Welcome to June in the NFL, a month in which, after a couple of deals for cap-bloated teams to fuel cap pain into next year, the league takes a breather. The teams will soon disperse during a month-long hiatus before returning for the routine of the 2021 season. However, as readers of this space know, the business of soccer never really slows down. Here’s my perspective on some recent news topics.
The Rodgers-Packers mess continues
Aaron Rodgers spoke up last week, while on vacation in Hawaii and lost his $ 500,000 training bonus (again, blame me for those bonuses, as I started implementing them 15 years ago when I worked for the Packers as a “financial bribe” for spend the off-season in Green Bay).
Aaron obviously didn’t want to comment on their confrontation, but when pressed (during an appearance on Sports Center) He mentioned “culture” and “people” on the Packers. This confirms my thoughts expressed here in recent weeks: that this is much more personal than business, that there is a deep rift and a wide gulf between him and the organization. And again, as for the contractual enhancements that possibly smooth things over, the parties can’t even get there until there’s some kind of personal reckoning between the key parties involved. It is now very clear that Aaron feels there has been a breach of trust between him and the main office, probably more cumulative than based on a single incident or transaction.
Sorry for the Packers here: It’s hard for a team to be completely honest with a player about his future, in part because there are always things that can happen to upset the plan. Teams want to maintain as much flexibility as possible and don’t want to be caught saying something they can’t take back.
I also know this about Aaron: he’s smart and calculating, and he can set people, as he calls it, “exploding.” Family members, business partners, and former teammates have felt that about him.
We are still where we have been on the bottom line: The Packers aren’t trading Rodgers, and Rodgers can’t trade himself. Stay tuned.
A kicker for all ages … with a kicker
I was fortunate to get to know Adam Vinatieri up close, who retired last week. Here’s a perspective on Adam and his amazing longevity: I was Adam’s agent before I joined the Packers (and I found Adam another agent). That was in … 1999! In the Hall of Fame.
What you may not know about Adam is that he was so close become a Packer. Adam became a free agent in 2006, the same year we lost our kicker, Ryan Longwell, to the Vikings in free agency. Building on our previous relationship and friendship, Adam agreed to visit the Packers. At first, I thought he would just use us to get more money from the Patriots, something he could understand and would have helped him with if he wanted to. However, the more we talked, the clearer it became that he was determined to leave New England. And after having a nice dinner together, I went to bed really believing that Adam was going to be a Packer.
The next morning, however, things changed. Adam called in an apologetic tone, treating me more like a friend and former client than a team executive. He sighed and said, “Andrew, [Bill] Polian [the general manager of the Colts] call. I have to go there. It’s a dome! “ The Colts offered less money than we did, but they had something we couldn’t compete with: the opportunity to kick a dome, which Adam thought (correctly) would prolong his career for years. Sometimes I think, as I do now, that if Polian hadn’t called that night, Adam would have been kicking at Lambeau Field, and we would never have drafted Mason Crosby the following year. The world works in mysterious ways.
July from Atlanta? Yes, and it will cost the Falcons a lot
Julio Jones said he had broken up with the Falcons on television last week, although it seemed clear that he did not know the conversation was being televised. The Falcons were reportedly upset with the interview and complained to the league for some kind of reprimand for Fox. I understand the complaint; teams are always upset when they feel like they’ve been at a competitive disadvantage and want the league to “do something” about it.
Here’s the reality with the Falcons, though: The entire league has known the Falcons were going to trade Jones for months, waiting to trade until after June 1 to spread their salary cap charges over two seasons. So now they’re upset that Jones wants out? Please.
The Falcons now have to deal with the consequences of a massive contract error. They negotiated an extension with Jones in 2019, putting him at the top of the wide receiver market at $ 22 million a year with $ 64 million guaranteed. Those years of extension begin in … 2021!
I know I’m a head-broken record denying massive contract mistakes like those made with Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, but here’s another one. The Falcons will trade Jones and take on $ 17.5 million in an unlimited charge this year and another $ 7.75 million next year. while playing for another team. The 2019 extension has turned into a disastrous contract decision for the Falcons, one for which they will pay the price for another 18 months. The NFL cap is unforgiving.
As for Jones’s new team, he will only inherit Jones’ $ 15.3 million salary, or maybe less. If the Falcons want to get better compensation in the draft, they could pay some of that money, in the form of a pre-trade bonus, to reduce the obligation of the new team and get a better draft pick. We saw this last month when the Panthers gave Teddy Bridgewater a $ 7 million parting gift before trading him to the Broncos.
Tebow continues as usual
There’s a lot of consternation and controversy over the Jaguars signing a backup tight end who hasn’t played in the NFL since 2012. Although I understand the name Tebow is stirring for many, well, relax.
The Tebow firm is simply one high-profile example of something that happens in business and sports every day: hiring decisions made based on friendships, past relationships, and inherent biases. Urban Meyer, the Jaguars’ new coach 1) likes and respects Tebow and what he can do for his team, and 2) doesn’t give a damn what people think about him. And again, this happens all the time in the NFL – coaches and general managers bring in players, coaches, scouts, coaches, cap experts, etc. who they know and would feel comfortable having around. Tebow is just the latest example.
My question is more for Tebow, who has a lot of money, fame and opportunities in business and broadcasting. Why do you want to get hit as a backup tight end on a bad team? Sport is a powerful drug.
More NFL coverage:
• Breer: Joe Burrow and the long way back
• Orr: Spice Up The NFL With New Ways To Scoring
• Orr: The 10 Most Interesting Plot Lines for the 2021 NFL Offseason
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.