Chat with Andrew Brandt
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN's business analyst Andrew Brandt stops by to chat about the upcoming NFL season as well as the NBA labor 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 (4:02 PM)
Andrew is here!
Andrew Brandt (4:04 PM)
Welcome back everyone. If you have any NFL questions revolving around the NFL and NFL business, and of course, we still have an NBA labor dispute as well. Fire away!
kyle Ashman (Seymour,WI)
How long do you think an organization like the Green Bay Packers (owned by the people) will be able to survive financially in the football business and why?
Andrew Brandt (4:06 PM)
Well, the best thing about the new CBA for teams like the Packers is the continuation of the salary cap system. Unlike Gene Upshaw, Smith never even threatened taking away the salary cap. In 2010 there was no salary cap and it did not work out well for the players. Thus, we still have a cap system, which brings every team close to a level playing field when it comes to talent. In the NFL, the disparity in payroll between the high and low teams was around $30 million. In MLB, the disparity is over 150 million.
How do the guaranteed salaries count when a player is cut before his contract is up? If a team cuts one of the first rounders two years in, does the entire contract count against that year's cap?
Andrew Brandt (4:09 PM)
If a player has guaranteed future salaries, the team will be on the hook for those. It will not count against the cap until that year takes place. If a team is giving a player a large salary bonus, when a player is released, those prorated amounts accelerate into the year of release. The player does not receive any additional money. One other note about guarantees. Some have offsets in them, meaning that if a player is released and goes and plays for another team, whatever money he makes from the other team is offset against what he was scheduled to receive from his prior team. Some guarantees have no offsets, therefore a player like Jake Delhomme who got $12.6 million last year from the Panthers, that was in addition to what he got from the Browns. His guaranteed money in Carolina has no offset.
Dennis (Flushing, N.Y.)
Since the players in the NFL don't trust the owners, why didn't the NFLPA stay decertify for good.
Andrew Brandt (4:11 PM)
That was going to be a long process of litigation. The only reason to stay decertified is to file antitrust lawsuits. Brady v. NFL could have reached hundreds of millions of dollars for NFL players, but they would have probably had to forgo two seasons. I think cooler heads prevailed on both sides in terms of getting this deal done in time for the preseason.
Hey Andrew, being a 'Skins season ticket holder, I sure wish the labor settlement happened today instead of a couple weeks ago, because then I wouldn't have to pay for worthless pre-season tickets!!! Do NBA teams make season ticket holders buy pre-season games?
Andrew Brandt (4:12 PM)
Honestly I don't know if other leagues require preseason payments. I know that the New York Knicks for a time required purchasing of tickets to the New York Liberty of the WNBA in their ticket package. But the preseason has been a part of the NFL's ticket plan for as long as I've been around the league and it doesn't appear to be going away. BTW, I grew up a diehard Redskins fan. I had posters of Larry Brown and John Riggins on my walls.
What's it looking like for the NBA? Long, long lockout?
Andrew Brandt (4:15 PM)
Welcome to the Year of the Lockout Part II. I tend to be predicting optimism on these lockouts. I tend not to predict doom and gloom. As they approach economic deadlines, I think they move closer. To me, it feels like the NBA needs an economic panel to go through these books. Unlike the NFL, the players do have access to the financial reports of the NBA teams, however, the players have different opinions of what those financials mean. Where the NBA says over 20 of its teams are having troubles, the players claim that number to be under 10. I do think the NBA players need to do something to change the status quo, otherwise the NBA owners can file lawsuits to prevent decertification and not negotiate.
Totally different situation and paramters or can we draw anything from the NFL "lockout" to try and gauge how the NBA one gets sorted out?
