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Teams needed stability at the QB position so they traded up for these guys

The 2004 Draft was a remarkable one for first round quarterbacks. Eli Manning was the first overall pick — to the Chargers — while Philip Rivers went fourth overall to the Giants. Shortly thereafter, the teams completed an epic trade that landed Manning and Rivers on opposite coasts, where they still are 13 years later. With the 11th pick in the first round, Ben Roethlisberger went to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he’s still there, too. One other quarterback went in the first round, and he was the subject of a trade, too: the Bills sent a future first round pick to the Cowboys for the right to draft J.P. Losman.

That 2004 first round may have marked a turning point in the league’s perception when it comes to “getting your guy.” The fact that Manning, Rivers, and Roethlisberger have become long-time starters with national recognition has likely had an impact when decisionmakers think about trading for a first round quarterback.

Since then, there have been 16 times over the last 13 drafts that a team “traded up” in the 1st round to get a quarterback.1 On average, those teams have paid about 149 cents on the dollar (according to the Football Perspective Pick Value Calculator) to move up in the draft to get their quarterback. But let’s put aside the cost for now, because there’s a theory that “if you think you have found your franchise quarterback, it doesn’t matter what it cost to get him.” So we have 16 cases where teams were really sure they found a quarterback that they had to get, and traded up to grab him. How did those quarterbacks fare?

While it’s too early to trade the last six quarterbacks selected in the previous two drafts, it’s not too early to grade the first 10. Seven of the 10 were busts, even if I am unfortunately labeling Teddy Bridgewater as such. An 8th was Mark Sanchez, and while he’s a pretty clear bust (he has the 9th worst era-adjusted passer rating in history among players with 1500 pass attempts), he won 33 regular season games and 4 playoff games with the Jets. It was a trade the Jets would have been better off not making, but he at least reached some level of success. The two “successes” were Jay Cutler and Joe Flacco, and neither could be called an unmitigated success.2

Now, let’s get back to the cost.  As I did yesterday, I am valuing all drafts picks in the current draft using the Draft Pick Value Calculator I created.  For future picks, I used the middle of each round and applied a 10% discount rate; so a Year N+1 2nd round pick was worth 90% of whatever the draft value calculator says the 48th pick is worth.

Look at the first trade on the list.  This shows the Texans, who in 2017, traded up for Deshaun Watson by dealing with the Browns.  Houston sent the 25th pick and a 2018 1st, while the Browns sent back the 12th pick.  The pick equivalent on the Houston side is therefore 25 and 16 (projected 2018 1st round pick), and the pick equivalent on the Cleveland side is just 12.  The value given up shows the value my pick value calculator assigns: 14.1 for the 25th pick, and 15.2 for the 16th pick in next year’s draft (i.e., this represents 90% of the value of the 16th pick in this year’s draft).  The value received is just the value of the 12th pick, or 18.8.  The return is 156% — the Browns gained 156 cents on the dollar, with a raw difference of 10.5 points of draft value, by consummating this trade. [click to continue…]

  1. Note that this does not include Jason Campbell, whom the Redskins selected in 2005. Washington did trade up for the pick, but they did so before the draft, not knowing that Campbell would be available at their new pick. []
  2. Flacco, for his career, has a below-average passer rating. Cutler lasted only three years with the Broncos, before the team traded him … albeit for two first round picks. []

As a junior in college, Mitchell Trubisky produced impressive, if not dominant, passing stats. Here were the 2016 leading passers in the ACC:

