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What is Graham worth? What about Deion?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by dryheat44, Jun 8, 2006.

  1. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Rookie

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    Let's play GM. We're going to assume we'd prefer to keep both rather than lose them to FA. You're Belioli. What is your best offer to Graham? What is your best offer to Deion? They're both 27, although I think Graham will turn 28 during the season.

    TE: Franchise tender: $3,327,000 (avg top 5)
    Transition tender: $2,718,000 (avg top 10)

    WR:
    Franchise tender: $6,172,000
    Transition tender: $5,160,000


    For my part, I'm offering Graham a four year deal at 3.5, 2.5, 2.5, 3.5, with an 8 million SB.

    I'd offer Branch 5 years at 5.25, 5.5, 5.75, 6, 6.5 with a 10 million SB.
  2. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    re

    Given:
    - the depth at TE
    - emergence of Watson
    - Graham's injury history
    - Graham's average hands
    - the short time it takes for a TE to start immediately
    - improved offensive line and RB's for pass protection
    ---> Graham is worth 2Million. Any more and he is either not re-signed or traded.

    Given:
    - little depth or many question marks at WR
    - difficulty in finding a #1 receiver in the NFL
    - the time it takes to develop a productive NFL receiver
    - the skill to get open consistently and catch the ball
    ---> Branch is worth approximately 5-5.5Million. He has to be signed.
  3. Lamanai

    Lamanai Rookie

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    Do your salaies include the amortized bonus or not. If not, I think the figures are too high. For instance, Branch is getting about $26.5 million in the first three years. Why not just let him play out 2006 and franchise him in 07 and 08 ? The cost would be considerably less (>$15 million), and you always have the option of paying less if he blows out a knee or something. By then, he'd be a 30 year old, and probably heading toward the downside of his career. Same argument can be made with Graham. JMO.

    If the salaries you listed include the bonus, they look pretty reasonable to me.
  4. rabthepat

    rabthepat Rookie

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    I agree with you...

    that someone might offer him that amount of money but I never would if I were the owner/GM. I'd offer $2-$3 Million per year with a $5 million SB for Branch. I, personally, do not consider him in the top 10 NFL receivers. Also, with the way the Pats distribute the ball he'll never have sky high numbers. Then there is the Chad Jackson factor. If he can step it up then Branch has less leverage.

    Graham I'd offer $1.2-$2 million ayear with a $2.3 million SB.
  5. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Rookie

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    The salaries do not include the amoritized bonus. However I don't plan on Graham reaching the fourth year, and if Branch is going to see years four or five, he'd better morph into a top 10 WR, otherwise he'll be a cap casualty.

    Right after I posted, I thought maybe I put Branch a little bit high, so you're probably right. However, who knows what the franchise number is going to be in '07 and '08? Don't forget, under this plan Deion's salary will increase by 20% in '08. And I'd rather not use the franchise tag for the bitterness it causes.

    I do think Deion will be a productive receiver into his early thirties, although maybe in the slot position.
  6. spacecrime

    spacecrime Rookie

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    Given all the stuff that you "give," I'd agree with your conclusion. Problem is that your "Givens" are opinions. Opinions are great, we all have them, but sometimes they conflict with facts.

    Graham has an injury history and Branch does not?

    Branch has great hands, graham has bad hands? Right now, not three years ago.

    It is hard to find a No.1 WR and not a top TE? There were a lot of top WRs in the free agent market, but zero top TEs.

    It takes more time to develop a WR than a TE? Here is BB on the subject of TEs and FBs having to learn their position:

    Q: Is Garrett Mills a little bit a head in the system because of the way he was used at Tulsa?

    BB: I don’t know if he’s ahead in the system, but I think he has a lot of different skills. He’s run routes as a tight end, as a back, as a receiver. He’s been in a pretty sophisticated offense. So I think that his skills, he’s had an opportunity to work on some of those things. In terms of the system and terminology and all that, he probably still has a lot of learning to do there. But he’s a smart kid, he seems to be picking it up pretty quick, as does Dave [Thomas]. You know, the tight ends and the fullback, whatever you want to call those guys, they really do most of the formationing. Obviously the quarterback, the tailback and the linemen don’t move too much. The receivers move some, but less than the tight ends or fullbacks. In terms of formationing and being involved in the running game, the passing game, dealing with linebackers, secondary players and at times linemen, it’s kind of like playing middle linebacker. You just have a lot more things to deal with, regardless of what the play is. Pete [Mangurian] is doing a great job with them. He’s a very good teacher and I think he categorizes things well for them to learn them. They’re working hard to try to get them down. It’s a lot to learn.


    http://www.patriots.com/mediacenter/index.cfm?ac=audionewsdetail&pid=19149&pcid=85

    All this said, I don't think you and I are far apart on numbers. I think you are low in both cases. I think Graham can be had for about 2.5-3 mil, and Branch for about 6-6.5 mil.

