Chat with Andrew Brandt
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN's business analyst Andrew Brandt stops by to chat about the latest in NFL's labor strife as well as the NBA's CBA issues.
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 4 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (4:00 PM)
We're getting Andrew!
Andrew Brandt (4:04 PM)
Thanks everyone for joining in. It is as busy a time in the NFL as there has ever been. After covering the only story in the NFL in the lockout, it seems like in minutes we moved past the lockout and on to real football. I'm happy to answer questions about the labor pains as well as the business of the NFL now.
Andy (HoBroken NJ)
In the Jets Chat earlier this week, the commenter wasn't sure if the new CBA allowed Mark Sanchez and the Jets to restructure his contract, because this is only his third year in the league. Can you clarify?
Andrew Brandt (4:05 PM)
My understanding is that restructuring contracts without "new money" is allowed, but that re-negotiation of contracts which give the player increased compensation is not allowed. With Sanchez it's a simple moving of cap money from short term to long term and not effecting his compensation in any way.
Vince (KC, MO)
For the $3 million dollar exception, I've read that it's 'borrowing' against the next year's cap. Does that mean teams that use this will have $3 million less cap space to work with next year?
Andrew Brandt (4:07 PM)
Yes. It is borrowing cap against future years. I believe 2013 and beyond. There is an exemption of 3 million for 2011 and 1.5 million in 2012. It's a last negotiation "give" by ownership in a 4.5 million gift for each team to sign players in these couple of years as teams adjust to the new system.
Nnamdi is overated, at least considering the money it seems that he's going to get. What do you think?
Andrew Brandt (4:10 PM)
I don't look at it in terms of player evaluation. That's not my background.I look at it in terms of market value. He has set himself up in a perfect storm here for several reasons. First, there has been so much anticipation for this free agent period for the past four months and he has been clearly recognized as the prime player in the group. He plays a high impact position and he has teams bidding for his services that are notorious for being aggressive and emotional in their spending. His price is rising as we speak. One interesting point about Nnamdi when he was signed by the Raiders 3 years ago, he was far and away the highest paid player at his position, making over $15 million a year when the top CBs made $10-12 million a year. Now that contract has voided and the market has stayed the same below him. It will be interesting to see if he hits that $15 million mark again, when no one else is near it.
Andrew Brandt (4:10 PM)
I'm guessing he will.
Is the salary floor happening? 94% this year, right? If so, what is Tampa Bay doing? Have they done anything to increase their salary?
Andrew Brandt (4:12 PM)
Let's try to clear this up, because there's a lot of confusion on this issue. For 2011 and 2012, the commitment to cash spending is 99% of the cap. But that commitment is leaguewide and teams individually don't have minimums. So, leaguewide, there has to be cash spending of 99 percent. I'm still trying to discover what the penalties are if the league doesn't meet the minimum and what if there are any team minimums at all.
If Peyton gets the absurd $25m that's being rumored, how much of that would you expect to count against this year's cap? Will the Colts be able to sign even mediocre free agents?
Andrew Brandt (4:14 PM)
Actually, Peyton Manning is counting $23 million against the cap, due to his franchise tag. Once he is given a new contract, which we're expecting soon, the irony is his cap number will significantly drop. Contracts still have the rule from the prior agreement that signing bonuses are prorated throughout the term of the contract for cap purposes. Meaning that if Manning gets a 30 million bonus on a 6 year deal, his cap hit on that will only be 5 million that first year. So you can see how a players' cap number can be dramatically under his cash number.
Do you think paying big money for free agents pans out? It seems like successful teams usually grow from within and through shrewd trades (see Patriots, Steelers, Packers)
Andrew Brandt (4:17 PM)
With my background at the Packers, I've never been a big fan of free agency for the following reasons: football is not like baseball where players can hit, pitch or catch on any team. Football is about schemes, 3-4, 4-3, Cover 2, West Coast and the transition is not as seamless. Also, I always worried when a players' incumbent team did not work very hard to sign him. Finally, acquiring players is all about risk. Usually with free agency, there is a lot of risk to giving players stronger contracts that are hard to get out of. Having said that, I think what the Patriots are doing with Haynesworth and Ochocinco is shrewd. Their former teams have taken most of the risk on their contracts and the Patriots low risk moves with high reward potential.
