Archive for the ‘football’ Category

What? Taking a pay cut? An NFL player?

July 30, 2008

You read that correctly. Andra Davis has agreed to a pay cut (costing him about $1.4million this year alone). Due to Cleveland management needing cap room presumably, they asked Davis, a perennial starter at middle linebacker, to not only take this pay cut, but to also chop off 2 of the the remaining 3 years on his contract because the team is bringing along younger players. What!?! Taking a pay cut for the team is one thing – certainly rare and certainly impressive. But allowing the team to reduce a contract with 3 years left on it to 1 year, is simply unbelievable. This Davis is so humble and modest that in the end, it really just makes the Browns organization kind of look bad.

Read this story. It will remind you that while we read a lot about some moronic behavior by NFL players, there are good guys out there too. This should be THE headline on sports pages throughout the country.

Wilde: Evidence Packers are divided

July 30, 2008

First of all, read the previous post re the use of the word literally. Very funny. Many people use this word incorrectly and it can make you look pretty silly when you do – so read up.

Now, onto the article here, by Jason Wilde. Some very interesting interviews. He talks about specific players who appear to lean one way or the other on the Favre/Rodgers thing. Not really too surprising I guess, but interesting. He says that generally the younger players prefer Rodgers and some of the veterans want Favre back. He quotes James Jones as saying outright that he has a better relationship with Rodgers, Jennings as remaining neutral and Driver being clearly happy Favre may return. But the most interesting quote was from Charles Woodson. While Wilde’s take is that Woodson is “torn”, my guess is that he is not, that he is squarely in the Favre camp but he was being diplomatic at the end of the quote just in case Rodgers is the guy. Here it is, you decide:

“My feeling is, he never should’ve retired. I don’t believe in being pressured to retire. This is Brett Favre. You don’t pressure Brett Favre into retiring. So you wish he never had retired,” Woodson said. “(Then again), my opinion is, OK, we’ve seen Brett play, we know what he can do. We’ve seen him have bad years, bad games, too. We haven’t seen anything of A-Rod for a whole season. So how do we know what we gain or what we lose unless we see him?

“I’ve seen enough of (Rodgers) in practice to know he can play. Now is just the thing of going out and being a consistent. You don’t know until you get further down the line, but I think he’s going to be all right.”

One important note that backs up my belief that Woodson is a Favre guy is that at McCarthy’s press conference on Monday night when it was announced Favre had filed, a reporter (possibly Wilde) asked about whether the team was divided. The reporter asked “with players like Charles Woodson chanting ‘Brett Favre, Brett Favre’ in the background, do you have concerns the locker room will be divided?” Now, I wouldn’t put it past Charles to have done this in a joking way, perhaps with Rodgers around, but I get the sense that he feels Favre was pressured into retirement and it wasn’t right. I also believe that’s how Driver and probably a good number of others feel. It makes me wonder a little bit about how these other possible supporters of Favre view Thompson overall.

While the present divide is concerning, I don’t think it will take down the team, unless the decision re who will start is dragged out until just before the season starts. I have confidence in Mike McCarthy’s leadership skills and believe he will be able to get the team to rally behind whoever is named the starter.

UPDATE: Thanks to Aaron at for this correction:

The NYT made it pretty clear that Woodson’s chant was a joke…
News of Favre’s reinstatement request spread quickly among Packers players. As a gag, the veteran cornerback Charles Woodson started a “We Want Brett” chant as he walked by the sizable group of reporters awaiting McCarthy’s postpractice briefing.

“Just having a little fun,” Woodson said at his locker. “I knew you guys would get a kick out of that.”

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!

Jsonline also reporting Favre to camp

July 25, 2008

Jsonline is also reporting that a source indicates Favre is planning to come to camp for the Packers and that he will be signing his reinstatement papers. The thought by Tom Silverstein apparently is that Favre either is pushing this whole thing further so he can be traded or that Favre may just want to return to the Packers and be accepting of the stated order of QBs (Rodgers #1). I continue to be surprised by how this is all playing out, but maybe I shouldn’t be surprised by anything anymore.

I have a hard time picturing Favre on the sidelines for the Packers. It would be very awkward to have Rodgers running around out there starting when Favre’s healthy – especially in light of the year Favre had last year. What if Favre outperforms Rodgers in camp? What if he works harder than in the past and demonstrates a commitment to the team? What if Rodgers tweaks a hammy? What if McCarthy eventually believes Favre should be the starter but TT won’t allow it? Too many questions. Too ugly.

As much as it seemed impossible to me a few months ago, it almost seems more likely at this point that Favre will be playing in another uniform come September. And it wouldn’t surprise me if he plays really well considering his tendency to thrive in adverse situations.

