Von Miller and Deshaun Watson: Deadline Dos and Don'ts

Denver Broncos ER Von Miller
Denver Broncos ER Von Miller
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 9 - Here is some #Analysis you can only get from Football Outsiders: with the acquisition of Von Miller, the Los Angeles Rams are all-in to win Super Bowl LVI!

Oh, you thought they were "all in" when they traded for Matthew Stafford, burning draft picks and eating a fat gristly hunk of Jared Goff's salary in the process? They just pushed all of their chips into the middle of the poker table with that trade. Now there's the deed to the ranch, the title to a pickup truck, one of Sean McVay's kidneys, and a litter of golden retriever puppies in the kitty. The Rams are all all all all in.

It's hard to criticize the Miller trade for the Rams without sounding like the type of person who writes editorials about how twenty-somethings should deny themselves avocado toast so they can save for a mortgage. Win Now mode is completely legitimate when you are 7-1 and loaded with proven superstars. The marginal increase between an overall DVOA around 31% and 35%—the difference that locks in home-field advantage throughout the playoffs or provides an edge against Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady—is incredibly difficult to attain, and it's worth the marginal decrease in potential DVOA the Rams will suffer down the road after they spend the first two days of the 2022 draft partying at one of those music festivals that ends up the subject of a Hulu documentary.

As for the Broncos, this is where six years of halfhearted rebuilding gets you. They entered the season as wild-card contenders, and a mushy schedule, the recent decline of the Chargers, and the inevitable upcoming Raiders course correction could have helped the Broncos climb into something resembling contention. But Miller's departure nerfs their defense, robs the franchise of its face, and signals both an inevitable 2021 surrender and the likely end of the Vic Fangio era.

Miller's departure suggests that George Paton now has full control of football operations; John Elway would have interpreted Sunday's win over Washington as a sign that the Broncos were turning the corner. In the long term, Paton's arrival and ascendance may prove to be a very good thing. In the short term, however, it's a disappointing "let's start the rebuild that we should have started in 2016" thing.

Let's examine some other developments from around the trade deadline.

Kansas City Chiefs acquire Melvin Ingram from the Pittsburgh Steelers
It sounds as though the plan is to use both Frank Clark and Incrementally More Motivated Frank Clark (a.k.a. Ingram) in a NASCAR-type package on passing downs, and to slide Chris Jones back inside to pick up the pieces of the run defense after spending much of this season as an edge. That plan would have sounded much more exciting in August. Now, it's like adding a spoiler to an old PT Cruiser.

Titans sign Adrian Peterson to replace Derrick Henry
Peterson will:

  • Produce a few 10-carry-for-8-yard games, including one against the Saints in two weeks.
  • Produce one stunning 163-yard, two-touchdown game, probably against the Texans in three weeks.
  • Spend the remainder of the season rushing for about 45 yards per game while broadcasters gush about the leadership he is providing a team which never appeared to be lacking in leadership before he arrived.

The Titans will then lose in the first round of the playoffs, which is what they would have done with Henry anyway.

Deshaun Watson trade never develops
The Dolphins made the right move by not making a move here: better to try to salvage Tua Tagovailoa by conventional means (replacing Heckle and/or Jeckle with one real offensive coordinator) than mortgage whatever future they may have in pursuit of potential vaporware.

The prevailing wisdom among those who try to make sense of the Texans is that the team plans to wait and see if Watson's legal and league discipline outlook is rosier in the 2022 offseason. If so, presto! Bidders galore for his services!

Of course, there's a chance Watson's legal situation will be worse by then. Or similarly muddled. Both scenarios seem more likely than "he's totally exonerated and on the Commissioner's Live Your Best Life List." Watson also has a no-trade clause in his contract, so he can still exert some leverage if he decides he doesn't want to play for, say, the Detroit Lions.

Most importantly: the Texans are a terrible team that just squandered a year of either Watson's services or whomever/whatever they would have received in a trade, and they did so due to a combination of procrastination and insular thinking, not some clever Moneyball tactic.

Time is a precious NFL resource. Waiting, seeing, and stinking for multiple years makes sense if the Texans are just some team that generates fantasy stats or column topics to you. It makes no sense to someone trying to sell tickets or jerseys, attract or motivate players, convince agents to work with you or coaches to work for you, or, heaven forbid, build a decent roster.

The Texans won't have the "last laugh" if they trade Watson for three first-rounders next March. They'll have another year of gross mismanagement from which to dig out from under, and another year of leaving their customers with a nauseating taste in their mouths. They'll also be stuck with the harsh reality that the folks that fouled up their last set of big decisions will be the same folks making their next set. Those things may be hard to quantify, but I can guarantee you they add up to more than a couple of draft picks.

