Examining the Proven Performance Escalator

The eve of free agency carries with it the promise of new fortune. When the annual spending spree launches in earnest tomorrow, it will bring life-changing pay raises to dozens of younger players. A number of other fourth-year players, meanwhile, will enjoy more modest pay increases in the coming season due to an aspect of the collective bargaining agreement called the Proven Performance Escalator.

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Projecting The 2017 Compensatory Draft Picks

This article refers specifically to OTC’s projection for the 2017 NFL Draft’s compensatory picks. For details on the basics and methodology of projecting compensatory picks in general, please reference this article.

Furthermore, due to the complexity I have written separate articles on all possible compensatory pick scenarios on the Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins.  You may find the Broncos’ article at Thin Air, and the Dolphins’ article here at OTC. Continue reading Projecting The 2017 Compensatory Draft Picks »

#CBA2020: Replace The NFL Draft With An Auction

Saw Mike Silver from NFL Network and Sports Illustrated tweeting about the idea of abolishing the draft in a conversation about the Joey Bosa situation. My first reaction to this was that this could make teams have to pay more than the current draft positions dictate as they could be forced to pay closer to fair market value for a player. I decided to take some notes and explore that idea.

Continue reading #CBA2020: Replace The NFL Draft With An Auction »

Looking at the NFL Rookie Contracts

I thought it might be fun during the draft to put up our contract estimates for each player but to also show where they should rank by contract annual value. While we all expect a lot from our draft picks and anyone who is not a star is generally considered a bust, in reality we don’t need exceptional play to get fair value for the player. The reason is because the actual player salary is generally so far down on the APY charts that many times average play will justify the actual year by year investment. So the following table will show the basic contract estimates for each player and the current NFL players who rank just above and below the draft picks salary.  Continue reading Looking at the NFL Rookie Contracts »

Drafting Decisions and the Salary Cap 2016

Last year I worked on a draft valuation project that got a bit of attention and I wanted to update the charts for the year. Essentially what we have done is to rework the old trade value charts as developed by the Dallas Cowboys with a financial model that turns every draft slot into an expected salary. The salary reflects the equivalent performance a team would expect from a veteran player that could potentially be signed in free agency. Effectively this allows us to assign a “market price” to a player before he ever steps onto the field. So Ill rehash some of that in here and post the updated numbers for the season.

Continue reading Drafting Decisions and the Salary Cap 2016 »

Evaluating the QB Drafting Decision

Following the Rams big trade to get a QB in the draft immediately people started creating trade scenarios with certain teams that “don’t need” quarterbacks. That got me to thinking about why we are so convinced that teams should bypass the quarterback because of current roster construction when there are viable players to be selected. If this is the most important player on the field why take such a short term view or narrow minded approach to drafting a QB? So with that in mind here is a pretty long look at some of the things that really should go into the decision making process. Continue reading Evaluating the QB Drafting Decision »

NFL Draft Review: Who Gained the Most Contract Value

With the NFL draft complete, I thought it would be good to back to the discussions concerning different ways to measure draft value and apply it to this year’s draft. For those of you new to OTC, what I am doing is assigning an average veteran salary for the expected Approximate Value of each draft slot. This page will contain links to the various draft articles that explain it in detail, but this allows us to describe the salary cap (and cash) benefits a team will realize over the next four seasons if a team get’s average draft performance at each slot.

Now since I wrote the prior articles the rookie salaries have risen greatly based on reports of the Buccaneers contract with Jameis Winston reaching $25.35 million. I’ve now adjusted the numbers accordingly and that actually makes a few of the top picks actually overpriced rather than underpriced. Here is how each team made out in the draft.

