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Offline bigfog  
#1 Posted : Friday, August 29, 2008 5:56:42 PM(UTC)

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Joined: 8/8/2008(UTC)
Very interesting article about Ahman Green's departure from Green Bay by Andrew Brandt.


Ahmans Rush to Texans is Downsized

Ahman Green has agreed to a reduced contract with the Houston Texans. In the range of options that the Texans had between keeping Ahman at his present rate of pay and releasing him outright, this appeared to be a logical compromise, although not one that the Texans anticipated making with their marquee free agent signing of 2007. I will not soon forget the day Ahman left the Packers and went to Houston, a decision I firmly believed that both he and the Texans would regret.

Ahman had been a wonderful player for us at the Packers. Acquired in a trade in 2000, he turned out to be a productive running back right away, taking over for Dorsey Levens. We went to him in 2001, his restricted free agent year, and extended him with a five-year deal with a 5M bonus. He actually played out that deal a rarity in the NFL despite many protestations by he and his agent about re-working it, especially when Clinton Portis hit the jackpot in Washington after extricating himself from Denver.

Ahman had a very close relationship with Mike Sherman more on that later with the Texans which made it difficult for me to argue against a monster contract for him. Sherman was our head coach and general manager and had a soft spot for Ahman. I personally liked Ahman a lot as well, but always pointed to the graveyard out there for contracts of running backs over the age of 28 or 29 Eddie George, Jamal Anderson, Corey Dillon, etc. that were emotional reactions by clubs to beloved players that came from their hearts and not their heads.

Ultimately, we never extended Ahman and in his final year of the contract he was injured for the majority of 2005 season. We settled on a one-year contract in 2006, using a contract twist involving 45-man active roster bonuses for every game active, protecting ourselves if he became injured again. This was the first instance where we had used these 45-man active roster bonuses as Ahman was coming off a major injury. They have since become a staple of Packer contracts.

Ahman stayed injury-free in 2006 and we negotiated late in the season and into the early 2007 offseason. We would have re-signed him but for a wildcard out there in free agency. Mike Sherman had been terminated as our head coach by new general manager Ted Thompson and landed as offensive coordinator in Houston with, apparently, some influence over personnel. Ahman was also visiting with Denver and Oakland, but we knew the only real suitor that mattered was Houston.

And what a suitor they were. After being wined and dined and taken to a Rockets game, Ahman spent the day with his former coach Mike Sherman and rekindled that relationship. That was all expected. What we did not expect was the aggressive level of contract they were offering, especially 8M in the first year for a 30 year-old running back! We had been at 5M for first-year money but with the Texans going to this level we reluctantly crossed the 7M threshold for the first year, but wanting 2M of it to be in the form of 45-man active roster bonuses. This was one of those offers where I didnt know whether I wanted want him to take it or not, as I had a feeling this was going to be a deal we would be re-working as the Texans are now doing if he took it.

I spent the entire time during my sons 10th birthday party at of course Lambeau field on the phone with Ahmans agent and Ahman trying to tell them that this was bigger than money, that Packer stars like Ahman have a lifetime pass wherever they go, that he would hold all the Packer records, that he would not like Houston, that he shouldnt be fooled by all the recruiting, that Mike Sherman would not be there long, and so on. It was all for naught.

Ahman, although nearly 30, was smitten with the whole free agent recruiting thing private plane, Rockets game, etc. and the agent was smitten with the money. I asked him how many times he thought he might fly in that private plane after that day, but got no reply. We had lost him to Mike Sherman and the Texans.

I was communicating with Ted Thompson throughout the process while he was driving to a college workout. At that time of year, Ted was always on the road so I had to be able to control these free agent situations that came up fast and furiously, often with one of our players sitting in the offices of another team.

The rest did not go well for Ahman. He was injured for a large part of last season; Mike Sherman left after the season to take a head coaching position at Texas A&M, and now he is taking a pay cut from 3.8M to 1.8M. One other thing about this reduction: he can make back 3M if he is on the 45-man active roster bonus for 15 games. These are exactly the kind of bonuses that I tried once again to put in the proposed Packer contract that Houston agreed it would not! Now they are the basis for a salary reduction with an opportunity to make more based on health.

Last year Ahman gained 260 yards for his 8M, roughly $31,000 a yard. When we lost Ahman to Houston, I felt sick from an emotional standpoint (not only due to the fact that I missed my sons 10th birthday party). He was one of the all-time great Packer players and should have retired a Packer. (Weve heard this one throughout the summer, havent we?) However, I knew that this was not a deal we should have made financially.

We struggled for a while last season without Ahman until Ryan Grant came into his own with his stellar play, earning a stunning contract after limited experience. Ahman was missed as a presence in Green Bay, but in the end, it was the golden rule of business in the NFL: some of the best deals are the ones that are not made.

I agree with Brandt, Ahman Green should have retired a Packer. He was one of my favorite players. At least he got the payday he was looking for.
Offline Cheesey  
#2 Posted : Friday, August 29, 2008 6:14:49 PM(UTC)

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Just another example of where it's bad to let your emotions dictate your business moves. I loved Green, but his payday in Houston was rediculous. I wanted him here, but not at that cost to the Packers. I'm glad our guys didn't let that influence what they did financially.
Offline bigfog  
#3 Posted : Friday, August 29, 2008 6:23:04 PM(UTC)

Rank: Registered
Joined: 8/8/2008(UTC)
That deal was great for Ahman, but thankfully, cooler heads prevailed in Green Bay. He's still one of my favorite players, and maybe worthy of a Green Bay Hall of Fame spot.
Offline Cheesey  
#4 Posted : Friday, August 29, 2008 6:34:32 PM(UTC)

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" said: Go to Quoted Post
That deal was great for Ahman, but thankfully, cooler heads prevailed in Green Bay. He's still one of my favorite players, and maybe worthy of a Green Bay Hall of Fame spot.

Oh...i agree! He has the GB HOF sewn up i'm sure! And i bet he will sign a contract and retire a Green Bay Packer.
Offline longtimefan  
#5 Posted : Friday, August 29, 2008 6:56:16 PM(UTC)

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I love the fact Andrew can and will bring some of this stuff out now..( can't wait to hear his take on Brett if he does come clean)

I feel the need to toot my own horn cuz for a LONG time I kept saying that Andrew had a huge hand in dealing with free agents but it seemed like no one believed me
Offline Tiger  
#6 Posted : Friday, August 29, 2008 6:58:59 PM(UTC)

Rank: Registered
Joined: 10/22/2006(UTC)
if Ahman came back and did one of those "Contract for a day then Retire" things id be pretty happy. Id have no problem wearing his jersey regardless of his unlucky Texans stint.

Ahman Green is a Packer, straight up.
Offline millertime  
#7 Posted : Friday, August 29, 2008 7:13:26 PM(UTC)

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I'll root for Ahman this season. He was a good guy and I hope he retires as a Packer when his playing days are over.
Offline Greg C.  
#8 Posted : Friday, August 29, 2008 7:14:27 PM(UTC)

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Location: Marquette, Michigan
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Oops! I posted this too, but somebody beat me to it. So I'll replace my original post with this one:

I liked Ahman Green a lot, but thought the Texans overpaid for him big time. It's good to have a front office that signs players based on the cold, hard facts instead of sentiment.
Offline Packers_Finland  
#9 Posted : Friday, August 29, 2008 7:14:35 PM(UTC)

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I'm rooting for a Texans playoff-run. I hope Ahman gets the starting RB spot at some point.
Offline Packers_Finland  
#10 Posted : Friday, August 29, 2008 7:15:31 PM(UTC)

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