Archive for July, 2008

Favre Looks Good in Purple

July 29, 2008

No?

Packergeeks to mediate Grant talks?

July 29, 2008

Ok, just kidding, but it seems someone ought to help us all get past the Packers’ apparent frugality and what may be posturing by Grant’s agent. While I do think the Packers offer was low and seemingly unfair if Grant’s agent is being truthful, I also think it is sort of silly for Grant’s agent to not come back with a counter-counter-offer, if you will. (If 4-5 offers are made, technically, shouldn’t the first offer be the first offer, the 2nd offer be the counter-offer, the 3rd be the counter-counter-offer, the 4th the counter-counter-counter-offer, etc?). Negotiations rarely end after 1 or 2 offers, there is usually some back and forth. Now, I can understand the agent’s frustration with not hearing back from the Pack until apparently one week before training camp – that’s ridiculous as the team has had 6 months to take care of this and waiting so long to me, is a clear indication that signing Grant is not the priority for the team that it should be. But still, it is the agent’s job now to come back with a counter-counter-offer, even if it’s the same as his first offer.

Here is my crack at mediating here (keep in mind, I recommend this at the risk of revealing that this particular Packergeek is decidedly not well-schooled in the world of contracts):

  • $4million signing bonus – guaranteed
  • Base salary (5yrs) =  $1.5 million 2008, $2M 2009, $2.5M 2010, $3M 2011, $3.5M 2012 (Grant would only get this annual $500,000 raise if he rushes for 1000 yards the previous year)
  • Incentive of $500,000 additional per year for going over 2000 yards combined rushing/receiving
  • Incentive of $500,000 per season for going over 1500 yards rushing
  • Incentive of $500,000 additional per year for making the Pro Bowl
  • Incentive of $1 million additional per year for being a top 5 NFL rusher
  • Incentive of $100,000 additional per year for having fewer than 3 lost fumbles
  • Incentive of $100,000 additional per year for having more than 15 touchdowns
  • Incentive/bonus of $100,000 per year the Packers make the playoffs and he’s been the starter
  • If injured, he keeps signing bonus and prorated salary for that year

This would enable him to earn a total of over $4 million in his first year if he has a really good season, which would be about right. He could earn quite a bit more, however, toward the latter years of the contract. He wouldn’t be earning LT money here, which he shouldn’t, but he would have the ability to earn quite a bit of money if he plays well, so he wouldn’t be poor (though Latrell Sprewell might beg to differ).

Now again, this is obviously simplistic and for some of you more familiar with player contracts, this may in fact look ridiculous. To comfort you people, I’ll add this:

Therein, herewith both parties have reached an accord, howwith, whereas thine knoweth the aforementioned said dollar amount should heretofore be agreedeth upon and thou hath signeth on this the 29th day of July, ‘Julio’ in Spanish, in the year Two Thousand and Eight as witnessed by the esteemed, Packers-GM-in-waiting, Packergeeks.

Get in there and get it done guys!

Glazer: Favre Hurting Himself

July 28, 2008

Jay Glazer, who is a self-described “huge Favre fan,” has bad news for the Packer diva.

legend or no legend, if in any other business an employee, even the top sales manager of all time, calls his boss a liar three times on national television, and then reveals conversations with his boss that were believed to be private and then threatens his bosses … seriously, how many of those folks would still be employed? How many players in this league would come through unscathed, especially in the wallet?

Now imagine if Mr. Johnny Cool Salesman, it turns out, took such a path for the sole purpose of bolting to a rival company, what does his boss do at this point?

Favre is clearly trying to gain his release, an option the Packers, sources have told FOXSports.com, told Brett as late as two days ago absolutely will NOT happen. In fact, those same sources say that GM Ted Thompson never told Favre he’d get fired for letting him back in the building. Instead, he joked that even the people who don’t want Brett back would want him fired if he released the famed gunslinger.

But how in the world does one of the most beloved sports figures of all time, a man who epitomized toughness and grit turn so soap opera-ish so fast? His PR tactics have gained him little if any sympathy, even from his peers. In my travels through camp so far, not one coach I’ve talked to agrees with his stance and the players have been split 50 percent somewhat sadly against Favre, 25 percent adamantly for Favre and 25 percent absolutely blasting him for the PR route he’s taken.

