With Apologies to FJM: We Negotiate Jeff Shultz's Thoughts on Todd Grantham's Agent

Disclaimer: though they never, to my knowledge, discussed college football, the guys at www.firejoemorgan.com invented this type of post. We owe them so much. 

Ah my old nemesis Jeff Schultz. We've taken a detour in the past few weeks. We've talked with George Will, and we've talked about Tim Tebow. Today we get back to our roots.

New feature on this section of the blog! Writing is difficult and it's easy to criticize. So, in an effort to show our good will to those with which we disagree, for each article we cut up below the jump, we will post a quote from the author with which we agree above it. Because you know what they say about Karma. I call it: "They Got it Right Here." 

Jeff's discussion of the Georgia season through the Auburn game is balanced and well written. I think he nails it with this section: 

 

The resulting perception [from the 2010 season]: Georgia hadn’t only slipped on the national landscape – losing 10 of 12 to ranked teams — but also was falling dangerously behind the curve in the SEC.

That’s not even addressing losing to Colorado and Central Florida.

Is that all buried now? Maybe. It’s easy for skeptics to point out the East is weak, favored South Carolina imploded and the 2011 schedule lacked the SEC’s three toughest teams: LSU, Alabama and Arkansas. (Georgia plays at Alabama next season.) But an eight-game winning streak is remarkable under any circumstances, let alone in a season that began with losses to Boise State and South Carolina.

 

That said, we maintain our disagreements.

As you might have heard, Todd Grantham is very good at what he does. As you also might have heard Todd Grantham would like to be paid more money than he currently is. 

Without further adieu, Jeff Schultz:  

Todd Grantham needs to worry about coaching, not contract

If there is one thing that we have learned this season at Georgia, it’s that Todd Grantham is a pretty good coach. The Bulldogs’ defense has improved almost every week this season, and is miles ahead of what it was a year ago.

So it's an understatement contest you're after eh Schultz? You're on: If there is one thing that we have learned in 1943 in North Africa, it's that George Patton is a pretty good commander. Second Corps has improved in almost every battle and is miles ahead of where it was a year ago.

"Improved almost every week this season?" How about there is no single measurement of defensive performance in which Georgia is not ranked in the top 15 teams in the country? How about, the road to the national championship may run through the SEC west in 2011, but the road to the Broyles award runs right through Athens? But ok, fine, I'm with you.

But we’ve witnessed, courtesy of YouTube 

I think I can safely speak for the whole Bulldawg nation here when I say thank you. Sometimes, with all of the stress of work, family and writing criticism of criticism, I just don't have time to check YouTube, and it is good to know that I've got a pundit to do it for me.  

that sometimes Grantham just does dumb things – and here he goes again.

So just to make sure I'm clear on this point.

 

  1. Todd Grantham is a good coach
  2. Todd Grantham has done dumb things including a) the choke sign to the Florida kicker in 2010 and b) the James Franklin affair and c) whatever you're about to present to us 

 

The Florida choke sign was a dumb thing, no question. The Vanderbilt midfield thing, not so sure. But for the sake of argument let's say those things were dumb. I assume you're going to describe to me a similar incident in which Todd Grantham in an emotional situation which may or may not have involved defending his players, reacted with anger or did something unsportsmanlike. That's where we're going with this right? 

If you missed the stories earlier this week from our Chip Towers,

I did not miss it; It was entitled, Georgia's Todd Grantham Focusing on Kentucky, Not Contract Extension. 

Grantham’s agent is publicly pushing for a raise and contract extension for Georgia’s defensive coordinator. Never mind that the contract still has 14 months to run.

So, following the crushing of one of Georgia's biggest rivals, and on the cusp of clinching the SEC East, having taken his defense to the highest echelon of the sport, having the support of the fan base, recruits, his coaches, and potentially (per Towers's story) the interest of NFL and other college programs, Grantham, via his agent has taken the opportunity to try and increase the compensation. That does not sound dumb.  

Agent Michael Harrison has been rebuffed by athletic director Greg McGarity, who says he won’t address coaches’ contracts until after the season.

So an agent, for a man who coaches professionally, and the man responsible for the administration of the program at which he coaches are negotiating a contract. Doesn't this happen all the time?

And sorry, but Mark Richt’s contract is a slightly higher priority.

Don't be glib about this, the head coach is a more important job than the defensive coordinator, but that doesn't mean that his contract is necessarily a higher priority. Mark Richt isn't going anywhere. There is no better job out there for him, he wants to be here, after this year, fans and alumni want him here. It's just a question of working out numbers. Grantham is a different situation. He wants to be a head coach, and he's putting together a pretty good resume for it. Teams that are looking for head coaches would be doing it no later than December. Grantham's agent has assessed the situation pretty well, and McGarity has responded appropriately.

Grantham is a coach. It would be a good idea to stick to that for possibly four more games and worry about his finances in January.

It would be a good idea for whom? Todd Grantham has a pretty great bargaining position now. Why exactly should he wait? 

I’ve covered player and coach negotiations for nearly 30 years.

This is the first one I've really thought about. How am I doing? 

