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Building a team in the Salary Cap Era: Maybe the Draft ISN'T the way to go??


NoCalMike

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I keep listening to other team's fan get furious because of our signing of FA's, and how they yell and scream because our draft picks are light, and it got me thinking about the way the Salary Cap era works with the draft.

I have come to the conclusion that FA is almost like the NEW DRAFT of the Salary Cap Era. I mean lets look at the facts, in this era of football, you can draft the top elite talent every single season, but once that rookie contract is up, you really have no control where that player goes. Sure, there is a certain percentage that you can convince to stay with the team, but the majority of players these days are willing to leave over a simple $250,000K more added to a signing bonus from another team that averages 5-7 wins a year. Don't look too deep into that last statement, I am not pointing out a specific player or team, just the idea in general that we all know takes place.

Now, lets look at our team, and look at our 10-6 Playoff year. How many of these players did we draft vs. FA. I am talking about the difference makers and the playmakers. Sure we still have a crop of guys we drafted like Cooley and Sean Taylor, but who's to say that if they aren't resigned sometime next offseason that they won't test the waters of FA and land somewhere else. Then look at all the friggin' talent around the league that the Redskins actually have drafted since 2000. A lot of good players, and they aren't wearing Burgandy and Gold anymore, they are making a big difference, on other teams via FREE AGENCY.

I don't discredit the Draft in today's NFL totally. It serves a purpose, which is mostly to get the blue-collar guys. The guys nobody talks about when the team is celebrating their Superbowl wins, namely, the other five guys in the Tom Brady Credit Card Commercials. The guys that aren't going to go out and set the FA world on fire, however I am starting to think more and more that in this era of the Salary-Cap, Free Agency might just be the route to go.

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If you look at recent winners - the Patriots, Steelers, etc. - they have all been built primarilly throught the draft, with the odd free agent pickup here and there.

Recent history suggests that building through the draft is the way to go, which is a primary reason why the media feels that Mr. Snyder and company have no idea what they are doing. However, we are proving that free agency can be equally or even more effective in building a Super Bowl contender... And it certainly takes less time too.

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The Draft definitely is important. FA works well for us, and that's the particular way we've chosen to build our team. Rather than take a chance with draft prospects, we've gathered proven players from other teams. However the draft is still important and is responsible for playmakes like Sean Taylor.

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There is actually HUGE potential for this topic to be a great (and very long) article. If I was a paid writer... I'd do it.

haha well yeah I can only make the article so long when the gf is pulling me out the door to go to the grocery store...lol.

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If you look at recent winners - the Patriots, Steelers, etc. - they have all been built primarilly throught the draft, with the odd free agent pickup here and there.

Recent history suggests that building through the draft is the way to go, which is a primary reason why the media feels that Mr. Snyder and company have no idea what they are doing. However, we are proving that free agency can be equally or even more effective in building a Super Bowl contender... And it certainly takes less time too.

I think there's an equally strong argument that would show successful teams enjoying coaching continuity.

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When you look at free agency verse the draft you also have to look at the contracts going to a lot of the guys in the first round. The money spent is about the same you would spend on a top tier free agent. Which asks the question; do you want to pay a lot for what could be or go away from that and pay the money for a proving player?

That is mainly in the 1st round which is why I have no problem trading picks for proving players.

The draft is good for picking up 3rd and on but the money spent on the guys in the 1st and 2nd round is ludicrous. Take the cap space and sign proving players.

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I think that Gibbs and company are looking at 2nd and 3rd year guys with some talent as better risks than late round picks.

These two lineman signed might be an example. There is film on them playing at the NFL level and they have had a chance to mature. If most teams wait until after the draft to sign guys like this maybe we got a jump on them again.

Picks seem to be a crap shoot so maybe scouting though the other available talent is not a bad idea.

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Blah blah blah you need to build through draft blah blah blah we build through free agency...Ok, let me tell you guys this. It dosnt matter how you bring in talent. It just matters that you bring in talent. We choose to do it in Free Agency more than the draft but that dosnt mean we dosnt draft well. I mean look at these choices after the last few years. To say we never find gems isnt entirely true too. Antonio Pierce was an undrafted free agent and look at him now. Shame he didnt accept our offer.

