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New CBA and draft strategies

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by PromisedLand, Apr 17, 2006.

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  1. PromisedLand

    PromisedLand Virtual Internet Person

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    One thing I haven't seen discussed is how the new CBA will affect draft strategy. In particular, a seemingly minor change to the CBA is the fact that teams will no longer be able to sign draftees to contracts over 4 years in length, except for the top 16 picks in the first round. Given the fact that draftees tend to play for short money compared to veterans in their 2nd or 3rd contract, and given the salary cap, it is a huge advantage to be able to stock your roster with productive draftees. But most draftees don't contribute much in their first or even second seasons. So with the CBA changes teams will be limited in most cases to getting only two productive years (years 3 and 4) from a draft pick with a low cap number.

    As we all know, the Patriots have preferred to sign their first round picks to 7 year contracts, even letting Ben Watson go to hold out rather than letting him sign for 6 years. Perhaps they will therefore attempt to move up from #21 to #16 or better in the first round?

    The contract length limit should rightfully alter the widely used fair value chart. After all, the #17 pick is now worth considerably less than #16, since the player you pick at #16 can be signed for 6 years (I believe that is now the maximum for the first 16 picks?) vs. only 4 for the #17 pick. That's like getting 4 or 5 productive years vs. only 2 or 3 for the price of the rookie contract. Some of the slower GM's might not even have realized it yet! So maybe the Pats can "steal" a top 16 pick for a #21 and whatever lower picks would represent the fair value difference under the traditional chart?
  2. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    There was a brief mention here :

    http://www.patsfans.com/new-england-patriots/messageboard/showthread.php?t=34197

    It would seem like this would add a little value to trading up for teams, like the Patriots, who like to sign first round picks to 6 year deals.

    BTW, the fight for Watson was over 5 vs. 6 years, not 6 vs. 7. Also, Mankins signed a 5 year deal so maybe we're softening a little on that stance.
  3. jct

    jct Rookie

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    Also the bottom half of first round can be 5 years.
    Good strategic post though.
  4. PromisedLand

    PromisedLand Virtual Internet Person

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    Thanks for the corrections and the pointer to the previous thread - I hadn't seen it before. So to summarize:

    Picks 1-16 contracts can be up to 6 years
    Picks 17-32 can be up to 5 years
    Picks 33 and later can be up to 4 years

    If that's the case, there is less strategic advantage to moving up from, say, 17 to 16 than I thought. However, even one extra year at a low rookie contract salary cap number can be valuable when you consider that most rookies are not ready to contribute for 1-2 years. That is especially the case for rookies taken in later rounds, so if you draft someone in rounds 2-7 now you are really drafting a guy who will probably only contribute to your team for 2 years (4 minus 2) before he is a free agent.

    Maybe the most important effect of this change will be to cause teams to draft guys more on what they can do right now as opposed to potential.
  5. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Rookie

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    Bye Bye developmental projects

    Y'all have overlooked a likely consequence however. With the reduced length of rook contracts, fewer developmental "projects" will be taken or kept. The 3 or 4 year projects are now screwed by their Union, who is supposed to be protecting them. If you can't develop in two years, forget it. Why should a club waste the time, only to lose him after four ???
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2006
  6. spacecrime

    spacecrime Rookie

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    Like Stephen Neal. Took three years for him to play. Got one year at $1.4 mil, then he hit FA. If he had gotten a better offer, he'd be gone and some team would benefit from Scar taking three years to train a wrestler to be an OG.
  7. PromisedLand

    PromisedLand Virtual Internet Person

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    I didn't overlook that - I said it right here:

    So I agree! ;)
  8. PromisedLand

    PromisedLand Virtual Internet Person

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    Except he wasn't a draft pick.

    http://www.patriots.com/team/index.cfm?ac=playerbio&bio=12370

    But I'm sure we can come up with lots of examples of guys who didn't contribute much until their 3rd or 4th year. Troy Brown was cut his first year and didn't really step out of the shadows until 2001. Bruschi was a special teams player and not much more for his first 5 years in the league. Dan Graham was a hit or miss type guy for his first two years. David Givens did absolutely zilch his first year. I'm sure there are better examples...
  9. PatsFanInVa

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    Seems that after 4 years (in the case of the first 16 picked,) you have to develop fast - even if picking a "late bloomer" you have to be patient with, at the top of the first round, is a bit of a stretch as a strategy.

    But then again, if he doesn't pan out after four years, and he hits FA, what kind of offer can he get? It would seem that if you're dead certain about your developmental strategy, you could extend him after three in the off-season. In other words, that gate's not closed, it just works differently.

