Friday new$ and note$

Bulger’s bounty

Mark Bulger, the newest Baltimore Raven, has done well by himself in the compensation department.
In 2007 Bulger signed an extension with the Rams for six years and $65 million with $27 million guaranteed, a top-of-market deal that replaced the final year of a four-year $19 million deal.

Scheduled to make $8.5 million with the Rams this year, he was released on April 5, his 33rd birthday, as that $8.5 million will now shift to Sam Bradford.

Bulger now signs a one-year deal with the Ravens for $3.8 million with another potential $1.5 million in incentives. He becomes one of the highest-paid backups in the NFL, joining Kerry Collins ($5.5 million) and Michael Vick ($5.25 million), all behind Jake Delhomme, receiving $12.65 million from the Panthers while making $7 million to play for the Browns.

Not much loot for Mahut

The match at Wimbledon (why do some people insist there is a “t” in pronouncing that word?) between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut that took over 11 hours over three days at Wimbledon was epic, with 711 points in the final set and each player serving more than 100 aces! Now Mahut leaves Wimbledon with a check for $16,800. In contrast, for four sacks and a year of disillusionment on both sides, Albert Haynesworth has made $32 million from the Redskins.

More Albert angst

Speaking of Haynesworth, he is being sued by a bank for defaulting on a $2.4 million after just receiving a check for $21 million. This is unfortunately not a surprise, even for players that have made tens of millions. Recently, former NBA player Antoine Walker was caught bouncing checks after over $100 million in career earnings. And now Mark Brunell is filing for bankruptcy despite $52 million in NFL earnings.

I remember a bank loan officer calling me at the Packers complaining he had no luck hunting down a defaulting player who was scheduled to make $4 million prior to our release. The conversation with the loan officer went something like this:

“Mr. Brandt, I’m holding his contract right here and it says he’s due $4 million this year.”

“Sir, you need to know that contract was not guaranteed.”

“What exactly does that mean?”

“It means that he is not entitled to that $4 million.”

Pause.

“How much of it is he entitled to?”?

I cringed as I said it to this nice man: “None of it.”

Long, long pause as this loan officer’s career just took a blow.

“Mr. Brandt, thank you for your time.” Ouch.

This player, Haynesworth, Walker, Brunell and so many others need to know the primary lesson of money management for athletes: it’s not what you make, it’s what you keep.

NBA trading not about players

Last night showed how different trading has become in the NBA, something that perhaps could infiltrate the NFL at some point. Trading is not about personnel; it’s about clearing Cap space. The Bulls traded a quality player, Kirk Hinrich and the 17th pick to the Wizards for a future second-round pick. In other words, from a basketball standpoint, they gave away a starting guard and a mid-first round pick for a ham sandwich. Of much more importance is the $10.3 million they cleared off their books to potentially lure not one but two of the A-list free agents available next month.

I am surprised a team in the top 10 of the NFL Draft has not traded down just to avoid the financial penalty of the pick. I can see that happening without a change to the rookie compensation system.

JaMarcus versus John

Speaking of that system and its comparison to the NBA, the top pick in last night’s NBA Draft, John Wall, will now receive a total guarantee over the next three years of $16.6 million. To compare, the top pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, JaMarcus Russell, received $39.4 million in his first three years in the NFL.

Enjoy the weekend.

Follow me on Twitter at adbrandt.

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