Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

29 Jul 2005

McAllister's Deal Money Well Spent

Um, no. I know McAllister is a nice fellow with a lot of athletic talent, but this is not an economically efficient use of resources. Eight years, $50 million -- which, in reality, is five years, $28 million, still the second-highest RB contract in history. It reduces McAllister's cap figure this year, but the Saints now have a league-average back taking up a big part of their cap for the next few years after 2005. GM Mickey Loomis: "In our view he's the best; we wouldn't trade Deuce for anybody, for any other running back." Even Tomlinson? Put down the crack pipe, Mickey.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 29 Jul 2005

93 comments, Last at 14 Jan 2007, 10:29am by someone

Comments

1
by MDS (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 12:49pm

That's a ridiculous amount to pay. It's a buyer's market for running backs right now. I really think GMs are starting to learn that it makes more sense to put your cap dollars into an offensive line and put a relatively inexpensive running back behind it than to spend a lot on a running back and not have as much left over for a line. Apparently the Saints are late to that realization.

2
by Playit (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 12:52pm

Apparently Mickey Loomis didn't have Duece on his fantasy team like I did last year.

My guess is he felt he wasn't doing his job without one big time extension... perhaps it came down to Brooks or McAllister? I guess this is the lesser of evils.

3
by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 1:01pm

Well, when your yard stick is trading a whole draft class to move up and get a running back, $50mm seems like a bargain. Hamster wheel...heheheh. They may have to change it to a millstone after this.

4
by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 1:05pm

"Deuce deserves it," Saints' general manager Mickey Loomis said. "I said to Deuce quite some time ago that we're not going to give you a big deal because you can get 1,200 or 1,400 or 1,600 yards. We're going to get you a big deal because we believe in him as a leader on our team."

Holy crap, this guy is unbelievable...maybe his strategy is to pay guys based on things he can't measure (like leadership, silly first names, etc.) and hope the ownership group extends him the same courtesy.

5
by Al (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 1:06pm

Spinning wheels go round and round

6
by Carl (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 1:17pm

He better stay healthy this season or next year's bonus isn't going his way.

7
by OMO (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 2:21pm

It must be tough to be a Clippers, er, Saints fan.

8
by NF (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 4:09pm

Here's an interesting question: Which team has a better chance of getting to their respective playoff semifinals: The Los Angeles Clippers or the New Orleans Saints?

9
by Gatts (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 4:12pm

Son of a bitch!

10
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 4:20pm

Wait, the Saints completely screwed something up? Stop the presses!

In other contract news, I find the contract Clarett signed with Denver (linked) to be significantly more interesting. I wish the story gave a few more details (such as say, I dunno, what his base salary and bonus would have been, and what they actually are now?), other than a vague "he gave up 410k in guaranteed money for up to 7million in bonuses". Was that 410 a signing bonus? Lower base salary (which there would be no guarantee of collecting anyway)? Did he turn down a signing bonus and higher salary to play for league minimum plus bonuses? It sure would be easier to evaluate this move if we had some facts like this...

Of course the first thing that came to mind when I heard this was 'Ricky Williams, represented by Master P'. Of course, one important difference is that the 'guaranteed' money Ricky gave up was an order of magnitude higher, so we gotta consider the risk/reward scenarios to properly judge it. Did he give up, say 20% of contract value for a shot at octupling it? Or was it giving up 85% for a small shot at doubling it?

To me, this sort of deal definitely makes more sense for a mid-round pick than a first-rounder. A 1st rounder would probably have to risk too much for too little potential gain. On the other hand, what if you are a 3rd round RB, and can sign for 300k a year? If you put up number like Portis or James as rookies, guess what, they still have you under contract at 300k, and you have little leverage. Would it be worth it to take 250k, with bonuses to guarantee that if you put up Portis-like numbers, you will get paid accordingly? Looks like that's what Clarett chose, and good luck to him.

11
by The GM's of teams that actually make money (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 4:22pm

Thank you, Saints and Colts, for running up the market for players around the league with your silly contracts. We really appreciate you using the money we are forced to share with you to cause our players to now believe they are being underpaid.

12
by Richie (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 4:28pm

I think it would be smart for more and more players to ask for incentive-laden contracts. Especially non-first round picks. Smart move for teams, too.

It's very hard to actually get paid for your performance in the NFL. First round picks are given too much money as unproven players. Late round picks don't get enough when they turn out to be starters (Tom Brady).

Don't incentive payments count differently (or not at all) against the salary cap?

13
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 4:39pm

The Saints just signed Jamaal Brown today for five years.

14
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 4:39pm

Re: #7

You have no idea.

15
by Gatts (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 5:04pm

There's always the Colts. Go Brandon Stokely!

Sigh.

16
by karl (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 6:33pm

wow, this all seems so familiar to me. idiotic gm, inept head coach, consistently underperforming team, and a gaggle of bad decisions leading up to a make or break year...too bad the saints did this a year late - now when they fire mickey loomis and jim haslett, nick saban won't be on the market.

Miami's got the dolphins, the greatest football team...

RUN RICKY RUN!

17
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 8:25pm

I believe incentives are charged against the cap based on whether or not they are "Likely to be earned" or "Not likely to be earned."

"Likely to be earned" incentives for a given season are charged against the cap for that season, and if unearned, the team is given 'cap credit' in a future year. "Unlikely to be earned" incentives for a given season are not charged against that season's cap, but if they are earned, that team's cap is lowered by that amount the following year.

Something like that. The experts can fill you in but I know they're placed into those two categories.

T.

18
by idiot (not verified) :: Sat, 07/30/2005 - 5:27am

A "league-average back"? I thought he was one of the best in the league - am I, the Pro Bowl voters and lots of other observers wrong? I see it reported elsewhere that the deal averages $300k more per season than Lamont Jordan got from Oakland. It looks a pretty solid deal to me, unless you believe RBs shouldn't get big contracts at all. Which I think is a mindset that is flavour of the month but won't last long-term.

19
by Catfish (not verified) :: Sat, 07/30/2005 - 11:11am

Re: 18

"I thought he was one of the best in the league - am I, the Pro Bowl voters and lots of other observers wrong?"

To put it lightly, it sure appears so. McAllister averaged a 4.0 yards/carry, the top backs usually averaged closer to 5. McAllister also ranked 36th in success rate, indicating that he isn't reliably gaining good yardage. Generally in a game, he will rush many times for little to no gain, but break 1 or 2 long runs that don't much help the team, but make the highlight reels. All these things put together made him rank 33rd in DPAR this year among running backs

20
by Adam H (not verified) :: Sat, 07/30/2005 - 12:49pm

Any of you rocket surgeons care to break off into a rant about what this means for the rest of the league? Does this screw things up for those trying to sign the Brian Westbrooks' of the world, or does the bloated RB market nullify the league wide effect.

21
by Zac (not verified) :: Sat, 07/30/2005 - 2:22pm

idiot,

Do you know what site you're on? He's a good fantasy football player (just like Aaron Brooks), but Deuce has had DVOA (Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average) scores of 3.4%, -1.8%, and -6.1% the last 3 years. And sure, maybe that's because their O-line sucks. But if so, maybe they should work on fixing that first.

22
by Aaron (not verified) :: Sat, 07/30/2005 - 3:46pm

Now, now, let's not go saying that one or two long runs that make the highlight reels don't help the team. They absolutely help the team. Long runs are good. The problem is that the zero yard runs hurt the team too. Long runs mixed with 3-5 yard runs are the ideal.

23
by Yellowknifer (not verified) :: Sat, 07/30/2005 - 5:49pm

I don't know that the contract is quite as unreasonable as some here are trying to claim. He wasn't great last year, but he was also injured for a large chunk of the season... prior to this he's been a top 10 back pretty much since he first started... depends on the details of the contract somewhat, but this doesn't seem to be quite as bad as some are saying.