Passing Rushing
Rk Player School G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int Rate Att Yds Avg TD
1 Nathan Peterman Pitt 13 185 306 60.5 2855 9.3 10.1 27 7 163.4 72 286 4.0 3
2 Lamar Jackson Louisville 13 230 409 56.2 3543 8.7 9.1 30 9 148.8 260 1571 6.0 21
3 Mitch Trubisky North Carolina 13 304 447 68.0 3748 8.4 9.1 30 6 157.9 93 308 3.3 5
4 Jerod Evans Virginia Tech 14 268 422 63.5 3552 8.4 8.9 29 8 153.1 204 846 4.1 12
5 Brad Kaaya Miami (FL) 13 261 421 62.0 3532 8.4 8.9 27 7 150.3 37 -136 -3.7 1
6 Deondre Francois Florida State 13 235 400 58.8 3350 8.4 8.6 20 7 142.1 108 198 1.8 5
7 Deshaun Watson Clemson 15 388 579 67.0 4593 7.9 8.0 41 17 151.1 165 629 3.8 9
8 Ryan Finley North Carolina State 13 243 402 60.4 3050 7.6 7.6 18 8 135.0 74 94 1.3 1
9 Eric Dungey Syracuse 9 230 355 64.8 2679 7.5 7.5 15 7 138.2 125 293 2.3 6
10 Daniel Jones Duke 12 270 430 62.8 2836 6.6 6.4 16 9 126.3 141 486 3.4 7
11 Kurt Benkert Virginia 11 228 406 56.2 2552 6.3 6.1 21 11 120.6 60 -94 -1.6 0
12 Patrick Towles Boston College 13 138 273 50.5 1730 6.3 6.1 12 7 113.2 115 294 2.6 4
13 John Wolford Wake Forest 12 166 299 55.5 1774 5.9 5.0 9 10 108.6 130 521 4.0 6

While Trubisky had a very good year, both the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association and the ACC coaches only named him to the third team in the conference, behind Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson. [click to continue…]


Two of the top three picks in the 2017 Draft.

There were six trades in the first round of the 2017 Draft, so let’s do some quick analysis of those moves. To do so, I will be using two draft calculators used: the one I created and the traditional one referenced as the Jimmy Johnson chart.

Football Perspective calculator
Traditional calculator

49ers trade: 2nd overall
Bears trade: 3rd overall, 67th, 111th, and 2018 3rd round pick

Chicago traded up for UNC quarterback Mitch Trubisky. The 49ers moved down 1 spot and still grabbed Solomon Thomas, the player most expected San Francisco to take at #2.

If you value a 2018 3rd round pick as equivalent to the 100th overall pick, The 49ers traded 30.2 points of value, and received 45.3 points of value, meaning San Francisco received 150 cents on the dollar. On the traditional chart, SF traded 2600 points for 2627 points, making it a nearly perfectly even trade. If you valued a 2018 3rd as equivalent to the 110th pick, it’s a perfectly even trade.

In other words, this is a sign that teams used the traditional chart.  But we know that on average, the FP chart will provide a more accurate representation of player value. As a result, this was an outstanding trade for the 49ers, and a very, very risky one for the Bears.  If Trubisky doesn’t turn into a star, this is going to be a bad trade for Chicago.

Good analysis available here from Bill Barnwell. [click to continue…]


Perhaps giving Fisher more picks isn't the answer

Perhaps giving Fisher more picks isn’t the answer

In 2012, St. Louis took advantage of one of the most inefficient aspects of the NFL: the top of the draft is a seller’s market, with teams desperately willing to overpay in a variance-seeking endeavor that usually disappoints. That year, the Rams moved down four spots, by trading the 2nd overall pick to Washington for the 6th overall pick…. and also picking up the 39th pick, a first round pick the following year (#22 overall), and a first round pick the year after that (#2 overall, incredibly). That trade was a steal for St. Louis the second it was made, but it became a home run when Washington tanked in 2013 (of course, one could argue that the home run was called back when the 2nd overall pick in 2014 was used on Greg Robinson, who has been one of the worst tackles in football since being drafted).

Today, the Rams — now in Los Angeles, of course — were on the buy side of things. And, as usual, to move up in the draft is quite expensive. THe Rams moved up from #15 to #1, and also gained a 4th (#113) and a 6th (#177) back in this year’s draft. But the price was exorbitant: Los Angeles had to give up both 2nd round picks it has this year (#43, courtesy of the Sam Bradford/Nick Foles swap last season, and #45, the team’s original selection), its third round pick (#76), and next year’s 1st and 3rd rounders. And while that doesn’t have quite the screaming headline of “Washington sends 3 first round picks for RG3,” make no mistake: the Rams gave up a massive amount to move up to #1, presumably to draft either Carson Wentz or California’s Jared Goff.

