Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

16 Feb 2015

Introducing Expected Contract Value

Great series over the past week on the website OvertheCap.com featuring a new metric by Bryce Johnston. The idea here is to come up with a metric for measuring the value of a contract that gives us the most accurate accounting of how much of the contract is likely to be earned by the player. Johnston used regression analysis to determine that roughly 80 percent of the decision-making about when to cut NFL players is driven only by the numbers of the contract, not the actual value of the player. Therefore, without even knowing which player we're talking about, we can find a probable value for the contract when it is first signed. Link goes to Part 5, but there are links at the top of this page for the first four pieces.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 16 Feb 2015

17 comments, Last at 24 Feb 2015, 2:33pm by Never Surrender


by PaddyPat :: Tue, 02/17/2015 - 2:11am

Wow, the sidelink from the article about Revis' previous contract demands is not encouraging for the Patriots' odds of working out a deal with him! Makes you wonder if a player like him might eventually reach a point where his contract demands are higher than any team should be willing to pay.

by Guest789 :: Tue, 02/17/2015 - 10:15am

When that happens, I'm guessing his contract demands will go down.

by Thok :: Tue, 02/17/2015 - 11:19am

Or he retires and goes into announcing, real estate, or politics.

(This is a concept that I don't think some people get with regards to NFL superstars. Once you become sufficiently famous, playing in the NFL isn't your only source of income, or even arguably your primary source of income.)

by RickD :: Tue, 02/17/2015 - 8:21pm

This is a great sentence from Florio's article:

Revis, who hasn’t commented on his situation, would describe it differently.

Well, I guess would in this context would mean "if he bothered to provide us with a comment, which he hasn't done".

NFL reporting becomes more fantasy-based.

OTC is worse.

The title of the OTC article uses the word "unhappy" to describe Revis, but Florio himself doesn't have such a quote in the article.

Would be nice if web sites didn't stoop to using clickbait like this. I guess the post-Super Bowl period of not trolling Patriots fans with b.s. headlines is over.

by mehllageman56 :: Tue, 02/17/2015 - 10:25pm

I understand your annoyance with the headline, but OTC was started by a Jets fan (it originally just gave the cap amounts for the AFC East), so he's probably been trolling the Patriots for a while. He's probably assuming that Revis is going to sell himself to the highest bidder, which fits his past actions. Perhaps he's wrong, but as a Jets fan I can see where his assumptions come from. Even with all that, the site is very useful to figure out cap and contract stuff.

by Bernie :: Thu, 02/19/2015 - 11:35am

This is something I've wondered about players and their contract demands for some time. With certain players, money is something they never have to concern themselves with ever again. People like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers etc, all make a shit ton of money from endorsements, and other businesses that they own. They don't need $20+ million per year to makes ends meet. I understand the desire to be paid commensurate to your abilities, but then at the same time they talk about taking "team friendly" deals to help sign other players to win championships. If they really wanted to be team friendly, (especially guys like Manning at the ends of their careers) why not take a league minimum salary to really put the dollars where they need to go?
We've covered at length what an advantage the Seahawks have had by paying Russell Wilson a relative pittance - why don't more established QBs with an already stuffed bank account and alternate forms of income take one for the team?

by duh :: Thu, 02/19/2015 - 1:32pm

I could be wrong but I'm guessing there might be pretty strong push back from the players union if they did something like that as it would tend to distort the salaries associated with franchise and transition tags.

Additionally, it could be seen to weaken the bargaining position of every other veteran player leaving them subject to similar pressure to 'take on for the team.' I'm not saying I agree with the logic just guessing how it would play out.

by Jerry :: Thu, 02/19/2015 - 7:01pm

There's no guarantee that ownership will put those savings into payroll for other players. And, as duh suggests, the union, agents, and other players would all be justifiably furious at how this would reset the market.

This is a different issue than guys at the end of their careers who sign for one more year at the minimum, which we see fairly often.

by tuluse :: Thu, 02/19/2015 - 8:51pm

There is some guarantee. Have to spend 90% of the cap.

by tuluse :: Thu, 02/19/2015 - 8:51pm

I think it's mostly a pride/competition thing.

However, you have to be pretty damn rich to thumb your nose at 19 million dollars.

by JonFrum :: Tue, 02/17/2015 - 7:18pm

There was never any reason to think that Revis would re-do his deal with the Pats for a second year. That was a one-year rental going in. It's possible that they can do a deal, but not likely.
If you stop and think about it, they got exactly what they wanted, right? They rolled the dice, signed him for what was effectively a one-year deal, and won the SB with him. That doesn't mean they have to marry the guy now. Every other team in the league that has won the Super Bowl has done it without Revis - I'm sure Belichick can figure out a way to do so as well.

by RickD :: Tue, 02/17/2015 - 8:26pm

The idea was that the number in the contract would be so large that the Pats would be forced to either restructure the contract or release him. In theory they could just pay the $20M, but that sounds more like gossip for the sportswriters to chew on than a serious suggestion.

They could have simply had a 1-year contract, but the balloon year protects Revis against the salary cap. I suspect we'll see more contracts structured this way.

Every other team in the league that has won the Super Bowl has done it without Revis - I'm sure Belichick can figure out a way to do so as well.

I love this sentence. Can we put "JJ Watt" in instead of Revis and point out that no Super Bowl winner has ever won the title with Watt on the roster, and therefore the Texans should cut him? Watt doesn't even have a ring!

by Independent George :: Wed, 02/18/2015 - 10:58am

The question is can a team get, say, 800 milliWatts (mW) of performance at 70% of the price, freeing up the cash to shore up other holes in the roster? That's always the question - it's better to have JJ Watt or Darrelle Revis on your team than to not, but it might not be efficient to do so at the price demanded.

I admit, from your other comments I know you've actually made the same argument and understand the point full well. I just wanted to use milliWatts in a sentence. I saw an opportunity, and took it.

by tuluse :: Thu, 02/19/2015 - 8:57pm

This could be viable if you could reliably get 80% of JJ Watt. You're more likely to end up with 30-40$ of Watt over average however for you 70% salary.

by Never Surrender :: Tue, 02/24/2015 - 2:33pm

Alternatively, we could point out that since Revis entered the league, the Patriots have never managed to win a Super Bowl except when he was on the roster. Lots of factors to weigh here before making a smart move.

by atworkforu :: Tue, 02/17/2015 - 10:36pm

By cap do you mean franchise tag? I hadn't thought of using fictional contract outyears in that way.

by RickD :: Wed, 02/18/2015 - 2:10pm

Assuming you were replying to me, yes, I meant franchise tag. The second year of Revis's contract pays more than he would have received had he gotten a 1-year contract and then gotten the franchise tag.

And I doubt Revis would be "unhappy" about getting $25 million this season. Not that it'll happen.