24
by nath (not verified) :: Sat, 07/30/2005 - 7:36pm

Ugh. Hooray for more medicority.

So what's it going to be this year: 8-8, 7-9, or 9-7? And with a collapse at the end or a terrible start to the season?

You know, we didn't always suck. For a while there we had Randy Mueller as GM. We actually won a playoff game. Then we fired him and got rid of most of the talent he brought in for no good reason, too.

25
by idiot (not verified) :: Sat, 07/30/2005 - 9:00pm

He averaged 4.0yds a carry last year, when he was hobbled with injury. His lifetime average yds/carry is 4.4.

"Do you know what site you’re on?"

Yes, a site full of football fans using amateur statistician techniques to apparently claim superiority over others. I readily admit I have not seen McAllister enough to have a completely firm judgement. But the stats that are widely used and league wide recognition suggest he is a top back. Perhaps I should take a look at DPAR again.

26
by idiot (not verified) :: Sat, 07/30/2005 - 9:16pm

"Do you know what site you’re on?"

You know, this really is something of a patronising comment. Zak, please explain to me exactly what the DVOA scores for McAllister suggest with regard to his effectiveness. I haven't studied the statistical methods that are part of this site, but I see a multi-time Pro Bowler with three 1000 yd seasons out of four, the last one achieved while injured, who is a great receiver out of the backfield, and the key cog to his offense. And an NFL front office has seen fit to give him a major contract extension. Clearly they and I are idiots and you and Catfish know ths score, so do explain to me why McAliister is such a mediocre player.

27
by manchild (not verified) :: Sat, 07/30/2005 - 11:26pm

I must say that I agree with idiot's questioning calling Deuce a "league-average" back. Sure, he didn't look good last year, but in 2003 his DPAR ranked 14th and in 2002 it ranked 8th in the league. Even if his DVOA has been consistently weak, he will still get the rock enough this year to bust out his "long runs" more than he did last year.

28
by Catfish (not verified) :: Sun, 07/31/2005 - 12:12pm

To clarify, I was not saying McAllister is a bad back, I was saying that he is not one of the best in the league. I apologize if what I wrote was unclear.

Idiot, since you are as yet unfamiliar with the stats on this site, here's the quick rundown:
- DVOA measures how effective a player is on a per play basis
- DPAR measures how effective a player is over the course of a season
- Success Rate measures how consistenly a RB rushes for good yardage.

The issue here isn't whether or not McAllister is a good back, but whether or not he deserves such a huge contract. His best rushing season ranked 8th in DPAR, and his best receiving ranked 5th among RB's. His success rate, however, has ranked 36th, 45th, 36th the last 3 years. Even if we give him the benefit of the doubt and say he will return to that form (which he very well may), that's still paying the 8th best back in the league like the 2nd. I think that still qualifies as overpaying.

29
by Gatts (not verified) :: Sun, 07/31/2005 - 5:05pm

"He averaged 4.0yds a carry last year, when he was hobbled with injury. His lifetime average yds/carry is 4.4."

So even if we say he'll return to his lifetime yards/carry - and do we have reason to? - of 4.4, that's still not a top back.

30
by idiot (not verified) :: Sun, 07/31/2005 - 6:48pm

4.4 isn't a top back huh. I guess Emmitt Smith can forget about the Hall of Fame then. Why wouldn't you expect him to get back to 4.4. instead of 4.0 - is he going to have a high ankle sprain for the rest of his life?

Thanks Catfish, I have taken a look once again at success rate. It's an interesting idea but I don't understand the seemingly arbitrary nature behind the percentages applied to assessing a "hit" among other points. I'm not going to try to bash the stats that prop up a portion of this site when I havent properly looked at them though, and I respect attempts to analyse beyond traditional stats as long as its not analysis for its own sake.

My point is I see a guy who has carried the ball 325+ in two seasons and averaged well over 4yds a carry each time. Yeah he might break off 90yd runs fifteen times in a season but I am honestly not aware of this type of rep from any other source. Barry Sanders and other players have had this type of rep in the past so its not exactly unusual for a RB to get tagged with it, but I have never heard it about McAllister. Is there a stat available for the number of 20+ yd runs the guy has broken off? That would support your contention.

I agree with the assertion that he is a top 10 back but perhaps not top 5. I don't think it is as simple as saying if he's 8th he should be paid as the 8th best today because you aren't taking into account the times at which other RBs signed their contracts and the prevailing market conditions at the time. You have to consider what the seven backs ahead of him would likely command if they renegotiated their contracts tomorrow. I think 12.5 and average of slightly over 5.5 over five years could look pretty good value in two years time.

31
by idiot (not verified) :: Sun, 07/31/2005 - 6:57pm

I just went and took a look at Priest Holmes contract extension in 2003 - unless the source is wrong, $10m SB, over four years at an average of $5m, at the age of 30 at the time. Now I won't dispute Holmes isn't a better back than McAllister, but consider the way contracts have rocketed the last two years as the anticipation of increasing cap from renegotiation of TV deals. Then consider Holmes is 30 with a dodgy hip, while McAllister is 26 and has only been a fulltime back for three seasons. I don't get why $12.5m/5 yrs/5.5m av is a bad deal, it looks fine to me.

32
by Catfish (not verified) :: Sun, 07/31/2005 - 11:23pm

"Is there a stat available for the number of 20+ yd runs the guy has broken off?"

I don't have the numbers for McAllister individually, but the last 3 years New Orleans has ranked 3rd, 5th, 4th in percentage of runs over 10 yards.

And regarding Emmitt's rushing average vs. McAllister's, keep in mind how that average was accumalated. Emmitt got his average by running mostly 4-5 yard runs; Deuce got his by mixing in some long runs with several short runs. If we had stats for his prime, I'm sure Emmitt would rank near the top of the league in Success Rate.

As for where the percentages used in determining success rate came from, I believe they are modified forms of the benchmarks used in DVOA, but they also make sense by just looking at them. Generally one would consider a 4 yard run on 1st and 10 successful, as well as a 3 yard run on 2nd and 5 and a 2 yard run on 3rd and 2. I'm sure Aaron can give a better explanation though. If you have any other questions, go ahead and ask. Don't expect me to respond though, I'm leaving the country tomorrow and won't be home for 3 weeks. :)

33
by MDS (not verified) :: Mon, 08/01/2005 - 11:12am

I want to reiterate my first comment while also noting that I think some people are a little overly critical of McAllister. It's not that he's a bad player, it's just that over the next five years he'll count about $5.5 million a year against the Saints' cap. That's about 15% of the whole cap, and that's too much. Does anyone really think the value he brings to the team is 15% of the whole value of the team? He provides nothing on defense or special teams, so if you think he's worth that, you're saying he's worth more than one-third of the entire offense. I actually think Deuce is a bit better than his DVOA suggests because I don't think very highly of the Saints' offensive line. But I also don't think he's good enough at picking up a tough three yards when that's what the Saints need.

34
by someone (not verified) :: Mon, 08/01/2005 - 12:08pm

That begs the question of who you feel could possibly be worth $5m+ a year, if its such a huge chunk of cap (and it is). That sounds more like an argument that top players are overpaid rather than being specific to Deuce. Once James, Lewis and Alexander do their long term deals, this deal will be more easily rateable in a strictly relative fashion.

On another board a guy posted that in 2002-3 (not counting 2004 due to the injury skewing his effectiveness) he was 3rd in the league in number of conversions on 3rd or 4th and less than 3 situations. Priest converted 38 of 51, James 36 of 56, and Deuce 32 of 46.

35
by dman (not verified) :: Mon, 08/01/2005 - 12:58pm

You know, I never needed DVOA to realize that deuce was a pedestrian runner at best. I've never seen someone who averaged over 4 yards a carry puss out at the goal line more consistently than deuce mcallister. The guy could gain 3000 yards and he'd still be a loser. Seriously, he can rip off a 50 yarder when the saints are already down by 4 touchdowns, but he absolutely can not get the tough 3 yards that you need. I get the feeling that anyone who thinks that deuce is a top flight RB plays alot of fantasy and hasn't really watched any saints games.