To simplify things, let’s try to cancel some things out. The 4th and 6th round picks received by the Rams this year is roughly equivalent to the 3rd giving up by Los Angeles next year; given the time value of the draft pick, a 6th round pick, it can be argued, makes up for getting to use that pick a year earlier, even if it’s a round later. I am sure both teams would have done this deal even if you take those three picks out of the mix, and it was probably included just to give Los Angeles a bit more in draft picks (instead of giving up 4 draft picks for 1 this year, now it’s 4 for 3). My hunch is the Rams were the one asking to throw in that last piece of the puzzle, even if it’s probably a better deal for Tennessee (since the time value of the draft pick is usually overstated). [click to continue…]


Seattle trades Percy Harvin to the Jets

When John Schneider sent a 1st round draft pick1 to Minnesota for the right to pay Percy Harvin $67M over six years, it looked like a risky move that might pay off if a whole bunch of “ifs” came true. Today? After paying Harvin more than eighteen (18!) million dollars and getting little in return, the Seahawks are sending him to the Jets for a conditional pick (rumored to be a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th, depending on what exactly those conditions are). The 2012 transaction now looks like one of the worst trades in recent NFL history. What was Seattle thinking?

Let’s travel back in time to October 31, 2012. Would you be shocked to learn that Percy Harvin may have been the best wide receiver in football? To measure this, I looked at how all receivers had performed over the trailing 365 days. The table below shows the production for each receiver from week 9 of the 2011 season through week 8 of the 2012 season. I’ve also calculated each wideout’s fantasy points, with 0.5 points given for each reception, 0.1 points for each yard from scrimmage, and 6 points for each offensive touchdown. Since, due to bye weeks, some receivers could have played between 15 and 17 games, the table includes the 20 wide receivers with the most fantasy points but is sorted by FP/G: [click to continue…]

  1. And a little more. As it turned out, the Vikings drafted Xavier Rhodes, Jerick McKinnon, and Travis Bond with those picks. That looks even better today than it did a year and a half ago. []

Interesting tidbit from Peter King this week about how the Vikings nearly acquired Johnny Manziel:

As the picks went by, starting soon after the Rams chose at 13, Cleveland GM Ray Farmer worked the phones, trying to find a partner to move up from their second pick in the round (26th overall) to grab Manziel. He couldn’t find a fit. Finally, with less than three minutes to go in Philadelphia’s 22nd slot, Farmer heard this from an Eagles representative over the phone: “If you’re not gonna jump in here, we’re gonna trade the pick right now.” It’s cloudy what his offer had been to this point, but now he had to sweeten it, and he offered the 83rd pick overall, a third-rounder, in addition to their pick four slots lower than Philly. Done deal. The Eagles liked that offer better than an offer from Minnesota, because the Vikings would have been moving up from 40.

As discussed in my round 1 recap, the Eagles made out like bandits picking up the 83rd pick to move down four spots. Not only did Philadelphia received 137 cents on the dollar according to my trade chart, but the Jimmy Johnson trade chart — which overvalues high picks and therefore cautions against trading down — had the Eagles receiving 112 cents on the dollar. [click to continue…]


The action got started on day two even before the round began. Buffalo, after giving up next year’s first and fourth round picks to move up to acquire Sammy Watkins, responded by trading Steve Johnson to the 49ers on Friday afternoon.  Buffalo was able to at least get back a 2015 4th round pick from the 49ers, which could become a 3rd rounder depending on Johnson’s performance this season.  This gives Colin Kaepernick another weapon in a contract year, and it provides some short-term insurance (if Father Time outraces Anquan Boldin) and long-term insurance (Michael Crabtree is a free agent after the season) at the position.

The trades in rounds 2 and 3 weren’t very exciting, and they followed a very predictable formula: the team trading down won according to my draft value chart. The fact that my metrics said every team overpaid when trading up does not mean my metrics are wrong; my grades, in addition to being objective, are designed to be aspirational, not predictive.  These ratings tell us the actual value provided by players based on historical results. In reality, teams fall in love with a player — and are overconfident in their abilities to scout — and as a result, are willing to lose value when trading up.

