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 3 p.m. ET!
Andrew Brandt (3:03 PM)
Welcome back everyone. We continue to have a busy offseason in the NFL. Happy to take your questions on that or anything else on your mind including the NBA, MLB and the National Spelling Bee.
Andrew, how do you think this Drew Brees situation unfolds? Seems like a lot of posturing right now.
Andrew Brandt (3:06 PM)
This is the most intriguing negotiation in the NFL and has been, in my mind, for over a year. I really expected this deal to come down over a year ago, around the time that Tom Brady got his deal done. And, if not, then around the time that Peyton Manning got his deal done with the Colts. And if not then, around the time Michael Vick got his deal down with the Eagles. My feeling is the two Manning contracts may be at issue. The one with the Colts averages $18 million over 5 but 23 million over 3. The Manning contract just done in March averages about 19 million over 5, but it was done for a player that didn't play in 2011. So there are issues. My sense is the Saints are somewhere between 18-19 million and the Brees camp is between 19-20 million. It doesn't sound like a big difference, but apparently it is. In the NFL, deadlines spur action, and in this case training camp is the deadline. I think there will be a deal done by then.
chrisstraz (Houston, TX)
With so many former players having financial problems after mismanaging the money they made while playing, what role does the NFLPA have in getting them in front of qualified financial advisors?
Andrew Brandt (3:09 PM)
I can speak as my role as both an agent and team executive. On the agent side, it was important to me to not have my players aligned with a certain money management firm, because I wanted them to make that choice independently from me. I would give them names, but not reccommendations. The same is true when I was at the Packers. We would bring in financial advisors without reccommendations and see who would use them. On the union level, they're very involved in presentations around the league in training camp to try to emphasize money management from a savings point of view and life skills instruction. The NFL and NFLPA also collaborate on the rookie symposium, where there are financial presentations made and on the role of the player engagement director who is the on the ground advisor for team players. That role is extremely important in trying to encourage vital money management skills for players.
Didn't the Saints tag Brees? Doesn't that basically mean he's under contract?
Andrew Brandt (3:11 PM)
It means that the Saints have rights to him. That means he's been tendered a contract. He's not under contract unless he signs the tender. It's a one-year $16 million contract. he has until July 16 to either sign it or negotiate a long term deal. After July 16, he will be bound by a one-year deal for the tender or some other amount they would agree upon. So, Drew is not under contract, but his rights are held by the Saints.
Robert G (PA)
Hi Professor Brandt, this is Robert from your sports law class at Penn.. I was wondering what you make of the Mike Wallace situation in Pittsburgh. Will he eventually sign? How long can he hold out for?
Andrew Brandt (3:14 PM)
Hey Robert. Like Drew, Wallace is not under contract, but the team holds his rights. In his case, it is a restricted free agent (RFA) tender that he must either sign or not play during the 2012 season. As we noted in March and April, Wallace did not receive an offer from another team, which was his right during the restricted free agent period, and now he has no right to talk to other teams now that time has passed. My sense is Wallace will sign his one year tender at some point, possibly on the eve of the season and then play out his tender. The Steelers know what they do with Wallace will effect what happens with Antonio Brown, an equally gifted receiver.
Andrew, what's the point of having the tag in place if players won't follow it? The team tags a player so they can keep him, but the player can still hold out?
Andrew Brandt (3:16 PM)
I know it's semantics, but a player who does not report under a tag is not holding out. A hold out is a player who signs a contract and is subject to fines up to $30,000 a day and loss of bonus because they're holding out while under contract. These players are unsigned. When they sign, they're subject to the same rules and requirements of any other player, meaning Wes Welker is subject to fines and bonus recovery if he misses any time. But for players who are unsigned, such as Brees, Wallace, Forte, Rice and Bowe, they have no obligation to report to camp. You may see one or more of this group just sign his contract when he absolutely has to to make his salary: the first week of September.
Would like your opinion on Donald Driver's new contract and situation. Is this a final year for him in the NFL? Or just Packers' final year with DD?