36
by dman (not verified) :: Mon, 08/01/2005 - 1:01pm

I find that nearly impossible to believe someone. I think I'd have to see the game tapes of those 46 attempts to actually believe it. I have honestly never seen deuce pick up a tough first down.

37
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 08/01/2005 - 2:30pm

"I want to reiterate my first comment while also noting that I think some people are a little overly critical of McAllister. It’s not that he’s a bad player, it’s just that over the next five years he’ll count about $5.5 million a year against the Saints’ cap."

At $5.5 million, Deuce is worth about five times the median compensation per RB in the NFL. If you really believe that Deuce is five times more valuable than the typical tailback, then you'll think this is a great deal.

If he could catch the ball like Tomlinson, James or Faulk (in his heyday), or had proven that he's uniquely durable like all but a few backs in the history of the NFL (Payton, Bettis, etc.) and likely could weather a season or two without major injuries, then one could make an argument that he was a value-added commodity and deserved far higher compensation than everyone else available.

I get the feeling he isn't that player and the Saints, as usual, expended a great deal of upfront money on a player at a fairly fungible position that's prone to injuries.

38
by someone (not verified) :: Mon, 08/01/2005 - 5:57pm

This five time higher than the median argument could equally be applied to any top ten back in the NFL then. That's fine as a general rule, but I don't see the logic in just applying it to Deuce. I thought he was a pretty good pass catching RB - is he really that much worse than James etc, that James etc is worth five times the median and Deuce isn't? Does the median RB in the NFL run for 1000 yds all three seasons he starts at over 4 yds a clip?

As for the stuff about watching him play. I've seen him play maybe 5-10 times. Seeing as the Saints front office obviously think he's a top back, maybe they are the ones playing FF.

p.s. prone to injuries? he's missed three games in his career.

39
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 08/01/2005 - 7:07pm

Someone,

The growing consensus in the NFL is that any tailback/fullback operating in the "feature back" role is basically about equal in quality. Why does the NFL think this?

Because of regression anaylsis that found that over the past five years, losing starting running backs had ZERO effect on winning or losing in the league. In fact, what boggled the GMs was that there was a statistically significant increase in wins AFTER a starting rusher was out of the game.

Despite a few teams that haven't exactly been successful recently (Miami, New Orleans) bidding up the price of certain tailbacks, the trend has been to maximize value at a fairly fungible position. Except for players with a demonstrated ability to (1) excel as top-threat receivers (E James, D Tomlinson) or gut out injuries without missing games (Bettis, Smith), in recent years teams have been shying away from the large, upfront contracts.

Except, of course, New Orleans, Miami and a few other miscreants.

Deuce, by the way, has nursed a bad right ankle and knee for several years now. The fact that he missed two full games last year should have given everyone a pause to think.

Instead, it's translated into a deal no one else in the league would have given him.

In reality, he's only started 49 games in four years of work (and fumbled in 16 of them!), largely because of the ankle and knee issues.

As a receiver, his QB throws him the ball about twice per game for very short yardage, not exactly third WR stuff that you would expect from E James or, in his prime, M Faulk.

I certainly have written elsewhere that most "elite" running backs are overpaid compared to other positions (especially defensive linemen) and have argued that many teams should abandon their current strategies and adopt a running-by-committee approach, which statistically appears to prove as effective as the "feature back" system.

As for Deuce, Brett Martel constructed his copy ironically and appropriately:

"I basically know that they're putting everything on my shoulders and I'm big enough that I can carry it," McAllister said. "I want the pressure. "I want the ball because I want to get us in the playoffs where we haven't been."

The Saints haven't played in the postseason since drafting McAllister out of Mississippi in the first-round in 2001.

40
by someone (not verified) :: Tue, 08/02/2005 - 5:55am

"In reality, he’s only started 49 games in four years of work (and fumbled in 16 of them!), largely because of the ankle and knee issues."

He pretty much sat behind Williams his first year i.e. not playing in 16 games out of the 4 years was due to Williams, not injuries. Games started for him over the course of his four year career: 4, 15, 16, 14. You are saying he missed two games last year (and was limited in others) because of a high ankle sprain (no torn ACL here). And thats why he shouldnt get a long term deal. Tomlinson missed a game last year and had a nagging groin problem most of the year - maybe that long term deal he got wasn't such a great idea, huh?

Hey, if you want to argue that feature RBs are not valuable for the most part and teams that pay them $5m+ a year are fools, go right ahead. I would be genuinely interested to see that regression analysis, it would certainly explain the lack of long term deals for James, Alexander etc. But I would also be very interested to hear which other RBs out of the feature back list you don't think are worth that big contract, because it doesn't make sense to me that this is just being directed at McAllister. I'm guessing for a start that Jamal Lewis of 2,000+ yd plus fame can't be worth a big deal, seeing as he's nothing as a receiver and has missed major chunks of seasons with injuries.

Again, if the argument is simply "no RB except Ladainian Tomlinson, Emmitt Smith or Marshall Faulk in their primes deserves the mega contract", then fine I can accept that as a valid argument and theory. However this thread seems to me to be "Deuce doesn't deserve it because he's much worse than people think and worse than other RBs". And I do not see that.

As for the receiver thing. I was always under the impression that McAllister was an excellent receiver, and the stats for 2002-2003 suggest that too. I'm just not buying that he isnt good enough to be put in the slot to create matchup problems, and that Edgerrin James is so much better as a receiver he would be worth $5m+ and Deuce isn't. I suspect Deuce could put up huge numbers in the Rams offense. Regarding the playoffs, come on. He is not the problem with that team and their failure to ever do anything.

41
by Richie (not verified) :: Tue, 08/02/2005 - 2:02pm

He is not the problem with that team and their failure to ever do anything.

Now that he has such a big cap number, he may be part of the problem.

42
by someone (not verified) :: Tue, 08/02/2005 - 3:02pm

"It’s not that he’s a bad player, it’s just that over the next five years he’ll count about $5.5 million a year against the Saints’ cap. That’s about 15% of the whole cap, and that’s too much."

"Now that he has such a big cap number, he may be part of the problem."

2005 cap is $85.5m. Last time I checked, 15% of 85.5 was not 5.5.

43
by Richie (not verified) :: Tue, 08/02/2005 - 4:00pm

You're right. 6% of the cap is not nearly as bad as 15%, in fact for the star of the team it's quite reasonable. I assumed the 15% above was accurate. I can't figure out how they calculated 15%.

I was looking on USA Today's salary database. It is often commented on how well Philadelphia has done at managing the cap. In 2004, they rank second in total money paid with $104 Million. (Washington was #1 at $118 Million)

If the cap was around $80 million in 2004, I would think that Philadelphia is heading for some cap armageddon soon.

I like that Jon Runyan had a $700 bonus last year.

44
by MDS (not verified) :: Tue, 08/02/2005 - 4:56pm

My bad, I meant to write 1/15 of the cap. Although my number was way off, I stand by the larger point I was making, which is that 1/15 of the cap is too much for Deuce to be paid.

45
by someone (not verified) :: Tue, 08/02/2005 - 5:47pm

I think 6% of the cap (which will decrease as it grows) is viable for the one of the top ten backs in the league and your best player.

46
by Carl (not verified) :: Tue, 08/02/2005 - 7:07pm

Too bad regression doesn't correlate a featureback's "6 percent" being worth it. Most teams have discovered that, which is why you saw Travis Henry twisting in the wind for much of the summer.

If you really believe Deuce is worth, say, three median-grade cornerbacks or two top DLs, then sure, this is a great deal. The Saints believe that. Deuce believes that.

Ironically, the Saints were probably the only team left that will pay that kind of money for a player at that position. But that's why they're the Saints.

