DCFU Guest Writer
Let me begin be saying that I've always been a great proponent of trading down. In most years, this can be a good thing. You can get more players and let's face it, the draft is a crap shoot. You can perhaps sacrifice a wee bit of quality to get more rolls of the dice, and pay less for each roll in the bargain. But this year is different.
A lot of NFL personell think that this year's draft has only 17 or 18 players worthy of a first round pick. With our selection at#22, that means there is a good posibility that that we're going to get "second-round goods" with our first round pick. If one of those 17 or 18 players falls to us, we'd best "nab him" at #22. If nobody falls to us, then there is the incentive to trade down. But do we really want to do that? Let's examine it a bit more closely, shall we?
I've seen a lot of posts around here advocating that the 'Boys trade down "a few places" to pick up maybe an extra second round pick.
In the first place, that's impossible. There is no way that we can stay in the first round and pick up an extra 2nd. Do the math. We have the #22 (which is worth 780 points) the LAST pick (#32) is worth 590 points. Thats a 190 point difference. The 2nd round picks range in value from a high of 580 to a low of 270 points. It quickly becomes apparent that we'd have to "sweeten the pot" to get any willing trade partners (for us to stay in the first round). How much sugar will we have to toss in? Let's take a look:
Picking up an extra 2nd (and what it costs)
If we trade down just ONE place (and get that teams 2nd), We have to give up the ENTIRE REST of our picks (and that still wouldn't get the job done). Prohibitive, isn't it? Of course we could always trade with the LAST team in the first round and get their 2nd), and it would only cost us our 4th and 5th picks. But, you can now see the "range" of how much sugar we'd have to toss in to gain that "extra 2nd" that everyone talks about. But what about an "extra 3rd". Now you're talking!
Picking up an extra 3rd:
We'd have to drop down at least 5 places in order to get an "extra" 3rd. If we dropped down all the way to #32, we could pick up an "extra" 3rd AND 4th rounder.
That takes care of the math lesson for today. But what I really want to talk about is the "hidden" dangers of trading down. Back to square one.
Again, I'll repeat that most NFL folks say that there are only 17 or 18 players worthy of a 1st round pick. Odds are (that picking at #22) we won't get one of them. "Okay", you say, "then (if all the players we can select are '2nd tier talent'..), why NOT trade down?" For several reasons, that's why. Let me give you a few examples.
First of all, lets think about ALL of the players that posters have been talking about. I don't care if it's a wide receiver, offensive tackle, or a linebacker. If you trade DOWN, chances are that he won't be availabe when you "new turn" comes around. Especially since your "pet player" is probably one of those golden 17 or 18 folks. Sooo, you'd have to resign yourself to selecting a guy with LESS talent (than the guy you've been raving about).
But what if he's NOT one of those 17 or 18 players worthy of a 1st round pick? Let's say that he's slated (by the draftniks) to go in the range of #18 to #28. And....you see that there are still about 3 players available that are on your "acceptable list" of players that you'd be pleased to get. What then?
Why not drop down a few spots and THEN pick and you'll still be assured of getting one of those guys, right?
What posters DON'T think about:
Say that you DO drop down 4 spots. From #22 to #26. That gives only 3 teams a chance at the players you're targeting, right? WRONG! It gives 90 teams a chance to take those players!
How can this be, you ask? Well, let's take a look at it realistically. First, we'll "rule out" you and the team that you traded with. Both of you are content with the trade (and wouldn't have traded if you weren't). But what about the other 30 teams in the draft?
At #23, 30 teams will have a "crack" at trading UP to get one of your guys. At pick #24, 30 teams will get another chance at trading UP to get one of your guys. And, finally, at #25, 30 teams will get a "last chance" to nab your man.
So you have to divide (by a factor of 30) the chance that your guy will still be around when you select with you "new" pick. I don't lke the odds, do you?
