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Belichick & Kraft vs. Tannenbaum, Ryan+ Johnson:Dos & Don'ts in Negotiating Contracts

Discussion in 'NFL Football Forum' started by PatsFanStnfrd, Apr 21, 2013.

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  1. PatsFanStnfrd

    PatsFanStnfrd Rookie

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    The sorry state of the Jets franchise today -- which resulted in the trade of their best player, Darrelle Revis -- is a direct consequence of their approach to managing relationships with their top players including negotiating contracts with high-draft picks, whether it be the first, second or third contract.

    From the outset, the time of Revis' rookie contract, the Jets negotiated voidable years which shortened the usual (then) 6 year contract for a top 15 pick. (Mercifully, they don't get to make this mistake this year thanks to a rookie wage scale, which does their work for them). Then, they succumbed to a threat of a holdout while Revis had two more years to go on his rookie contract. The entire management including ownership went hat in hand to negotiate with Revis in his hometown where he was holed up. Johnson, the owner, was assisted by coach Ryan who verbally built up Revis as an indispensable franchise player. They then tore up his remaining rookie contract with a new 4 year deal which explicitly prohibited the Jets from franchising him ever. That is a rare unbelievable waiving of a future right for a team to forgo. So despite signing a second contract worth $50 million dollar/4 years after year 3 of his original rookie contract -- Revis knew he had the Jets where he wanted them. Behind the 8th ball. He made sure they understood that his demands would be such that he was inevitably going to leave after this year.

    By contrast, it is hard to see BB and Kraft ever agreeing to either the original Revis rookie deal (which shortened the duration he was under contract) or ever agreeing to re-negotiate once Revis began a holdout. When was the last time, BB ever negotiated with a player/agent under duress. Branch comes to mind as a player who held out -- and was eventually traded. The usual practice is for the Pats to set parameters and if the player accepts, you have extensions (like the ones Gronk and Hernandez signed) or to insist the player play under the franchise tag (like Welker last year). When the Pats sign players to extension, they are real extensions. They do NOT tear up rookie contracts -- rather they add years to the original contract which the player still has to fulfill.

    Beyond the contract, BB and Kraft are masters of managing relationships with key players based on mutual respect, merit and fairness. It is the intangibles of handling relations with players that help differentiate the Pats and explain why the Pats are a top franchise. It also helps shape player expectations, attitudes and values for the team. So, in dealing with Mankins (where the negotiations were pretty rancorous and public), both sides managed to arrive at a fair agreement. The same was true with Wilfork, though the going was smoother because of BB's obvious public praise of his DT.

    There are examples when the Pats approach has not worked -- in part because a handful of specific players had a widely different expectation of their own worth. Beyond Branch, the more recent examples include Wes Welker (who found the Pats moved on rapidly rather than wait for him to back off his high expectation) and Richard Seymour, who was traded with a year left on his contract.

    By and large, the Patriots way has led to retention of bedrock players at prices the team could afford. Mayo signed his extension without much fanfare or fuss. Most prominently, Brady showed his own greatness in recognizing the value of retiring as a Patriots in what was a really team friendly extension of 3 more years @9 million/year. Peyton Manning or Drew Brees must have choked when they heard of Brady's deal. Indeed, old man Favre was making $16 million to $20 million/year for the last 3 years of postponing retirement. All Brady had to do was refuse to sign the extension. After the 2014 season, he was a FA. Certainly, some team would have given him, (a first ballot Hall of Famer) a 4 year $100 million deal to lift their franchise's profile in the NFL. (perhaps even the Jets or the Bills...)

    All this leads me back to Revis. In a season where the CB market for top FAs was $5 to 6 million/year (Sean Smith signed for $16.5 million/3 years; Talib $5 million/1 year; Rodgers-Cromartie $5 million/1 year), it is urprising to see the Bucs lavish Revis with $16 million/year contract for 6 years. That is a player coming off an ACL injury-- and one who has to prove himself. At worst, Revis expects to get $32 million for first 2 years. More realistically, given inertia, The Bucs will keep him for 3 years at cost of $48 million. Doubt any other team would have given Revis a FREE AGENT contract approaching the amount the Bucs are paying him. (Not to speak of the two high draft picks they are giving up to the Jets for the privilege of signing Revis) And while the Bucs have the salary cap space today, they may be setting themselves up for the same kind of failure with Revis that the Jets put themselves in a few years ago.

    In a team sports, no single player can be an island. When a single player eats up a hugely disproportionate % of the salary cap, the whole team suffers. Even QBs are not exempt from this. The Colts got rid of Manning to rebuild their team. The Jets traded Revis today for the same reasons. Yet, teams keep repeating the same mistakes sometimes with the very same players. When a player demands to be paid as a superstar, you have to make sure you can still field a high quality team. Otherwise, you have a Larry Fitzgerald who gets paid but he will never play in January or in the SuperBowl. Players make their choice. Wise teams (ownership/management) make theirs. Results are visible for all to see.

    On this score, I think the Patriots have it right. Belichick, Kraft and the Pats players deserve praise.
  2. Fencer

    Fencer Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    Re: Belichick & Kraft vs. Tannenbaum, Ryan+ Johnson:Dos & Don'ts in Negotiating Contr

    Seymour got a raise for ending a holdout. (Pure raise; no extra years.)

