With very few General Managers being hired to be General Managers after being fired as General Managers, they need to be creative. Former Jets G.M. Mike Tannenbaum has been as creative as anyone.
Tannenbaum has become an agent. An agent for coaches. As explained by Peter King of TheMMQB.com, Tannenbaum recently negotiated Steve Kerr’s contract to coach the Golden State Warriors. Kerr surprisingly picked the Warriors over the New York Knicks.
“When I took this new job, I met Steve Kerr and he said to me, ‘I’m going to coach one day, and it’s your job to help me get ready,'” Tannenbaum told King. “That was a great challenge. He already had a very detailed plan, about things like leadership and coaching style and the staff and the balance between talent and character, and I helped him fine-tune his plan. We worked for a year to get it right. And last week, when he came out of his meeting with the Warriors, it was so rewarding to get a text from Steve. He said, ‘They loved the plan.’ That was a sense of great fulfillment. I was a part of the Steve Kerr team, and Steve Kerr had a very good day, so I had a very good day. I liked that.”
He also liked not having to worry about the finite spending limits that come from a salary cap.
“It was interesting doing a big negotiation and not hearing [NFL Management Council executive] Peter Ruocco’s voice in my ear telling me to remember the salary cap,” Tannenbaum said. “It was different. In a non-cap situation, you can be so creative. Whereas in football with the Jets, if I paid Nick Mangold one more dollar in a future year, I knew it would cost me trying to sign a free agent that year.”
Setting aside for now the question of whether the NFL Management Council advising teams on how to negotiate contracts constitutes collusion (that may not be a question the NFLPA sets aside), Tannenbaum eventually may have to be creative regarding the negotiation of contracts for college coaches whose earnings are undermined by the reality that players will be paid, too. His goal remains to find the next wave of big-name coaches, college or pro.
“I want to represent the next Nick Saban you don’t know right now,” Tannebaum said.
Hopefully Tannenbaum will advise the next Nick Saban to never declare publicly he’s not going to be the coach of the team he’s about to sign a contract to coach.