He concludes:

But maybe we all didn’t have to come down this road in the first place. In talking with some Chiefs vets last night, they didn’t understand why he never came out with, “Look, I made a mistake. I know I’ve flip-flopped on the organization a lot and for that I truly am sorry. I love this game and I truly realize how much I miss it. I know I’ve put the organization and especially Aaron in a tough spot and again, I apologize. I made the decision to retire but that itch has returned. What do I need to do to prove I’m fully committed and how can I help the Packers and Aaron?” Would it have worked? Who knows, but it sure would have been better than blasting his boss as a liar and putting the fans he says he loves in a must-choose position.

It’s striking how different that approach is from the one Favre has taken.  Sad.

ESPN’s Wojciechowski: Trade Favre to Minnesota for Best Deal

July 28, 2008

ESPN.com’s Gene Wojciechowski writes that the “bottom line” of the current standoff leads to this conclusion.  “If NFC North rival Minnesota offers the most comprehensive package, you trade him to Minnesota. If Chicago comes up with the best deal, then off to the Bears he goes. That way you get Favre’s name off the roster and draft picks in your pocket. It’s a win-win.”

He’s right, of course.  And, despite Thompson’s unwillingness to do so, dealing Favre to the Vikings (or the Bears) increasingly looks like the only solution that could end this standoff in the relatively near-term future.   Should the Vikings offer, say, a  first round pick and some change (late round pick) and the Bucs offer a conditional fourth-rounder, Thompson would be crazy not to take the Vikings’ offer just because he’s afraid of playing Favre twice in a year.  The Packers play the Bucs in late September.  Is that second game worth the difference between a first and a fourth round pick?  Of course not.

Wojo also smacks the Packers around for inconsistencies of their own.  Although he’s more inclined to believe Brett Favre than I am, it’s a useful review of how the Packers, too, have screwed this whole thing up.
Their claim that Favre could come back to Green Bay as a backup was preposterous from the beginning and has only added to these problems.

Thompson Presser

July 28, 2008

In which he disputes Brett Favre’s characterization of the “I’ll be fired” exchange, gives a flat “no” in response to a question about whether he’d trade within the division, and reiterates his refusal to release Favre.  Greg Bedard is on it here.

Gruden: Naming Garcia as Starter Wouldn’t be “Fair” to Favre

July 28, 2008

This will go down as one of the most bizarre comments in this entire Brett-Favre-I’m-a-Diva Tour 2008.  According to the Tampa Tribune’s Roy Cummings, head coach Jon Gruden was asked if Jeff Garcia’s presence at practice would end speculation that Brett Favre might be a Buc and might compel Gruden to name Garcia the team’s quarterback.  According to Cummings, Gruden responded: “That wouldn’t be fair to Brett Favre.”

Hilarious.  Cummings writes:

Wow! Now the Bucs are worried about Favre – someone else’s quarterback, at least for now – and how all this affects him. What about Jeff Garcia’s feelings?

Well. we know the Bucs are sensitive to that. That’s why they don’t want to leave the impression that they’re really after Favre, but how can anyone think otherwise when the Bucs won’t come out and say publicly that they’ve moved on from him.

Maybe this Bucs trade will work out after all.  Favre needs to feel loved and it’s pretty clear that Jon Gruden loves him.  It’s a good match.

Favre, Grant, Packer tidbits

July 28, 2008

Where do you suppose the word “tidbit” came from? Strange word.

