Real Salt Lake general manager is a force to be reckoned with today, and his latest appearance on RSL-owned ESPN 700 with Bill Riley shed some light on contract issues, player interviews, and more.
Excerpts from the interview follow.
On Jeff Cassar’s contract
For me, it’s not as much of a rush as it is for the media. It’s a much more fun storyline for the media than it is for me. For me, it’s a matter of making sure every conversation has been had, and the decision is made when we need to. We have quite a while.
For me, it’s not how quickly something needs to be done, for me, it’s how thorough we need to be.
On player exit interviews
We try and discuss and identify with each individual their main concern. When we get seven, eight, nine, ten people in, and we start to see a few trends.
It was eight hours of hearing a lot of things that you’ve got to look dead in the eye and address. It’s always productive as long as you allow it to be. It’s when you puff your chest out and be defensive that you can’t learn.
On what needs to be addressed with coaching staff
Once we have those player meetings, I take two more days to kind of decompress. It’s a very stressful day. We’ll go through that same process evaluating the coaching staff, not only individually, but collectively. Over the next week or so, we’ll have some real healthy conversations, not only amongst themselves, but with them.
I don’t believe that the individual ideas need to be considered as much as the trends. There were three or four very consistent trends from the players in the meetings. We listen to them very closely.
On player contract decisions
With regards to all the contract decisions, roughly the same timing — the days before the expansion draft are when we have to make our final decisions on players, rosters and their contract decisions. From there, we move on to who we protect, those decisions and so on.
Those, a lot of times, come right down to the 11th hour.
On changes to the team
I don’t think there’s any secret. We want to get a little younger, a little bit quicker, a little bit stronger. In order to do that, we have to make some decisions. The other thing I touched on was that there’s always going to speculation, but the conversations are — everyone’s future’s different — there are a lot of ways to keep players in the organization without playing.