Andrew Brandt (4:19 PM)
Good question. The NFL feared decertification by the NFL players. The NBA fears the same thing. On that point, they took preemptive action in New York and that declared taht the NBA players can not decertify. That tells us that the NBA feared the only leverage the players had, which was litigation. One other thing that is similar is both players are fighting for the status quo. The NFL players were willing to give back some of their shared revenues in exchange for other gains, including safety and minimums in spending. The NBA players know they're giving back part of their share and have already offered to do that. The question, of course, is how much. Can they maintain a cap system that allows for exceptions rather than a hard cap, which is what the owners want.
John (New York)
How were the Eagles able to sign so many FA's?
Andrew Brandt (4:21 PM)
I get that question a lot. I left the Packers in 2008 and I consulted with the Eagles in 2009 and they had very similar cap management attitudes: try to maintain a young roster with selected players to longterm contracts, but not too many. The Eagles have a young roster, which means not too expensive. They have 5, what I would call, "elite" contracts: Vick, Nnamdi, Samuel, Cole. Beyond that, their roster has reasonable contracts, including many that are rookie contracts. That gives them tremendous flexibility, which they've used to their maximum advantage these past couple of weeks.
Is there a possibility that it would be feasible economically for the 49ers to build a stadium near the Giants' AT&T Park in San Francisco?
Andrew Brandt (4:24 PM)
Part of the CBA that has not received very much attention allows for a credit on the salary cap for the owners if a new stadium come into being during this CBA. Basically this means an allowance is made by the players to give credit to ownership to invest in new stadia. It makes sense for both sides and hopefully it will be a benefit allowing teams resources. The cost of these buildings has risen geometrically. When I was involved in the Lambeau renovation in 2002, it cost oer $300 million. Now, that project would probably be three times that amount.
Cheesehead Sports Nut (@CheeseheadSN)
Ted Thompson has shown a willingness to extend players even if they have a few years remaining on their existing deal. Absent a catastrophic injury it seems like the price is only going to go up for Jermichael Finley, Clay Matthews, Jordy Nelson, Sam Shields, and Josh Sitton. I would make sure that Finley, Matthews, Nelson, Shields, and Sitton are signed to front end loaded deals. Do you see Thompson doing that or waiting till after the season to extend any of the aforementioned guys?
Andrew Brandt (4:26 PM)
In my time in Green Bay, we were always proactive extending guys before they hit their "leverage point" in free agency. Ahman Green, Donald Driver and many others. I think that continues. The Packers, along with many other teams, like to stagger their bigger contracts. For instance, expire one in 2008, another in 2009, another in 2010. They're always planned out.
Do you think the Colts structured Manning's contract (23Mil first 3 yrs 10Mil last 2) so they'll have room and cash to be able to get a better than average replacement for him by then?
Andrew Brandt (4:29 PM)
That's a good question. My sense of that negotiation was that it was no different than a player trying to beat an average. They were trying to get past the Brady average, with the 90 million over 5. But as you noted, it was 23 over the first three. My sense is something must give in that fourth year as it's going to be hard to be paying Manning that amount when half of the other QBs will be making twice that. But, for now, he is far and away the highest paid player in football for the next three years. I don't see anyone approaching that. The next big contract to fall will be Drew Brees, but that will be in more of the Brady range in the first three years than the Manning range, in my opinion.
Hi Andrew, do you foresee future cap problems for the teams that cut vets with huge contracts to get under the cap for this season? Do you have a feel for projected cap for future seasons?
Andrew Brandt (4:32 PM)
I think next year could be an issue for several teams, because it's important to understand that most of the players released in 2011, will have "bread money" in 2012. For instance, Roy Williams will have a count against the Cowboys cap next season. It's not clear how much the cap will rise from it's 120 million, but I would not expect a major rise as we're just starting this new CBA. I would expect a 5-7 percent increase, which would make it challenging for several teams, especially ones with high priced veterans.
Andrew Brandt (4:32 PM)
As I've said before, this new CBA will reward sound and savvy cap and contract management. That's a good thing.
Andrew Brandt (4:33 PM)
Thanks for all of the great questions. I look forward to this. There is a lot to talk about in the next 2-3 weeks as teams cut down their roster.