Roster Turnover in 2017: Number 20-11

20. Saints

Snaps LostQuality Snaps LostQuality ST LostAvg. APY LostAvg. Rank
24.8%15.2%14.0%$1,242,26318.25

The Saints are almost always making lateral moves and this is more or less the same for them getting rid of a few key guys who are good enough to play in the NFL but not at a high level. The Saints are, because of their management of the salary cap, always in a position where situational players are given bigger roles which shows itself in the low APY of players lost. Now that number is a little lower than it should be because it includes the trade of Brandin Cooks on a rookie contract but the chart more or less summarizes why the team is stuck in neutral most years. If they had taken one year where they accepted a down season with bigger turnover they would probably be a lock as a playoff team instead of a 0.500 team.

19. Bears

Snaps LostQuality Snaps LostQuality ST LostAvg. APY LostAvg. Rank
22.3%14.3%9.8%$2,622,08317.5

This has to qualify as one of the oddest offseasons of all time.  The Bears were relatively average in their turnover despite having a terrible team last season and went out and signed an expensive free agent quarterback and drafted a top QB but sold off their best receiver.  This has all the makings of a front office giving a head coach enough rope to hang himself so that their hands are clean when they fire him next season. When final rosters are set and we revisit the snaps gained and lost I expect everything to cancel out except for Glennon. If Glennon fails expect wholesale changes in 2018 with Fox being the fall guy for 2017. I don’t know if that’s the way to run the team or not.

18. Titans

Snaps LostQuality Snaps LostQuality ST LostAvg. APY LostAvg. Rank
19.9%13.8%23.2%$1,646,50017.0

Following the salary cap on a league wide basis for over 5 years now, the Titans being average shouldn’t surprise me but for whatever reason it did. I really expected Tennessee to be active this year and they really weren’t.  They cut some so-so talent and replace it with so-so talent. I feel like this is a team that could have made a big leap but their refusal to really spend will cost them in the long run.

17. Patriots

Snaps LostQuality Snaps LostQuality ST LostAvg. APY LostAvg. Rank
15.8%15.8%8.0%$4,630,00016.5

How can you not be impressed with the Patriots?  They are the only team in the league that saw every snap they lost be signed by another team in the NFL. Not just that but at the 5th highest average salary to boot. It’s not like the Patriots had no free agents like a team like the Chiefs. They simply saw all their guys signed. It’s a big difference between the Patriots and the Falcons, who saw few of their players signed. For those wondering New England, from a salary perspective, replaced just about everyone so as long as they get similar performance they should be perfectly fine in 2017.

16. Texans

Snaps LostQuality Snaps LostQuality ST LostAvg. APY LostAvg. Rank
20.4%13.7%7.0%$6,216,66716.0

In terms of contract value nobody lost more than the Texans who sent off a big time contract in Brock Osweiler and lost AJ Bouye to free agency. Still even with all that they are only losing 14% of their quality snaps to free agency which is slightly below average. The question is can they overcome the loss of Bouye (we all know Osweiler was terrible) or will that have a major impact on the team. If they can do so expect another trip to the playoffs at 9-7, but if not expect a coaching change for failing to get back to the playoffs with a flawed team.

15. Browns

Snaps LostQuality Snaps LostQuality ST LostAvg. APY LostAvg. Rank
30.3%15.9%8.4%$2,522,70915.5

Not surprisingly the Browns differential between total snaps and quality snaps is very large (its 4th in the NFL) but unlike the Jets they were able to find some homes for a few of their players at a reasonable $2.5 million per year. The fact that Cleveland was able to find some homes for their players probably speaks to the mish mosh of talent they have collected from a multitude of general managers for a number of different systems. They can’t really be any worse than they were last season, but I guess in theory they can be if the additions, mainly coming via the draft, fail to even live up to replacement level standards.

14. Redskins

Snaps LostQuality Snaps LostQuality ST LostAvg. APY LostAvg. Rank
20.6%12.3%9.4%$4,961,94415.3

In what was a big surprise (for me at least) the Redskins let not just one but both their top receivers walk. Both signed pretty strong contracts, especially considering their age, which puts the Redskins in the top 5 for salary lost. Washington was willing to undergo a facelift as a contender which many teams won’t do. Im not sure if this done because they still do not know whether or not their quarterback for the long term is on the roster or because they simply saw those two as overpaid, but all three seem to show a team without a focus as Cousins and one of the other two could have been extended last year and early this winter.

13. Raiders

Snaps LostQuality Snaps LostQuality ST LostAvg. APY LostAvg. Rank
18.2%14.0%30.2%$3,371,97013.5

With a number of important extensions coming up, including the recent $25 million per year contract for Derek Carr, the Raiders were not in a position to really keep anyone that was somewhat expensive, but not vital to the long term future. So out the door go Latavius Murray, Malcolm Smith, Menelik Watson, and Andre Holmes, among others. They also gutted their special teams, likely opening the way for a number of low draft picks and UDFAs to make the team. I was actually surprised to see how much money some of the Raiders free agents went for but teams valued some of these players pretty highly.