For those who cover the NBA, they have another team they groan about, the Clippers, although in recent years they've had a target-rich pair of other outliers, the Knicks and Wizards.

With a "softer" cap in basketball, you might expect nutty contracts such as those handed out to Cuttino Mobley, Antonio Daniels or (my favorite) Jerome James. But what about football, where the cap should be modifying some of these bad decisions?

Deuce is a very good player. But he's not worth $5 million for either his position or his output, in my opinion.

Because I use a database that's different from USA Today's (from the NFLPA), my numbers are slightly different. But I would say that the following players likely were overpaid last year (not counting injuries):

J Lewis
D Staley (he was overpaid before he got injured)
T Barber
A Green
C Martin
W Dunn (only because of the delayed cap hit; his compensation numbers come way down this year)
S Alexander
E Smith
F Taylor
T Richardson
S Davis
E George

Want me to go on? All these guys made nearly three times the median salary of a RB and didn't deliver three times the value.

I have discussed in an earlier piece about how the Dolphins actually improved their running game last year by losing Ricky Williams, a point that Ricky agreed with.

At the same time, I would argue that certain players were grossly underpaid last season, including Shawn Bryson, LaMont Jordan (that's been taken care of by the Raiders) and Kevin Faulk (who agreed to play for less than his market value to win another Super Bowl).

So that's why the strawman argument about how only a few players I named were worth x amount, whereas others aren't. It's far more complicated than that.

Certainly one of the predictors we use when analyzing any contract is the success rate on certain key positions; the value-added commodity of catching, blocking and durability; and the number of "hits" (carries + receptions) a player has received or is expected to receive over the course of a career. There's actually a statistical predictor that will show a GM the probable lifespan of a rusher using such determinants, but it's always something of a crapshoot.

Deuce has nursed serious ankle and knee injuries ever since his rookie season and plays at a position with a very high injury rate.

If you want to improve your running AND passing game, wouldn't the dollars be better spent of capable offensive linemen? Not that I would trust the Saints to put out the right cash for the position (see Gandy, Wayne), but they have underpaid for most of their OL except for two overpaid exceptions).

If you look at how other teams that rush a lot build great lines, look at the compensation packages for the Steelers' O-line.

They pay for a combo of RBs what NO lays out for one "feature back," yet you can guarantee that the Steelers will be a more effective rushing team this year.

For a similar experiment, look at the compensation packages for the Colts' O-line. Sure James is franchised (for one year) at a high paycheck, but he adds value as a receiver, too.

And Polian hasn't been afraid to protect his QB and rusher with a Cadillac line. That's why I just can't believe Deuce is worth, say, a Jeff Saturday and a Tarik Glenn every year until he goes on the IR.

Why do I say that? Because the injury rate for a RB is about 50 percent higher than those who are blocking for him and his QB. Why pay out Deuce money with that risk when you can get basically equal value employing a couple of Lamont Jordans behind a steamroller line of Saturdays and Glenns FOR LESS MONEY!!!!!!!

47
by Richie (not verified) :: Tue, 08/02/2005 - 8:18pm

Yeah, I would have to say that 6% of the cap is reasonable for Deuce. I'm not sure how good he really is, but he is within shouting distance of the top backs in the league (if he isn't already there). That salary is not going to ruin the Saints cap, I don't think.

48
by someone (not verified) :: Wed, 08/03/2005 - 8:19am

Like I said before, I am not arguing against the theory of using cap dollars to pay a LT and C top dollar and using a RB-by-committee approach to compensate. Yes RB is obviously an injury-ridden position. If only a few backs are worth the big money and not one of the 5-10 best, that's a theory I can respect. Presumably you think three teams drafting runners in the top five of the draft this year was a serious mistake for the most part - and thats why they are drafting in the top five?

Just out of interest, can you provide any more information on the "serious ankle and knee injuries" McAllister has? He had a high ankle sprain for much of last year, but I have never heard of any torn ACL etc from any other source. Once again, as the starting RB the last three years, 15 16 14 goes his stat line for number of games started.

I don't understand the Lamont Jordan point - he was still on his rookie deal for sure, but he rushed 93 times as a backup last year, so he's underpaid for that year? He's the same age as McAllister and got a $27m contract with $11m in guarantees. Less tread on the tires for sure but is that a good deal, while $28m and $12.5m is a bad deal?

I still don't understand your point about James. "He adds value as a receiver". McAllister caught 70 balls at a 7.5 average in 2002, he doesn't add value as a receiver?

As for your examples of the Steelers and Colts. Correct me if I'm wrong but Bettis was on a huge contract and has agreed to take a pay cut several times to stay. Whereas you say Staley is overpaid. And this is the posterchild for RB-by-committee and pay the line the big bucks. Who on the line apart from the left guard is paid big bucks? The Steelers don't pay their runners big bucks because they are cheap and they overpaid for players like Gildon recently and got burned. As for the Colts, they are spending to keep the team together while the window is still open. They are not an example of a team using a RB-by-committee approach because they don't. They are an example of a team overpaying their RT with a $12m bonus for future trouble down the line because they want a SB win in the next two years.

p.s. strawman argument? do me a favour mate. several people on this contributions thread were saying Deuce is a worse player than people think. There was no strawman there.

49
by Carl (not verified) :: Wed, 08/03/2005 - 5:28pm

"Presumably you think three teams drafting runners in the top five of the draft this year was a serious mistake for the most part - and thats why they are drafting in the top five?"

I'm not opposed to drafting -- then playing, quickly -- RBs, which is the current NFL model. I just have a problem with drafting them and paying them free agent kind of money, which is what you get with the high first round picks. If I served as a GM, I would take prospective RBs in the later first or third rounds and, instead, build for a rushing game with OL players of proven value.

Of course, I also would trash that model if I see someone like Edgerrin James on the board. I wrote then, and I believe now, that the pick was a great one based on the metrics available about his receiving.

"McAllister caught 70 balls at a 7.5 average in 2002, he doesn’t add value as a receiver?"

Actually, no. That was two years ago, and the yardage was short, with poor hands or an eye for the ball, which is one reason that the numbers declined shortly after the experiment. He now gets two dumps per game, on average. Not impressive.

FO's DVOA index is a tool that resembles in many ways the sort of statistical models many NFL teams already have developed for scouting. This, of course, is proprietary. Aaron doesn't really include receiving in his tallies. If he did, McAllister would be even lower than he figures now, which is hard to imagine but true.

Suffice it to say, the HIGHEST Deuce appeared last year on the NFL scout sheets I saw was about 20th in the league. That's Marcel Shipp territory. Well worth the second highest RB package in the history of the league.

"And this is the posterchild for RB-by-committee and pay the line the big bucks."

When did I ever say that? That's inane. In previous writings I certainly have explored the success of RBbCs, but never included the Steelers in that. A better model to highlight would be Tampa Bay's, Atlanta's or Miami's.

Bettis saw his contract receive a market correction after an injury-riddled 2003-04 season. Had he not renegotiated downward, about $200,000 below the median compensation package for RBs, he would have been cut.

The Steelers did NOT seek to build a RBbC, and never utilized it as such anyway.

I wrote at the time that Bettis deserved more money, based on statistical models. I'm glad he proved me right.

Did you even read what I wrote?

"Who on the line apart from the left guard is paid big bucks?"

I'm not sure publicly available databases reflect these numbers, but Faneca, Hartings, Ross, Marvel Smith and Simmons all received higher than average compensation for OL last year.

I'm sure no one would dispute that they earned their keep, especially Faneca and Hartings. So I'm completely disregarding everything you say about them from that point on.

I haven't finished my projections for 2005 yet because not all the contracts have been closed out leaguewide.

And anyone who says Deuce is worse than average, I would agree with them. He's a mediocre player on a bad team. The wonder of not having guaranteed contracts in the NFL, however, means that his compensation package isn't exactly permanent.

So even a front office like the one at 5800 Airline Drive gets the chance to unscrew nutty contracts.