2 things I wanted to point out this morning:

  1. Last night, on Fox 6 news, non-sports correspondent Chris Goodman (who often appears as though he’s affected by some kind of stimulant…very hyper) interviewed these two guys who have declared that they would root for Favre if he plays against he Packers someday. The interview went as you might suspect such an interview would go and the whole story was sort of non – until the end. Goodman said that when the 2 guys were holding up a sign asking “Why Ted” or something to that effect re the Favre situation, several players walked by and gave the guys the thumbs up. When Aaron Rodgers walked by and saw the sign, he looked at the guys and gave them a thumbs down. Now, whether or not this really happened, it does point to the real possibility that the locker room may be divided right now with some people thinking TT is the bad guy and others thinking Favre is being the moron.
  2. Bill Johnson on this morning’s D-List was asked re what he thought re Grant not being re-signed. He said it wasn’t that big of a deal and that they’d be fine if he didn’t sign until after the 1st pre-season game because he wouldn’t play that much in that game anyway. He also argued that the Poppinga signing was fine because it was for a player at a different career stage, so it was understandable that happened and not Grant getting signed. He then went on to attribute much of Grant’s success to the zone blocking scheme getting better. Johnson and many others who are weighing in on the Grant signing issue are dead wrong. Brother Steve and Dan Needles, Johnson’s D-List counterpart are right (both dislike the timing of the Poppinga signing and are ticked that Grant has not been signed yet – they’ve had 6 months to get this done and apparently aren’t even close). Listen, as Needles pointed out, last year, Grant and Favre accounted for 84% of the Packers offense. What I worry may be happening here is that the team has become too confident in the McCarthy “system” to the point where they think anyone can just be inserted into a spot and things will work out. Signing Grant should have been the #1 priority starting 6 months ago. We need Ryan Grant on that field. And, this new info re Grant getting a low-ball offer is pretty much what we had worried about in previous posts. Grant just plain deserves a nice contract, and I can’t imagine why the Pack wouldn’t be willing to negotiate on an incentive-based contract (which is what Grant’s agent indicated they initially proposed). That seems to make the most sense and would quell any concerns re Grant being a fluke. If he sucks, he just won’t make much money and that’s fair. Why not just give him a nice signing bonus (if all he was guaranteed is $1.75 million, that is insulting) and then make it incentive-based?

Favre Must Go

July 28, 2008

Over the past month, Brett Favre has revealed himself as a prima donna, a whiner and a liar. He has trashed Ted Thompson, mocked Mike McCarthy and insulted his fans. Now the Packers are attempting to accommodate his current wish to return to the NFL by trading him to a playoff team, as Favre has demanded, and one in the Packers own conference. Favre now says that’s not good enough.

In an interview with ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Favre says Ted Thompson sounded “shattered” and begged him not to report to camp saying doing so could mean Thompson would be “fired.” This sounds like bullshit but let’s assume, contrary to his recent history, that Favre is telling the truth. That might be worse. Even if the Packers and Ted Thompson have mishandled this entire episode, and we’ve been consistent in saying that they have, what kind of man would reveal publicly those obviously personal comments? Only an asshole.

Which is why the inescapable conclusion is that Favre must go. The bad blood between Favre and the organization would lead to a season-long soap opera if he were to somehow remain with the Packers. What if the Packers lost four of their first eight games with Favre as their starter? How long until Favre started criticizing Ted Thompson for his refusal to sign Randy Moss — something Favre has already spoken about publicly? Not long.

The Packers don’t have many options. They can let Favre sit on the bench for $12 million and look over Aaron Rodgers’ shoulder for the entire season. They can cut him. Or they can trade him.

The first two are not serious options and Favre is doing everything he can to be a pain in the ass on the third. So here is the solution: Give him what he wants. Trade him to the Vikings. Yes, it would be a big gamble, but there are several reasons to take the risk.

One, the Packers could use some good PR. They would be criticized by football commentators for trading Favre within the division, but they have an obvious defense: Favre made us do it. Favre has now come out and suggested he does not want to go to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’s limiting the Packers’ options and he’s doing it to suit up for the team he maneuvered to play for all along. The inescapable conclusion — given the off-season phone calls and text messages between Favre and Vikings, the conversations between the Vikings and Favre’s agent before Favre declared he was returning — will be that Favre forced his way to the Vikings. And he will look like the prima donna that he is.

Two, it seems clear the Vikings are the team willing to give up the most for Favre. They believe that they are a quarterback away from being a legitimate Super Bowl contender. They may be correct, which is why they are most likely to give up real value — maybe a first-rounder and a middle-rounder — for Favre.