12. Panthers

Snaps LostQuality Snaps LostQuality ST LostAvg. APY LostAvg. Rank
23.3%21.3%18.9%$2,150,37513.4

I think at this point Carolina is now able to make moves where finances are not the driving force as their salary cap is finally in order after 3 or 4 seasons of being in a real bind. While they did have a few key guys leave- Mike Remmers, AJ Klein, and Ted Ginn- the team was finally able to use free agency to try to improve on a disappointing year. My guess is when we factor in additions in the September version of this article, they may be one of the teams with the biggest expected changes, having added Matt Kalil, Captain Munnerlyn, Julius Peppers, Russell Shepard, and Mike Adams to the mix.

11. Lions

Snaps LostQuality Snaps LostQuality ST LostAvg. APY LostAvg. Rank
27.1%14.8%14.4%$3,093,45413.4

There was a lot of shifting by the Lions, who were a playoff team last year. They moved out Riley Reiff and Larry Warford, but paid big for Ricky Wagner and TJ Lang. The differential between the Lions snaps lost and quality snaps lost ranked 8th, which is pretty high for a playoff team and was second to the Falcons. The Lions in an attempt to upgrade the roster did sign a number of $3Mish type talents as they battle their own cap and contractual issues down the line.

Why The Patriots Would Use The May 9 Tender On LeGarrette Blount For Compensatory Pick Purposes

Jason has filled you on the news that the Patriots have placed a May 9 tender on LeGarrette Blount, and what that means.  As he points out, one aspect of doing so is to keep the Patriots’ option open for adding Blount to their compensatory free agents (CFAs) lost.  This reason was also cited by Jeff Howe, who first reported on the news of the Blount’s tender.  Here’s a look at what why the Patriots would do this, and how other teams should respond.

For the Patriots, it’s less about gaining a new compensatory pick and more about insuring against their other two.

Here is the Patriots’ current cancellation chart for 2018 compensatory picks:

New England Patriots
CFAs Lost: 5CFAs Gained: 3
NameRd.APYRankNameRd.APYRank
Logan Ryan3$10,000,00078Stephon Gilmore3$13,000,00043
Jabaal Sheard4$8,500,000122
Martellus Bennett5$6,750,000202
Barkevious Mingo7$2,500,000580Lawrence Guy6$3,350,000442
Chris Long7$2,250,000611Rex Burkhead6$3,150,000463

Ryan and Gilmore, both 3rd round values, obviously cancel each other out.  CFAs gained are never allowed to cancel out higher round CFAs lost unless there is no one left to cancel out. So Guy and Burkhead, both 6th rounders, cancel out Mingo and Long, both 7th rounders.  However, should there be a third 7th rounder (Blount), Guy and Burkhead would cancel out the highest valued 7th rounders first.  That last aspect is critical to understanding the minimal gains for the Patriots.

If Blount signs elsewhere for less than $2.25 million APY (i.e., less than Long), the 7th round pick that opens up is for Blount, at whatever APY he gets.  The problem though is that an APY less than $2.25 million is unlikely to make the 32-pick limit.  Looking at the current list, the last pick is going to the Bengals for Margus Hunt at $2.05 million APY. Also remember that running backs generally do not get as many snaps as other players, so Blount may need an even higher salary to account for that.  If Blount were able to get more than $2.25 million APY, he would be canceled out and the 7th round comp pick opened out would be for Long.  But again, on the current list Long would still be the very last pick.

So are the Patriots trying to make a play for the Mr. Irrelevant pick?  If they are thinking about comp picks, what’s more likely on their mind is the worry that Mingo or Long may not make their new teams’ rosters, and in the case of the 32 year old Long, retirement can’t be ruled out either.  If one of Mingo or Long is removed from the chart, the Patriots would lose their 5th round comp pick for Bennett. If both are removed, the Patriots would be completely shut out of comp picks.

As Jason explained, $1.1 million is probably a reasonable salary for someone like Blount at this point in his career.  Extending the tender is a low-cost move that insures against their better comp picks. And from a pure football standpoint, retaining Blount at that salary deepens their depth chart at running back with a player familiar with the system.

The risks for some other teams exist, but can be dealt with.

Half of the league has no reason to hold off on signing Blount since they’re not projected to get comp picks anyway.  Of course, that was true both before and after the May 9 tender, so if any of those teams wanted Blount they could have already had him.