50
by Carl (not verified) :: Wed, 08/03/2005 - 5:39pm

For anyone who cares, I'm predicting the Saints lose 11 games next year. They will again have one of the worst rushing and passing defenses in the NFC.

By the way, New Orleans has moved toward correcting the Deuce Dilemma by actually drafting some some quality o-lineman (after three freakin' years of picking mediocre DEs, which doesn't help when you don't have any LBs).

Jammal Brown will start at RT and Jermane Mayberry will, finally, move back to RG, where he belongs. If I recall, Brown has been locked up for five years.

Now, do I think Brown deserved to go that high? No, New Orleans was reaching a little bit. But they reached because they had to after years of botched drafts.

51
by someone (not verified) :: Wed, 08/03/2005 - 7:13pm

"Actually, no. That was two years ago, and the yardage was short, with poor hands or an eye for the ball, which is one reason that the numbers declined shortly after the experiment. He now gets two dumps per game, on average. Not impressive."

He was bothered with a high ankle sprain last year, which is probably the reason he only caught 34 balls. Same reason he barely cracked 1000 rushing. Why should the two years he was healthy and put up superb numbers be ignored in favour of the one where he was slightly injured, obviously limiting his effectiveness?

Yds per catch. For the last three years, 7.5, 7.5 and 6.7 (high ankle sprain year) are McAllister's numbers. LaDainian Tomlinson's averages: 6.2, 6.2, 7.3, 8.3. You said in point 37 "if only McAllister could catch the ball like Tomlinson etc etc". So I guess Deuce's averages are poor, but Tomlinsons's are great huh?

This is what you said about Pittsburgh:

"They pay for a combo of RBs what NO lays out for one “feature back,� yet you can guarantee that the Steelers will be a more effective rushing team this year."

Sounds like you're using them as an example of RB-by-committee to me Carl, maybe its you who needs to read what you write? The O-line received higher than average compensation last year? Sorry Carl, that is just way, way, way too vague a statement. I can't even be bothered to go into the details of how that statement could mean so many things, especially as it appears you'll ignore it anyway. Steelers pay Faneca because he's the best guard in the league. No-one else on that line is on a big time contract.

p.s. better models to highlight the RB by committee approach over feature back would be Tampa Bay and Miami huh. Those would be the two teams that drafted runners in the top five this year and paid them +$10m signing bonuses. What a ringing endorsement of your theory that RB-by-committee is the way forward. Lets see how long that approach lasts in each place shall we?

52
by Richie (not verified) :: Wed, 08/03/2005 - 7:21pm

If you want to improve your running AND passing game, wouldn’t the dollars be better spent of capable offensive linemen?

Do we know how Deuce's contract is structured? How much of a cap hit to the Saints take if they cut him before the 2006 season? My point being that maybe the Saints decided there were no more worthy offensive linemen available to spend money on. They appreciate what Deuce has done for them, they feel he'll be good for at least one more year, so they give him a bunch of money now (cap money that may have otherwise gone unspent).

Could giving players a payday after producing for a team actually be an incentive to future players knowing that the Saints will take care of them if they outperform a contract?

53
by Richie (not verified) :: Wed, 08/03/2005 - 7:28pm

“And this is the posterchild for RB-by-committee and pay the line the big bucks.�

When did I ever say that?

Carl, your post in #46 seemed to imply that the Steelers are spending their money on linemen instead of RB, yet you listed Staley as overpaid. It seems a bit contradictory.

54
by Carl (not verified) :: Thu, 08/04/2005 - 12:04pm

Someone,

Sorry I'm not picking apart everything I said for you. When one begins posting here, deciding the level of conversation for the person for whom you're doing the conversation is important.

I could go into far more detail, breaking down annual amortized numbers for every single player in the NFL, comparing it to past and future predicted performance, against models with norms, for RBs, go back 40 years in database format.

But it will be lost on you. It seems like your arguments mostly stem from things you heard on sports radio or cribbed from ESPN. That's ok, but I'm not going to invest a great deal of time, money and data carefully refuting the points of someone who isn't going to comprehend.

Like I said before, you believe the Deuce deal is a good one, or at least makes sense to you. There are dozens of GMs across the league who would have been scratching their heads over it, except that it was confected by the Saints. That's all they need to know.

55
by someone (not verified) :: Thu, 08/04/2005 - 1:14pm

Carl, your arguments on this thread are inconsistent and poor. So keep referring to 40 year databases, regression models, NFL scout sheets, phantom ankle and knee injuries, and all sorts of other name-drops and hints at unpublishable knowledge in lieu of actually being able to argue rationally and logically why McAllister is a bad player. The way you and others on these boards consistently refer to models, regression analysis et al as Gods to try and legimitize your opinion above others is laughable to me, but not as laughable as your child-tantrum when your arguments are soundly defeated. I base my evaluations on having watched football for decades and all my arguments on this thread are perfectly valid.

56
by Aaron (not verified) :: Thu, 08/04/2005 - 1:27pm

Flame war watch! Carl and "someone" -- everyone play nice now!

57
by Carl (not verified) :: Fri, 08/05/2005 - 7:02pm

Let me get this straight. Those of us who actually do data analysis for players, franchises and the union, not to mention our day jobs that orbit around the game of professional football, have arguments that are "soundly defeated" by guys who watch a lot of TV?

I was trying to be nice by gently suggesting that you really have no idea what you're talking about, that even a cursory understanding of successful talent acquistion and the rushing game would "defeat" such stupid strawman concepts you crap out on a webpage's comments section.

You ask me to break out numbers for you that take time, involve proprietary information and, anyway, have already been elucidated in other postings on FO. Why don't you do them yourself?

Why don't you hire the data entry help necessary to piece together injury reports, provide the regression predictors, analyze decades of information, then tie it into a meaningful whole that helps a team win or lose, changes NFL rules or becomes part of the CBA bargaining process?

When you do that, then you can "defeat" anything I say. As for publishing what I have, it's done all the today, most recently for work I did for ESPN, but also for a range of other print, TV and academic work.

Many people who post here have informative points to make on positions. Some I agree with strongly (such as Aaron's take on running backs or JimA's analysis of injury data or MDS on just about anything). There's a guy named Pat who always provides interesting caveats to data that's collected.

Trogdor and Senser add outstanding historical context to stats.

But I won't spend a lot of time, effort or money (in the form of proprietary data) explaining to you what seems CW in here.
You're not going to understand it, and even if you did you wouldn't change your mind.

58
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Fri, 08/05/2005 - 8:21pm

I don't think this is a total screw-up by the Saints. It's simply a calculated risk.

Any time a team pays a player more than the minimum, they're betting that the player produces better than the replacement-level player league minimum buys. When they pay a multiple of the mean salary, like the Saints have done with Deuce, they're counting on star production.

2003 showed that Deuce can produce like a star running back. 2004* showed that he can fall short. The Saints are betting that they see more seasons like 2003 than 2004 over the next few years.

Of course, this is the Saints here. Their front office has used up whatever benefit of the doubt they get, over the past two decades of underachieving. Watch for Deuce to spontaneously combust during his introduction at the Saints' first home game.

*Yes, he was injured in 2004, and missed games. But that happens quite often to RBs, and GMs also like to buy durability when you pay for a star runner. (Note that this argument also means players like Corey Dillon and Edgerrin James are likely overpaid, since they've missed time due to injury in the past few seasons.)

59
by Richie (not verified) :: Fri, 08/05/2005 - 8:57pm

I could go into far more detail, breaking down annual amortized numbers for every single player in the NFL, comparing it to past and future predicted performance, against models with norms, for RBs, go back 40 years in database format.

Carl, I like a lot of what you have to say here. But I tend to agree with "someone" a bit in this argument. You are making arguments based on info you have, but are not sharing. That doesn't help us much. Here you claim that you "could" go into further detail? Well, give us a bit. Don't overwhelm us though. You must have already done the research on this, since you are already arguing based on this research. So it shouldn't even be a big deal for you.