Walkthrough Tank Watch: Washington Football Team

Every Wednesday, Walkthrough checks in on one of the NFL's worst teams to determine what's going wrong, what (if anything) is going right, and what (if anything) they can do to start heading in the right direction.

The Washington Football Team Story So Far: Washington entered the season as potential wild-card challengers with what was expected to be a top-quartile defense and adequate offense. They proved almost immediately to have a bottom-quartile defense and an injury-ravaged, inadequate offense.

Washington's only victories so far were tight wins over the Giants and Falcons, both former Tank Watch subjects. Week 8's 17-10 loss to the Broncos was a cavalcade of blocked field goals and failed fourth-down conversions.

What's Going Wrong? A little bit of everything:

  • The back end of the defense has fallen apart. Washington defends the run well enough and can apply pressure, but they get picked apart if their front four cannot get home.
  • Chase Young has performed as well as an edge rusher with 1.5 sacks through eight games can possibly perform.
  • Injuries to Logan Thomas, Curtis Samuel, Brandon Scherff, and Ryan Fitzpatrick have nerfed the Washington offense.
  • Taylor Heinicke, like many career backup quarterbacks with a scattering of starter's traits, started out somewhat impressively but looks a little bit worse each week.
  • The organization is run by a character from a 1930s pulp novel about a series of murders in a creepy burlesque theater. While the off-field ramifications of what's going on with Washington are a wee bit beyond the scope of Tank Watch, it's safe to say that organization-wide unprofessionalism and mismanagement has been seeping onto the field for decades.

Is Anything Going Right? Much more than what is going right for, say, the Jaguars:

  • The front four remains stout. Washington ranks eighth in run defense DVOA and ninth in pressure rate, per Pro Football Reference.
  • The 2021 draft class is promising. Linebacker Jamin Davis and cornerback Benjamin St-Juste look more like potential long-term solutions than problems on the back-end defense. Offensive tackle Sam Cosmi played well in between a rough opening day and a Week 5 injury. Receiver Dyami Brown has had moments, and undrafted running back Jaret Patterson is now starting to see the field.
  • The special teams ranked second in the league before Halloween Blocked Figgie Fest.

What Needs to Be Done? Again, let's not pretend we're a crackerjack human resources department and instead pretend we're a crackerjack front office and coaching staff.

  • Get Fitzpatrick Back: There's a 3-yard discrepancy between Heinicke's intended air yards and completed air yards, which means he likes to throw deep but only reliably connects when throwing short. Fitzpatrick is the fully evolved form of Heinicke: splash highlights, creativity in a disintegrating pocket, no consistency, tons of wacky mistakes. If he can return from his hip injury, Fitzpatrick can correct that air-yard discrepancy and keep Washington's offense from stalling so often.
    Oh, and all you tankologists can eat lemons: losing on purpose won't push Washington below teams such as the Lions or put them in position to draft a nonexistent franchise quarterback next year, and is also profoundly stupid.
  • Straighten out the Landon Collins situation: Collins has been playing a box safety/Will linebacker/slot corner role all year. It's not all that different from his role in the past or with the Giants, though he rarely lines up deep anymore. The Washington media has become obsessed with Collins' theoretical "move" to "linebacker;" it feels like we have read six articles per week about Collins' position change, casting it as some sort of mystery or controversy.
    Collins has lost a step, and Washington is on the hook for one of their typically zany contracts through at least 2022. Call Collins a safety but use him in the old Thomas Davis role, make sure he never covers anyone faster than the typical No. 2 tight end without deep support, and shut the heck up about it.
  • Budget wisely: Washington's long-term goal should be to keep their front four intact without overpaying them. Jonathan Allen is already under contract through 2025. Daron Payne and Montez Sweat are next in line for extensions, with Young waiting in the wings. Ron Rivera and Martin Mayhew need to get these linemen to the table early to lock them in at a discount and line up the dollar values of these contracts just right so the team can start planning to allocate resources elsewhere.
  • Prepare for several years of iffy quarterback play: There is no long-term solution on the roster or in the draft. The idea that Washington could "woo" Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers is laughable. Rivera needs to keep building a team that can win with defense and skill-position playmakers, then hope he can find a version of Heinicke who can hit the broad side of a warehouse more often. In addition to building out from their front four, Washington should make itself a factory for Antonio Gibson-types, find their Deebo Samuel, and attempt to build their version of the 2019 49ers.

How Bad is the Washington Football Team? They are better than the true flatliners but a notch below teams such as the Eagles or Panthers who display a flicker of inspiration now and then.

What's Next? The bye, then the Buccaneers, then a relatively tough slate of games until an Eagles-Giants season finale. Washington will likely end up selecting about fifth to eighth overall in the 2022 draft.

TebowMania: 10 Years After

Throughout November (and possibly beyond), Walkthough will look back on what was happening when Tim Tebow took the NFL and nation by storm—and forced Football Outsiders to defend analytics against a tidal wave of magical thinking—10 years ago this week.