My chart recognizes that the right to choose between a mid-2nd and a mid-3rd round pick is not that significant; to a decision maker who believes his scouting skills descended from the heavens, that right to choose is really, really important. Of course, the data suggests otherwise. That said, let’s take a look at what happened on Friday night using my chart and the JJ Trade Value Chart.

1) Washington trades the 34th pick to Dallas for the 47th and 78th picks

According to my chart, this was an amazing trade for Washington, who received 140 cents on the dollar.  Even the JJ chart thinks Washington picked up 112.5 cents on the dollar. Picking up an extra 3rd round pick to move down 13 spots was a very nice haul.

The Cowboys traded up for Boise State defensive end Demarcus Lawrence. Dallas was worried the Falcons would take him and apparently viewed him as the clear best RDE available. That’s fine, but the Cowboys gave up two important picks to secure his rights.

2) Seattle trades the 40th and 146th pick to Detroit for the 45th (2nd), 111 (4th), and 227th (7th).

My chart liked the the Seahawks side of the deal, as Seattle picked up a 107.5 cents on the dollar.  The JJ chart, on the other hand, thinks Detroit got the slightly better deal , giving up 524 points of value for 533 points.

The Lions traded up for BYU outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy. This is the rare trade up I’ll approve, because well, I watched the 2012 Poinsettia Bowl.

In all, Van Noy made 7.5 disruptive plays in the box score: 3.5 tackles for loss (1.5 sacks), a forced fumble (which he recovered for a touchdown), an interception he returned for a touchdown and a blocked punt.

Van Noy single-handedly scored more points than the BYU offense and accounted for two of BYU’s five takeaways.

Van Noy may not be a great NFL player, but he was an excellent college player and a fun one to watch. Rumor has it the Lions wanted Anthony Barr in the first round, but pairing Eric Ebron with Van Noy might wind up working out even better.

3) The Bills traded the 41st pick to St. Louis for the 44th and 153rd picks

As you might suspect, my chart thought this was a very smooth move for Buffalo, trading 11 points for 13 and receiving 118 cents on the dollar.  The JJ chart thought this trade was exactly even, trading 490 points for 490 points.

We know that Jeff Fisher loves his cornerbacks, and the Rams traded up for Florida State’s Lamarcus Joyner.  I’m not a slave to my own chart — I recognize that giving up a 5th round pick to ensure that you get your player can be worth it. But my chart recognizes that 5th round picks still have value, and there’s not much difference between the 41st and 44th picks. The Rams probably had a 1st round grade on Joyner and were willing to sacrifice the pick to get him, but the million dollar question is always why didn’t enough other teams have a first round grade on him?

4) Three picks in a row, three trades.  Tennessee sent the 42nd pick to Philadelphia for the 54th and 122nd selections.

My chart says the Titans got a nice deal, picking up 122 cents on the dollar.  Meanwhile, the JJ chart says the Eagles killed it on this trade, and Tennessee only picked up 85 cents on the dollar.   In retrospect, the Seahawks may have won their deal with Detroit, but they almost certainly could have done better than they did in their deal with the Lions. Seattle clearly got the worst deal of the three teams that traded down in the 40 to 42 range.

Philadelphia moved up for Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews and paid the price. Matthews may not have made it to 54, so it’s easy to understand why the Eagles made the move. This trade was interesting because of the wildly disparate values on the two charts, but the 122nd pick is not a throwaway. Of course, the Eagles tend to manage the draft very well, so giving up the pick here is not so disheartening: Philadelphia got an extra pick in the Johnny Manziel trade, and didn’t even give up their own pick in the Darren Sproles trade (the Eagles used the pick they got from New England for Isaac Sopoaga).

5) Miami sends the 50th pick to San Diego for the 57th and 125th selections

The Chargers tossed a 4th round pick in to move up 7 spots.  That might sound okay, but Miami picked up 132 cents on the dollar in this deal. On the other hand, teams like San Diego are probably using the JJ chart, which says San Diego won this trade (Miami received 94 cents).

