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The Julio Jones Trade: Winning the Battle, Losing the War?

2021 Patriots Season:
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Next Up: at Bills
Pick Results: NE: 82.5% at BUF: 17.5%

Dec 6th

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Off The Grid

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
Here's my question to those opposed to the Julio Jones trade.

Would you be equally opposed to the same trade, but for JJ Watt?

I actually did mock a Trade Up for Watt that Year, but I'd have to say: No.

As crazy as I was about Watt before that Draft ~ and I wasn't alone!! ~ no way.

I believe that making such a Trade, except for a QuarterBack ~ and even then it better be for a Joe Montana or a Tom Brady, who respectively went in the 3rd & 6th Rounds, amusingly ~ is always a mistake.

No single Player, other than the very very few like Brady and Montana, who repeatedly made Deciding Impacts in the PlayOffs, which are the only Games that matter, after all, is likely to compensate for laying waste to one's Talent pipeline as these Trades do. And no one saw either Montana or Brady coming.

Indeed, I cannot think of any such King's Ransom Trade that ever proved to be, at least in my opinion, the Pivotal Catalyst that produced a Championship...with the noteworthy exception of the Giants making that historic Trade for Hose Manning...But even they already had Billy Clyde Puckett & Shake Tiller. :D
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mosi's man

Practice Squad Player
the other aspect of the bb approach is to target certain ranges in the draft that provide a "target rich environment". based on vagaries such as changes in the salary cap/rookie pay scale, bb (and probably ernie adams) determine where the best value lies vis-a-vis the salary cap and try to target extra picks in that range. it will, i'm sure, vary from year to year based on their needs and the strength/depth of the draft, but they clearly evaluate specific ranges for picks and shoot to be in that range. it was early second round for years when the rookie pay scale was unreflective of the associated risk of late first round draft picks, then the year after changes were made in rookie contracts in the collective bargaining agreement, they switched up and saw greater value in the bottom of the first round. that's when they moved up for jones and hightower. it was a combo of enhanced value due to changes in rookie pay scales, perceived value in specific players, depth in the draft, need, etc.. the pats have been better than nearly any other team at incorporating changes in the rules in the collective bargaining agreement and using those changes to enhance the value of those picks. so while i'm glad they targeted collins instead of corderelle patterson, it's important to recognize that patterson was riskeir from a monetary perspective as well. i'd be surprised if this wasn't part of the decision making process. all these factors have allowed bb and the pats to further enhance their "diversification" approach and make it work.


Staff member Supporter
Let's say it was hypothetically 2011 again but we knew what we know now about Watt - that he'd be taken 6th overall, he is a dominant player, and it would cost us the same to move up from 17 to 6. Here is what the actual trade would have been for Watt (2011 1st, 2nd, 4th plus 2012 1st, 4th):
- Solder
- Pick that was traded for Ridley and Cannon
- Pick that was traded with a 3rd rounder that became Malcolm Williams and in 2012 Tavon Wilson
- Both 2012 picks that were packaged for Hightower

I think this is reasonably representative of what a team could "expect" from a draft -- that is to say, I don't think I'm cherry-picking a particularly strong Patriots draft with this one.

It just came to me -- the problem with this thought experiment is that the equation isn't balanced. We only performed the "20-20 hindsight transform" to one side! So the results are uninterpretable.

If we're drafting Watt from the perspective of 2014, we have to draft everybody that way. So the results are something like:

J.J. Watt
Muhammad Wilkerson +
DeMarco Murray +
Richard Sherman +
Russell Wilson +
Justin Bethel

mosi's man

Practice Squad Player
so here is my last post (i promise) about ndomukong suh, because i think it's related to the above discussion. people are arguing, persuasively, that trading up for j.j. watt in the draft, even if we had had the foreknowledge of his greatness, would have been a mistake given the cost. i agree with this assessment given the loss of other draft choices and the opportunity cost involved. but would any of you argue that the texans ought not to lock watt up going forward despite what will be a near record contract? i'd be surprised. the entire league, for reasons that are actually quite rare, might have the same opportunity with suh next year. he's unquestionably a transformative defensive player, in his prime, with no injury issues (and built to handle abuse), who may be available next year. and as i've tried to argue in the "blueprint for the defense" thread, exactly what the patriots need going forward. so let me address the counter arguments:

1) we lack sufficient cap space: i'm not sure that this is true and i haven't seen anyone prove it. again, there is lots of savings for the team in 2015 if we wish to whittle away while affecting the core, from longterm deals to mccourty and revis, dumping salary with amendola, browner, gostowski,, savings from brady's deal going forward (a key) and the 7.5 million for hernandez coming off the books. i think with an appropriately structured contract we can afford both revis and suh. this would require a below market deal from brady, to which he is already signed. will he honor that deal? i don't know and that would be an essential, but suppose for a minute that he will. we'd be paying revis top dollar, brady "aqib talib money", and then the question comes down to whether we can afford another elite contract. i think lots of teams already have proven that this is possible without ruining your future (denver, seattle, others). we look to have additional draft capital to fill in some of our areas of weakness from the salary cap casualties and with some good drafting and a little luck, might suffer little from the pruning noted above. we have an excellent, young team with an underpaid qb. who else is better suited to go after suh, and who else can make a more compelling case to a player who wanted to win?