Andrew Brandt (3:18 PM)
Dancing Donald is a subject near and dear to my heart. He and I came into Green Bay together, a month apart in 1999 and he's the only player left from the time that I was there that started with me. He's obviously a talented player but plays in a group as deep as any in the NFL. He knew there was going to be a contract reduction and there was. He agreed to a $2.5 million deal this year and will earn 500K of that if he's on the roster next week. As to if he can still be cut prior to the season, I suppose anything's possible, but knowing how we treated money in Green Bay, the Packers are not a team to throw away half a million dollars. It would seem that money is insurance for Donald to be on the roster even as a fifth or sixth receiver.
Andrew Brandt (3:20 PM)
I will say this about Donald. He came in as a seventh round pick who was probably 12th on the depth chart when we started camp that year. Somehow he made the team and continued to bypass bigger, stronger and better looking receivers. The amazing thing about Donald is he never got hurt while all of these bigger and stronger guys went out with various injuries. Simply, he made us stand up and take notice. He's a true great story in the NFL and his success should be lauded, as someone who overcame huge odds.
Andrew Brandt (3:20 PM)
Finally, he is one of the few players where I negotiated his contract directly with him.
I've always wondered, is there a provision in a CBA that allows for the players to hold out? Can't the league sue for breach of contract or something like that?
Andrew Brandt (3:23 PM)
Yeah, players can not avoid mandatory obligations while under contract. For instance, the penalty for players under contract in training camp is 30K per day if they hold out. Along with increased fines in the new CBA, there is something called "forfeitable breaches" of bonus money for holdouts and unavailability due to arrest. That means teams can not only fine them but take back bonus money they've already received. So the CBA did strengthen the team's ability to get back money for these types of civil disobedience.
How do you think history will judge David Stern as NBA commissioner? The league has seen a positive monetary trajectory under his tenure, but perception of the sport itself is really crashing. Fixed lottery, the Chris Paul mess, crooked refs..
Andrew Brandt (3:25 PM)
Yeah, the goal of any commissioner is to have people feel that their sport has great integrity and fans can feel confident in that integrity. The NBA has had issues this year with the Chris Paul trade and some questions about officiating. However, the Paul trade was complicated by the fact that the league was the owner. That gave Stern cover for rescinding the trade. Had the Hornets not been owned by the league at that time, I think he would have had problems. We can only imagine what would happen if Roger Goodell rescinded a trade two teams had worked out.
Andrew Brandt (3:27 PM)
In terms of the lottery, I don't give much credence to conspiracy theory here. I think had any team other than the Bobcats gotten the first pick, there would be some theories out there. It wasn't like the Hornets had the 14th best chance to win the lottery, I believe they were third. But my sense is Stern is not too upset with this discussion, as it is making the NBA lottery a 3-4 day story rather than one night. A final note is it's amazing how much the New Orleans sports teams are in the news this spring. They certainly have some drama going on down in the Big Easy.
Gary (Syracuse, NY)
What happens with the Jason Peters (Eagles' LT) contract since he re-tore his Achilles in his home and not at the team's facility? How much money does he lose? What is his cap hit for the Eagles for this season?
Andrew Brandt (3:29 PM)
Great question involving a category called NFI - Non-Football Injury. It's the same thing that happened with Suggs. According to the CBA, a team has the right to withhold salary with injuries that happen away from the faciilty. Whether they do or not remains to be seen. The teams have to balance the money saved against the negative reaction from the player, the agent, and the rest of the team. These are tough areas to traverse and they point out an unattended consequence of the new CBA that mandates more time away from the facility. I don't think the NFLPA thought this would lead to more NFI situations. But certainly how the Ravens and Eagles handle those contracts bears watching over the next couple of months, while they monitor the players injuries.
Andrew Brandt (3:30 PM)
Thanks for great questions as always. Be back in a couple of weeks, as this neverending NFL offseason continues. Look for me on ESPN.com. There's an article up there now on the continuing friction between the NFL and NFLPA. As always, you can catch me on Twitter: @adbrandt. See you in two weeks.