Saints beat columnist Jeff Duncan drops a column in today's Times-Picayune that updates, elaborates, speculates, and "analyzes" the current state of the negotiations between Drew Brees/Tom Condon, and Pay-loo/Tom Benson.
The offseason media carnival, crisis, and boondoggle that Grandmaster Wang acknowledged at the end of January as being just around the corner has now poked its honey badger snout up out of its honey badger burrow on the prairie. And remember, honey badger don't give a s***.
It's not quite as widespread, bad, or personally attacking as Wang portended yet, but the seeds are being sown for a March Madness like we've never seen.
Come across the jump for the details and my very own brand of speculation/criticism...
After opening with a statement alluding to the extended nature of the negotiations, Duncan mentions a sentiment that may not be as pervasive as he believes:
The uncertainty is driving Saints fans into purple, green and gold conniptions.
Conniptions? Really? Do you have a source or any supporting details on this, Jeff? I have yet to see WWL-TV footage of fans "connipting" in the streets or anything. Are you getting some emails or tweets to this effect? It might help to share a bit more with us as to how you came to this conclusion. You didn't even qualify that statement with a conditional cushion like "some", or "at least one ardent fan who cornered me at a bar last week" or anything like that.
He then speaks of intrigue, surprise, confidence, drops another mention of the extended duration, and starts to stoke the fire a bit.
And yet, here we are, almost 18 months into negotiations without a signed document.
Something clearly doesn't add up. It shouldn't be this difficult when two parties are committed to the same goal.
Well, that "hard 18" doesn't account for the few months they took off from negotiations while the season was heating up to its conclusion, but I agree it has been going on for a long time.
It's not adding up, and it shouldn't be this difficult? How many of these types of deals have you negotiated in your journalism career, Jeff?
Then the build-up begins...
These deals are complicated, but it shouldn't be this difficult to hammer out the details, especially if the sides are "on the same page" as everyone insists.
But with each passing day, the public placation rings more hollow. In fact, there's a "Move along, nothing to see here" feel to them.
And now I can almost see Duncan with his hand cranking the "panic alarm" and hearing it increase in volume and pitch and annoyingness:
It leads one to believe the negotiations have become a tad contentious.
Um, it does?
Maybe that's why Brees' agent, Tom Condon, said at the Super Bowl he was "baffled" by the lack of progress in talks.
Nobody is at each other's throat, but the negotiations clearly are not as hunky-dory as the sides have portrayed them to be.
Condon's baffled! That's the first time I've ever heard an agent say that during contract negotiations! This deal is never going to get done!!
After taking a few paragraphs to acknowledge the importance and complicated nature of this contract for both sides, Duncan pretty much torpedoes all the "angst inducing" he engaged in earlier by telling us not to worry yet and letting us know when we CAN worry...
You'll know the deal has reached the critical stage if it's still not finalized by the start of free agency. Until then, there's no reason to get worked up about the lack of progress. The rest is just posturing and positioning.
But what do I do with all this fear you mongered, Jeff? You can't just drop "not hunky-dory", "public placation rings more hollow", and "a tad contentious" on us without giving us an outlet for it!!! C'mon, man!
He closes by providing some context and stating what was already probably pretty obvious to most of us.
A year ago, Colts owner Jim Irsay described contract talks with Manning as "not a normal negotiation, his legacy and our relationship, it's very unusual."
The same can be said for the Brees deal. This is anything but a normal negotiation. That's becoming clearer with each passing day.
Thanks, Jeff. I'm glad it's becoming more clear to you that this isn't just your routine "new contract" negotiation.
* * *
And there you have it, folks, the beginning of the beginning of what we'll be getting from the media on this until the deal is done. Prepare yourself for the worst, and hope for the best (in regard to both the coverage of, and the issue itself).
How am I going to deal with my angst over this stuff? I'm not sure how it's going to work out, but I'm going to try and hold my judgements (or juge-ments) and speculation until I get info on concrete progress (which probably won't be forthcoming) or an announcement on a done deal, and until then, spend time writing more CSC 2012 Election pieces with Ralph, that's how.
What do you think of the state of things and Duncan's assessment? Are you worried? When will you worry? When will Satch reinstate his Alfred E. Newman profile picture?