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.