    The difference is that I think if we sign Graham for 2.5 Mil, we still have 3 mil or so to sign an excellent FA WR who could match Branch's production. Remember the "spread the ball' philosophy. It is more important to have a full stable of receivers (WR-TE-FB-RB) who can all catch the ball very well, than to have one highly paid star and a lesser quality supporting cast. Singing Branch for even 5.5 or 6 mil, we will not have the money to sign a top TE even if one should come available..
  7. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    WOW!

    Giving them the franchise each year would be much cheaper.

  8. PatsWorldChamps

    PatsWorldChamps Rookie

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    that's what i was gonna say
  9. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    Keep in mind, the tender numbers you cite are the 2006 tag tenders - which are based upon 2005 salaries if I'm not mistaken... the slew of new CBA cap inflated contracts will be factored in next year's franchise and transition numbers - and most certainly by agents representing Branch and other FA #1 WRs

    So I think, as we've discussed before, if you are looking at a salary for Branch, his agent is going to start with David Givens numbers and then look for a hefty boost above that.

    When it comes to #1 WRs its a supply and demand issue - I'd say we don't want to let ourselves get to the point where Branch is an FA and we need a #1 WR otherwise we are in a much worse negotiating position. The only hope we have of getting a halfway reasonable salary for Branch - and I think you're understimating what it will take - is based on the fact we're giving Branch security NOW rather than next year.

    On Graham, I think your numbers are probably pretty close to what Graham's agent would like to see- $3 mil a year.

    But I think that's much higher than Beoli values Graham, no matter how good a blocker he is, and the fact BB has used so many high draft picks on TEs suggests to me that he's been preparing for the day that Graham's salary demands grow larger than his value to the team.

    That day, I predict, will come next season unless Graham accepts a salary that places him in the 2nd tier of TEs - maximum $2 million a year in my judgement.
  10. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Rookie

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    Well, you can only franchise one player, the franchise number is going to jump drastically between now and 2007, and after franchising them once, they earn a 20% on top of that the next time.

    That being said, I agree that my numbers, for Branch anyway, are a little out of whack. However, remember that the salary cap is going to jump again next year, and the players ARE going to get their share of that. Unless the roster size goes up, that means that players' salaries are going to increase across the board. What seems high now could look very reasonable come next year.

    But these are the best offers coming if I'm the GM of the NEP.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2006
  11. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    Those are this year's franchise numbers.

    I'm pretty sure with the influx of new CBA $ the franchise figure might jump next year - and will really take off as old CBA salaries come off the books.

    If you really think dryheat's way off on Branch, just take a look at Givens numbers from the Titans.

    Was Givens overpaid? Sure... but he still inflates the market value of next year's FA WRs - yet another reason why it was so wise to draft Jackson... but in the end, the money saved on our (hopeful) #2 WR will go to afford our #1 WR... whether that's Branch or someone else.
  12. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think Graham might take $3-4M a year for 5 years, including bonus. In any case, I don't expect even the pats to pay $5M a year for a blocking TE. But the pats might be the right place for Graham; bb and Brady make him look good. He has a place and a role with the pats.

    And perhaps Branch believes someone will offer him $8.8M a year for three years and then $6M and $6.5M. That is precisely why Branch will not be signed. The patriots won't come close to these numbers, and Branch will probably convince himself that some suckjer GM will pay even more.


  13. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I don't think you understand how NFL contracts are normally structured. In giving Branch your 5 year $38.5M deal he sees $26M in the first three seasons. He'll be lucky if he sees that in a 5 year deal. You essentially offered him more than Polian gave Reggie Wayne (6/$39.5) in an over reach deal to remain the defacto replacement for Marvin Harrrison. And Wayne has outproduced Branch dramatically while serving as a #2 to Harrison.

    Signing bonus is part of the contract. As a result salaries in the first couple of years at least are usually at or near league minimum. Or the bonus is lower. Otherwise you are risking being on the hook for the most expensive one or two year deal in the league for that position player. TO is getting $7.5M this season. Harrison about $10M. You would be paying Deion Branch $15M the first year and another $11M in 2007, or about $10M more than he's looking for. :eek:

    If I'm Belioli Branch will not likely see much more from the Patriots than what Givens got from Tennessee. Perhaps a little more bonus but not double digit and some additional incentives on basically an AAV of $5M or so that could approach $6M with pro bowl caliber performance incentives.

    Blocking aside Graham is not in the same area code production wise as the top 10 TE's. And he is potentially not the top TE on his team. Your offer pays him more on average than any TE in the league. The top 5 TE's contracts average less than $4.5M per and you are offering Graham an AAV of $5M. Antonio Gates signed a deal last fall for 6 years $24M and your talking 4 years $20M for Graham? Barring a breakout season his FA value won't approach $2.5-$3.0M per.

    If I'm Belioli I wait on Graham to see how he does this year, if he can stay on the field, and more importantly to see how Watson does. If Watson shows top 5 TE potential and the Oline does a better job blocking signing Graham becomes a low priority. If Graham is willing to sign a deal like Witten signed as a FA last year in Dallas ($2M per including signing bonus) then I sign him. If not I tag him and shop him.

