Big extensions for Peyton, Brees?

Why have there been no contract extensions for MVP front-runners Peyton Manning and Drew Brees?

It would appear to be only a matter of time before the most important players on the NFL’s two undefeated teams have their contracts addressed and set new standards of pay for players. As to why it hasn’t happened yet, the future Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), or lack of one, may be keeping things in a holding pattern.

Manning has one year remaining on his contract before an uncertain 2011, although it would be a major surprise if Colts owner Jim Irsay did not extend his deal before next season.

As for Brees – host of our weekly podcast and a spokesman here at the National Football Post – he has two more years following this MVP season, with salaries and workout bonuses combined of $6.7 million in 2010 and $7.6 million in 2011. Brees – ever the team player -- restructured his contract earlier this season to allow the Saints to gain some much-needed cap room and has certainly not complained about his contract (he has the same amount of time left on his deal that Jay Cutler had before his extension with the Bears). Again, this potential MVP would have been a member of the Dolphins if they had not opted for Daunte Culpepper over him a few years ago.

Three contracts during the offseason have provided data points for their deals: the rookie contract of Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and extensions for Peyton's brother Eli and the Chargers’ Philip Rivers. Let's look at some key figures in these deals:

Player Total Value Guarantee Guarantee Rank
E. Manning $97.5M $35M 5
Rivers $98.3M* $38.15M 4
Stafford $78M** $41.7M 1

*Over seven seasons
**Including escalators

The second- and third-ranked guaranteed contracts are those of Albert Haynesworth ($41M) and DeMarcus Ware ($40M).

Eli and Rivers were in the final years of their respective deals, with their contracts set to expire prior to an uncapped 2010. Once Manning was addressed in early August, the other shoe dropped with Rivers -- to whom Manning's career is inextricably linked from draft day in 2004. The contracts are strikingly similar:

Manning will make $52.75M over the first three years of his deal; Rivers will make $50.75M over the first three years.

As for Stafford, his contract is Exhibit A for what’s wrong with the rookie compensation system. However, as much as veteran players have berated his contract, it was used in the Manning/Rivers negotiations as a data point for negotiations and will certainly be used the same way in negotiations for the older Manning and Brees.

There is another individual of interest here: the agent who negotiated the Stafford and Eli Manning contracts is the same agent set to negotiate the Brees and Peyton Manning contracts. Tom Condon does not need Scott Boras-like marketing tomes illustrating the value of these players and their worth compared to the deals above.

Condon will certainly present the Colts and Saints with some numbers that will sound crazy, but with the years these two players are having, are any numbers crazy? With salary cap football poised to end in three weeks, the first-year payout to these players could be staggering.

My guess on contract values for these guys: total values in the $125-$140-million ranges, guarantees in the $45-50M ranges and close to $60M in the first three years of each deal.

Why is Brandon Chillar, who signed an extension with the Packers on Monday, in Green Bay as a result of Larry Fitzgerald’s contract?

In the first weeks of the free-agency period of March 2008, there were two teams that were seriously negotiating with Chillar, the Packers and Cardinals. The Cardinals were offering more money but telling Chillar to cool his heels while they worked on Fitzgerald to clear enough cap room to squeeze in Chillar.

Fitzgerald’s contract had become unworkable. After being the third pick in the 2004 draft and producing at a high level, Fitzgerald’s contract escalators exploded into a cap charge of nearly $17M heading into the 2008 season. With this untenable contract on their books, the Cardinals’ hands were tied in trying to improve with players such as Chillar.

Eventually, the Cardinals and Fitzgerald worked out a new eye-popping four-year, $40M deal with an incredible 75 percent of it ($30 million) guaranteed. By that time, however, Chillar couldn’t wait any longer and had to make a move. Free agency is like musical chairs; you don’t want to be left without a seat when the music stops. He quickly grabbed a seat in Green Bay.

And the Packers are glad he did. They were delighted with their modest dip into free agency a year ago and have rewarded Chillar with his own four-year deal worth $21M in total value and $9.5M over the calendar year.

All because the Cardinals couldn’t get a deal done fast enough with Larry Fitzgerald.

Look for a couple of other things from the Packers, who are working on a long list of players set to become restricted or unrestricted free agents.

Why is Terrell Owens signing with the Wilhelmina agency for representation?

Owens is working with his second football agent, Drew Rosenhaus, after firing his previous agent, David Joseph. He has two marketing representatives, Robert Bailey of Rosenhaus Sports and longtime marketing agent Michael Ornstein. Now Owens has decided he needs representation beyond his football contract and "football marketing" deals related to his tools of the trade.

Wilhelmina will work on entertainment possibilities for Owens, including acting and other Hollywood endeavors.

This is a relatively new but hardly rare trend in athlete representation. As I know so well from my days of Ricky Williams pushing me aside for Master P, there’s a unique pull to the entertainment side for professional athletes.

The largest agency in the business of representing football players, CAA -- home to Tom Condon mentioned above -- is also the largest agency in the business of representing Hollywood entertainers. The synergy is often sold in recruiting, although the number of players for which it’s truly relevant is miniscule.

But for Owens, who starred in his own reality show and will be looking for football and entertainment employers after the season, I guess you can never have too many agents.

And for my pet peeve Why of the Week:

Why are there so many commercials during NFL games and so many of the same commercials?

I certainly understand the business of football as much as anyone and know that these are necessary evils in watching football games. However, it seems like these telecasts have become selling formats for beer, cars and men’s “vitality” products, with some football interspersed among them. Howie Long gets more air time during games – selling cars and trucks – than he does as part of pregame and halftime shows.

Follow me on Twitter: adbrandt

To see why Green Bay's extending of Brandon Chillar may send the wrong message to Nick Collins, check out this article from Bleacher Report.

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