Chat with Andrew Brandt
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN's sports business analyst Andrew Brandt stops by to chat about the NFL offseason.
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 noon ET!
Andrew Brandt (12:03 PM)
Welcome back everyone. As always, the busiest offseason in sports is in full swing. I want to worn you that I'm not the best person to ask about who is going where in the draft, but I can certainly tell you about my experiences inside the draft in the war room.
Matt P. (Chicago)
With the lower rookie contracts in the new CBA, will we start seeing more early extensions (or holdouts) after 2 years? If Cam progresses this year he'll be worth far more than he's being paid, for example.
Andrew Brandt (12:06 PM)
One of the little known facts about the CBA as per the rookie contracts are not only they are reduced but there are no re-negotiations of the rookie contracts in their first three years of the contract. For example, Cam Newton's contract wouldn't even be able to be re-done until after his third season, meaning two more seasons ahead. That is unfortunate for playeres who outperform their contracts with strong first and second year performances. That was something the owners put through in response to holdouts by some young players. We may see some unhappiness with rookie contracts, but no changes in them until Year 3.
wondering what role an agent plays in a late round pick - do some players go in without agents?
Andrew Brandt (12:08 PM)
I think it's safe to say that virtually every player that expects to be drafted or close to being drafted has an agent. What an agent tries to do is convince teams that if a team doesn't take the player than another team will. There is a lot of jockeying later in the draft with teams and players to try and sign them after the draft. Every agent says "if you want him, draft him." But in some situations, some players might be better off not being drafted than being drafted late where they'd have their pick of teams rather than being drafted by a team where they have little chance of making it. But if you ask me in a general sense, it's better to be drafted. You'd like a team to have some investment in you, rather than none.
George K (Michigan)
Nice article on RFA, do you think the lack of RFA movement could be collusion (speculated by some in media) or is it more the reasons that you gave
Andrew Brandt (12:11 PM)
The reason I haven't resorted to the "C" word is that is a very strong accusation and I'm not ready to call it that. Having said that, we have definitely seen a virtual end to restricted free agency due to a couple of factors. 1) teams are valuing high draft picks more than ever, in part due to the reduced financial obligation. 2) teams are very weary of doing contracts for other teams, meaning that there is an offer sheet and teams match demands. 3) the demands are outrageous, making it hard to sign. That's been rumored to be the case with Mike Wallace. The Steelers are very vulnerable to losing him, but it appears that no one has stepped forward with an offer. The Steelers have mortgaged all of their big contracts, it would be hard to do more of that with a big contract with Mike Wallace. But after a few more hours today, that point is moot.
Joel E. (Phoenix)
Is it time to dump the Transition tag for good? It hasn't been used in years and offers no real advantages to just Franchising the player.
Andrew Brandt (12:12 PM)
It is something that is not used because unlike the RFA offer sheet, a team not deciding to match doesn't get anything back. So, for a couple more dollars, it pays to secure the player more completely with a franchise tag. Like the RFA offer sheet, the transition offer sheet might be a thing of the past.
do you minnesota can and will keep the vikings or are they as good as gone? The dome is a dump and i don't think any team should have to play in their
Andrew Brandt (12:15 PM)
I haven't followed the situation in great detail, but the names of the teams change, but it's always the same issue: public funding. It appears that the Vikings continue to be frustrated while the Twins and U. of Minnesota have gotten public funds for their stadia, that's not the case for the Vikings. The public appetite for more funds is not great. Speaking from experience in the most football crazy region, perhaps, in the country, Green Bay, we had difficulty in passing a referendum for rennovation 10 years ago. I see challenges the Vikings have. Lurking in the background is Los Angeles. This will be interesting to watch.
Paul Miller (Atlanta)
It seems to me that the Union got pummeled in the cba. How can \D-Smith keep his job?
Andrew Brandt (12:18 PM)
First of all, Smith did keep his job, he was extended in March, although he faced no opposition. I've been hesitant to give a grade to the NFLPA v. the NFL because like a draft pick, you need 2, 3, 4 years to give it a grade. Having said that, it appears that the players focused on healthy and safety - reduced hitting in training camp, longer offseasons, less time at the facility - came at the expense of economic gains for owners. The bottom line is the owners are paying less per players than they did before this new CBA, which is something to watch long term. There are players and agents that continue to hold on to the beliefs that when the new TV contracts begin that the player costs will increase.
