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5 Multimillion-Dollar Negotiation Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

Learn from the Biggest Negotiation Blunders in Business History

3. Geno Smith, New York Jets QB: $12 Million

Sometimes money is not lost at the negotiation table, but rather at the interview desk. In real life if you blow the interview, you probably don’t get the job. But in the NFL, things work a bit differently.

Geno Smith is a quarterback from West Virginia that was selected by the New York Jets with the 39th pick in the 2013 draft. ESPN reports that he will sign a 4-year contract worth about $5 million. Not too bad for an entry-level position, right?

But even if you’re interviewing for a $30,000 marketing coordinator job, you can learn a lot from how Geno conducted himself during his “interview.”

According to an article on ESPN, Smith's behavior before, during and after the draft has raised questions about his maturity. And reports of his performance during team visits – the equivalent of a job interview – were not kind:

  • He had a “diva attitude”
  • He came off as a “spoiled, pampered brat”
  • He was preoccupied with his cell phone during meetings, texting friends and checking Twitter
  • When not selected where he felt he should be, he threatened to leave the draft and go home, then later responded by firing his agents

The result? The Jets passed on him not once but twice (as did other teams) before finally choosing him at #39. While his future in the NFL is uncertain, had he been chosen near the top 10, he would have been paid more than $4 million per year – a loss of about $12 million dollars.

The moral? Put away that cell phone during your interview!