Chat with Andrew Brandt
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN's business analyst Andrew Brandt stops by to chat about the sports business world.
Brandt, who has over 25 years of experience in professional football, both from the management and player representation side, runs NationalFootballPost.com, where he gives fans an insider's view on the business of football. His Twitter is: @ADBrandt.
He is also a lecturer at the Wharton School of Business, teaching Sports Law, Sports Business and Negotiations. He has written for Forbes, the Huffington Post and Sports Business Journal, while also appearing across all ESPN TV, radio and online platforms. In his time in the football business, Brandt as served as a player representative, a World League GM and a VP with the Packers.
Send your questions now and join Brandt Friday at 2 p.m. ET!
Andrew Brandt (2:02 PM)
Welcome everyone. I'm happy to be here. Welcome to the NFL offseason, which is my "in-season." Let's open it up to your questions.
Ryan (San Diego)
When the NBA and NBPA were negotiating a CBA, was the number of games for this season a part of that discussion? Seems like some players are complaining about the number of back to back games, but I would have thought they would have discussed that with the league.
Andrew Brandt (2:04 PM)
I knew this would be an issue as the negotiators were all about making a deal and filling in the number of games as they could. It always comes back to money. The way to make the most money for the owners and players this year is to play as many games as can humanly be played. Coming up with the 66 number was the number they felt they could squeeze in the most possible games. I remember when the NFL settled its dispute, there was a lot of player grumbling that the players had to report to camp within 24-48 hours. Now you're starting to hear grumbling from the NBA players for the back to back and back to back to backs. Follow the money. The two sides went for the deal that would make the most money and the casualty of that is the overloaded schedule.
What exactly is the difference between director of player personnel and GM?
Andrew Brandt (2:06 PM)
In a personnel department, you usually have a director of NFL, someone in charge of all players in the NFL, director of college scouting, someone who oversees all college staff. Then sometimes you have a director of player personnel who oversees all of them. Sometimes the GM is the same person. Director of personnel would only be involved in the scouting aspect. The GM is involved in everything.
Andrew, the Bears fired their GM and OC...how odd of a situation is it to interview a GM and tell him he has to keep the head coach...does that shift the power from the GM to the head coach in that relationship?
Andrew Brandt (2:08 PM)
It's hard to say. The interview process will be heavily weighted toward someone that has the same philosophy as the head coach. Understand there is some possibility for discord, but in these situations, the parties all know what the deal is going in. So there won't be surprises going in. This is all part of the interview process. That's why teams need to be very deliberate and clear who has control over the roster, the draft, what kind of operation they want to run with young players, free agents, money spent, etc.
If you're in the front office, do you draft Luck and keep Manning?
Andrew Brandt (2:11 PM)
I've been on a lot of the ESPN airwaves this week and this will be a hot topic through March. This is THE decision in the NFL offseason this year. Let's explain it: The Colts have to decide whether to exercise a $28 million option on Manning. The window is from two days after the Super Bowl and five days before the new league year, roughly between Feb. 8 and March 8. If they go past March 8 and don't exercise the option, he will become a free agent. The Colts will receive no compensation and no draft pick. If they do exercise it, they will owe him the option money plus a 2012 salary. That will be combined with the compensation for the No. 1 pick. If the Colts have Luck and Manning, they will be paying that position over $50 million, which is an untenable situation.
Andrew Brandt (2:12 PM)
Back to your situation. If I had the first pick, I would have already turned in the card for Andrew Luck. I think he's special. He comes into the league with a lot of the skills that Manning did. Good arm, good leadership, sense of self and ability not to get rattled. As for Manning, that's a different situation, but my instinct is to trust the head over the heart. This is the perfect storm to move on for Manning: 1) Cost to keep him; 2) special player available to them at the same position; 3) you're talking about a player with 3 neck surgeries and an unknown future.
how much discussion went on in the front office prior to making a decision like firing a GM or head coach?
Andrew Brandt (2:14 PM)
It depends on the team. In some situations, it's entirely an ownership decision. In others, it takes into account a lot of different people. My sense is these things aren't decided on the last day of the season. There is a lot of rumination going on in the weeks and months before. They're not just decisions made last minute, they've been made for a while.
