Chat with Andrew Brandt
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN's sports business analyst Andrew Brandt stops by to chat about the business side of the NFL.
Brandt, @ADBrandt, who has over 25 years of experience in professional football, both from the management and player representation side, gives fans an insider's view on the business of football.
He is also a lecturer at the Wharton School of Business - teaching Sports Business and Negotiations - as well as the Director of Sports Law at Villanova University Law School. 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 Thursday at noon ET!
Andrew Brandt (12:03 PM)
Good to be with you on a Thursday. As always, a lot going on now in all sports, with the NHL lockout, MLB free agency, NBA commissioner issues and of course all things NFL. Let's get right to it.
what kind of reckoning do you think we will see with the NHL?
Andrew Brandt (12:07 PM)
I was pointing out comments by Pierre LeBrun on Twitter, who is tracking the meetings. There reaches an inflection point and I think we've reached that. These past couple of days have featured meetings with not only key principles with the league and union, but some of the top players involved and the owners who are telling Bettman what to do. To me, the insertion of a few of these owners - specifically, Ron Burkle with the Penguins - has added an element of moderation to the talks and is making for, it appears, a smoother negotiation. As I say, in all of these negotiations, nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to. That's why they're so delicate. They may be agreeing to certain things, but in their minds, those concessions are contingent on other things. The big issues seem to be length of contracts and this "make whole" provision on how to deal with the time lost this season. One final note, in looking at what the NFL accomplished with a 10-year CBA with no outs, I'm sensing the NHL owners are making that a big priority that this deal is set in stone for 10 years following the NFL's lead. The players want a five year deal, but I think we're seeing the owners lock in on a long deal, assuming, of course, there is a deal.
so now with the new percy harvin ordeal, if you were the gm, what would you do? a trade makes the most sense as i am certain giving him big money is not the wisest use of the cap considering his petulance, his health, and the vikes needs. what would he be worth?
Andrew Brandt (12:10 PM)
The first thing is you're dealing with a game changing player and there are so few of those at that position. I think of people like Devin Hester, DeSean Jackson, CJ Spiller, Harvin and an emerging player like Randall Cobb with the Packers. In my opinion, if you have one of those, you don't let him go. But you bring up the question of how you compensate a player like that, which is much more difficult. To me, a future Harvin contract screams out for a good size portion of it tied to per game roster bonuses: amounts earned by simply being on the active 45-man roster on Sundays. This tactic can potentially work for both sides, as it gives the player the money he deserves, but protects the team in case of injury. Again, all contracts are based on leverage and Harvin may feel that he has more leverage than having to give in on these issues. But we're a year away from free agency for Harvin, so that does give the team some leverage.
Andrew Brandt (12:11 PM)
These per game roster bonuses are something I started in Green Bay with a couple of players coming off of injuries, for example, a RB named Ahman Green and Charles Woodson as a free agent, who was coming off a year in Oakland with an assortment of injuries. It's become a popular technique with teams for some protection, if they're negotiated into the deal.
with all of the money involed and recent labor strife, are we in for more fo the same?
Andrew Brandt (12:14 PM)
I think David, we're past the point of no return on this. We've reached a point where there is so much money coming into these leagues that there's always dispute about who gets how much. With the advent of unions and free agency rights and revenue sharing, there is always going to be issues. That is why these leagues are trying to have longer term deals, to avoid continued CBA negotiations over the years. I think that the reaction from fans is becoming more calm about these negotiations. At the end of the day that's what they are, negotiations, no more, no less. Ultimately, they will get done. Having said that, we are still waiting for hockey and I think we're in a true make or break point right now, but I'm giong to continue to be the eternal optimist and think we will have hockey beginning some time in the next month.
Is there anyway for the Jets to restructure Sanchez's contract so he still gets his 8 mill, but it doesn't hit the cap so much ? Convert to a bonus ?
Andrew Brandt (12:18 PM)
To review, and this seems to have been a topick for these days, even though I reported it back in March. The Jets renegotiated Sanchez' contract with an "extension" although the extension years are not relevant. The important part of the deal is that 2012 and 2013 were bumped up by roughly $3 million, but more importantly, fully guaranteed. Therefore, whatever happens after 2013 is secondary. The real issue is that the Jets made a bet that he would be their guy for two years. Guaranteeing this year didn't mean much because he was the established starter and was going to be on the team. Next year is a different story, however, as Sanchez is now locked in for $8.25M and here's the kicker: that guarantee has no offset, meaning that even if he's released, and signs with another team, the Jets will pay the 8.25 million, along with whatever he gets from the other team. As for spreading out the guarantee, I'm not sure why Sanchez would do that and as to turning it to a bonus, that would be compounding the mistake by the Jets by adding more money to the cap to a player who likely doesn't have a long term future there.