San Diego moved up for outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu. Presumably the Georgia Tech player was the last pass rusher in the Chargers’ top tier, but a 4th round pick is not pocket change. Like most 3-4 teams, the Chargers really want to add edge rushers. What separates San Diego from the rest is the amount of capital they keep throwing at the position with little results: Jarret Johnson, Dwight Freeney, Larry English, Melvin Ingram are all still on the roster.



The next two trades are best analyzed together.  San Francisco owned the 56th pick and sent it to Denver; moments later, the 49ers traded for Miami’s 57th pick.

Combined, San Francisco moved down from 56 to 57 and lost their 242nd pick; in return, the 49ers picked up Denver’s 2015 4th round pick. That’s just beautiful.

This year, Denver picks at 131 in the 4th round.  If we say the Broncos will be around there next year, and then apply a 20-spot discount for the time value of draft picks, that would put this at equal to the 151st pick this year.  That’s some fuzzy math, of course, but….

If we do that, San Francisco gave up 56 and 242 for 63, 171, and something equivalent to the 151st pick.  That means the 49ers robbed the Broncos, getting 143 cents on the dollar.  Unfortunately, some of that was then given up when San Francisco sent 63 and 171 for number 57.  In that deal, Miami received 113 cents on the dollar according to my chart.

Denver traded up for Indiana wide receiver Cody Latimer; San Francisco traded for Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde. Both players could turn into starts, and in general, I’m less disturbed by a trade up for skill position players. Then again, the Broncos have Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Julius Thomas, and Emmanuel Sanders (not to mention Andre Caldwell and Jordan Norwood), while the 49ers have Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, Marcus Lattimore. That doesn’t even include LaMichael James, who is probably going to be traded soon.

8) San Francisco gets back into the trading business, sending the 61st pick to Jacksonville for the 70th and 150th selections.

Trading down would seem to make more sense for say, Jacksonville than San Francisco, but what do I know.  As you’d expect, the 49ers won the deal, picking up 121 cents on the dollar.

The Jaguars traded up for Penn State wide receiver Allen Robinson.  If nothing else, I admire Jacksonville’s dedication to improve the passing game, using the team’s first three picks on Blake Bortles, Marqise Lee, and Robinson. The most important thing, of course, is hitting on the picks, but those players — combined with Cecil Shorts, Ace Sanders, Denard Robinson, and Toby Gerhart — could be part of a fun Jaguars offense in 2015 and 2016. Unfortunately, 2014 probably will look a lot like 2013 still.

9) Oakland sends the 67th pick to Miami for the 81st and 116th picks.

The Dolphins did a nice job adding value with a pair of trade downs earlier, but go the wrong way here.  The Raiders pick up 140 cents on the dollar.

The Dolphins traded up for Billy Turner, who is an offensive linemen from North Dakota State. That’s the extent of my scouting report.

If you’re a Miami fan and dismayed that your team traded up (and paid a pretty price to do so) for an FCS offensive linemen, well, over the three trades, I have Miami up 106 cents on the dollar (in total, the Dolphins sent 50/81/116 for 63/67/125/171).

10) Philadelphia trades the 83rd pick to Houston for the 101st and 141st picks

As you’ve come to see, the trading down teams tend to get the (much) better end of the bargain.  Here, the Eagles picked up 128 cents on the dollar. On the other hand, the Texans move up for Louis Nix III.  This move is okay by me: Nix was a first round pick on some boards, and is a monster nose tackle. Teams can probably neutralize him by double-teaming him, and double-teaming Jadeveon Clowney, and triple-teaming J.J. Watt and yeah I’m okay with what Houston did here.

11) New England trades the 93rd pick to Jacksonville for the 105th and 179th picks

The Patriots receive 116 cents on the dollar here. But again, shouldn’t New England be the team trading up and Jacksonville the one trading down?

12) In what was essentially a mirror of the last deal, San Francisco sent the 94th pick to Cleveland for the 106th and 180th picks.  Here, the 49ers received 112 cents on the dollar.

Jacksonville traded up for Miami (FL) guard Brandon Linder.  Cleveland traded for Towson running back Terrance West.