Those of us who actually do data analysis for players, franchises and the union, not to mention our day jobs that orbit around the game of professional football, have arguments that are “soundly defeated� by guys who watch a lot of TV?

Well, I just "watch a lot of TV" but I knew that hiring Matt Millen a few years ago was foolish. Sometimes you can watch players play and get a feel. Things that don't register in the stat book.

Even with Aaron's ratings, he sometimes has to add subjective plusses or minusses to his ratings.

60
by someone (not verified) :: Sat, 08/06/2005 - 1:35am

Carl, I couldn't care less how much you namedrop or who you work for or how you help NFL teams win and change the CBA. All of that to me is only as good as how it can help you construct a reasonable argument on this thread, and as far as I can see it doesn't seem to be helping you do a very good job. You're the guy that is just coming out with continual personal insults in lieu of rational argument, not me. My "flames" in this thread consist of me saying I don't think your argument is persuasive. I haven't employed a strawman in this thread as you keep saying. I can accept the RB-by-committee idea, although you don't appear to understand that. What I object to are the notions that McAllister adds little as a receiver, can't gain yardage in tough situations, and is often injured. In as much as I interpret stats and evaluate players when I watch them, these notions are demonstrably wrong. I'm sorry the fact I don't accept your word as gospel given your lack of information and rather inconsistent arguments irritates you so much. I guess I'll just carry on waiting for evidence from you that suggest that the enormous amount of data and position in the NFL world you like to namedrop can translate into you forming a persuasive argument on the merits of Deuce McAllister.

61
by someone (not verified) :: Sat, 08/06/2005 - 1:51am

Actually, I won't check back. I can basically sum up the last half of this thread:

"Deuce McAllister is terrible passcatcher. He only averages two dumps a game and his yds per catch is poor"

"Hang on, two dumps refers to the year he was injured, while the RB commonly thought of as the best all-around player in the league has roughly similar yards per catch"

"How dare you! I write for ESPN! Don't you know who I am? I've got a regression analysis and I'm prepared to use it!"

62
by Richie (not verified) :: Mon, 08/08/2005 - 7:42pm

bump

63
by Artemis (not verified) :: Wed, 08/10/2005 - 2:40am

Wow. I came in here to read about the 'Aints and I read this.

Idiot lives up to his name.

"I’m not going to try to bash the stats that prop up a portion of this site when I havent properly looked at them though, and I respect attempts to analyse beyond traditional stats as long as its not analysis for its own sake."

And then he goes on to do just that. Only idiotically.

"Once James, Lewis and Alexander do their long term deals, this deal will be more easily rateable in a strictly relative fashion."

Someone explain to "someone" what a franchise tag is. Let's hope James makes it to his next "long term deal" while playing on 'turf.

"This five time higher than the median argument could equally be applied to any top ten back in the NFL then."

I went over to USA Today and looked at the salaries. That's not true. What a stupid statement. Compare the top 10 in salaries to DPAR and see what you get.

And he trashes Carl's argument? Puh-leeeeze.

"D Staley (he was overpaid before he got injured)"

Yeah, and he is injured again. Money down the drain, but they're the Steelers so screw 'em.

"McAllister caught 70 balls at a 7.5 average in 2002, he doesn’t add value as a receiver?"

Wasn't that three years ago, with the same quarterback? What has he been doing for the past few years? He doesn't catch s**t now. One year wonder.

" is viable for the one of the top ten backs in the league and your best player."

Is there a consensus here that he's one of the "top ten backs" in the NFL? I'm not sure after reading Aaron's analysis that he's even one of the "top ten backs" in the NFC. I think Carl is right and the only team that would pay him stoopid money was my 'Aints.

"He was bothered with a high ankle sprain last year, which is probably the reason he only caught 34 balls. Same reason he barely cracked 1000 rushing. Why should the two years he was healthy and put up superb numbers be ignored in favour of the one where he was slightly injured, obviously limiting his effectiveness?"

Aaron, didn't you write something for ESPN that talked about how the more hits backs get, the lower their rushing, year after year? I think if you get hurt and you don't run as well as you used to, you don't get a zillion dollar contract. Am I missing something here?

"actually being able to argue rationally and logically why McAllister is a bad player."

Did he say that? He said he wasn't worth a zillion dollars. That is not the same as saying he is a bad player. Down here, we call that a "strawman" argument. Guess they don't teach you that up north, right Carl?

"You said in point 37 “if only McAllister could catch the ball like Tomlinson etc etc". So I guess Deuce’s averages are poor, but Tomlinsons’s are great huh?"

Tomlinson was the best receiver on his team when he got those catches. McAllister wasn't. And he hasn't done it lately. I wonder why I keep my tix.

"I haven’t finished my projections for 2005 yet because not all the contracts have been closed out leaguewide."

Carl, when you are done will you post them here so we can all see? I think Rich is right about that. You can't make an argument and then not show us the numbers behind them.

Otherwise we have to listen to someone, who demonstrates that he is no one.

64
by B (not verified) :: Wed, 08/10/2005 - 11:10am

Man, I can't beleive I missed this whole argument. The only data I need to know that Duce is overpaid is the names on the contract. Seriously, Duce McAllister? We have all these neat new stats and regression analysis to analyize NFL teams and players and we're going to throw it all away because they label an 'Aint as over-rated? A player who's a major cog in a team that manages to find new ways to screw up on a weekly basis? I don't need DVOA or DPAR or SR or YPC or YPA to know that McAllister isn't a top 10 back, I can tell it by watching a few Saints games. In fairness to him, maybe his struggles have more to do with the other 10 players on the Saints offense or the coaching staff, but either way, throwing this kind of money at him is not going to solve thier problems.

65
by someone (not verified) :: Thu, 08/11/2005 - 8:35am

Artemis, you're just a troll with little worthwhile to say but I'm going to address your comments anyway.

"Someone explain to “someone� what a franchise tag is. Let’s hope James makes it to his next “long term deal� while playing on ‘turf."

Are you saying none of the RBs I mentioned are going to get long term deals? Are you saying anything at all, or just sounding off? Only Portis and Tomlinson have recently signed long term deals. When James, Alexander and Lewis sign their deals, McAllister's deal will be more easy to gauge.

"Yeah, and he is injured again. Money down the drain, but they’re the Steelers so screw ‘em."

This kind of comment is rubbish, mate. There was a serious discussion ongoing till Carl started throwing hissy fits and this sort of thing crept in.

"Wasn’t that three years ago, with the same quarterback? What has he been doing for the past few years? He doesn’t catch s**t now. One year wonder."

Plenty of the criticism on this thread is directed towards stats McAllister put up last year, when he was nicked up with a high ankle sprain. There is no reason to suppose he won't be fully healthy again this year and so his stats from 2002 and 2003, when he was a fulltime starter, are more relevant.

"Aaron, didn’t you write something for ESPN that talked about how the more hits backs get, the lower their rushing, year after year? I think if you get hurt and you don’t run as well as you used to, you don’t get a zillion dollar contract. Am I missing something here?"

High ankle sprain, not a torn ACL. He's 26 years old with three seasons on the clock. Yeah RBs often hit a wall at the age of 30 or after major number-of-carry seasons but this can't be applied to this situation. To say McAllister is on an injury-ridden decline after three seasons at age 26 is moronic in my view unless someone on this thread can produce any proper evidence to prove or even suggest he is long-term injured. There's every reason to believe he will apprach his 2002-3 form again.

"Did he say that? He said he wasn’t worth a zillion dollars. That is not the same as saying he is a bad player. Down here, we call that a “strawman� argument. Guess they don’t teach you that up north, right Carl?"

This is what he said. "And anyone who says Deuce is worse than average, I would agree with them." Learn to read properly.

"Tomlinson was the best receiver on his team when he got those catches. McAllister wasn’t. And he hasn’t done it lately."