Stay tuned…

Ryan Grant’s impending holdout – not good

July 25, 2008

Read here from Tom Silverstein over at jsonline re Grant talks not going well. It’s usually a bad sign when an agent, player or team chooses to go to the media and reveal what’s going on with the talks. If the agent is telling the truth, that they have put into the proposal lots of performance incentives, that seems to be fair for someone who has really only played 10 games in his career. If he continues to play at the level he did last year, I wouldn’t mind if incentives then resulted in him being paid handsomely (who came up with that expression by the way – I guess my job pays me uglily, as it were). What of course we don’t know, is what kinds of incentive maximums Grant/agent are proposing would be fair. It could be that they are asking for ridiculous LT-like pay for Grant.  It could also be that they are demanding a lot of money up-front, guaranteed.

As we said before, this situation is really hard to comment on without knowing the actual dollar figures being thrown around. But we can at least say both sides should be working hard to get this done. The one thing that is certain as far as I’m concerned is that Grant should not play for a $370,000 tender. He definitely deserves a fair, re-worked contract after the brilliant showing he had last year.

Poppinga given fat contract for mediocre play

July 24, 2008

Read here from jsonline re Brady Poppinga just signing a contract extension for doing…nothing. Sorry, I don’t understand this. Poppinga was reportedly just signed to a contract extension, extending him through 2012 and giving him the same deal that other recently signed starting linebackers are getting ($17 million over 5 years).

This is surprising and it doesn’t make much sense. First of all, I don’t get the timing of it. The Packers called in Brandon Chillar to either replace or at least compete with Poppinga for Poppinga’s starting spot. So turning around and awarding an extension for starter’s money doesn’t make sense at this moment (unless they know and have known all along that he’ll be the starter). Why not wait until mid-season or late in the season to see if he finally contributes and if he does and if they think he will continue to progress, extend him at that time? To make this offer a year before his first contract is up seems to be a misguided priority. Secondly, and more importantly, Poppinga has not done much to date to deserve any sort of a new contract. He can’t create turnovers. Despite the staff calling him “physical” all the time, I haven’t seen anything special in the tackling department. And we all know he can’t cover a sloth. As Silverstein notes in the jsonline blog, Poppinga signed the contract right away – OF COURSE he’d do this because he knew he wouldn’t get this kind of offer anywhere else – even if he has a good year this year. But if he falters this season and Chillar bumps him out of the starting spot, we’re wasting money on someone who probably would have signed right now for half of what this contract was worth because he and most observers know he has thus far achieved little.

The other concern I have re this extension is precedent. Poppinga still has until 2009 on his original contract and re-working a contract still a year from expiration usually happens only when that player has significantly outperformed the existing contract. Poppinga has definitely not done this, so what might this say to other Packers? Be average in production and we’ll give you an extended, fat contract?!?. This signing also really makes me wonder why the Grant signing is taking so long – makes me almost think Grant must be asking for the moon as the Packers seem to be in a generous spirit right about now.

I hate to say it but this almost smacks of a Sherman-era “but I just like him and his attitude” signing. I initially had Ted Thompson pegged as a non-loyal, cold, tough-decision maker, but I wonder if he has his quiet loyalties after reading re this signing. (Though this case and others leave me suspicious of TT’s loyalty to his draft picks). If I were GM, I would have simply waited through a good part of this year at least before considering an extension for someone like Poppinga. Listen, I like Brady Poppinga as a person a lot, and I really like his attitude – and I’ll go so far as to say that despite ragging on him for the last few years, I do think he’s shown some signs of improvement and he may not end up being too bad this year. And, I even root for the guy when he plays. Still, it is just plain premature to sign a player like this to a longer term contract when the team felt compelled to spend money in free agency to bring in competition for his spot.

I think the negotiations probably went like this:

Packers: “Brady, we’d like to offer you a contract extension.”

Brady: “With all due respect sir, I haven’t done much here yet and I may not even be the start…

Packers: “How does $17 million…

Brady: “Deal”…

STEVE ADDS: Andy and I find a way to disagree on many things regarding Packer players and their relative importance.  For instance: I loved Ryan Grant because of what I’d seen him do in preseason in New York; Andy loved DeMond Parker and still thinks he should be starting.  Most of this has little to do with actual on-the-field talent and everything to do with Andy’s desire to challenge his older brother.

But he is 100 percent correct on this.  I don’t think the $17 million is bank-breaking money — and we’ll have to see what’s guaranteed, which is what really matters — but Brady Poppinga is a very good special teams player and should be paid like one.  I heard somewhere the other day (if it’s you, let us know and I’ll give proper credit) that Ted Thompson likes Poppinga because he sees Poppinga as the second coming of Ted Thompson.  (Thompson, however, managed to scrap his way through ten seasons in the NFL despite having not been drafted in an era when the draft went 427 rounds.)

Favre to hang it up?

July 22, 2008

Profootballtalk is reporting that the Packers offered Favre 3 teams to be traded to and Favre declined each one. So, according to their “source”, Favre appears to be letting go now and headed toward real retirement.