Last Wednesday, I looked at every time a team traded away a future first round draft pick in the last ten years. Today, the reverse: the times a team traded for a future first round pick.  I’ll again be focusing on the general manager or other person responsible for making the trade: that’s because future first round picks are generally discounted, and I’m curious to see how often patience is rewarded.  As we’ll see in our first example, hurting the team in the short term — even if the move looks brilliant in retrospect and is a win in the long term — does not necessarily mean much for the man making the deal.

1) Cleveland trades Trent Richardson to the Colts for a 2014 first round pick (Sept. 2013)

As a reminder, it was Tom Heckert who drafted Richardson with the third overall pick, so Lombardi doesn’t deserve any blame for the poor decision there.  In theory, Lombardi should have been rewarded for managing to still get a first round pick for Richardson, but instead, he just stacked the 2014 draft for Farmer.  For the franchise, it’s hard to view this trade as a great deal, because it’s connected to Richardson the draft pick (the Browns turned the 3rd pick in 2012 into the 26th pick in 2014). But as an isolated move, this one looks pretty strong for Cleveland and definitely for Lombardi, especially after how poorly Richardson performed in Indianapolis in 2013.

2) St. Louis trades 2012 first round pick (#2; Robert Griffin III) to Washington for 2012 first round pick (#6; Morris Claiborne), 2012 second round pick (#39; Janoris Jenkins), and 2013 first round pick (#22; Desmond Trufant) and 2014 first round pick (#2 overall) (March 2012)

A year ago, this trade arguably would define the Snead/Fisher era — in a bad way. Now, the Rams have managed to use one very valuable asset to restock the roster. Along with other trades, St. Louis wound up with four top 50 picks in 2012, two first round picks in 2013, and two more this year, including the second overall selection.  That hasn’t translated into much success on the field yet for Snead and Fisher, but it’s important to remember how bare the cupboard was when the duo arrived in 2012. Right now, this trade looks like a lopsided deal, but if RG3 can replicated his rookie season in 2014 — and Sam Bradford had another mediocre year — and the pendulum could swing again.

It’s worth noting that few decision makers would have been tempted to pull off this move. Fisher came to St. Louis in 2012 and was handed significant control.  That’s vital when a major part of the compensation involved a two year wait; that wasn’t a concern for Fisher, but I suspect it would be for most.

3) Cincinnati trades Carson Palmer to Oakland for 2012 first round pick (#17; Dre Kirkpatrick), 2013 second round pick (#37; Giovani Bernard) (October 2011)

Bernard and Kirkpatrick both look to be long-term starters in Cincinnati, while Palmer may have retired if the Bengals hadn’t traded him. This was an all-time great trade for Cincinnati and Lewis. The cherry on top is that Hue Jackson, who orchestrated the trade for Oakland, was Bernard’s position coach last year and will be the Bengals offensive coordinator in 2014. While the compensation wasn’t quite as generous, that’s as if Mike Lynn, the Vikings old general manager, moved on to the Dallas front office after the Herschel Walker trade.

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When a general manager trades away a future first round pick, it’s worth wondering if the transaction was the effect of the principal-agent problem. A general manager is supposed to act in the best interest of the franchise, but he may instead choose to act in his own self-interest. If he’s on the hot seat, trading a future first round pick for something right now may be a pretty attractive option, as he may not be around when the bill comes due.

Does that happen in practice? The most obvious example I can think of involved the Raiders in 2011.  On October 8th, Al Davis passed away. Eight days later, starting quarterback Jason Campbell went down for the season with a collarbone injury. With the owner and general manager positions unsettled, head coach Hue Jackson became the de facto head of football operations. And he traded first and second round picks to Cincinnati for Carson Palmer. Had the move worked out and the 4-2 Raiders gone on to make the playoffs, Jackson would have been very happy. When the move failed, the Raiders missed the playoffs and Jackson was fired. As a result, it was Reggie McKenzie sitting at the table when the bill arrived.

[click to continue…]


Michael Oher describes the size of McKinnie's lunch

Michael Oher describes the size of McKinnie's lunch.