Andrew Brandt (4:18 PM)
I'm not against free agency as a rule. I was lucky enough to sign probably one of the most productive free agents in the history of free agency when I reached an agreement with Charles Woodson five years ago. But usually they don't pan out that well.
AJV (Scranton, PA)
One thing that confuses me is the percentage of revenue that goes to the players. Where exactly does that money go? Is it used for benefits or do the players get paid some of that on top of their saleries? Help me out, Andrew!
Andrew Brandt (4:21 PM)
I think we all focus on the cap number which is $120 million, but actually, the number of the salary cap, which is all money given to players is 142.4 million this year, meaning 22 million is benefits. Some of those benefits include 401K programs, player performance pool where players are rewarded for their play especially ones with low salaries, and other benefits. But the amount of negotiable dollars for each team is 120 million this year and a number not to dip below that in 2012 and 2013. The number will be calculated based on players' share of revenues.
Alex (Waco tx)
Why do u think the NINERS pulled out of the nnamdi race? Many lawson staying? Any real chance at getting Floyd and Cromartie?
Andrew Brandt (4:22 PM)
They probably had their price and once they went past it, they were out. Again, teams usually have a plan and my guess is with the Niners, they had a plan that included a certain price, a certain guaranteed amount and a certain value with Nnamdi. I would sense that price has gone past that so that they moved on.
Larry, cleveland [via mobile]
Since the lookout put a delay to the start of the season will that mean coaches who where on the hot seat going into the year get an extra year because of the delay?
Andrew Brandt (4:24 PM)
My sense is that we're making too much of the fact that there's been limited time. Every coach and every player in the NFL has had less time to prepare for a season in their career than they have now. I think it's a myth that football will not be played at a high level and that rookie coaches are at a disadvantage. I think it's an opportunity for talent and coaching and front office to prove themselves and separate from the pack, which makes it, to me, more interesting than ever.
Andrew, in your honest opinion will we have an NBA season this October?
Andrew Brandt (4:27 PM)
I do. I may be one of the few. But my disclaimer is that I thought the NFL dispute would be resolved in March, because I didn't see any markers in the horizon between then and now. I think there are major issues in the NBA and I think the negotiations have not truly heated up. However, I think like the NFL, they will heat up as we close in on the season. I'm not sure we'll have an opening of the season as planned, but my sense is both sides will move closer to each other in October and cooler heads will prevail. David Stern and Billy Hunter have both been through a lockout that lasted through January. We've seen this rodeo before.
Andrew Brandt (4:27 PM)
I'll be giving you my insights on ESPN when things are busier with that.
Mike (Chicago, IL)
Is Mike Brown senile or just cheaper than dirt? If what I read is true earlier in this chat, the league must as a whole spend 99% of the salary cap, with the Bengals reportedly $49million dollars beneath the cap, then the rest of the league must be over the cap as a rule... Can the NFL take over team control of a franchise being driven into the ground... again in its franchise history?
Andrew Brandt (4:30 PM)
A couple of things here. Minimum spending is calculated at the end, not the beginning of the year. That's an important distinction, although a disappointing one for fans like the Bengals ones. I don't know the penalties for underspending, but I will work on finding out. My point is that for teams like the Bengals and Bucs, it's important to have patience, because the spending requirement is a marathon not a sprint. I think the spending requirements will be good for young players on teams like these. When a team looks around at cap room and says why don't we spend it on these guys. It's certainly the way we operated in Green Bay and we always spent right to the cap or very close to it.
Andrew Brandt (4:32 PM)
I appreciate all of the great questions and interest. Even though I enjoyed the labor dispute for everyone, even I am glad that we're now talking about football. There's a lot to process in the weeks ahead and I'm looking forward to breaking it down for you. I'll see you on the air soon. Follow me on Twitter: @ADBrandt.