Lavar Arrington

Chris Samuels

Derrick Dockery

Chris Cooley

Sean Taylor

Champ Bailey

Carlos Rogers

Fred Smoot

All of them are proven players. Except maybe Carlos Rogers and hes been look liking a Grade B Pick as of now.

P.S My sig is awesome!

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Blah blah blah you need to build through draft blah blah blah we build through free agency...Ok, let me tell you guys this. It dosnt matter how you bring in talent. It just matters that you bring in talent. We choose to do it in Free Agency more than the draft but that dosnt mean we dosnt draft well. I mean look at these choices after the last few years. To say we never find gems isnt entirely true too. Antonio Pierce was an undrafted free agent and look at him now. Shame he didnt accept our offer.

Lavar Arrington

Chris Samuels

Derrick Dockery

Chris Cooley

Sean Taylor

Champ Bailey

Carlos Rogers

Fred Smoot

All of them are proven players. Except maybe Carlos Rogers and hes been look liking a Grade B Pick as of now.

Actually with the exception of the past 2 years... we've recently lost a lot of players that were drafted by the Redskins.

We lost Patrick Ramsey.

We lost LaVar Arrington.

We lost Fred Smoot.

We lost Cory Raymer.

We lost Robert Royal

(1) Our backup runningbacks we drafted:

- Rock Cartwright

- Nemo Broughton

- Ladell Betts

(2) At wide receiver we drafted:

- Taylor Jacobs

- And we did trade a first round pick #13 overall, for Laveranues Coles and subsequently traded him for Santana Moss. Not sure if we should take credit for that... but it is clear the team identified WR as a need. And nothing at #13 would have equalled Coles or Moss' production.

(3) At Offensive line we drafted:

- Jon Jansen

- Derrick Dockery

- Chris Samuels

- Jim Molinaro

(4) Our entire Defensive line is made up of free agents or undrafted players.

(5) At quarterback, until we recently traded Ramsey:

- 2 of our 3 quarterbacks were drafted (Ramsey and Campbell)

(6) At linebacker, we drafted (we just cut Arrington this year):

- LeMar Marshall

- Robert McCune

(7) At defensive back, we drafted:

- Carlos Rogers

- Sean Taylor

note: After we lost Champ Bailey and Fred Smoot to free agency.

- We replaced Bailey with Springs (free agency) and Smoot with Rogers (draft).

Now, is this a team completely made up of Free agents? You really want to argue that?

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"Less Filling! Tastes Great!"

Ooops, wrong argument.

Seriously, you need both. In the salary cap era you need to fill out your roster with the "blue collar" guys; in other words, solid starters. They may not make the Pro Bowl (which is often based more on past reputation than actual accomplishment: truly, how many of us can tell or even can name the OL that grade out the best; Hell, name the startings OLs for all the NFL teams!), but they are key to your team's success. Yes, you need to draft or sign in FA the STARS. But you cannot acquire all of your players thru FA. In several key respects the NFL game is more like the college game in that you may only have a key or elite player for 3 or 4 years. You must continually "re-load" every 2 or 3 years.

:cheers:

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I keep listening to other team's fan get furious because of our signing of FA's, and how they yell and scream because our draft picks are light, and it got me thinking about the way the Salary Cap era works with the draft.

I have come to the conclusion that FA is almost like the NEW DRAFT of the Salary Cap Era. I mean lets look at the facts, in this era of football, you can draft the top elite talent every single season, but once that rookie contract is up, you really have no control where that player goes. Sure, there is a certain percentage that you can convince to stay with the team, but the majority of players these days are willing to leave over a simple $250,000K more added to a signing bonus from another team that averages 5-7 wins a year. Don't look too deep into that last statement, I am not pointing out a specific player or team, just the idea in general that we all know takes place.

Now, lets look at our team, and look at our 10-6 Playoff year. How many of these players did we draft vs. FA. I am talking about the difference makers and the playmakers. Sure we still have a crop of guys we drafted like Cooley and Sean Taylor, but who's to say that if they aren't resigned sometime next offseason that they won't test the waters of FA and land somewhere else. Then look at all the friggin' talent around the league that the Redskins actually have drafted since 2000. A lot of good players, and they aren't wearing Burgandy and Gold anymore, they are making a big difference, on other teams via FREE AGENCY.