This week, the Steelers and Ravens both made trades in an attempt to shore up their team’s blind spot. In Baltimore, Bryant McKinnie has taken every snap at left tackle this season — with mixed results. According to Pro Football Focus, McKinnie has been average as a pass blocker (although he’s allowed 11 quarterback hurries) and poor as a run blocker. After making a huge investment in Joe Flacco, Baltimore now must focus on protecting their franchise quarterback. Obviously the Ravens weren’t happy with McKinnie, but is Monroe the answer?

PFF gives Monroe slightly better grades, but Mike Tanier wrote a pretty scathing review after studying film on the the former Jaguars’ left tackle. On the other hand, PFF loved Monroe last season, ranking him as their 10th best left tackle. So was this a good deal for Baltimore? For Jacksonville?

The Jaguars end seems easier to analyze. Monroe is a free agent after the season, and the team didn’t view him as an elite left tackle (after all, the Jaguars drafted Luke Joeckel with the expectation that he would take over after Monroe left). That left them with three options: trade him now, let him play out the season and then walk, or franchise him and try to trade him for more in the spring. The latter would be the riskiest option, given that (1) they would be overpaying him, since he isn’t worth franchise tackle money, and (2) Kansas City was unable to unload Branden Albert last season (and for all we know, the Jaguars unsuccessfully tried to deal Monroe last year, too). So for Jacksonville, the benefit to keeping him would be getting 12 more games out of Monroe in a lost season and a 2015 compensatory pick (probably a 4th or 5th rounder).

Instead, Jacksonville received the Ravens 4th and 5th rounders next season. That’s hardly a good return on the 8th overall pick the team invested in him, but that’s a sunk cost at this point (and goes on the ledger of prior management). Trading him was the right move, although we don’t know if they could have gotten more from another team.

As for Baltimore? The team is now without its 4th, 5th, and 7th rounders last season, and may not have much to show for it in 2014 (the 7th was a conditional pick for A.Q. Shipley, currently backing up Gino Gradkowski at center). Baltimore does not have much cap room, which (1) will make it more difficult to resign Monroe (although he already has stated that he wants to stay in Baltimore), and (2) makes it even more important for the team to hit on its draft picks. The outlook isn’t much better for 2014: perhaps the Ravens can restructure the contract of Terrell Suggs, but Baltimore already has $115M allocated to just 40 players next year (and Haloti Ngata ($16M), Flacco ($14.8M), and Lardarius Webb ($10.5M) all have huge cap numbers).
[click to continue…]


On Friday, I examined the trades from Round 1 of the 2013 NFL Draft; yesterday, I looked at the trades from rounds two and three. Let’s take a look at what happened on Saturday:

Chip Kelly saw enough out of Barkley to trade for him.

Chip Kelly saw enough out of Barkley to trade for him.

1) Jacksonville traded #98 to Philadelphia for the 101st and 210th picks

With Kansas City reportedly interested in drafting USC quarterback Matt Barkley, Philadelphia jumped the Chiefs to give Chip Kelly another quarterback.  The Jaguars then selected Ace Sanders, the South Carolina slot receiver that they presumably wanted at 98, anyway.  If nothing else, he can do this.

Jacksonville team received 107 cents on the dollar according to the Football Perspective chart and 96 cents on the dollar according to the Jimmy Johnson chart.

Winner: Win-Win.  Kelly now has Michael Vick, Nick Foles, and Matt Barkley: we’ll see who emerges from that competition.  Meanwhile, I really like the idea of having Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts on the outside and Sanders in the slot.  If Maurice Jones-Drew is healthy, Blaine Gabbert will be out of excuses in 2013. Jacksonville also added Denard Robinson — who looks to be playing running back in the NFL — later in the draft, giving them one of the more interesting drafts of the weekend.

Chart Used: Combination of the two charts. As you’ll soon see, teams didn’t strictly adhere to the Jimmy Johnson chart often in the later rounds.
[click to continue…]


Yesterday, I examined the trades from Round 1 of the 2013 NFL Draft. Let’s take a look at what happened on Friday:

1) San Francisco traded #34 to Tennessee for the 40th and 216th picks plus a 2014 3rd rounder

The Titans traded up to draft Justin Hunter, the wide receiver from the University of Tennessee. It’s always difficult to value future draft picks, as every team has their own discount rate. So in addition having to figure out the value to be able to pick right now, we also don’t know whether that future pick will be in the beginning, middle, or end of the round. In this particular instance, it doesn’t matter, as the 49ers made out like bandits. For purposes of the calculator, I made the 2014 3rd rounder equal to the 97th pick in this draft. In that case…

The 49ers received 140 cents on the dollar according to the Football Perspective chart and 110 cents on the dollar according to the Jimmy Johnson chart.