UPDATE: Two things from Peter King’s column this morning provide even more reason Favre must go.   One, Favre has refused a request from the Packers to provide a list of teams to which he would accept a trade.  Two, he apparently told King he is lukewarm about a trade to the Bucs and King recommends — almost certainly giving voice to a Favre suggestion — that a GM or owner of the Jets or Bucs fly down to Mississippi to show Favre some love.  That is pathetic.  Would Favre require the same thing of Zygi Wilf?

I think I know the Jets are fact-finding about Favre, as are the Bucs. But Favre is lukewarm, at best, about playing in either spot. The best thing either team could do is send a GM or owner, or both, to Mississippi today or tomorrow to fact-find with Favre. He doesn’t know either team well. I know the teams don’t want to be seen as groveling around Favre and begging him to come because of the impression it would leave about their incumbent quarterbacks, but Favre’s in a sensitive spot right now. He’s human. He’d like to be loved a little bit right now, or at least gather some information so if he had to make a decision about whether to accept a trade he’d know more than he knows now.

Sign Ryan Grant

July 28, 2008

We’ve avoided posting much on the Ryan Grant contract situation because there were so few details availableit was hard to know who was at fault for the impasse. And throughout the nearly six months of inaction on his contract, I’ve assumed that the two parties would come to some agreement as training camp approached.

That hasn’t happened and although one party is speaking, we’re beginning to learn why: The Packers are being cheap.

Several days ago, Grant’s agent, Alan Herman, spoke publicly about the details of the negotiations for the first time. He said that Grant had offered to sign a heavily-incentivized deal — a contract that would reward him for future production more than past performance. The Packers balked. Their thinking, apparently, reflects doubts I’ve heard from other Packer fans that Grant’s productivity “only” came during half an NFL season.

That’s a bullshit excuse for being cheap. Over ten games, Ryan Grant was the NFL’s second most productive running to perennial league-leader, LaDanian Tomlinson. Grant started seven games, played significantly in ten. Over that period, he rushed for nearly 1000 yards and eight touchdowns. His per-carry average was 5.1 yards. If he had played for the entire season and produced at a level even close to that one, he would have been a Pro-Bowl running back. That would have been great, of course, but it’s not necessary when evaluating what kind of back Grant is and how much he should be compensated. Grant’s ten games is roughly equivalent to a full season of college football and teams routinely fork out tons of cash to college players who have performed will for only their senior year. Pittsburgh signed Rashard Mendenhall to a five-year $12.55 million deal. Overall the contract doesn’t break the bank but Mendenhall, whose only solid season was his junior year at Illinois (prompting him to go pro), got more than half of that, $7.125 as guaranteed money.

According to Herman, the Packers have offered Grant $1.75 million in guaranteed money, an amount Herman called “insulting.” I agree. So Grant is not at training camp. And worse, as Herman points out, is that the Packers don’t even seem to think that his client is as valuable to the team as linebacker Brady Poppinga, who might not even start this year and has spent much of the last two years chasing tight ends from behind after being burned in coverage. Poppinga’s contract extension gave him $3 million guaranteed.

Is Herman telling the truth? Probably. He’s got to deal with other NFL teams and he was out in public saying different things than he was saying in private his reputation would take quite a hit. He says that he doesn’t normally talk about the details of negotiations but that Grant is being treated so poorly, he felt the need to do so this time. If what he’s saying is true — and the Packers are really being this stupid — I don’t blame him.

Sign Ryan Grant.

UPDATE: More here on why Herman is furious. I don’t blame him.

Favre Not Reporting

July 27, 2008

Peter King reports that Brett Favre will not be reporting to training camp on Sunday as originally planned.  Favre and the Packers agreed to postpone Favre’s arrival in Green Bay — and maybe put it off for good — so that Ted Thompson can resolve the situation.  After a month filled with Favre and his confidantes taking shots at Packer management, there are signs of a thaw.

“I had planned on reporting for the start of Packers training camp Sunday, but Ted Thompson asked if I would give him a couple of days to try to get the situation resolved. I agreed to do that. I don’t want to be a distraction to the Packers, and I hope in the next few days we can come to an agreement that would allow me to continue playing football.”


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