I don't discredit the Draft in today's NFL totally. It serves a purpose, which is mostly to get the blue-collar guys. The guys nobody talks about when the team is celebrating their Superbowl wins, namely, the other five guys in the Tom Brady Credit Card Commercials. The guys that aren't going to go out and set the FA world on fire, however I am starting to think more and more that in this era of the Salary-Cap, Free Agency might just be the route to go.

I think that our organization is one step ahead of the game, with the way we handle our cap to the way we recruit and sign FA's. Establish a core of all star players, sign throgh agency and take a couple crap shoots later in the draft. When you are relying on unproven talent to bring a certain level of play in the NFL and paying first round money . . .there is more risk than giveing a contract to young player who has great ability and potential and has proven the can handle the day to day NFL. If we were to look to builidjng our team strictly thourhg the draft we would be limiting oursleves. We just do it the opposite way. NOw that we have established some consistancy in the coahing and overall operation of the redskins organization, as well as a few pro-bowl caliber players with their best playing days ahead f them. We can start taking more chances in the draft, and we won't be "rolling the dice" and handing out a fat first round signing bonus eoither. The goal is alway sot build a consistant winner and develop players, we are just taking na different path to get there. Greta topic.

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I think that our organization is one step ahead of the game, with the way we handle our cap to the way we recruit and sign FA's. Establish a core of all star players, sign throgh agency and take a couple crap shoots later in the draft. When you are relying on unproven talent to bring a certain level of play in the NFL and paying first round money . . .there is more risk than giveing a contract to young player who has great ability and potential and has proven the can handle the day to day NFL. If we were to look to builidjng our team strictly thourhg the draft we would be limiting oursleves. We just do it the opposite way. NOw that we have established some consistancy in the coahing and overall operation of the redskins organization, as well as a few pro-bowl caliber players with their best playing days ahead f them. We can start taking more chances in the draft, and we won't be "rolling the dice" and handing out a fat first round signing bonus eoither. The goal is alway sot build a consistant winner and develop players, we are just taking na different path to get there. Greta topic.

What do you notice when you look at the coaching staffs of the team's that make the playoffs every year? They're among the best in the NFL.

An exception could be made for Lovie Smith... who after 2 seasons the jury is still out on him.

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I agree that balance is needed. I don't think you can win with bringing all FA's and never drafting anyone. I also don't think you can simply depend on the draft. The biggest need for a team is a QB that can win the SB. NE would never have won without Brady. Gibbs is the exception and not the rule having 3 different QB's. Pitt has been drafting well for years, but didn't win until they got Ben R.

Typically, teams get franchise QB's through the draft. I think Favre is an exception and I don't count Elway because he held the Colts hostage. I am sure there are others, but I can't think of any. Most of the franchise QB's were drafted by their teams. Heck, the skins hopefully will be able to say that about Campbell.

Outside of QB, maybe LT is the only position that is difficult to get in FA and probably requires drafting.

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Die Hard, our team is still predominantly a free agent team. NoCalMike was talking about playmakers, guys who you do see starting. In that context (2005):

QB: Ramsey barely played, Campbell never did

RB: Ill give this one to ya, but our main difference maker is obviously Portis

WR: Don't even bother counting Jacobs

TE/FB/HB: Cooley, Royal, yes, Sellars, no. However, I never viewed Royal as that big, so Cooley and Sellars, one was a free agent.

O-line: ill give this one to ya also, 3 of 5 isnt bad

D-line: zilch

LB's: Lavar, was Marshall drafted or signed as a free agent? McCune barely played.

DB's: Rogers and Taylor.

Including Marshall, though I have to see if he was drafted by us, I count Rogers, Taylor, Lavar, Jansen, Samuels, Dockery, and Marshall as the full time starters, with some credit to Betts/Rock/Royal. That is 10 of 22 starters. Add in Nemo, McCune, Molinaro, Campbell, Ramsey, that is only 15 of 53 total roster spots.

I would argue with you by saying our team is mostly free agents.