True, but McAllister's yds per catch are perfectly reasonable for a RB and comparable to many other backs in the league, its simply very strange to criticise him for it. He hasn't done it lately because he had a high ankle sprain bothering him through 2004.

Just out of interest, I see Domanick Davis has signed a multi year extension - $7m SB and about $4m a year. He was nicked up through most of last season, so despite the fact he's been in the league two seasons, he's probably on the decline too???? And seeing as he's 21st in DPAR and 32nd in DVOA for 2004, I guess we can chalk up the Texans as another idiot front office who don't appreciate the insights of some of the statistical geniuses who inhabit this site.

66
by Juice (not verified) :: Thu, 08/11/2005 - 11:45am

I found a posting of "someone" in another part of FO, so I am going to hanker it is the same guy.

You have nothing to worry about Carl. He is just a troll who kinda sounds like a bad TV announcer.

I like that a guy misses two games because he has a "nick." Sounds like a has-been color man.

67
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 08/11/2005 - 12:07pm

Someone:
Just out of curiousity, have you ever watched a Saints game, or a Texans game, for that matter?

68
by Artemis (not verified) :: Thu, 08/11/2005 - 3:05pm

He's pointing to the Houston freakin' Texans in an argument about player management.

The $7.5 million man, Boselli. Chris Palmers. Charley Casserly. TONY BANKS!!! Robaire Smith. Seth Payne.

When Chad Stanley is the best player you ever acquired, something might be wrong.

69
by C (not verified) :: Thu, 08/11/2005 - 3:35pm

Just so you all know, there's a pretty good chance that Carl will never read this. He seems to be in Iraq right now with the PA National Guard. My bet is that he's a bit busy now, and when he returns from there, won't be digging into the archives to see how arguments from a year ago were resolved.

http://www.irishpennants.com/archives/2005/06/carl_prine.php

C

70
by Tim (not verified) :: Thu, 08/11/2005 - 4:15pm

Artemis, that was a vacuous rip on the Texans.
Boselli was an issue of health evaluation, not talent evaluation, and I don't know enough about injuries to argue it.
Palmer (sans s) I do have a question about, but he has nothing at all to do with player management, since he's an offensive coordinator.
I don't know what kind of a problem you can possibly have with Charley "swindle the Saints out of the 1999 draft" Casserly.
Tony Banks is a very successful backup quarterback. Just because he never set the world on fire as a starter doesn't mean he has no place on a roster.
If you look in the defensive line unit comments in PFP, you'll see how good an acquisition Robaire Smith was.
And Seth Payne is the heart of the Texans' defense, and it was his injury in the first game of '03 that led to the Texans having such a poor defense this year.
If you ask me, the Texans are a fairly good example of judicious signings and salary cap health.

As a matter of fact, a good example of that is the deal Domanick Davis got. By DVOA/DPAR/Success Rate, he's extremely comparable to McAllister. He's also comparable in 2003 traditional stats. (In fact he's a little better everywhere, but let's not split hairs.) He's also two years younger, which is a factor when you're dealing with nicked up running backs. His new extension is indeed essentially the same, except that it has about half as much guaranteed money (not a $7 million signing bonus as you claim, someone). So either Davis is underpaid, or McAllister is overpaid. We'll find out which it is when and if James and Alexander sign.

71
by someone (not verified) :: Thu, 08/11/2005 - 4:21pm

B: yes. Just out of curiosity, do you have a rational argument as to why McAllister is such an overrated player? Because I don't see one from you.

Juice, Davis was nicked up with various bangs and scrapes for a lot of last year.

72
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 08/11/2005 - 4:49pm

When I see Duce, I see a guy who's good for, in his best year, about 1400 yards rushing and 600 yards receiving. These numbers look pretty good, but he's also a guy who gets stuffed a lot of the time and has a 70% catch rate, which isn't bad, but the top receiving running backs are in the mid 80s. And on top of that, he's recovering from a high ankle sprain. Still, he might be worth 5 million a year, and when the Saints flame out again this year, they can cut him and draft a new running back in the high first round.

73
by someone (not verified) :: Sat, 08/13/2005 - 6:57am

Tim, this article has Davis with a $5m SB, with a further $2m in option bonus and $0.8m in roster bonus next March. Making $7m. The Texans are not cutting the guy before next March unless he gets a career-ending injury, but I take your point that it isn't all a SB. By the way, by the same token McAllister's deal is a $7m SB, not $12.5m as has been reported elsewhere.

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/sports/3299629

74
by someone (not verified) :: Sat, 08/13/2005 - 8:01am

meant to say above a $1.2m option bonus, not $2m, as in the article.

p.s. B, I personally think 2000 combined yards from a RB is a bit better than "pretty good", but obviously everyone else's expectations from RBs are higher than mine.

75
by Juice (not verified) :: Sat, 08/13/2005 - 11:35pm

It seems to me the problem someone has is that he wants to debate without the benefit of a lot of statistical or economic research, like others on this site have. He's kind of trapped in 1981. That's OK, but it comes off as kind of dated.

76
by someone (not verified) :: Sun, 08/14/2005 - 12:15am

Well if all this statistical and economic research is there, then lets see some of it, or at least see it inform an educated opinion of McAllister. All I see is arguments that this guy is crappy for the same old reasons - injuries, can't gain tough yards, doesn't add value as receiver - with nothing except the stats from the year he had a high ankle sprain to support these contentions. Oh, and DPAR and DVOA, which have Dorsey Levens and Derrick Blaylock ranked much higher.

It seems to me the problem people have is they want people to blindly accept their view that a 2,000 yard multi-Pro Bowl yd back is a "worse than average" player on the basis of hints of extra knowledge, but won't show this extra knowledge, and their arguments become rather confused on any subject of detail. And then they throw a hissy fit. I personally suspect the people promulgating these arguments are intern geeks working at STATS Inc.

77
by KING (not verified) :: Wed, 08/24/2005 - 9:22pm

Anyone ..I repeat..ANYONE who mentions DVOA or any other made up stats as there no.1 evalutation of a RB should be banned from watching football for life.

Sorry this isnt money ball.There is no calculator punching solution to judging backs.Of ALL the positions in football it is the one that almost entirely requires you to watch a player to know what kind of player he is.

People dont mind if Barry lost a bajillon yards but still managed to have a 150 yard rushing day. Deuce is not in Barrys league but he IS among the very top in the NFL.A 5 yr 28 mil $ deal is fine for a guy who IS a franchise back and can do it all on the field.

Ive watched alot of saints game ,and I can tell you that unlike Alexander Deuce isnt afraid to pound it up the gut for tough yards. The saints in general have been suffering from an all or nothing mentality.They either go for it all or they come away 3 and out.It aint deuce its the whole O.

78
by XxOoOxX (not verified) :: Wed, 08/24/2005 - 11:53pm

Amen, King.

Seriously folks, yards are yards are yards. Does it really make a difference whether Deuce gains 3 yards on 1st and 10, 2nd and 7, 3rd and 4, or 4th and 4? No, 3 yards is 3 yards no matter what way you look at it. Should Deuce running 3 plays, 2, 20, and 1 yards differ from him running 9, 9, and 5 yards? No, 23 yards is 23 yards no matter what way you look at it. DVOA and all the others are made-up stats. And should be treated as such

Anyways, Deuce is a top 10 runningback. He IS a franchise back, along with about a half dozen others in the league. The 'Aints are switching to a more run-based offense this season so lets see how he does.

79
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 1:13am

Does it really make a difference whether Deuce gains 3 yards on 1st and 10, 2nd and 7, 3rd and 4, or 4th and 4?

Yes. If he gains 3 yards on 4th and 4, the team shouldn't've bothered giving him the ball, as the only help he gave the team was taking 3 yards away from the opponent.

If he gains 3 yards on 1st and 10, that's much better.