Of course it's safe to say that ALL teams won't be interested in your guy. That "helps" a little doesn't it? But now consider that most NFL draft boards will have players rated "fairly equally". And (with the emphasis on drafting the BPA and not necessarily for NEED) there's a good chance that they'll "forget about their guy" and take yours. Especially if they have him rated somewhat "higher" on THEIR board.
What posters DO think about:
Money. I don't know why they do (because it isn't theirs). But it doesn't concern owners nearly as much as it does the fans. Sure, owners (and NFL people) talk about "value" all the time. Owners are rich and there is a tendency for rich folk to "feign poverty" at every opportunity. Ever notice that?
My sister had a heart of gold and would loan me anything (until she suddenly became a millionaire). When I got married and moved back to Texas and began looking for a job, she loaned me the money to buy some new suits, so I would look good for the interviews. At the time, she was single, working a 40 hour week, and supporting two kids. A couple of years later, she had married a millionaire, owned 12 houses, of her own, (and over 100 jointly) and was complaining that the IRS would let her sell....ONLY 5 Houses per year...BEFORE she had to start paying taxes on them. Yet (when I asked her for a loan of $40) she "feigned poverty" like a pro.
But let's get back to the business at hand. The Dallas Cowboys are in good shape with the salary cap. I don't even want to think about what shape Jerry is in, personally.
That said, money sometimes comes into play when thinking about what you'll have to pay a particular draft choice. But these concerns are with the TOP 10 players in the draft. At that height, the difference in a few slots can become weighty factors in WHERE you select a certain individual.
A rough (very rough) example of this can be learned by studying the Draft Pick Value Chart. (if you've got one handy, pull it up on another screen). Economics 101 is now in session....
As you know, each draftee is paid less and less (as the order of their selection descends). So, too, go the point values on the Value Chart. Just for example, let's say that the #1 overall pick gets paid $50 million. Now look at the chart. We'll divide that $50 million by 3,000 points and we see that each point is worth $16,666 dollars.
Using this method, we see that, by trading down 3 places (#1 to #4) a team can SAVE $20 million dollars on a players contract.
$16,666 x 1200 (difference between #1 and #4)....= $19,999,200
(be sure to read the disclaimer a little further down)
Let's move on to OUR pick. If WE trade down 3 slots, the difference is only 80 points. Meaning WE save only $1.3 million.
80 x #16,666 = $1,333,280
What's a million dollars here or there? Remember that this figure must be divided over the life of the contract (4 or 5 years) so it becomes a difference of only $266,000 dollars per year.
Are YOU willing to take a chance on losing the opportunity to get a good player for only a $266,000 savings each year? Owners won't be, regardless of how much they talk about "value". Scouts and coaches won't be, because they'd rather have the better player on the team.
$266,000 is a "drop in the bucket" when considering trying to save money on a $100 million salary cap (that goes up "automatically" every year).
I am in no way saying that the salaries paid to rookies follows the Value Chart. There are too many outside factors that must be considered. Such as how good of an agent the player has, etc. But (in general) the picks are signed by teams in the order that they were drafted. This is because agents want to wait and see what the pick before got and begin negiotiations from there. And remember that the teams have and use a Value Chart. If they have a method of determining how valuable a pick is.....then they certainly have an idea of how much they're willing to pay that pick. Surely, there must be some "rough correlation" between the two. Otherwise, the term "value" would be unknown in draft circles.
Also, those picks at the extreme upper end of the draft (say Top 5) are in a world all their own. One might get "almost as much" as the one BEFORE, but it it will still be less.
When you get down to the last half of the first round (and especially beyond) however, signings start picking up speed and fall more easily into place. And the $$$ numbers are more quickly agreed upon and you can "pretty well predict" what each player will sign for.
Tomorrow morning, when you're having your coffee and waiting for the NFL Draft to begin, think about some of these things. Reflect on how some "little things can be BIG things".....and how a "good thing can go bad".
Then sit down in front of the TV set and SCREAM LIKE HELL that the 'Boys get the player you want!!