Let me tell you how this works. Agents generally don’t go rogue. When they talk to the media, it’s at their clients’ urging and/or approval.

Right, so if Grantham urged his agent to do this, he's smart, not dumb. And if his agent went rogue, then Grantham didn't do anything, smart or dumb. 

Harrison told Chip that he has gotten "inquiries" from NFL teams about Grantham returning to the league as an assistant.

That seems pretty credible.

He claims he has gotten "feelers" from college teams about being a head coach.

I don't know what a "feeler" is exactly, but I'm guessing it's some discussion between Grantham's agent and the market about a school which hasn't made it's mind up about its current head coach, and might be trying to gauge the interest of a young and exceptionally talented coordinator for down the road. Maybe there are smaller teams that would jump on it now if he was interested. I don't know, maybe Grantham's agent is initiating these, either way, it doesn't sound impossible to me.  

These soundbites are all orchestrated.

Of course they are.  

I understand Harrison is just doing his job for his client.

Then, I have to ask, why are we here?

But the client – Grantham – needs to understand bringing this up now is counterproductive. Seriously.

There are three characters in this story, Todd Grantham, his agent, and Greg McGarity, we get which one is the client. I appreciate you clarifying that your last point was not in jest. But I don't think this is counterproductive at all. He's negotiating from a position of strength, he's either going to be able to get more money from Georgia, take a better offer, or stay in his current contract. How can he lose in this? Seriously.

Grantham expects the Bulldogs to make a commitment to a defensive coordinator less than two full years into a three-year contract when they haven’t even finalized the head coach’s future yet?

Haven't finalized it maybe, but I'm guessing they've got a draft version. Neither Grantham nor his agent are stupid. They understand the significance of the Auburn win, the eight game winning streak (as of Schultz's writing), and that no one made a larger individual contribution to that success than Todd Grantham. He may not expect a commitment, until they finalize Richt's deal but he knows he's second in line and the time to lay the foundation for that negotiation is now. 

Consider the importance of Georgia’s potential four remaining games: 1) Kentucky, the potential SEC East-clincher; 2) Georgia Tech, the local rival; 3) LSU (probably), the SEC championship; 4) Bowl game opponent, which finalizes rankings and stature.

Right, Harrison might bring that up, something along the lines of, it's really cool to see that games late in Georgia's season are important again. You know my client had a lot to do with that. Mr. McGarity, It seems like, you, the Georgia fans and alumni, and my client Todd all have an interest in seeing that continue. As you know Todd's eventual goal is to be a head coach, but we think that best way for him to achieve that is to win SEC championships at the University of Georgia for the next three years and possibly longer. We'd ask for a salary increase commensurate with the success Todd has had in the last year, which I know your fans and alumni have found remarkable.   

Should this really be an issue right now?

Remind me never to allow you to represent me. 

I’m guessing somebody said something to Grantham follow Monday’s initial story because by Tuesday Grantham was trying to say the right things.

Hard hitting reporting Jeff. 

Following practice Tuesday night, he maintained that his focus was on the Kentucky game and not his contract.

Who knows what's in his head, but "unfocused," does not seem like a good description of Todd Grantham. Look, Grantham and his agent both want him to get more money, we should expect them to act accordingly. Why is a football coach not supposed to worry about the business side of his life?  

But when he alluded to Harrison and said, "You hire people to do a job for you and I let him handle that part of it," it missed the point. Agents work for their clients, not the other way around. This is a public issue now because of Grantham, not his agent.

Try to think of a better way to get Todd Grantham more money, than what he and his agent have done. I cannot. Agents do work for their clients, Todd Grantham seems to have a pretty good one. Has someone been harmed here? 

One more thing: While it wouldn’t stun me if Grantham winds up returning to the NFL,

It wouldn't stun me either, but I would be surprised. He's had a lot of success in college these last two years, and he's going to have opportunities to be a head coach.

I don’t buy Harrison’s claim of legitimate head coaching offers, certainly not at a major college.

This is likely why Harrison claimed and Chip Towers reported that Harrison had received feelers, which is a word that doesn't mean anything, as opposed to offers. But still, it wouldn't shock me. I agree he's probably not going to interview at Ohio State, but if I were the athletic director at UAB? I'd give him a call. How many years away do you think he is? Ten? Five? Two? Once upon a time Ole Miss hired Ed Orgeron to be their head coach. Needless to say it didn't work out, but do you think Grantham is a less qualified candidate today than coach O was then? Yo yo yo yo yo yo yoooooooo yo futbaw. 

Any coordinator who has a head coaching offer would jump at it rather than worrying about using it as leverage.

Again, feeler and offer don't seem like the same thing to me, but even so I don't know if that's true. Say it was an FCS team? Say it was, Western Kentucky? Even if it was an offer, I'm not sure you jump on that. Think about the best coordinators in the SEC. Do you think Kirby Smart hasn't had the opportunity to become a head coach somewhere? I'm guessing he has, but he knows that based on his track record, a great opportunity is going to come up. Grantham might be thinking the same thing. 

In other words, this is all drivel we could’ve done without.

What better advice to take than your own.

By Jeff Schultz

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