Lots of questions this week about the Packers reaching the Super Bowl, the Cutler reaction, the re-starting of the Peyton Manning negotiations and the unique agent selection from Cam Newton.
You’ve picked the Packers since the beginning of the season. Was that just bias or did you really believe that? --Corey T.
Certainly bias played a factor knowing many of the players and staff there. I also felt that the team was full of explosive talent that was ready to jell. And knowing it is usually about the quarterbacks this time of year, I have been an longtime fan of the skill and leadership ability of Aaron Rodgers, something we saw soon after he was fortuitously drafted in 2005.
Do you miss it now? --Steve R.
No, I enjoyed my nine years with the team and in that community, but it was time for a change. I am happy for a lot of people up there, especially so many behind the scenes that toil in anonymity.
You called the two teams playing “national treasures.” A bit dramatic, no? -Bill G.
Perhaps I got a little carried away there but these are two iconic franchises with fan bases that wrap themselves around their teams with great personal pride. And fan bases that travel extremely well. We know about the Cheeseheads, but the largest fan base of an opposing team that I ever saw come into Lambeau Field was for the Steelers. Dallas will be teeming with passionate fans.
What did you think of the reaction about some players, fans and media questioning whether Jay Cutler should have continued playing on Sunday? --Terry B.
I think it showed that the "tough it out" mentality is still in play, even if misguided. It also showed the real-time aspect of the universe now, with fellow players tweeting out things about him they later regretted.
Interestingly, one of the primary issues on the table in the CBA negotiations is Player Safety. The NFL has smartly turned over the decision-making on players returning to action after head injuries to the medical staffs of each team. Should this not apply to injuries of other parts of the body?
My understanding is that the Bears' medical staff ruled him out of the game. That is what they are there for. The NFL and the NFLPA have been trying to change the culture from a "play through it" culture to one of making safety paramount. It seems like that happened Sunday. Criticism of Cutler was unfair.
You mentioned you were surprised a deal for Peyton Manning wasn’t done this season. Now they’re working on it. What are your thoughts? -Tim O.
It was over a year ago where Jim Irsay -- he of new Twitter fame -- publicly stated that Manning would be the highest paid player in football, presumably in early 2010. Well, now it appears likely in early 2011.
The Colts have done this before: waiting until near-expiration of Manning’s contract only to make him the highest paid player in the history of the sport. That 2004 contract and its $34.5 million signing bonus created great buzz around the business. This time, Manning will set a new standard for player contracts. My best guess is that Manning’s new contract will average over $20 million per season and have a guaranteed value of between $50-55 million.
You tweeted that Cam Newton is going to be represented by two agents, true? --Jesse R.
Yes, Cam is going to be co-represented by Bus Cook and Tony Paige.
Are these co-representation agreements common?
More common than you may think. They are usually a pairing where one agent has a lot of negotiating experience in with NFL teams and the other has developed a relationship with the player and his family. I sense that to be the situation here, as Cook has negotiated some very large quarterback contracts and Paige has an existing relationship with the Newtons through his representation of Cecil, Jr.
Any dealings with Paige? What was it like dealing with Bus?
I dealt with Paige -- a former player who I found professional and enjoyable to work with -- on several players, including Daniel Muir and Cullen Jenkins, both unheralded “street” free agents when they came to the Packers. Tony earned the trust and respect of the Newton family for his attention to Cecil, Jr, a backup offensive lineman with the Jaguars.
Bus and I became very familiar with each other over the years discussing “Junior”, as we referred to Brett.
He portrays himself as “just a country lawyer” but has tremendous savvy and can be scheming. As one of the older agents, Bus comes off as a trusted father figure to players, which plays well with parents of top college players. He also has a prolific sense of humor and uses his joke and storytelling to his advantage.
Whenever I (or anyone he dealt with a lot) picked up a call from Bus, it was never “Hey Andrew, its Bus” but rather something like: “Guy walks into a whorehouse…” Bus is quite a character, and will bring that to the representation of Newton.
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