Dating the precise start of TebowMania is like dating the precise start of the Renaissance. Such a complex cultural phenomenon can not have one pinpoint date. But make no mistake: TebowMania was percolating during the first week of November in 2011.

Tebow led the Broncos to a win over the Miami Dolphins in his first start of the season On October 23. But that was a soft launch. The Broncos endured a frightful 45-10 beating at the hands of a strong Detroit Lions team on October 30, with Tebow suffering seven sacks. The game did not merit much commentary in that week's Audibles at the Line:

Ben Muth: I know you can't use stats when discussing Tim Tebow's game, but 4-of-13 for 37 yards at halftime pretty accurately describes his play. Or you could use 24-3, which is the score at the half.

Vince Verhei: Early in the third quarter, the Broncos have given up more sacks (five) than they have completed passes (four). They have two passing first downs and -7 net yards through the air.

Oh, and Tebow has fumbled twice.

Ben Muth: On the final play of the third quarter Tebow runs for a first down. Notable because it was the Broncos first third-down conversion of the day.

Mike Tanier: There is something transcendant about a team in the full house backfield while down 38-3.

I misspelled "transcendent" at the time, and the error was saved for posterity, so I chose not to correct it here.

The Broncos defeated the Raiders 38-24 the following week. The game was more notable at the time for being Carson Palmer's Raiders debut than for anything Tebow-related. Tebow's numbers were downright respectable: 10-of-21 for 124 passing yards and two touchdowns, 13-108 rushing. The Audibles crowd again had little to say about the quarterback who was about to rewire all of our brains:

Mike Tanier: Don't look now, but Tim Tebow just put together a swell drive, capped off by a strike of a touchdown pass.

Danny Tuccitto: Anyone have a guess at what Tebow's Total QBR was this week? I'm setting the over-under at 85.

Rivers McCown: I know you have to play the threat of Tebow running, but if that's all it takes to get Willis McGahee to run for 163 yards on you, your team has problems.

It sure sounds like the Football Outsiders gang didn't see the storm clouds on the horizon. Or perhaps we were all just keeping calm and carrying on, or fulfilling our mandate to focus on the things we thought actually mattered to analysis-minded football fans.

Over at the New York Times, on the other hand, my (distressingly wordy) remarks in the preview capsule for the Broncos-Lions game would prove prophetic:

Young quarterbacks have been winning "bottom-line" games since the dawn of N.F.L. history. In a "bottom-line" game, the youngster stumbles haplessly through the afternoon, then gets bailed out by his teammates in a low-scoring victory. Coaches, television analysts, writers and fans then give empirical evidence and common sense several compound fractures in an effort to credit the quarterback for some intangible contribution. "Bottom line: he's a winner," we often say, write or injure ourselves trying to believe.

Any inexperienced passer can have a bottom-line game, but only Tim Tebow possesses the unique talents to produce the greatest, most bottom-worthy bottom-line game in history. Few quarterbacks have looked worse for 54 minutes, then gotten more support from diving catches, onside kicks or opponent incompetence, causing as much cognitive dissonance among those who automatically equate victory with quarterbacking achievement. To top Sunday's 18-15 overtime effort, Tebow must take the snap and simply roll the ball to Lions defenders this week, then wait for a meteor shower to force the Lions to evacuate their bench and forfeit the game. With Tebow, anything is possible (except possibly three consecutive accurate passes), and after their actions in the last two weeks, the Lions may have it coming.

I cannot remember what Lions "actions" I referred to: they were coming off back-to-back losses, but it sounds like Ndamukong Suh was tossing opposing quarterbacks into woodchippers or such. Leave a comment if you remember.

Next Week in TebowMania: The cloud bursts thunder in our ears. We shout and no one seems to hear. And our heads explode with dark forebodings.


46 comments, Last at 06 Nov 2021, 12:43pm

1 "Profoundly stupid"

As opposed to trying to be what clearly looks like a fluke (unsustainable)... SB losing 49ers team? Much more brilliant lol

Eitherway It's past the trade deadline so the only thing the FO can really do is put/keep guys on IR. Not that a team HAS be above the Lions but it does help (and is still technically possible, #6 isn't that far away). Can always find another blue chip high up for the future, doesnt have to be specifically a QB, even if they're the most important.

2 I have no idea why a team…

I have no idea why a team would've traded for Watson. Not going to have him this year. Might not have him for a portion of next year. So... you'll get him for like, 2.5 year while paying him what, ~$120M?

This... does not seem like a smart deal. I'm actually really skeptical that Houston's going to be able to trade him for anything valuable, period. And all of this is totally ignoring the fact that even before Watson's legal troubles, he was already demanding his way out! So it seems like a huge stretch for a team to believe that Watson will just magically turn into a model citizen and you'll have him for years and years.

