Chat with Andrew Brandt
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, 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 Monday at noon ET!
Andrew Brandt (12:02 PM)
Welcome everyone, sorry we missed out on Friday, but we had some breaking news with the NFLPA filing grievances on behalf of the suspended players. We continue this busy offseason of the NFL with your questions. Quick note, today at 3 ET I'll be joining a panel on OTL about concussions, the first of a series of shows this week.
Andrew Brandt (12:03 PM)
Happy to answer your questions now.
What will be the most complicated part of this NFLPA grievance?
Andrew Brandt (12:05 PM)
Good question. If I had to say, it would be interpretation of Article 3 of the new CBA, which allows for a release for activity prior to Aug. 4, 2011. The NFL interprets that release as only releasing the NFLPA from lawsuits coming out of the Brady v. NFL settlement. Whereas the NFLPA views it as a release of player conduct before that date. As I remember, I would interpret it more toward the NFL's version, however, the language is sufficiently broad as to invite a different interpretation from the arbitrator.
Andrew Brandt (12:06 PM)
The other issue that will be interesting if the bounty issue will be a cap issue rather than a conduct issue. If it's a cap issue, it's under the perview of the cap arbitrator. If it's a conduct issue, it is, of course, under the perview of the commissioner. In sum, the NFLPA is trying every which way possible to take this away from the commissioner. I give them credit for being creative, but I think a couple of arguments are a bit of a stretch, but having said that, you never know what an arbitrator will do.
What does the NFLPA say to other players they represent when they're defending guys who were trying to hurt those other players?
Andrew Brandt (12:08 PM)
This is the ultimate straddle that the NFLPA must do: represent the hunters and the hunted. The way they are positioning it is to focus all players on a common enemy, the NFL. Understanding that they have problems with defending players that were injuring other players, they have taken the position that this is a Us v. Them issue between all players and the commissioner. That's how they're positioning their argument.
Does Vilma and the gang have a chance to win their appeal?
Andrew Brandt (12:10 PM)
That would be hard to say that they have much of a chance given who's doing the ruling on the appeal. I will say this: I did not think that Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis and Joe Vitt had any chance on their appeals. Their suspensions were not changed, but the commissioner dangled a carrot, if they embraced change and did everything correct, the financial parts could change. Gooddell has given the hallmark of his discipline as to provide incentives, in this case financial, with conduct on the positive side. This was done with Roethlisberger and Vick. It's not clear what type of activities Payton, or perhaps Vilma, will have to do to earn back some money, but it will likely involved speaking about safety, head injuries, etc.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Andrew, if the Minnesota House of Representatives and/or the Minnesota Senate do not pass the measures for the Vikings' new stadium, how likely do you feel it may become for the Vikings to leave Minnesota?
Andrew Brandt (12:12 PM)
Well, when Roger Goodell went out there last week, his message was clear: if they don't pass those measures, all bets are off. The Vikings have gone through years of frustrations of trying to get funding, after seeing the Twins and the University of Minnesota get funding. This is a crossroads for them. If it's not passed, I think we'd have to put them at the top of the line for relocation to L.A. It wouldn't be any time soon, but they would be at the top of the list.
Cheesehead Sports Nut (@CheeseheadSN)
I always enjoy reading your insight from your time with the Packers. Almost every Green Bay Packer fans thinks "In Ted we Trust" but as you know the front office is much more than just one guy. What are your thoughts on some of the high-level losses (i.e. Schneider and McKenzie) and how that will impact the Packers over the next few years?
Andrew Brandt (12:15 PM)
Obviously, I'm biased, but I think there is a system in place there that adds to sustained success. Scouts and other front office people come up through the years and eventually move on to other positions, but just as the Packers do with players, there is a readied pipeline. With Reggie McKenzie moving to Oakland, it opens up the opportunity for someone like Elliott, who while only 30 years old has shown great acumen for finding players. I'll never forget the morning of the 2006 draft when he brought me into his office and showed me film of a WR from Western Michigan University and told me we'd be picking him in the second round. A guy by the name of Greg Jennings. As he talked up Greg, I said if you think he's good, that's all I need to know. The Pack will be in good hands.