    Asante, IIRC, got a no-franchise promise for ending a holdout.
  3. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    Re: Belichick & Kraft vs. Tannenbaum, Ryan+ Johnson:Dos & Don'ts in Negotiating Contr

    Did Seymour accomplish this just one time, or was it twice?
  4. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Re: Belichick & Kraft vs. Tannenbaum, Ryan+ Johnson:Dos & Don'ts in Negotiating Contr

    I think the contract is acceptable only in the sense that it's purely a year to year deal, where they can choose to cut him and walk away at any point should he not live up to expectations.

    On top of that there's no guaranteed money.

    I agree with you that 16 million seems high for a CB, but if he plays like the old Revis they may feel he's worth it for a couple/few yrs. After all, it isn't like they have a plethora of offensive talent to pay. They plan on running the ball with Doug Martin and playing tough defense. They are built with youth, and wanted to add a proven superstar veteran so they took a shot.

    As far as appreciating what Belichick has done contractual-wise over the yrs, yes I definitely agree with you there. We should all be very thankful in his excellent cap management.
  5. DarrylS

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    Re: Belichick & Kraft vs. Tannenbaum, Ryan+ Johnson:Dos & Don'ts in Negotiating Contr

    PFT offers some interesting info on Revis Contract...

  6. Fencer

    Fencer Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    Re: Belichick & Kraft vs. Tannenbaum, Ryan+ Johnson:Dos & Don'ts in Negotiating Contr

    Once. And for "only" a couple million dollars.
  7. voluntarysaftey

    voluntarysaftey Rookie

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    Re: Belichick & Kraft vs. Tannenbaum, Ryan+ Johnson:Dos & Don'ts in Negotiating Contr

    The Bucs deal makes no sense.
    They could've had Revis for cheap -- 1 year.
    Then franchised him (to which he would've held out), then offered him the 16m/year no guaranteed money (which he would've signed cause 16m is more than 0 for holding out).

    So it's not 6/96 -- its actually more like 5/91 extension (which is even more ridiculous).

    The Jets got a good deal -- they got a 1st rounder for someone who clearly was only going to stay another year.

    I think the Jets may have been a bit too willing to make Revis happy when he held out; and I don't think the Patriots would've given him the same contract. The Jets were smart enough to throw in a 'no holdout' clause or else we'd have been seeing Revis holding out this year.

    But let's not act like the Patriots never give in to demands -- they're just more likely to take a draft pick instead of paying top dollar.
    But occasionally they give in to top demands:
    Logan Mankins -- seems like we didn't get a good value there compared to his cheaper, almost as good replacement.
    Seymour -- didn't give in to top demands, just enough to get him to show up
    Asante -- likewise -- just enough (no re-franchise) to get him to show up
  8. Avenger

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    Re: Belichick & Kraft vs. Tannenbaum, Ryan+ Johnson:Dos & Don'ts in Negotiating Contr

    Revis had a no franchise clause, if the bucs didn;t have a deal then he was hitting open market
  9. Sicilian

    Sicilian On the Roster

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    Re: Belichick & Kraft vs. Tannenbaum, Ryan+ Johnson:Dos & Don'ts in Negotiating Contr

    The Patriots seem to operate under the principle of set a price for the player, and either sign him for that price (or very close to it) or move on. The theory is that this prevents players from holding out for minor reasons, and sets the expectation in negotiations that the Patriots are always willing to walk. This gives them an advantage (or at least a perceived one) in all negotiations.

    It's one of those tricky balances though, because if you're going to employ this tactic, you need to do so 100%. Once you start making exceptions to your own rules, they completely lose their benefit in negotiations. They know that this process will inevitably lead to losing players they might otherwise have kept (Welker, Branch, possibly Seymour), but the idea is that overall the system does more good than harm.
  10. hughthehand

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    Re: Belichick & Kraft vs. Tannenbaum, Ryan+ Johnson:Dos & Don'ts in Negotiating Contr

    If you pay your top defensive player 16mil per year, how much does your second best defensive player deserve? 14mil, 12mil? By paying one player that much money, you have no leverage to negotiate with players coming off their draft deal. You blow up your entire pay scale.

    The Pats come off as stingy old bastards most of the time when a player reaches the end of his draft contract, Wilfork and Mankins are some recent examples. By beating the crap out of their agents and giving them as little as possible, they add negotating power to the next contract that comes up.

    For the Patriots to give you a long term big money deal after you draft contract ends, you need to be a great player, great example, great presence for the locker room. Our highest paid guys are Brady, Mankins, Wilfork, Mayo... They all fit the above criteria.

    Every player in the locker room knows what every other player makes, the players making the most money are automatically "leaders". Tampa Bay just mada a guy who has spent zero days at their facilities their defensive leader.
  11. ctpatsfan77

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    Re: Belichick & Kraft vs. Tannenbaum, Ryan+ Johnson:Dos & Don'ts in Negotiating Contr

    No, they couldn't: remember that when you trade for a player (or pick them off waivers), until and unless the player renegotiates, their old contract is still in force. In Revis' case, that contract prohibited him from being franchised.
  12. voluntarysaftey

    voluntarysaftey Rookie

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    Re: Belichick & Kraft vs. Tannenbaum, Ryan+ Johnson:Dos & Don'ts in Negotiating Contr

    My bad -- I had known that, but just forgotten it.

    I think they still paid an above-free-agent price for him --ie I dont know if any other team would've given him that contract; but it makes more sense knowing they couldn't have franchised him -- so needed to sign him if they wanted to ensure they didn't lose a 1st + 3,4 for a rental
  13. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Re: Belichick & Kraft vs. Tannenbaum, Ryan+ Johnson:Dos & Don'ts in Negotiating Contr

    It was an $1.2 million raise.

    Holdout over, Seymour finally has a field day - The Boston Globe
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