We're getting Andrew!
Good to be back. A lot has happened since the last time we chatted. We have a new tentative CBA in the NBA. We have a new CBA in MLB. And we have a ton of issues going on behind the scenes in the NFL, including the Suh stomp and the sale of the Jaguars. Lots to talk about. Let's get right to it.
This deal hasn't been officially signed yet, right? Any chance everything falls apart?
I think there's always a chance of that, especially when there was resistance from some of the small market owners from even offering 50% of revenues, as well as reistance from players in going below 52 percent. But at the end of the day, I think it will resolve and the season will open on Christmas. There are, however, some final issues that they need to figure out before we move forward.
have you heard anything about this NBA resolution that's surprised you?
One thing that's interesting that sign and trade agreements are still allowed for the next two years. This is something that the owners and the league supposedly wanted to get rid of in something that was referred to the Carmelo Rule, where players could not force their way from teams through this mechanism. It's being allowed to continue through the next two seasons, which would allow for similar situations for Chris Paul and Dwight Howard to leave New Orleans and Orlando when their contracts expire and move to a bigger market.
It's interesting that this will not be allowed after 2013, almost as if this was an allowance for these two players to get their deals before the restrictions hit.
Despite all of the posturing and season cancellation threats, do you believe that Christmas Day was the drop dead date the owners had in their minds all along?
I do. I said many times that the owners and players had a date in their mind all along. I didn't know what it was, but it was clearly Christmas Day and moving backwards fromt here. My sense is that this moved pretty quickly once the players filed their lawsuits. I think the owners then recognized rather than a protracted litigation, they could make a deal if they just threw some bones at the players. They did that primarily in the area of allowing a little bit more, not much more, flexibility for the luxury tax paying teams.
ARe you surprised, like I am, that there was no movement in the 19-year-old rule to entry into the draft?
It's still unresolved, as far as I know. Before this agreement is put through documentation, the union must reform, which it is doing now and then they need to discuss these final issues, such as drug testing, discipline and the age limit. My sense is, as our Ric Bucher is reporting, it will stay at 19 years old. I don't think the owners will make too big of a deal on this, despite the media attention it gets.
Is there any reasons NOT to use the Amnesty Clause with NBA teams?
Good question. I think salary cap wise, it's a gift. But obviously, you still have to pay the player. But there may be teams out there that truly don't feel like they need a mulligan on a bad deal that they wrote. I think the wise thing to do is to save the Amnesty contract as long as you can, if you don't absolutely have to use it. So, I think we'll see less use of the amnesty clause short term than we thought.
Do you think the suh suspension was fair? does he have any recourse under new CBA?
I do think it's fair. I think we all expected it to be two games. His recourse is an appeal, which he has done and it will be heard in time for a decision before Sunday's game. It's important to note that the appeal will go right back to the office where it came from, the office of the commissioner. It will be heard by the commissioner's designated officer, Art Shell. The CBA now allows for Art Shell to be jointly picked by the league and union to hear these appeals. However, at the end of the day, Shell is a league employee, so it is certainly not a truly independent appeals process. I think the best that Suh can hope for is a one-game suspension and a one-game fine, meaning that he will still lose his paycheck for two games, but only miss playing one game.
The owners basically got what they wanted in this deal, didn't they?
I'll say this, with the NFL and the NBA the owners had the leverage and they used it. The one thing that the NFL players and the NBA players got, which I would categorize as a win for them is the minimum spending requirements. The NBA teams as a whole will have to spend 85% of the cap in the next two years and 90 percent after that, where prior it was 75. I think that's important, because we don't worry about the Lakers, Knicks, Mavericks spending, but we do worry about the Kings, Bobcats, Hornets and other teams' spending. Now, there will be a mandate for them, which is very important for the players.
A couple of other minor "wins" for the NBA players is the restricted player offer sheet has been moved from 5 to 7 days, which should increase movement there. And the trading exchange rate has been widened, meaning it is not as restricted as it was to trade contracts and salaries, which will allow for more trading and player movement. Those are some nice things that came out of this.
Is there a reason Brees' new contract with the Saints has been taking so long to get done? Can't they use the Vick, Manning and Brady contracts to build a deal for Drew?
Good question. My sense of what's going on is: the Saints are arguing about the Brady and Manning overall average per year of $18 million per year. Brees is represented by Tom Condon, who did the Manning deal. Over the firs three years of the Manning deal, it's worth 23 million. I don't think he's asking for 23 million, but I do think he's asking for more than 18 million. There might be the holdup. The other move is the franchise tag for 2012 is expected to be lower than 2011 due to a new franchise tag calculation of the past 5 years instead of the last year. That's added leverage for the Saints.