On the bright side, with Hunter, Kenny Britt, and now Kendall Wright in the slot, Jake Locker has a lot of weapons this year. Throw in the additions of Andy Levitre and Chance Warmack, and the Titans have done everything they can to make the offense a strength in 2013. Still, it’s hard not to love what the 49ers did.

Winner: San Francisco, significantly. Not only did they get fantastic value, they then selected Tank Carradine, a top-20 talent at defensive end, with the 40th pick. Unreal. A day after the Vikings overpaid to draft one Volunteer receiver, the Titans do the same for the other.

Chart Used: The Jimmy Johnson chart with a dash of coach/GM on the hot seat

[click to continue…]


Analyzing the Trades in Day 1 of the 2013 Draft

There were five trades in the first round of the NFL Draft.  Who were the winners and losers?  Which draft chart was used — the traditional Jimmy Johnson chart or something closer to my chart?  I’ve never argued that teams use my chart when making trades (rather, I’ve argued simply that they should), but it’s worthwhile to see the trade market has shifted under the new CBA.

1) Oakland traded the #3 pick for Miami’s #12 and #42 picks

At the time, most thought the Dolphins were trading to select the last of the three left tackles, Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson.  Instead, Miami drafted Dion Jordan, the DE/OLB out of Oregon.  Jordan will team with Cameron Wake to give Miami an incredible set of pass rushers, although the left tackle situation remains unresolved.

My draft pick value calculator says the Raiders received 107% of the value they gave up, making it slightly in their favor.  On the other hand, the Jimmy Johnson chart says the Raiders only received 76% of the value of the third pick back.

Winner: Oakland.  The Raiders were able to select the player they really wanted (D.J. Hayden), so they essentially received the #42 pick for free.  Meanwhile, the Dolphins gave up a high second round pick, a risky move in a draft that is flat on talent.  Miami fans will be happy with Jordan now, and the team could still send their other second round pick to Kansas City for Branden Albert, but strictly on trade value, the Raiders won this one.
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We would like to start the bidding at Fort Knox.

We would like to start the bidding at Fort Knox.

This trade was a Win-Win-Win for all three sides. The Buccaneers received the best cornerback in the NFL when healthy, the perfect elixir for a team that ranked 1st against the run and 32nd against the pass in 2012. I’m a big fan of Josh Freeman, who should continue to improve as he matures. The Bucs were the 3rd youngest team in the NFL last year, making them a team on the rise. Adding Revis and Dashon Goldson to the secondary makes Tampa Bay an immediate playoff contender and a darkhorse Super Bowl contender.

Meanwhile, this is a big win for Revis, who received an incredible $96 million dollar contract and no longer has to worry about playing this season on a three million dollar base contract. Instead, he has a $13M base for each of the next six seasons, as well as a $1.5M workout bonus and $1.5M roster bonus in each season. By making $16M per season, he’s making just a hair below what Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald are making, and he’s trumped the averages per year going to Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson. He’s making not just quarterback money, but elite quarterback money. The trade-off for that insanely high annual figure is that he has little protection. Technically, he has no guaranteed money, but absent a season-ending injury — and maybe not even that — he’s going to make at least $32M over the next two years. And unless he falls apart, he’ll pocket $48M from 2013 to 2015, an incredible three-year haul. It’s also a few million dollars more than what DeMarcus Ware, Terrell Suggs, and Clay Matthews received on their monster deals. Unless Tampa Bay cuts Revis after two years — in which case they would have paid $32M and lost a first round draft pick and obviously received very little — a deal with no guaranteed money isn’t particularly risky for Revis. In reality, zero guaranteed dollars is a red herring, and Revis will receive $40+M over the next three years even if Tampa Bay cuts him after year two or $48M if he stays on the team.
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