    It seems like the ones you want to develop slowly are your later round picks. You might not expect instant production out of first rounders, but four years is on the outside of most teams' patience as it is. Even so, when you get into the five-six year realm, you have a pretty good idea of what you've got, and so has the rest of the league. If you like where it's going, you can still extend him. If not, someone else may see treasure in your trash, but that's always been the case.

    PFnV
  10. spacecrime

    spacecrime Rookie

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    So what? Go back and read post #5, the one to which I responded and quoted.

    The post was about taking on projects and developing them.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2006
  11. smg93

    smg93 Rookie

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    What hasn't been mentioned yet is the effect this will have on free agency. that to me is equally as interesting because you'll have more players available to be taken.

    The shortening of the lengths of rookie contracts will force every team, yes even the Pats, to be more active in free agency because there will be a lot more players to sign and only one player (unless you have multiple top 16 picks in one draft) you can possibly keep on a 5 year rookie contract every year if you picked in the top 16 of the draft every single year.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2006
  12. Mike the Brit

    Mike the Brit Minuteman Target PatsFans.com Supporter

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    In principle, if it means that teams get less benefit from the length of a rookie contract, of course it will make the rookies less desirable.

    But what happens in practice? The Patriots push for long contracts for their rookies, but then, when a very successful (but also extremely well rewarded, by rookie standards) top ten pick holds out of training camp because he has "outplayed his contract" they revise the terms of the rookie contract in his favour. If that's what's going to happen regularly (and, if it has happened once, it's surely bound to happen again) then I don't see what the difference is in having long contracts. Better to re-negotiate earlier, at the risk of losing the player, in my view. At least everyone knows where they stand and there's no hard feelings.
  13. 14thDragon

    14thDragon Rookie

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    I'm not sure the change does all that much except accentuate the status quo.

    Teams all will have the smae pool of money to spend on players. How that gets divided up will go along established patterns. More and more teams sit pat in free agency unless they are the Redskins or figure they are a player or 2 away from the Super Bowl.

    When you draft a player, you do your best to get the right guy, then instead of five years down the road now it will be four, that he can hit the open market. Thus you need to always be maximizing your draft picks. Now 1 bad draft or 2 mediocure (sp?) drafts will kill a couple of seasons because you were unable to restock the cupboards.

    The guys who will really get hit from this is the veterans, who will see younger, faster talent hitting the market sooner and causing the contracts given to the aging veterans go down as young players hit FA faster.
  14. Miguel

    Miguel Patriots Salary Cap Guru PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The project guys are drafted on Day 2. If a Day 2 pick develops, is he better served playing under a 4-year deal or a 5-year deal?? IMO, a 4-year deal. Ask David Givens if he had rather signed a 5-year deal in 2002.
  15. smg93

    smg93 Rookie

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    Actually, IMO the reverse is true. So many more guys will be hitting FA a year earlier. Because of that, you wont have to rely on the draft as much as in previous years because a bad draft can be cured more immediately due to more FA's being available a year sooner.
  16. Miguel

    Miguel Patriots Salary Cap Guru PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I agree with 14thdragon. I think that teams are going to extend players in their rookie deals more than they have done so in the draft making the draft more important in finding young, talented players.
  17. smg93

    smg93 Rookie

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    We'll see in four years.
  18. Miguel

    Miguel Patriots Salary Cap Guru PatsFans.com Supporter

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    We have been already seeing teams locking up their young talent as the cap increases.
  19. PromisedLand

    PromisedLand Virtual Internet Person

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    I don't know if the CBA limits the length of free agent rookie contracts, that's why I was talking about draft picks.
  20. PromisedLand

    PromisedLand Virtual Internet Person

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    It seems to me that the bottom line effect of all this is to lower the value of draft picks. If a team can only be guaranteed of a player's services for a shorter period of time then the pick is relatively less valuable.

    A couple of folks have mentioned that teams can "extend" players. If a player under his rookie contract is doing well, he will be looking to get to the open market and will not agree to an extension unless he is convinced the team that drafted him is paying him as much or more than he would get in free agency. (See Givens, David.) On the other hand, if a player under his rookie contract is not contributing much yet, he may agree to an extension but he wouldn't have commanded much on the open market anyway, so the team is not gaining much by extending him while he is still under contract, and on the other hand they are risking whatever part of his extension is guaranteed will cost them more than the player will be worth both in terms of real dollars and cap space.

    I often find it useful when trying to understand the effects of some change on a system to think of the change in the extreme. Suppose that the CBA were changed so that all draft picks could only be signed for one year; then all players (unless they voluntarily agreed to an extension) would become free agents. In that extreme scenario draft picks would be almost worthless and the player personnel system would be run almost entirely under free agency, a free market system albeit with a salary cap.

    In the actual case we see shortening rookie contracts which takes us a step closer to that extreme scenario. Each step closer reduces the value of a draft pick to the teams until in the extreme they are almost worthless.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2006
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