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I've been arguing this with everyone I know for a long time. You are 100% right. If you think about why should people invest significant money into guys who may not pan out, and who, besides a handful can't contribute to the team right away. Also, by the time you develop a young player to his potential you lose him to free agency to a team that will spend massive amounts to get him (ie the skins haha). The smartest approach is to get young guys in their prime who have just taken the step towards being great players (perfect example:moss). The draft will always be useful, but it is a lot less important than it used to be.

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Blah blah blah you need to build through draft blah blah blah we build through free agency...Ok, let me tell you guys this. It dosnt matter how you bring in talent. It just matters that you bring in talent.
Well said, I agree. If by Free agency or the draft all the matters is geting good football players. That being said free agency does not mean its any safer then the draft. So many FA are busts just like draft picks. Some get old overnight, some hide injurys, and some are products of the system they play in. Free agency is a crap shoot just like the draft.
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Every time I mention our draft ineptitude someone usually rebuffs and lists all these great players we've obtained through the draft. True, we have gotten some all-time great players in the draft. But as a whole, I don't think you can give us an overall good grade for doing well in the draft. Granted, different coaching staffs are going to rate players differently and will pick drastically diffferent from others. But I just don't see us building the team through the draft. Free Agency is our best bet to obtain quality players. We may spend more and have to juggle the cap but why not do it that way as opposed to spending "time" on players who may not produce. It's a risk/reward thing and unfortunately you can't count on college players coming in and being "sure things".

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(6) At linebacker, we drafted (we just cut Arrington this year):

- LeMar Marshall

No we didn't. He was a free agent.

I agree with another person on here that you get talent however you can, and there is no one way to do it. The reason why is not all teams can do the same thing. There are only so many good players available in free agency every year. It is the same that there only a finite amount of draft picks availiable to a team. So, a team needs to find what is best for them for building a team.

We've actually been pretty good with rookie FA and the equivilant, finding guys like Antonio Pierce, Lemar Marshall, Ade Jimoh, etc.

Jason

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I think you misunderstood me. I meant that we make up our team of mostly free agents but we do bring in good talent through the draft(people say we dont).

when they say we dont draft good its talking about the later rounds 4 through 7 which i believe we will be getting better in that area those are the guys you end up wanting to keep for awhile because they are cheap. very few of our draftees have come from the later rounds except for like 3-4

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What do you notice when you look at the coaching staffs of the team's that make the playoffs every year? They're among the best in the NFL.

Absolutely agree with this but I'd also add: coaching continuity.

IMO, we are just now finding out what our front office and scouting dept. are really capable of because for the first time in a decade we've finally got stability in the coaching staff. There is one system in place and a direction has been set.

Last year was only the beginning. Now Gibbs and staff can build on that momentum and we can buckle up and enjoy the ride. :)

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:) Great thread and first post NoCal, and good points all around. I hate to sound shallow and obvious (two of my best traits) but as I went for the ride agreeing with the different takes like a good empty vessel, it says to me how seriously complex and challenging a task it is to build even a one-year winner let alone a team who does well several years in a row.

Talent selection, creativity in team assembly (effectively utilizing either draft or FA or both), stability AND competency in coaching, luck (injury, player's rejuvenated-blossoming-hitting their peak, or in-game breaks) a FO willing to go the extra mile, great fans & homefield, and all the behind-the-scene things in training/conditioning/staff/facilties have to coalesce with forces much out of your control like schedules, officials, and agents.

I offer this "yeh :obvious: , so what" as just a reminder to myself of at least of two things: one, how awesome NE has done as deserves being mentioned in the Dynasty category IMO (as well as a decidedly lesser nod to a certain hated green-clad..eccck never mind)...and, two, how may of those conditions the Redskins currently meet in favorable manner...we now return to posts with more original thinking... :silly:

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I would not be surprised to see up actually trade next year's first to move up into the second round if there is really someone we really covet. It seems in the draft we have concentrated more on quality over quantity.

We don't have to pay first round money and we get the one guy we want. We seem to systematically add players to build our team. We did it to get Cooley and Campbell.

Will we? Who know's, but it would not surprise me. Think about it, we upgraded at receiver. Upgraded at safety. Added offensive line depth. Added a pass rushing defensive end. I could see us adding an outside linebacker in the draft.

Probably will add a corner in June. Gibbs and Snyder in company have definately brought the organization stability and a plan. It's our way, and, to me, it seems to be working.

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