, it has to have a GLA with the NFLPA. If a company has a GLA with the NFLPA, it must pay each of those players a cut of the revenue. There are exceptions. There can be exclusive promotions with six or more players in which those players get a larger cut.

High-profile players can earn upward of six figures based on how much they generate for products and companies linked to the GLA.

Last year, the baseline for players' royalty payments was about $30,000, but the expectation is that will increase every season. According to the Department of Labor, there were 2,125 active players in 2023.

The NFLPA has agreements with 85 different companies, including 2K, Electronic Arts, 500 LEVEL, Hallmark, Fathead, Beast Mode, Rock 'Em socks, Under Armour, Homage, Party City, Fanatics, Strideline and The Original Retro Brand, among others.

A source told ESPN Harrison is trying to use not signing the GLA as leverage to renegotiate his Fanatics deal for more money.

Harrison has three known deals: A shoe and apparel deal with New Balance, an endorsement deal with Head and Shoulders and a memorabilia deal with Fanatics, which a source told ESPN Harrison signed before his final year at Ohio State and is worth at least $1 million.

Harrison is also selling memorabilia on his website, The Official Harrison Collection. A Harrison Ohio State jersey costs $80, but no Cardinals merchandise is being sold on the site.

During his introductory news conference in Arizona, Harrison was asked if he has a timeline to sign the GLA and hire an agent.

"I'll continue to talk to my team and we'll do what's best for me moving forward," Harrison said. "We'll just take it one day at a time. I just got drafted so I'm trying to enjoy the moment and be happy while I can at the moment."

Directly, not much, if at all. The GLA is essentially NIL for professionals. However, indirectly, collegiate NIL is part of the reason why Harrison is trying to renegotiate his deal with Fanatics. Having NIL in place and legalized gave Fanatics the ability to discuss an agreement with Harrison while he was still in college, and eventually have him sign a post-college deal, which sources told ESPN happened before his last season at Ohio State.

If Harrison had signed a similar deal before NIL, it would've been a violation of NCAA rules. However, it would have been more likely that Harrison signed any type of deal after declaring for the NFL draft, which, after the season he had in 2023, would've likely been valued higher and brought him more money.