    BTW your dead cap for Graham and Branch in 2009 is $6M or roughly 5% of the projected cap at a time when many others will have been signed to extensions and Brady and Seymour will be due again.
  14. PatsWickedPissah

    PatsWickedPissah PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I see your Branch at $15 the 1st year but can't compute how you get him at $11 for 2007.

    I'd said previously in some thread that Graham would be worth around $2.5 to the Pats, but what do I know about this stuff. My rationalization was that BB values a 2 stud TE offense in today's NFL.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2005
  15. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Rookie

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    With respect:

    I know how the basic contract works, as do you. I don't, however, agree with your math, so if you're correct you'll have to explain to me how.

    First of all, one of us is misinformed about the tag. Maybe it's me. But where the franchise tag is the average of the top five salaries at the position, that doesn't mean that's what the top 5 players actually brought home. It is exclusive of the signing bonus, correct? So the top five TEs by salary actually made MORE than the franchise cap figure, correct? If not, then I have to adjust my thinking.

    Branch under this deal would be paid 15.25 the first year. You can think of it as one year's salary if you wish. I prefer to think of it as the majority of three year's salary.

    In 2007, Branch would be slightly underpaid at 5.5 million. I don't know where you're 11 million figure comes from.

    Best I can tell, your accounting has Branch making 15.25 the first year, 5.5 the second year, and 5.75 the third year.

    My accounting has Bethel making 7.25 the first year, 7.5 the second year, and 7.75 the third year. There's no real difference except in accounting and Branch's checking account.

    Is that slighty over-paying? By 2006 numbers, yeah, probably. But he is a number one receiver still getting better. In 2008, this will most likely be a steal. On my second consideration, I would probably rather lower those annual salaries by maybe a half-mil per year. But as GM, I would overpay to those levels. The reality is we're going to have to slightly overpay to have any chance of retaining him. We might convince him to trade in free agency for contract security, but it will have to be at a price slightly above market in order to give him some incentive.

    I appreciate everybody's contribution to this thread. Just for kicks, since I'm overpaying, here's my opinion on the importance of players to the Patriots right now. This might be its own thread. By the way, contrary to what seems to be popular belief, I think Watson is more replaceable than Graham. Graham can do Watson's job at probably 85% effectiveness. However, Watson doing Graham's job, IMO, would be somewhere around 65% effectiveness. And Graham absolutely has better hands than Watson.

    Players most important to Patriots' future success under Belichick, by which I mean will be will be hardest to replace without drastically overpaying. You'll notice this is more scheme related than judging absolute talent. Also it serves mentioning that this is based on 2006, so I didn't hold a player's age against him:
    1. Brady
    2. Seymour
    3. Wilfork
    4. Vrabel
    5. Colvin
    6. Harrison
    7. Graham
    8. Light
    9. Branch
    10. Bruschi
    11. Samuel
    12. Watson
    13. Warren
    14. Dillon

    That's about it. Everybody else could be replaced fairly seemlessly. That doesn't mean I don't want those guys back rather than new guys, just that if they were free agents, I wouldn't fret about losing them too much.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2006
  16. PatsWickedPissah

    PatsWickedPissah PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Nice approach
    My take...
    1. Brady Brady
    2. Seymour Seymour
    3. Wilfork Wilfork - need a good NT for 3-4
    4. Vrabel Bruschi - look at the D with & without
    5. Colvin Harrison - same issue and the big ? for 2006
    6. Harrison Vrabes - we run a 3-4 & Vrabes can play in or out
    7. Graham Colvin - key 3-4 OLB/rusher
    8. Light Graham - we run a 2 TE set
    9. Branch Branch - gotta have a proven quality vet WR
    10. Bruschi Samuel - this could be Hobbs next year
    11. Samuel Dillon - need a power runner; hopefully we have 2 in 2006
    12. Watson
    13. Warren
    14. Dillon
    P.S. You don't mean Bethel in your post - edit it
  17. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Rookie

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    Thanks for the heads up, that's the second time I've done that since the trade.

    I think after the top 3, there are a bunch of groups of 2-5 that are bunched fairly close together, so it's a very fine line in the pecking order, which I tweaked a few times while posting.
  18. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I do think this is a topic for another thread, but that said we're not going to overpay drastically or otherwise for anyone. Brady is the only one you could justify it for and he hasn't and won't demand that. Seymour might in 4 years time, but by then he'll be in his early 30's and BB won't go there. The rest can knock themselves out trying to get overpaid, although I doubt the core of Bruschi, Harrison, Colvin, Vrabel will and they are thus far with Brady and Seymour the core that is most important to retain or difficult to replace - and they have been among the most reasonable to negotiate with.
  19. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Rookie

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    Ah....well then, given this new information about how the tags are calculated, I need to reconsider.

    There is definitely an unknown salary landscape in the near future.

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