Andrew, you're entrenched there in Pennsylvania and you deal with college kids at Wharton..how have they been reacting to all of this Penn State news?
Great question. A lot of them have friends that they grew up with and friends now at Penn State on the other side of the state. Those friends are hurt by it. They're insulted that people tend to think it's all about Joe Paterno and football for them. They definitely feel a stain from this incident. My students have seen me give my thoughts on the scandal and seen me get emotional as the father of young boys.
Like many people, I think it's more a tragedy than scandal. I think that the good news that can come out of this is that there will be no more entitlement and isolation of the football program at Penn State and/or perhaps other big time college football programs.
I'm sure there are a ton of questions regarding the one time amnesty clause. Can you give us a brief explanation of how it works? I heard it's a one time deal and teams under the cap get first dibs based on an auction type deal. Can a bidding team under the cap bid an amount that takes the over the cap? That's one of the questions I was wondering.
It is somewhat technical, but in basic form, teams can get out from under the salary cap charge of an existing contract by releasing the player and claiming the amnesty clause. Again, let's be clear that the team can not get out from paying the contract. It's a legal and binding document. However, under the new rules of the NBA a team can have a mulligan, cap wise, of one contract. That will allow them cap room to use on another player. Now, the players agree to this because it allows teams to spend more on players.
What issues are key for the NFL to continue sustaining success long-term?
From the NFL owners point of view, they've reduced their risk to the players 2 percentage points. The new net for the players will be between 46 and 48 percent, which could result in another $200-300 million per year for ownership. On the players side, they have less physical and safety risk, with less padded practices, less time in the offseason and better postcareer benefits. Beyond each sides gains, the big gain is for the fans, in that we have 10 years before we encounter something like this again. TV ratings are as high as ever, with new contracts to come. There seems to be a continuing supply of young stars to drive the product.
there is an opt out after 6 years in the NBA...that's a for sure thing, right?
As I understand it, both sides have that opt out and it's kind of a mutual distruction clause. If players think they've outgrown the deal, they can opt out, and so can the owners. I think it makes sense. From a business point of view, with new TV contracts to come and who knows what else will come, it makes sense to press pause and see what's going on after a healthy time of 6 years.
When and what kind of contract can we expect from Aaron Rodgers when they extend and increase his current contract?
I'm not sure we have enough zeros. From a team point of view, I was lucky in that I was in on doing the first Aaron Rodgers contract, which was restricted by him being the 24th player in the draft. In 2008, he negotiated a $60 million contract, based on limited time as a starter. But having been around him for three years, we knew in Green Bay what he was about in watching him. Looking ahead, like with Brees, the Brady and Manning deals average out to 18 million, though Manning is 23 million over the first three years, that will factor into Aaron's new deal. My sense is that we will hear about a new deal soon, before 2013 and I believe his current deal runs through 2014.
Mr. Brandt, great spot this moring w/ Ross Tucker on The Morning Kickoff! I have a question regarding how NFL teams will reach the cap floors at the end of the NFL fiscal year. When a team is below the cap floor, do they have to dispense "bonuses" to reach the floor? And if they do, can't this lead to some consternation for the players who are not awarded any of this end of year money? Would figure owners, if they have to do these payouts, would rather the money be undisclosed.
Great question. For 2011 and 2012, there are no team minimums. There is only a league wide minimum for 99% of cap. As a league, teams have to spend up to the cap. But there are no team minimums for the next two years. As long as the league spends up to the threshold, it doesn't matter if teams are spending less. I don't see that requirement being an issue this year. Fast forwarding to 2013 and beyond, there are team minimums. If a team were not to reach that level by the end of the season, the excess would be distributed to the team by the NFLPA and my understanding is they would determine how that money would be dispersed. That will be an interesting development when we get to 2013.
What will be Prohibited in NBA that the Players & Owners Agreed on to save NBA Basketball if the Players get caught they are suspended?
That's one of those "closing" issues they are dealing with now in resolving the final part of the CBA. My experience has been with an NFL team, but discipline issues usually relate to missing practices, meetings, team planes, team buses and then the catch-all phrase "conduct detrimental to the team" which can include insubordination to the coach, unseemly conduct off the field, etc. A bigger issue usually revolves around a league wide policy for off field discipline. The NFL has had the personal conduct policy in the news and Roger Goodell has made it a priority during his tenure, the off field issues. That's obviously a concern for the NBA as well. That's going to be reflected in what's being hammered out right now.
These were great questions. As we all know, the business of sports never stops, as we see the season of the NFL going on. I'll be back. Continue to follow me across all ESPN platforms, and, as always on Twitter: @ADBrandt.