Mike H (Acworth, GA)
If the Pro Bowl is gone, how does that impact the players who have bonus dollars tied to making it? Would the NFLPA get involved?
Andrew Brandt (12:18 PM)
That's a good question. My sense is players would still be selected to an All-Pro team, whether as a starter or backup. In that case, the pro bowl bonuses in most veteran contracts would be honored. Contracts would have to be changed to reflect simple election to the team rather than an actual game being played. From those standpoints, the NFLPA would not have anything to complain about financially, except for the missed trips to Hawaii. The one area where money would be missing, though, is for winning the game, each player gets $50,000 and losers $25,000. Those amounts would have to be addressed if the game went away.
Andrew,How do GMs determine how much to offer players that will make their teams Superbowl contenders? Examples... Peyton Manning, Tom Brady
Andrew Brandt (12:20 PM)
Every contract negotiation depends on several factors: market place, years remaining on the existing contract and the potential options for each side. Teams are mostly concerned about protecting risk if the player gets hurt or has a downturn in performance during the contract. Players are most concerned about guaranteed money and protecting their future for as long as they can. The one thing about the NFL compared to the NBA or MLB, teams, even for the best of players, can get out of contracts, usually after two years of its length. It's very rare to see guarantees into the third year of the contract. So, whereas Albert Pujols is guaranteed $243 million no matter how he plays or if he gets injured, football contracts have much less security for players.
Andrew Brandt (12:21 PM)
As to why, there are many theories, probably having something to do with vast more number of players in football.
Rich (New Jersey)
The draft has taken up most of the media attention lately, but until the season starts up - does the NFL have any plans to put an expansion team in L.A. or another team thinking about relocating?
Andrew Brandt (12:23 PM)
When you think of L.A. you have to think of relocation first, because expansion would be difficult without an even number. There are no plans to expand with two teams, let alone one. As to which team, we talked about the Vikings, but you'd have to think about any team that's having issues with its present facility. Minnesota, San Diego, Oakland and Jacksonville. That's why this measure in front of this Minnesota legislature is so important this week. We'll stay tuned on that.
Do these NFL concussion lawsuits have merit? Thousand players involved.
Andrew Brandt (12:25 PM)
It certainly is the biggest issue in the future of the NFL and it certainly won't be quick with over 1,200 plaintiffs and over 60 lawsuits. It's going to take years, not months, to go through all of this. On a basic level, the players have to show negligence, concealment and/or fraud by the NFL and its teams to escape the assumption of risk arguments that they certainly knew what they were risking by playing football. Even before we get there, the NFL will try to dismiss the cases based on pre-emption, meaning the CBA covers these issues and they should not be in front of a judge. This will take a lot of twists and turns and I'll be here to help us sort through it, starting with today at 3 p.m. ET on Outside The Lines.
what did you think of the draft?
Andrew Brandt (12:28 PM)
It's become the most important event of the NFL between the Super Bowl and opening night in September. The NFL does a great job of selling hope and the draft is all about hope that the worst teams can feel excited about the new season with these shiny new prospects. With a new reduced rookie salary pool, things are more interesting than ever based on positioning, with teams wanting certain players. When you think about it, it's truly amazing that tens of millions of people were watching names being read, but that is the passion that we have about the NFL, where it seems interest never sleeps. My sense is the NFL will be quiet for about 3 weeks this year, between July 4 and training camp, but that's about it.
Andrew Brandt (12:29 PM)
Great questions, as always. Look forward to being back in a week or two. Continue to follow me on Twitter: @adbrandt and all of the ESPN platforms, beginning with today at 3 p.m. ET on Outside The Lines.