Andrew is here!
Welcome everyone. I'm here at your service to answer questions about the NFL, the NBA or lack thereor or any other topics of interest. Fire away!
Do you think the NBA cancelling bits and pieces of the season, first training camp, then preseason games, now just the first two weeks of the season, that David Stern is just using that as a negotiation ploy? Trying to slow turn the screws on the players?
Yes. I think we are now at the point where Stern and the NBA are going to test the resolve of the players. I always thought this dispute would come to the point of missed checks by the players for the NBA to try to push a settlement. My sense is the players will stay united for a while, the question is how long. Without any meetings scheduled, it's hard to know if there is any resolution in sight. But as the Snickers commercial says, this may take a while.
As a former player personnel guy, do you agree with the Broncos move to start Tim Tebow? They need to evaluate him on the field at some point, so why not now?
I think the Tebow move is about the future and not necessarily about 2011. For example in Green Bay, when the Packers moved to Aaron Rodgers in 2008, the record that year was 6-10, but the Packers felt great satisfaction that they had found their guy for the future. Similarly, in Carolina this year, the W-L record will be secondary to the fact that they have a new face of the franchise with Cam Newton. With Tebow, this is similar, as in my opinion, it's not about the remaining 11 games, it's about seeing if he's the future at QB or if someone else not currently with the team.
Why do these NBA negotiations seem so much more bitter than the NFL talks?
Let me compare and contrast a bit. In both situations, the players are fighting an uphill battle to try and protect what they had. The NFL players were not able to protect what they had, nor will the NBA players. The question becomes how much less will they take? There are a couple of differences to note. First, the NFLPA went right to decertification and litigation, with mixed results. The NBPA has chosen negotiation over litigation, with little results thus far. The big difference seems to be that while the NFL owners were concerned about profitability, the NBA owners seem more concerned with protecting each other from themselves and hardening their cap as much as they can to promote competitive balance.
The friction with the players is caused by the fact that the owners have made bad decisions in paying players and would now like the players to preempt them doing that again.
Andrew, the Patriots have played the 3-4 defense for years, but this season they started playing more of a 4-3 scheme. However, the last few games we've started seeing some of the 3-4 sneaking back in. When a coach is changing schemes like that so often, how does it work in the personnel deparment? Are you guys scrambling to keep up with the coach's on the field decisions, trying to get players to fit his various schemes?
Not necessarily in discussing the Patriots situation. You raise a great point in coaching vs. personnel and the need for both to be on the same page. Sometimes scouts will find a player that the coach can't find a use for in his system. And the most frustrating part is when coaching staffs change and the new staff doesn't like the players from the old staff. That is where talent and money go wasted.
Andrew, How will the NBA lockout affect the upcoming negotiations for a new TV deal? I've heard that's on the horizon. Seeing as how they're set to blow all of last yrs momentum and create a sense of apathy for their sport, are they going to lose more money by sabotaging the new tv contract than they stand to gain by getting what they want in these negotiations? Also, any upcoming speaking engagements in the Philly area? I'd definitely be interested in attending.
That's a good point that the TV contracts are undervalued compared to the market place, especially compared to recent deals with the Olympics and the NFL. The players are fighting hard for their revenue share to be a part of the new TV money, but no one gains from a lockout. As to programming, my sense is the national networks such as TNT and ESPN will be better off than the local, regional networks that depend on NBA programming much more. So, whatever pressure they can exert will be important.
Hi Andrew: Larry Coon says by Xmas if no basketball then players lose more even if they get 53% BRI than if they had agreed to 50/50 over a 7 year deal. Is Coon right? And if so, is Hunter to blame for not selling this to his players?
Yeah, there is a lot of gamesmanship going on if the players will stay united. And David Stern is a part of that. He announced last week that the owners would agree to a 50-50 concept. That was meant to players who were questioning if they should take a deal. We'll see more of that divide and conquer strategy from the NBA as things move on here in the next few weeks.
I always hear about teams bringing in new front office people and if certain players, usually QBs, weren't drafted by those people it could spell the end of his time with the team. With your time in the front office, what were your thoughts in those kinds of situations?
It creates for roster turnover that usually slows down improvement. In Green Bay I went through two different coaching changes where first Mike Sherman replaced Ray Rhodes and then Mike McCarthy replaced Mike Sherman. In both cases there was a move toward different schemes, which required different types of players. It makes for some upheavel and potentially difficult financial ramifications. But ultimately, you get through it.
Andrew, there were reports yesterday that Amare Stoudemire did not rule out the creation of a "players league." Can something like this actually work?
It was an interesting comment because we are wondering -- with no meetings scheduled -- what may move the meter on the negotiations. With no plans for decertification and not a lot of overseas movement, the thought of a players league has the potential to move the status quo on the negotiations. However the idea is one thing, making it happen takes a much bigger commitment, both in the negotiation and financially.
What are the advantages, disadvantages, and risks of decertification?
Well the advantages are that without a union, there is no labor exemption for the owners and that players can sue as individuals. Therefore, things like the salary cap, the draft and free agency restraints may be ruled illegal. The disadvantages of that, to go in front of a judge and be litigated may take up to two years. As the NFLPA showed, their attempt to block the lockout was stiffled by the 8th Circuit Appeals Court which spurred negotiations toward a new deal. The problem for decertification now is timing. It will take weeks, if not months for even a hearing about the lockout. The time to decertify would have been July, not October.
You've been optimistic in your prognostications about this lockout...are you still?
Yes, Jeff, I have. And I still do not choose to believe the doom and gloom of a lost season. I'm going to keep that optimism that I had about the NFL not missing any games and although the NBA is obviously missing games, I still believe it's more likely that we have a season of 50-plus games than it is that we do not have a season. There is too much economic harm to both sides to lose the year.
Has contraction even been brought up in the negotiations or has Stern put a stop to that so as not to tarnish his legacy?
I have not heard contraction, but I continue to hear that the owners' priority is to allow for smaller market teams to compete economically through both the hardening of the cap, an increased luxury tax and increased revenue sharing. That seems to be the strategy rather than contraction.
How do the Packers make decisions on contract extensions with players in season? How does the decision making process behind closed door happen?
I would always be talking to our personnel department, led by Ted Thompson to compare them to other players and recent contracts with other players. I would then express my views on the best way to spend our cap room. We would identify targets each year at different times, whether before the league year in February, during training camp in August or during the season, usually around this time. Our key was draft, develop and sign long term.
Which team is your biggest surprise of the NFL season so far?
Well, there is no surprise to my answer, it would be the Detroit Lions. Having played them twice a year for nine years, I felt for those fans. And now they finally seem to have a product that could potentially get them sustained success. In my crazy mind, though, I'm thinking about how much money it's going to cost to re-sign Suh, Stafford and Johnson all in the next few years. I hope Ford sells a lot of cars.
Thanks for all of the great questions. I'll keep you informed through Twitter about the latest in the NFL. The fourth pick in the 2009 draft just was traded. Aaron Curry went from the Seahawks to the Raiders. I'll be writing about the NBA on ESPN.com. Follow me on Twitter: @ADBrandt. I look forward to next time.