Yet another Givens thread...statistically speaking
Many of you are familiar with the Football Outsiders statistical ranking system. Their method isolates every play of the season, and measures it to the league average play of that type, i.e. every rush on 3rd and 3, every pass on 1st and 10, etc.
Using these numbers, they rank players at each position, by their production vs. the league average. This method tends to be more reliable than typical metrics like yards and touchdowns, because it neutralizes the effect of running offenses vs. passing offenses, teams that throw to one receiver and teams that distribute the ball around, and teams that are usually ahead vs. teams that are playing catch-up. It also tracks how many passes are thrown his way, and reception percentage. (Branch and Givens were ranked #1-2 in 2004 in fewest passes dropped. Sadly, they declined this season).
In 2005, Givens was the 28th best receiver in the NFL. (Branch was 12th) So by this measuring stick, he definitely is good enough to be a #1 receiver (as we've seen by his increased production when Branch is hurt).
One thing to keep in mind that it is impossible to separate player from quarterback, so don't expect to see many 49ers or Bears ranked highly.
Here's Givens and the five players North and South of him, minimum 50 times thrown to, both 2005 ranking, and 2004 ranking for comparative purposes. Some guys are improving with age and experience, some are declining for the same reasons, and some are relatively consistent:
23-J.Smith JAC (2004 #30)
24-R.Moss OAK (#22)
25-D.Stallworth NO (#46)
26-D.Jackson SEA (#29)
27-T.Owens PHI (#10)
28-D.Givens NE (#24)
29-B.Engram SEA (#44)
30-Ro.Williams DET (#60)
31-M.Robinson MIN (#38)
32-K.Johnson DAL (#20)
33-A.Hakim NO (#39)
#17 Reggie Wayne (ranked #1 in 2004)
#20 Derrick Mason (#23)
#21 Joe Jurevicius (DNQ)
#22 Antonio Bryant (#41 in 2004)
#34 Troy Brown (DNQ)
#56 Eric Moulds (#45, badly trails teammate Evans in last two years)
#75 Antwaan Randle-El (#42)
#81 Muhsin Muhammad (#3 in 2004)
#83 Brandon Lloyd (#55)
#89 David Patten (#32 in 2004)
My conclusion is that Givens is a borderline #1/2 WR. The only FAs out there who are as effective would be Owens (no), Wayne (too $$), Jurevicius, and Bryant.
Obviously, statistical metrics by themselves don't tell the entire story, and are just a tool I use in evaluation. It is unknown if any GMs put any stock in this type of evaluation either. However, I think it backs up what we've been talking about anecdotally, That while Givens isn't the type of receiver who traditionally commands top dollars, his standing in relation to the WR free agent class is going to make him a popular target for teams needing a top 2 WR. And Antwaan Randle-El hasn't done anything yet to justify a starting WR job or salary, although his best years are clearly ahead of him. Andre Davis hasn't been healthy often enough to get ranked, but would have finished #45 or so, so he is an option if healthy. In his last healthy season (2003) he was ranked #14.
If Givens leaves, Bryant, Jurevicius, and possibly Moulds are the only WRs who have demonstrated (recently) that they can replace his effectiveness. And as each one signs and the supply shrinks, the price tag on the remainder goes up.
I think it's important for BB to make his best offer to Givens as soon as possible. In the last three years, he's been ranked 26th, 24th, and 28th, which is really ideal for the #2 WR. There's no reason we shouldn't expect another 3-4 years of similar numbers. If Givens signs elsewhere, unless Andre Davis or a draft pick plays there, we could well end up paying more money than Givens would've cost us.
So, bb makes his best offer as soon as possible, as you suggest. Why should Givens not wait and see what other have to offer?
Aside from not being able to adjust for QB, there are other flaws in this system. While it sounds like a play by play comparison between players, note that here it only counts pass intended for the receiver.
That eliminates maybe the most important factor of a WRs talent, getting open.
For example, if Brady had completed a few more of those long passes to Andre Davis, his ranking in these kind of stats would be off the charts. Why? Because the only time he was thrown to was when the Pats set up a play to get him open deep, or attacked a blown coverage. On the other hand if you look at someone like Troy Brown from 00-02, he was one of the only options. While he caught a lot of passes, he was doubled, a marked man, etc. So he ended up with a lower yards per reception, and probably a lower comp % on passes thrwon to him than if he wasnt heavily the primary focus of the D.
If a guy gets open 60 times in a season and catches 30 passes, is that better than a guy who gets open 200 and catches 100? These numbers, if I understand them correctly, would say both players are equal.
Assuming the QB only throws to receivers when they are judged to be open, I agree with you that the 200/100 receiver is more valuable. But it says something about the other offensive weapons too. Steve Smith was thrown to a lot more than Deion Branch, Hines Ward, or Reggie Wayne.
However, it is significant that Branch got thrown to 30 more times than Givens. Or is it? It's less than two per game.
In another thread, i shared your conclusion here - make best offer NOW.
There is such a notion as an offer absolutely so attractive ... that the person lucky enough to get it ... jumps to take it, without soliciting others. (Such as when you get engaged!)
In 2001 Troy Brown was the 8th rated wideout.
In 2002 Troy Brown was the 65th rated wideout.
I do not see where this system fail to rank Troy properly
If what you are saying is true why does the site differentiate between wideouts who caught at least 50 passes and those who do not???
Stats aside, I think that David Givens does a good job of getting open and is a good route runner.
Heat lists Bryant, Jurevcius, and possibly Moulds as the best alternatives to Givens in the FA mkt. Cleveland may try hard to resign Bryant as their #1 suffered Achilles trouble at the end of the year,also, he doesn't seem a good prospect for a spread-it-around offense. Jurevicius and Moulds are more sure-handed but not with a lot of tread left. If we have to go with one of them, we would need to go for a 1st day draft pick for the future from what seems to be a weak group. Paying Givens may be our best way out, regardless of what it does to the future negotiations with the Twig. Paying 20% more than BB's value for the position could be the cheapest way out in the long run. Then we could draft to replace #3 And #4 positions. It would be nice to get a stud OL, but we know we won't be handcuffed without one with DG and the Twig.
Nice post, Dryheat. Re-emphasises my position on this offseason. It will probably be more cost effective (not to mention more cohesive for the offense) to resign Givens, instead of looking elsewhere. That is, unless, he goes totally mercenary on us (see: Ty Law). I feel the same way about Neal and the O line. Maybe spend a #3 or the #4 on these spots? This draft is stuffed full of amazing defensive players, and this is where we should look to see top picks go. Especially up the middle. Say ILB and S?
From what I've read, next year is gonna be good for O linemen. Maybe we go there then. Maybe look for a real freak reciever then too.
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