TeamNumberEst. CostTrue ValueGain
Cleveland Browns12$12,229,130$23,984,540$11,755,410
New England Patriots11$8,625,569$18,737,421$10,111,852
New Orleans Saints9$10,052,496$19,916,756$9,864,260
San Francisco 49ers10$8,889,677$18,426,890$9,537,213
Cincinnati Bengals9$7,999,277$17,272,276$9,272,999
Kansas City Chiefs9$8,121,292$17,226,724$9,105,432
Baltimore Ravens9$7,769,289$16,868,229$9,098,940
Minnesota Vikings10$9,585,131$18,650,373$9,065,242
St. Louis Rams9$8,994,074$17,437,162$8,443,088
Washington Redskins10$11,903,730$20,262,182$8,358,452
Tennessee Titans9$12,061,362$20,176,386$8,115,024
Oakland Raiders10$12,245,913$19,907,269$7,661,357
Indianapolis Colts8$6,634,782$14,256,901$7,622,119
Pittsburgh Steelers8$7,123,930$14,678,711$7,554,782
Green Bay Packers8$6,726,054$14,279,827$7,553,773
Denver Broncos9$7,588,853$15,104,104$7,515,251
Miami Dolphins7$7,011,200$14,439,824$7,428,624
Seattle Seahawks8$5,414,076$12,654,887$7,240,812
Arizona Cardinals7$6,464,026$13,647,879$7,183,853
Dallas Cowboys8$6,891,954$13,918,320$7,026,367
Detroit Lions7$6,418,952$13,422,025$7,003,074
Atlanta Falcons7$8,246,244$15,213,024$6,966,781
Jacksonville Jaguars8$11,242,246$17,938,722$6,696,476
Houston Texans7$6,991,627$13,632,499$6,640,872
Tampa Bay Buccaneers7$11,300,383$17,775,264$6,474,881
Chicago Bears6$8,260,603$14,680,215$6,419,613
New York Giants6$7,700,959$13,718,124$6,017,165
Philadelphia Eagles6$6,083,553$11,967,524$5,883,971
New York Jets6$8,787,108$14,496,569$5,709,461
San Diego Chargers5$5,822,331$11,493,822$5,671,492
Buffalo Bills6$4,293,975$9,823,735$5,529,761
Carolina Panthers5$5,512,837$10,903,335$5,390,498

The Big Gainers

Since the majority of the draft is underpriced, obviously teams that have more picks are going to skew higher. No team had more picks in the draft than the Browns and they clearly led the way with a gain of nearly $11.8 million per year by using rookies instead of an equivalent veteran player. The Browns made out great in part because they had two mid first round picks which are extremely valuable.

The Patriots came in second with 11 picks and just over $10 million in gains with the Saints coming in third with $9.8 million in salary gains.

Of those three teams the Saints have the most upside potential if we take positional drafting into account. They came away with a potential left tackle. Quarterback, a few pass rushers and corners in the draft.  Those are all big premier pay spots and the benefits are tremendous if you hit on those players. The other two teams were nearly as focused on those high impact/pay positions. Given the Saints cap situation they need the help.

All told, 9 teams will receive over $9 million in value if they get average performance for their rookies over the next four years. So those teams clearly have some leeway in the event a pick underperforms his slot.

Highest Upside Players

Despite having just 5 picks, the Chargers received very good value in those top three picks, which brought their class average to over $1.1 million per draft pick in expected cap savings. The enthusiasm should be tempered a bit based on their top pick being a running back, but they really positioned themselves well in the draft.

New Orleans came in second even though they had all those picks, which really goes to show the potential strength of their draft this year. We round out the top 5 with the Panthers, Bears, and Dolphins. Miami may have the most ultimate upside based on a few of the positions they targeted.

The Limited Gains

Five teams project to less than $5 million per year in salary gains if their picks are just average. That doesn’t mean a bad draft, it just means the teams may require above average performances from their picks to make up for the low amount of picks/less than ideal slot locations.

Carolinas lack of a third round pick is what hurt them the most though they also didn’t have those late round picks to help them either. With no first or fourth round pick, the Bills were always going to be near the bottom of this list. The Chargers, Jets, and Eagles round out the bottom 5.