What do you think about the former players suing the NFL re: concussions? Isn't it like a Police Officer suing the department for being shot on duty? All the players know the risk going into it.
Andrew Brandt (12:21 PM)
That's a great question. With the CBA established for 10 years, it is THE issue for the future of the league. I get a lot of former players asking me on Twitter and e-mail if they should be joining these lawsuits. Ultimately, there are two parts to this, the emotional part. I listen to stories from former players who are mentally and physically altered from playing which would hit on the heartstrings of the jury. The other side is the legal side. They would have to show negligence, concealment and fraud. Those are major legal standards that these players would have to prove beyond the heart tugging stories that many have. We're now 1,200 players into the lawsuit. I will be following this closely for ESPN for the next couple of years.
What was it like to make the transition from agent to GM and did it give you an advantage in negotiations knowing how the other side operates?
Andrew Brandt (12:22 PM)
Yes, it was invaluable. I knew all of the tricks and I knew all of the lines that were going to be used. Basically it takes a lot of the BS out of the negotiations. I have used all of these lines before and I knew them. I also think negotiations are all about relationships and the more you can empathize and put yourself in the other's shoes, it helps. After I retired, more teams made similar hires.
Scott (Manhattan NY)
Hi Andrew..Do you think there is a chance that the Steelers can sign Wallace to a multi year deal? Do they realistically have enough cap space? BTW.. love you with Ross on Wednesday mornings on Sirius!!
Andrew Brandt (12:24 PM)
I think they could manipulate the cap by giving a big bonus and prorating it out five years. The big question is how much do they want to give and does Wallace want to be paid in the Larry Fitzgerald range. They have to realize that anything they do with Wallace will effect Brown. If I had to say that Wallace plays out this year on his RFA tender and they deal with him as an unrestricted free agent in March.
Raider Duck (Phoenix, AZ)
What do you think of the job Reggie McKenzie's done so far in Oakland?
Andrew Brandt (12:26 PM)
I'm obviously biased. He's someone I think the world of. Having worked with him closely for 9 years. I think he's taken a conscious commitment to stack a step back to move forward. He's gotten rid of some players with big contracts and he's going to build with young players. He's trying to change a veteran team and make it younger. There will be a trade of short-term results for long term gain. I would trust in his plan.
Tom Benson buying an NBAteam has brought up thathe will offer Drew Brees a small ownership stake as part ofhis contract.First is this allowed by the NFL and second if so how would they determine it's worth as far as cap goes since the value of the team would chang yearto year?
Andrew Brandt (12:29 PM)
In terms of him buying the team, that's a good owner for the NBA to sell team to. He's as well known as any monied figure in that area and has experience running a pro sports franchise. The NFL cross-sport ownership rules allow it as its in the same market. As far as player ownership, my sense is the rules would not disallow an offer of ownership in an NFL or NBA team, but from a cap point of view, it would have to be valued. It would be very difficult to value a piece of the Hornets, because we don't know where the value would go over the course of Drew's contract. In a nutshell, it would be a cap nightmare and extremely hard to negotiate.
Mike H (Acworth, GA)
A lot of fans are super confused about the reason for the cap penalties for the Cowboys and Redskins. Can you break it down easily for us fans who only understand they went over somehow?
Andrew Brandt (12:31 PM)
In 2010 there was no cap, but there were no rules on how high they could spend. As I've written for ESPN.com, the claification on the penalty is that it's not so much for front loading contracts, but for restructuring existing contracts and through a manuever, taking a future cap number and bringing it into a non-capped year. The other teams were furious because they were warned not to do it and it had ramifications for future franchise tags. For instance, the Miles Austin and Albert Haynesworth increased the tags. There are a lot of layers in the cap penalties that will be heard on May 10 in front of a colleague of mine at Penn, where I teach, Stephen Burbank.
Andrew Brandt (12:32 PM)
Great questions as always. Be sure to check out my column up now on ESPN.com on the end of restricted free agency. I'll have another column coming out in the next few days about inside the war room at an NFL draft. Thanks again. I'll be back probably in the same schedule of every other Friday, look forward to it.