Brady Quinn Enjoys Riding Escalators

When Greg Olsen became the first person selected in the first round of this year’s NFL draft to sign, I reported that it was full of bonuses, incentives, and escalators [Greg Olsen Is The First First To Sign]. The escalators had been the breaking point in the Brady Quinn negotiations until yesterday, when Quinn finally signed with the Cleveland Browns.  It is a 5-year, $20.2 million contract, with $7.75 million guaranteed, and the possibility of a total payout of $30 million if the escalators are reached [Contract could be worth up to $30 million with incentives]. Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote a post that pretty much gives all the background information necessary to understand what escalators entail [The Importance of Escalators]. Some things to think about:

  1. The discussion revolved around agent Tom Condon last year as well. Matt Leinart was the quarterback holding out because he felt that he deserved more money than the standard value at that draft slot.
  2. Leinart was getting a lot of bad publicity for holding out of training camp. Condon has now put an end to bad Quinn press for the time being.
  3. The media may have been too focused on bashing Quinn for holding out much like they based Leinart last year. Remember not to be too fast to criticize the player. Sometimes the team is being unfair and the agent/player should have some of the pain eased.
  4. The escalators in Leinart’s contract proved to be extremely important. At the time, no one figured that Leinart would be starting for a while (much like Quinn). However, Leinart disproved many, and will now make some good money based on the escalators in place. Condon was trying to help out his other client (Quinn) in the same manner.
  5. “Agent Tom Condon of CAA has proposed that the escalators would be triggered, raising Quinn’s base salaries in the final two years of what would be a five-year deal, if the quarterback reaches a 55-percent playing time level in any two of the first three seasons of the contract, or a level of 70 percent playing time in any one of the first three years. The Browns wanted the triggers designed to be more difficult to achieve.” [Quinn holds out as Browns, agent continue to haggle on contract]. Sound familiar to last year? “Leinart’s contract provides incentives similar to the one Byron Leftwich signed in 2003: if he participates in 55% or more of the offensive snaps for 2 seasons or 70% or more of the snaps in one season.”

Condon has successfully prevented having one of his first round clients turn out to be the last person signed for two consecutive years.  Will Quinn now be able to put the scrutiny behind him a la Matt Leinart?

-Darren Heitner

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  • Joe I.

    A good deal for Tommy and Brady. The incentives are something that should be easy to reach barring significant injury. The max is in line with the #9 pick.

  • zak

    I think Brady and his agent may have caught some undeserved bad press for this one. The escalators are fair because if Brady is leading this team, he should be paid like the leader of the team. It’s plain and simple, if Brady becomes the player that the Browns want him to be, he will be paid instantly, avoiding a possible holdout like we see with LJ in KC. Quarterback in the NFL is the hardest position in sports, the Browns should be lucky to have a potential franchise QB on their roster, after faultering last season with Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson. Good move by both sides, and especially by Condon for protecting the future interests of his man.

  • Chris S.

    Tom Condon did in my mind a great job for Brady, he will deffinately make his fare share with this contract (trust me i follow the browns and quinn will be starting sooner rather that later).

  • While the concept of the escalators is fair, the fact of the matter is that the Browns were more than willing to get a deal done. The holdout seemed like a holdout for the sake of holding out, with Condon supposedly not taking Phil Savage’s calls and then asking the Browns to fly to Kansas City in the middle of training camp to hammer out a deal. To me, that’s a bigger issue; there wasn’t any reason Condon needed two extra weeks to do this deal, especially when Quinn ultimately got the same deal that Leinart and Leftwich got.

  • Brave Sir Robin

    A major sticking point for the Browns was when that 70% kicker would go in. Quinn (& Condon, but, from here on out, I’ll just say Quinn) wanted it to be for any year, whereas the Browns said it should only be for the third year. That seems to be a reasonable request on the Browns’ part because if he’s a flop his third year, they don’t want to have to pay his higher salary (yeah they could cut him, but then they lose him sooner and he may just be a late bloomer).

    Also, the Browns have been incredibly fair with their players regarding contracts. When Winslow acted like a fool and destroyed his knee, instead of nuking his contract and costing Winslow the money without recourse, the Browns put it back into the contract in terms of incentives. They recoup some of their losses if he never performs but they give him a chance to redeem himself (and he has quite admirably).

    With that in mind, Quinn’s holdout looks pretty much like him being a greedy little scrub. Charlie Frye isn’t the answer and Quinn probably won’t be either. So the Browns overpaid for the self-entitled jackass.

  • Yeah, like Brave Sir Robin’s saying, this isn’t the Cardinals or Raiders (teams that are generally known for being a little cheap with draft picks); the Browns overpaid Thomas and Wright to get them into camp on time. I’ll cut Condon some slack because he had other, higher draft picks that needed their contracts done…but he’s had all his guys BUT Quinn signed for like a week, and yet was still unable to give the team time to discuss the deal.

    To me, that’s the issue; if you can’t work something out in negotiations, that’s different from refusing to negotiate in the first place.

  • zak

    Brave Sir Robin- I think you are a little quick to dismiss Quinn as the future QB of the Browns. He played in an NFL type system in college under Charlie Weis and suceeded in it. Not to mention, he had preseason Heisman hope and lived up to those expectations all year. I don’t think he is a greedy little scrub, he is guaranteed less than $10 million, if he is a bust he will not get paid big bucks. I didnt know all the facts about Condon being self-centered in his negotiations, he sounds like a big time, cocky agent, who wants things done on HIS time, which is no way to get things done. Too bad for Quinn that Condon represents him, but he did just get him the $$$ he was looking for, and that means he did his job.