Sir, If I buy a Packer jersey at the store at Lambeau, how is the $ % doled out among all? NFL25%, Packers 25%, Players 25% etc. Thanks.
Andrew Brandt (2:15 PM)
It's a complicated question and as a former Packer employee for years, I don't know the entire answer. The items sold in the Packer pro shop are treated differently than items sold on NFL.com and other places. I'll try to get that for the next chat.
Next big issue for the NFL with this new CBA in place?
Andrew Brandt (2:17 PM)
I think we have to look at the concussion issue and where we're going with that. There is a rash of issues now being levied against the NFL. This is an issue that's not going away and only getting more complicated. Other issues have to be dealt with are drug testing and the HGH issue and is still not resolved. But with labor peace for the next 10 years and the renegotiation of the TV contracts done, the NFL is in a good place right now and seems to be the envy of most sports leagues.
How is a coach taking another job handled, specifically like the PAtriots situations?
Andrew Brandt (2:20 PM)
It varies in situation to situation. This is something that has to be determined by the organization. In coaching, it's the head coach who decides if he continues his responsibilities. Human nature tells you that, though, his mind will be racing elsewhere. These are difficult. For people in front offices, it's easier to compartmentalize. Reggie McKenzie, a good friend of mine, looks like he'll be the new GM of the Raiders, however he won't leave until the Packers win the Super Bowl or lose in the playoffs. But as your question suggests, the coaching transition is harder. That's why in college football, you see some coaches who are kept through the bowl games and some that are not. It depends on the situation.
how do teams determine how much input each has in a coaching search?
Andrew Brandt (2:23 PM)
It's team by team, but for instance when I was in Green Bay in 2006, we interviewed coaches that included Mike McCarthy, Sean Payton, Wade Phillips and others. The primary interviewer was Ted Thompson and his discussion of the personnel of the team and how the coach would use the personnel. Others of us got involved tangentially with the search, but it was his decision. That seems to be the common formula. But in Green Bay, we did not have an owner. I would suggest in most situations that the owner becomes heavily involved in determining if the coach is the right face for the franchise in addition to his skills and abilities as a coach.
Once your team is out of hte playoffs, whats the number one thing you have to attend to?
Andrew Brandt (2:25 PM)
The morning after we were eliminated was a busy time. You're trying to make contact with all of the players who are going to have their contracts up in letting them know that you'll be talking to their agents about continuing and giving them a sense of when contract negotiations will continue. You're also dealing with a lot of medical issues and who will be failing their exit physicals. But you immediately can start, although you have started before this time, preparing for the next season, in terms of where your priorities are on the roster and off the roster. In someone who was in my position in the NFL, and right now, the offseason was a much busier time than in the season.
Doug (St. Louis)
Rams looking at Jeff Fisher? Attitudes at coaches out of the game for a year or so?
Andrew Brandt (2:28 PM)
I don't think there's much worry when someone has a long standing reputation like a Jeff Fisher. You continue to hear interest levels in guys like Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher who have been away from the game much longer. Another advantage that Fisher has is he was a key member of the Competition Committee and influenced some of the changes. He's had his ear to the highest levels of the league, even though he's been out of the game this past year. So he's in demand and as reported, he's deciding between the Dolphins and the Rams in the next week.
What were your impressions of Matt Flynn?
Andrew Brandt (2:32 PM)
Flynn is a talent. The Packers will have to make some decisions there. Despite some suggestions about the Packers franchising Flynn in order to trade him, I don't think that will happen. That will require a $14 million salary for Matt Flynn, which is 6 million more than Rodgers is scheduled to make. Second the Packers are negotiating with Jermichael Finley and would like to use the franchise tag there if need be. Third, the franchise tag is for the intent of the team to sign him long term, not to trade him. I'm sure the NFLPA would look into a franchise tag on Flynn and I'm sure the Packers don't want to become a test case. The bottom line is that he'll become a free agent and made himself some nice money against the Lions.
Andrew Brandt (2:32 PM)
I'll be back soon, as I think there will be a ton of issues coming up. Thanks to all, continue to follow me on all ESPN platforms and on Twitter: @adbrandt.