Friday new$ and note$

Signing a different tune

Aaron RodgersICONRodgers remembers the past.

First a note on the Packers game last night. It was interesting to watch the gushing of broadcasters Ron Jaworski and Jon Gruden over Aaron Rodgers, a player they had each had different opinions about five years ago.

Knowing Aaron in the three years with him in Green Bay, he was and is driven by experiences in the past, especially the naysayers.

With Jaworski, he seemed to remember every word of a pre-Draft analysis that Jaworski did on him that was not the most flattering piece.

With Gruden, who was coaching Tampa Bay with the 5th pick in the 2005 Draft, he vividly remembers being told by the coach that if Aaron was there at that pick, he would take him. Aaron was there, the Bucs took Cadillac Williams, and the rest is history.

Certainly, time and circumstance change opinions, but it was interesting to see the love for Aaron last night five years after events that Rodgers doesn’t forget.

18 games a game-changer

I think we can all take a deep breath and lose the hysteria over the pending 18-game schedule in the NFL. Like everything else in sports these days, it’s all about the money and more importantly, the negotiations with the players. The logistics of bye weeks, prorated payments over 18 versus 16 games, offseason workouts, etc. are all secondary to “how much?"

I think this 18-game schedule issue can be a game-changer in the collective bargaining negotiations between the league and the union. Here is how: the NFL, depending on whom you believe, has asked the players for a cut from the previous CBA of between 9-18%. The NFLPA, simply trying to protect what it has has, is balking and looking for a way to come out of this without being locked out.

Say the NFL goes to the union and says it would like to offer a deal with the enhanced 18 game schedule and in return, only require a modest rollback from the previous CBA, or even no cutback at all, offering the same terms as before with two added regular season games. This could be the breakthrough we have been looking for in the negotiations.

Would the NFL offer that? Would the NFLPA accept that? Time will tell, but the more hyperbole around the 18 game season that there is, the more this becomes “the issue" in the negotiations.

Shawn Andrews looks to brother’s deal

Former Eagles first-round pick Shawn Andrews found a home this week with the division rival Giants. Andrews has been a player with extreme talent -- Andy Reid raved about his footwork and movement skills -- with an attitude described as anywhere from goofy to loony.

The Giants were the most interested team, tracking Andrews through the offseason while teams like the Redskins, Vikings and Dolphins kicking the tires. They eventually agreed with Andrews on a deal that includes the following for 2010:

Signing Bonus: $250,000
45-man active roster bonuses: $250,000
Salary: $1.25 million

Cumulative playtime incentives:

50%: $500,000
65%: $500,000
80%: $750,000

Thus, as a maximum Andrews could make $3.5 million this season. He then has a roster bonus next year of $3.5 million when the Giants have to decide if this was a one-year trial or a more serious commitment.

Also in the contract is a “split”, lowering Andrews’ salary this year to $650,000 in the event he is placed on injured reserve in the first four games of the 2010 season. If he makes it through four games, the split goes away.

Interestingly, the deal that this deal most mirrors is that of his brother Stacy. In a deal I negotiated for the Eagles on the first night of free agency in 2009, Stacy had a “prove it” year as he was coming off injury before a big bonus the second year (later renegotiated downward). It is ironic that the guide used for Shawn’s deal was Stacy’s deal.

For a $250,000 initial investment, the Giants have a talent; time will tell if they have a player.

Follow me on Twitter at adbrandt.

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