Of the 15 teams with comp picks on the line, the Giants and Ravens are two teams that reports have linked him to.  The Giants hypothetically have some comp pick risk in signing Blount but in looking at their cancellation chart the risk is low:

New York Giants
CFAs Lost: 4CFAs Gained: 1
NameRd.APYRankNameRd.APYRank
Johnathan Hankins4$9,000,000107
Robbie Gould7$2,000,000655Rhett Ellison6$4,475,000347
Marshall Newhouse7$1,550,000758
Coty Sensabaugh7$1,300,000821
Non-Qualifying UFAs LostNon-Qualifying UFAs Gained
Shaun Draughn$975,000968
Geno Smith$975,000969
Valentino Blake$855,0001040

It is very important to keep in mind that the two 7th rounders for Newhouse and Sensabaugh are not projected to make the 32-pick limit; they are 36th and 37th in line.  So it’s only their 4th for Hankins that they have to worry about. Regarding the three players they signed that aren’t currently projected to qualify as CFAs, the Giants could always cut them (or Blount) if they feel their contribution isn’t worth giving up a 4th round pick. (And in the case of Draughn, he might be cut as a direct result of signing Blount, as they also drafted Wayne Gallman.)

The Giants could fear that Newhouse and/or Sensabaugh could be cut, and as I noted yesterday in the case of the latter the Steelers could have a large comp pick incentive of their own, as doing so would pick up a 5th rounder for Markus Wheaton.  But even if that happened, again the Giants could cut Blount or any of the bubble CFAs that could interfere later on in the season.

The bottom line as I see it is if the Giants think Blount is worth bringing in on football merits, any risk that they take on against their 4th rounder for Hankins can be mitigated in multiple ways throughout the regular season.

The Ravens’ chart is more straightforward:

Baltimore Ravens
CFAs Lost: 5CFAs Gained: 3
NameRd.APYRankNameRd.APYRank
Ricky Wagner3$9,500,00091
Kyle Juszczyk6$5,250,000295Tony Jefferson4$8,500,000125
Lawrence Guy6$3,350,000442Brandon Carr5$5,750,000265
Kamar Aiken7$2,600,000559Danny Woodhead7$2,933,333503
Vladimir Ducasse7$1,166,667868

As of now, the Ravens could afford to sign Blount and only have him cancel out Ducasse, who is also projected to miss the 32-pick limit. However, as with the Steelers and Sensabaugh, the Bills could have an incentive to cut Ducasse if they want to make an effort to recoup a 3rd round comp pick for Stephon Gilmore.  If that happened after signing Blount, the Ravens would lose their 3rd rounder for Ricky Wagner.  Ozzie Newsome, of course, pays keen attention to compensatory picks, so that may not be a risk he’s willing to take.  As with the Giants, should the Bills cut Ducasse the Ravens could also do the same with Blount to reopen the pick for Wagner.

Could a tag-and-trade be an option?

If the Giants or Ravens are interested in Blount but are also very worried about their comp picks, I wonder if they could mitigate that concern by trading for Blount for minimal compensation after he signs his tender.  It’s a move that would be quite typical of Bill Belichick always thinking one step ahead. I don’t know if Blount would qualify as a CFA in that scenario, and I am not aware of any comp pick situation in which a team re-signed one of their own UFAs only to trade him later.  If the Patriots did pose that option to Blount and the Giants or Ravens, a call into the NFL Management Council would be prudent just to see what the rules of the formula say about that.

2018 Compensatory Draft Picks Update (5/9/2017)

With the league offices closing for today, the second Tuesday after the 2017 NFL Draft, it also closes out the addition of compensatory free agents (CFAs) into the formula for the 2018 NFL Draft.  With only CFA subtractions now possible due to cuts or too low of a salary, it’s time to take a look at the list that’s emerged. Continue reading 2018 Compensatory Draft Picks Update (5/9/2017) »

Are Rookie Contracts Contributing to Lack of Salary Growth

With salaries rising in recent years one of the less talked about issues is the changes in the rookie wage scale from the prior CBA. I always thought that overall this entire topic was not understood very well by many writing on it who tried to frame the entire first round as having been drastically hurt, when it was just the top few players, but the point was to protect teams from the financial commitment to busts which this does. I think the bigger side of this though is that it may be something that has helped put an artificial hold on top salaries and when you have a first round like yesterdays I think it better illustrates that point. Continue reading Are Rookie Contracts Contributing to Lack of Salary Growth »

Swiped Contract of the Week

So each week or so I am going to continue to post contracts that we have independently sourced on OTC which are being used to populate the Spotrac databases with no credit whatsoever being given.  Its been going on for years and Im sure it wont stop but at least I can bring more attention to the practice. Last week we looked at the Reshad Jones contract and this week we will look at Michael Oher. Continue reading Swiped Contract of the Week »

Swiped Contract of the Week

For those of you who follow me on Twitter you know often I’ll post some gripes about the sourcing of contract information, specifically as it pertains to the website Spotrac.  Spotrac began operating a few years before OTC trying their best to cover salary data for all major sports. It was an impressive attempt at finding ways to aggregate data in one place and build on various reports, but completely lacking when it came to football. Sure they had contracts online but the majority were wrong and grossly miscalculated.  That was understandable because the NFL was a bit trickier than the other sports. Continue reading Swiped Contract of the Week »