It’s interesting – a coworker (a very knowledgeable female Packer fan by the way – something I think is unique and great about the Packers: the fact that they have such a large female fan base but better still, that it is an incredibly knowledgeable female fan base) and I were talking the other day and she pointed out that she hasn’t been convinced by Favre’s expressions of his desire to return to football. Me neither. She pointed out that even when Greta asked him point blank if he were ready to return 100%, he gave a somewhat evasive answer – though he eventually did say yes.

I agree with her. Throughout all of this, it has seemed as though Favre maybe just had a point to make. I told my coworker that I almost wonder if Favre was so irritated with Ted Thompson not just because he did feel pressure from TT to hang it up but also because of the other issues apparently between them, that Favre felt the need to make their conflict public. While doing this seemed uncharacteristic of Favre (and I would guess he’s regretting that decision as it has backfired), I do wonder if that is part of what happened here. I’ll go so far as to say I don’t think he was ever really convinced he wanted to comeback himself, and I think Packers management sniffed that out starting months ago.

As profootballtalk points out, I am curious to see what might happen should Rodgers get injured or another prominent team (like the Cowboys or New Orleans) have a major QB injury and come calling for Favre’s services. I could see if it were a season-ending injury, a team like the Cowboys might make a ridiculous offer that would leave TT with little choice. But I can also see Favre just retiring now. We’ll see.

Ryan Grant re Favre/Rodgers on Mike and Mike

July 21, 2008

This morning on Mike and Mike in the morning, ESPN radio, Ryan Grant spoke a bit re the QB issue in Green Bay. While he appropriately steered clear of taking shots at anyone, one theme I sensed from his comments was that teammates appear to have some sympathy for Rodgers here and that Grant (and he implied others) believe Rodgers has handled all of this very well. If Rodgers can maintain his cool re all of this (though certainly his comments before the Favre comeback story took over were a little concerning), I think it will bode well for team chemistry if he indeed ends up being the starter in 2008. While there are likely some players (likely veterans) who may identify with Favre here and feel like he’s been poorly treated (former Packer Leroy Butler is one), my guess is that ultimately, if Rodgers steps in as the guy, the team will pick up where it left off prior to all of this, by rallying around him.

Because I didn’t catch the whole Ryan Grant interview though, I’m not sure if they talked about his contract situation. If not, it’s probably because we all know what he would have said anyway “they are working on it and I’m confident we can reach an agreement. I want to play for the Packers and I’m letting my agent work on that”. Anyway, there is one week before training camp and Grant and 9 draftees have not signed yet. Let’s get this done Grant/team…

Chicago perspective on Favre…interesting

July 18, 2008

Read this piece from the Chicago Tribune’s David Haugh (how would you pronounce this last name…whenever I run into a last name I can’t pronounce that starts with “H”, I think of Dr. Hoffofferererer from the Man with Two Brains – an underrated comedy). He states that the Bears should do anything they can to land Brett Favre. He gets a fascinating quote from Robbie Gould who has no problem stating that having Favre would make the team a lot better. Even though we all know he’s right, interesting public, back-handed crack at their present QBs (again I know they both suck, but interesting).

But Haugh seems very set on his opinion that Ted Thompson and the Packers are crazy for letting Favre go. Sometimes I think as fans we’ve all gotten so close to this Favre situation, reading voraciously to make sure we have our details, chronology and rumors currrent, that we sort of lose the ability to strip away all the layers and examine the basic question: who is the better QB, Rodgers or Favre. This guy’s opinion is firm – obviously Favre and he thinks the Packers are nuts for not welcoming him back. Though I no longer believe Favre is an innocent victim here and I can follow the logic of the organization a lot better as details have emerged, it’s funny how this guy’s article has set me back again to thinking about how good Favre was last year and really, how unfortunate this whole situation is.

Favre to delay reinstatement?

July 16, 2008

According to this article by Chris Mortenson, it appears as though Favre and Bus Cook are in no hurry to apply for reinstatement. This, despite Favre saying to Greta that he does feel like his time is limited here re the opportunity to connect with another team. Also, read up on the discussion Favre apparently had with James Campen. I don’t like that he was thrown under the bus here, though if he and Favre are close, I’m not surprised Campen might offer the advice he did (namely that Favre should force the Packers hand because eventually the team will feel like it has no choice but to take him back).

One of the “solutions” I’m writing about for an upcoming post is the inaction = decision solution. This means that neither side does anything until it sort of becomes too late, then Favre just stays retired and the whole thing quiets down. Based on this article by Mort, I wonder if that may be how this plays out.

Of note though in this article is McCarthy getting worked up about the Favre camp putting Campen in a tight spot. I don’t blame MM. The comments by McCarthy and some of the many other comments by Favre, TT and others, point to a growing gap between the two parties. At some point, if both sides keep spreading the hate, I don’t think Favre playing for the team again will even be possible. I really hope this reverses, but it seems doubtful.