Yards are not all equal. Teams block differently in short yardage situations. Opponents block differently in short yardage differently. Someone gaining 2 yards on 4th and 1 is much more important than gaining 2 yards on 1st and 10.

Anyone who's watched a football game knows this. If your main criticism of DVOA is that Dorsey Levens is rated higher, maybe you should go back and look through Levens's play-by-play statistics, and how he was used.

DVOA determines how well a player helped his team to win. It's a perfectly legitimate criticism if a player cannot gain yards in a situation when the team most needs him to.

It should be noted that it's a perfectly valid criticism that this underrates McAllister's potential. New Orleans could simply be utilizing him incredibly poorly, which seems likely. A low success-rate back should not be put in on 3rd/4th down, or goal line situations. With another coach, he could contribute much better. But right now, he's not helping his team win much, which makes sense, given how mediocre the Saints were last year.

80
by senser81 (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 12:36pm

Doesn't post #34 indicate that McAllister has actually had a high success rate on 3rd/4th down?

But this thread isn't about McAllister being an average RB, or that all RBs are overpaid, or that regression analyses prove that RB is the most worthless position in the NFL. Its about the demeaning herd mentality of this website. "Do you know what site you're on?" Did I really read that in post #21?

Its funny how the FootballOutsider fanatics are allowed by the Head Outsider to tear apart anyone who states the contrary, but then its called a "Flame War" by the Head Outsider when an FO fanatic is proven wrong. Great. I guess its bad when the two people who make the most sense on your website are named "idiot" and "someone".

81
by Aaron (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 1:02pm

If anyone is still reading this, let me make a comment.

What we have here is a discussion among Football Outsiders readers. Very few of these comments are from FO staff. Two of them are from me, one of which is actually SUPPORTIVE of McAllister, and the other one just asks people to be nice to each other. MDS wrote two comments, one of which is supportive of McAllister, and the other of which is just a quick clarification. So the opinions expressed here do not mean that "Football Outsiders says that blah blah blah."

If readers -- those who support our methods, and those who disparage them -- wish to know exactly what I think of the McAllister contract, and why, the best thing to do is to email me and request that I talk about the McAllister contract in the next mailbag article. (or Mike, or MDS, or one of the rest of the gang.) Otherwise, don't tag reader discussion as official FO staff opinion.

82
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 1:51pm

Doesn’t post #34 indicate that McAllister has actually had a high success rate on 3rd/4th down?

Nah - the statement was that he had the highest number of conversions, not the highest percentage of conversions (rate). He had a higher percentage than Priest Holmes, and a lower percentage than James.

The fact that the statistic quoted had a hard cutoff though (3rd or 4th down, less than 3 yards to go) leaves it very susceptible to selection bias, though. What happens if you go to 2 yards? 4 yards? Cut out 4th down?

Its about the demeaning herd mentality of this website.

I think you mean the mentality of some people. Grouping everyone in this discussion into the same category as the poster of #21 is doing the exact same thing that you're criticizing others for. Especially given that the opposite side of the argument (in #77) was just as bad as the previous.

One person says "do you know what website you're on?"
One person says "ANYONE who uses DVOA ... should be banned from watching football for life."

I think that's the definition of a flame war.

83
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 1:57pm

And I still don't buy the regression analysis. It's far too susceptible to bias. I'd love to know what happens to the conclusions when you remove one team from the analysis, and rerun it, repeating for removal of all teams. Then also try removing multiple teams, and repeating. See if there's any one team, or any group of teams, which is contributing a significant amount to the trend.

Considering that teams in the NFL have different playing styles, I think it's entirely likely that there's a marginal sample being averaged over.

Somehow I doubt that if the Dolphins had lost A.J. Feeley last year that they would've been hurting any more than they were, so I don't believe that all teams are adversely affected when they lose a QB.

84
by senser81 (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 2:14pm

re: post #82

On McAllister, you are right; I would need to see the other percentage numbers to make an objective decision, but its still pretty good that Deuce had the 3rd highest conversions and had a higher percentage than the 2nd best guy (James).

On the herd mentality, if you want to play semantics you are right, but I stand by my general idea that a large number of people in this thread were intolerable toward two rational posters. This is not offset by post #77; the fact that you imply this makes it seem like you have turned a blind eye to the issue. I would think this issue would be important to the people who run this site, considering the whole point (I am assuming) is to discuss football.

Judging from post #81, it appears that the people who run this site are more concerned with what is tagged as "official FO staff opinion", when no one has said anything of the sort. I was more taken aback with what was allowed to occur and the timing at which a moderator decided to step in as opposed to what "official FO" people said.

I guess when you say that Deuce McAllister is overpaid and is a "league average back", we should not take that at face value. Rather we should email you for further clarification.

85
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 2:52pm

This is not offset by post #77; the fact that you imply this makes it seem like you have turned a blind eye to the issue.

I turned a blind eye to it because I wasn't one of those people. My point was that this thread only becomes about a herd mentality if you force it to.

I actually was more interested in pointing out that it is, in fact, possible that conventional statistics overstates McAllister's value.

Or, to state more simply:
We could either sit around talking about how horrible the previous posts in the thread are, or we could end the flame war end get back on topic. I'll take the latter. Don't feed the trolls.

86
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 6:35pm

Personally, I think Aaron's posts on Deuce qualify as "damning with faint praise." But what do I know, I think McAllister is lousy and over-rated. But hey, if you really belive that all yards are created equal and 3 yards on 4th an 4 are worth more than 2 yards on 3rd and 1, by all means feel free to celebrate McAllister's new contract. Just don't come crying to me when the Aints finish 7-9 and out of the playoffs again.

87
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 8:18pm

B:

Well, like I said, it might be that the blame should really be on the Saints for that. They might be using McAllister in a completely poor way - that is, handing him the ball in situations where he's proven to have problems.

Even if McAllister is just a plain old inconsistent runner, you can still use those backs well - second and short, for instance. But he's probably being paid now as a person who should succeed much more often than he will.

88
by Richie (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 8:24pm

I have a feeling that XXooXXooXX in #78 was being sarcastic.

89
by B (not verified) :: Fri, 08/26/2005 - 9:49am

Yea, it could be the line, it could be the playcalling, it could be Jim Haslett's obsession with fantasy stats (Which also explains why they keep Aaron Brooks around). Personally, I think it's something in the water supply. Strange things are always happening in the Bayou. Maybe it's a gypsy curse?

90
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 08/26/2005 - 11:14am

Re: #78

You think so? I sure as heck didn't read it that way.

B:

You ever talked to a few people down there? I think I'd agree with you. Wacky area.

91
by B (not verified) :: Fri, 08/26/2005 - 5:56pm

Streetcar named Marge:

. Long before the Superdome,
. Where the Saints of football play,
. There's a city where the damned call home,
. Hear their hellish rondelet:
.
. New Orleans!
. Home of pirates, drunks, and whores...
. New Orleans!
. Tacky, overpriced souvenir stores...

92
by Richie (not verified) :: Fri, 08/26/2005 - 6:35pm

Re: #78

You think so? I sure as heck didn’t read it that way.

Has to be. Look at this line:

"Does it really make a difference whether Deuce gains 3 yards on 1st and 10, 2nd and 7, 3rd and 4, or 4th and 4?"

Surely the poster realizes that running for 3 yards on 4th and 4 is not as valuable as running for 3 yards on 1st and 10.

93
by someone (not verified) :: Sun, 01/14/2007 - 10:29am

Postcript: I just had to come back to this thread and post, even though it will likely get deleted. Hilarious in retrospect, now that McAllister is a 1000 yard back with a 4.3 average (again) & the Saints are in the conference championship with his performance a major part of it.

And FO have been busy inventing reasons why he's apparenly a completely different player now, instead of the somewhat obvious reasoning that adding Drew Brees, Reggie Bush, Jeff Faine, Jammal Brown, Marques Colston & Sean Payton might have something to do with it. It's all very chucklesome.