2) we have good young players we need to lock up in the near future: this is true, but let's say that we signed suh and find out in a year that chander jones is back healthy playing great and we can't afford him. would anyone argue that suh's future wouldn't be an acceptable trade for jones's? i sure wouldn'nt. and for a year we'd have both. how about hightower or even collins down the road? rather have them? really? we fall in love with our own guys, but this is the second best defensive player in football. of course there would be a cost, but isn't it worth it?

players like suh very rarely come along, and even more rarely come on the market in their prime. we should very carefully consider going after this guy if we can. we can't draft these guys because were always good, and as you all have articulated, even if you could figure out who was going to be great, the cost of obtaining them via the draft is exorbatant. so this might be a rare opportunity to get that nearly unique talent and would be, imho, just the situation to reach for. this would take the patriots defense from very good to great.

mosi's man

Practice Squad Player
Sorry, I'm old and got a "d" in typing in eighth grade. I still haven't recovered. I'll try to do better from now on. Hate to distract from my otherwise carefully reasoned, irrefutable post.....

Off The Grid

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
Sorry, I'm old and got a "d" in typing in eighth grade. I still haven't recovered. I'll try to do better from now on. Hate to distract from my otherwise carefully reasoned, irrefutable post.....

It's only irrefutable because it's unreadable...But Props for having the Courage to make a change.

I'm no Grammar Nazi, nor am I Johnny SpellCheck, when an Honest Effort has clearly been made.

But that was the first Post of yours that I've bothered reading.

If someone can't be bothered to show me and the rest of their intended Audience the Courtesy to present their Thoughts in a legible manner, then they don't warrant the Courtesy of having their Thoughts read.

Possibly I'm the only one who doesn't bother to read your Posts for this reason ~ I am extremely Old School ~ but it seems to me that even if you don't have enough Respect for the rest of us to present your Thoughts in a manner that isn't repulsive to behold and visually painful, you ought to at least treat yourself with enough Respect to forgo presenting them in a manner evocative of the Text Message of a frantic Adolescent.

Considering the length of your Posts ~ which presupposes that you put a lot of Time & Thought into them ~ it seems to me that you owe yourself better than that, even if you don't believe that we do.
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mayoclinic Supporter Supporter
Sorry, I'm old and got a "d" in typing in eighth grade. I still haven't recovered. I'll try to do better from now on. Hate to distract from my otherwise carefully reasoned, irrefutable post.....

The grammar was the least outlandish part of that post, IMO. But I applaud your creativity, and for sticking to your guns.

mosi's man

Practice Squad Player
I promised in my prior post that it would be the last one I made on the subject. I'll stick to it. Sorry for lack of capitals. I didn't realize the difficulty it caused in legibility. I was not trying to provoke anyone and went to great lengths to provide, what I considered, careful reasoning to buttress my opinion. I clearly stuck a nerve beyond my "repulsive" grammar. We'll see next year the relative difference in the yearly contracts of Jared Odrick and Suh (as well as the Patriots salary cap situation next year) such that one is a fantasy and the other a possibility.

mayoclinic Supporter Supporter
I clearly stuck a nerve beyond my "repulsive" grammar.

FWIW, I don't think you struck a nerve at all. I just think it was hard to take your post seriously. I'm not trying to be rude - I'm all in favor of going against the grain, and sticking to your guns.


In the Starting Line-Up
Here's my question to those opposed to the Julio Jones trade. Would you be equally opposed to the same trade, but for JJ Watt?

I mean, knowing what we know now, and considering at that time, we had an offensive juggernaut, lead by Brady, getting a guy that's Reggie White 2.0, yes it would be very intriguing...

Julio Jones is a fabulous player, one of my favorite WR in the league, but you don't mortgage your future for a WR. Some of the best WR's in the league miss the playoffs every year.

The most important positions in football, that can really dictate a game are QB, pass rusher (DE,OLB,DT), CB, and LT. If you feel you've indetified an elite, game changing prospect in one of those positions, maybe its worth pulling the trigger?

But like I said, I'm clouded because Watt is a once in a lifetime player. We already know the dominate beast that he is. If I remember correctly, didn't Watt start off really slow? Imagine if BB did make that trade, he'd be scolded by the media for mortgaging the future.

Off The Grid

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
We got off on the wrong foot, Mosi, Old Hoss, but for what it's worth, now that I've read a few of your Posts: I'm looking forward to more. Here's wishing you and Yours a tremendous ThanksGiving!!