Jun 5th 2008 11:40AM by Tom Mantzouranis (author feed)
Filed under: Saints, NFC South, NFL Real Talk, New OrleansWhile some find yesterday’s announcement that the Saints have fired vice president of player personnel Rick Mueller intriguing because of what it means for Sean Payton’s role with the team, there’s another aspect of the news that interests me.
After all, anyone who’s followed the Saints since Payton has arrived knows that he’s been the personnel decision-maker all along; removing Mueller just makes it official. More importantly, the team has hired Khai Harley as vice president of football operations to replace Russ Ball, who left for a similar position in Green Bay.
Harley will manage the salary cap and conduct contract negotiations in New Orleans. What fascinates me about this hire is what he’s got on his C.V. Namely, five years as manager of labor operations with the NFL management council, where his main responsibility was making sure contracts were compliant with the CBA and the NFL’s constitution and bylaws. He’s also got extensive knowledge of where the CBA talks are and where they’re going.
As things are beginning to get hectic, teams have to consider contracts with regards not only to the current CBA, but to a potential work stoppage and future CBA as well. That being said, it makes sense for a team to hire a supposed “expert” in that department to handle contracts. It’s just another sign, if we needed any more, that we’re entering the real muck of the labor dispute.