Andrew Brandt (12:18 PM)
The only realy way for the Jets to get out from the Sanchez deal is to find a trade partner to take on the guarantee, which would still leave them with $9 million of dead money for Sanchez. In a nut shell, they're stuck. They've made their bed with him.
Is there any chance the cap penalty put on the Redskins will be over turned next year? If not how do they make cap room to bring in secondary players because God knows we need them.
Andrew Brandt (12:20 PM)
Well, as to the first question, sorry for the Redskins and Cowboys fans, but that ship has sailed. That was through arbitration and the arbitrator ruled on behalf of the NFL, saying the NFL was within its rights to penalize them the way they did. That arbitrator also relied on the fact that the NFLPA had signed off on those penalties.
Andrew Brandt (12:21 PM)
Once the arbitrator ruled, the Redskins and Cowboys had the chance to appeal, but there was a joing statement at that time that they have accepted the ruling and would not appeal. Thus, they have to make due with these penalties. Of course, this did not stop the Redskins or Cowboys from spending this year, as both made first day free agent purchases, the Redskins with Pierre Garcon and the Cowboys with Brandon Carr. Next year will be more difficult for them, but knowing these two teams, they will push their cap problems as far out as they can and still make moves for 2013. I think we can count on that.
Why did the Lions put Titus Young on the IR instead of just cutting him?
Andrew Brandt (12:23 PM)
That's an interesting question and one I've been asked a lot the last couple of days. I also Tweeted out that I didn't think "sprained attitude" was an acceptable IR designation. On that subject, as we get to the end of the season, there is less and less scrutiny about teams putting guys on IR for not necessarily long term injuries. This is the time of year where people change their view and you see teams putting players on IR to allow them to see younger players and start to prepare for the future.
Andrew Brandt (12:25 PM)
As to Young, he's obviously been an attitude problem and a problem in general for Jim Schwartz and the Lions, but as you note, there's some reason why they haven't just moved on. Obviously they see something there. They see a talent that they don't want to give up on. They invested a high pick on him and want to send him a message, but not release his rights. So, they're sending him to a corner for an extended time out, but they're not sending him off to boarding school just yet. They want to see the investment into this talent show some returns, bad attitude or not.
How much higher do you foresee the NFL cap increasing next year? Which teams do feel are in Cap trouble next year?
Andrew Brandt (12:27 PM)
We won't know until February, but my sense is we are not going to see an increase, which would be for the fourth year in a row, hovering around $120 million. There are a couple of reasons for this: No. 1, the TV extensions that will allow for higher revenues do not kick in until 2014 and no. 2, in order to get a cap number above last year for this year, the union had to make some conessions and actually borrow against the future, in terms of cap room. So, my sense is that we'll deal with a relatively flat cap again, which is going to cause more veterans to be released, more renegotiations and more reliance on younger players.
Andrew Brandt (12:28 PM)
As to free agency, as I say every year, the top 10-15 guys will get their pot of gold, but it will devolve into a game of musical chairs soon after that with more of a middle tier market all searching for the remaining dollars.
Let's fast forward a bit hypothetically. Talks break down, everybody is angry, the NHLPA goes through with decertification and win in court. It's time for a 2014 season. What does the landscape look like? Is there really no restriction on player contracts? How many teams are left in the league? I'm very curious what this might entail (other than just being a good threat).
Andrew Brandt (12:31 PM)
That is quite a hypothetical. My comment there is there is a reason that the NHL players have not resorted to a decertification, like the NFL players did. The goal with decertification is not to arrive at a scene like you paint, but as a negotiation tactic to get a better deal. As to whether a court victory puts the players in a better situation, that would be the case and there would be anarchy among player contracts. I don't see it reaching that point. Although if the meetings don't go anywhere in the next few days, they could go that route, but only to leverage negotiations. Time will tell.
Andrew Brandt (12:33 PM)
Great questions. Look forward to this each and every week. And, as always seems to be the case, whenever I chat, I'm on OTL. This time talking about the Javon Belcher case and mental health counseling in the NFL. Check that out on ESPN at 3 p.m. ET. Check me out on Twitter: @ADBrandt and my articles on the NFL page on ESPN.com.