20 Yeah, up until the sexual…

Yeah, up until the sexual assault allegations I would have loved for my team to trade for Watson because only a fool could side with the Jack Easterby-controlled Texans organization over a talented QB like Watson. I have zero problem with anything did from a football perspective. Obviously, the allegations should make him unemployable until they are resolved and he should never play again if they're proven.

35 The fact that there are two…

The fact that there are two dozen allegations against Deshaun Watson is proof enough for me. He shouldn't ever play in the league again.

But he's an extremely talented QB who will probably avoid jail time with settlements and/or lack of proof, so I would say he almost certainly will play again.

36 It does look bad.

But the timing didn't pass the smell test for me especially as I would put little past Easterby. (as I recall the allegations surfaced not that long after Watson started demanding a trade).

38 I've never bought that the…

I've never bought that the Texans have anything to do with the charges. Why would you make an asset into a liability like that? Without the allegations, Watson is a build-your-own-franchise kit, either in trade value or by changing a few things to make him happy.

I think, given the number of allegations, at least some of them are probably true. I also think he'll eventually walk since nothing's happened by now.

4 Yeah, I'm a little…

Yeah, I'm a little sympathetic to the Texans here. Next year, Watson could be an MVP candidate, or he could have no value whatsoever, and we don't have any idea when that determination is going to be made. It's really hard to get a decent return for a trade asset like that. 

5 At the same time, you're…

At the same time, you're paying his salary, which... I guess makes no difference as long as the Texans insist on Texaning. In any case, it feels as if the Dolphins dodged a self-inflicted bullet. Although I'm very curious to see what they were willing to pay. If the price is low enough, a deal might well be warranted.

For three firsts, however? Nope, no way.

7 At the same time, you're…

At the same time, you're paying his salary, which... I guess makes no difference as long as the Texans insist on Texaning.

It's only 10M. It's not *that* big a deal considering the Texans were going to have to hold a $15M charge most of the offseason anyway, period. That's not much to pay in the hopes that the draft pick will go up.

Next year, now that's... a lot different.

21 Even next year, who do they…

Even next year, who do they have to pay? All their major earners are gone except for Watson. I doubt missing a chunk of cap space will affect their roster-building strategy much, whatever it ends up being.

25 Even next year, who do they…

Even next year, who do they have to pay? All their major earners are gone except for Watson.

They've only got 26 players under contract for next year (fewest in the league!), and with Watson they've only got $40M cap space. They've got a lot of guys to add, and if they're trading Watson next year's a really smart year to try to shove salary in. Which they're already mostly doing, mind you, but an additional $24M would be really useful.

31 I see. They don't even have…

I see. They don't even have a healthy salary cap, after all. League leaders in dead money next year plus huge hits from Watson and Tunsil, and big hits from Zack Cunningham and Brandin Cooks.

I still think they could fit it all in without dealing Watson if they stick to roster-building through draft picks and high-character (that is, cheap) veterans. No serious team would do it, but the Texans? Who knows?

40 Oh, sure, they absolutely…

Oh, sure, they absolutely could do it, but it's just kinda cross-purposes. If you're going to try to stock up with viable vets ($5M/yr-ish) and draft picks... you're gonna get want to get draft picks for your $24M boat anchor.

Roster-building with vet minimum guys isn't really viable. At that point you're just punting the entire year, and that'd really piss people off.

29 But I think the point is…

But I think the point is that "reasonable" has a pretty wide range here.

If Watson winds up being cleared of all charges, or at least to the point where the league takes no action, he very well could be an MVP-level QB next year, or at least a top tier one.  In that case, if the Texans got anything less than multiple first round picks, it would be a horrible trade for them.

And on the flip side, there's a chance Watson never plays again, so any team giving up multiple firsts runs the chance of giving away a ton of value for nothing.

So if you have two teams who are risk averse in terms of the value they'd be sending away, you get this situation.

41 What price/offer?

I too would be fascinated to know what offer (if any) was actually made.

I can't fathom how any team could have countenanced making a serious offer (ie one involving first round picks) given the inevitable clamour if a deal were done, the likelihood (in light of that clamour) that Goodell would not allow him to play, the possibility that even if allowed to play he would not be ready, and the real/risk likelihood of future suspension or simply being so reputationally toxic that he has to be cut a la Ruggs.

I just don't understand what the Owner/GM would have said in a press conference introducing him. Could they even risk sitting next to the guy?

Conversely that probably means (as Tanier suggests) the Texans should have taken any substantial offer. But I suppose there is a low price below which it is worth gambling that he somehow makes the problem go away.

12 Not sure I agree about this year

From a completely win-loss oriented, amoral perspective:

Goodell was oblique about whether Watson could play this year; a team that was a Watson away from the Super Bowl this year could reasonably gamble that the league would (1) allow him to play this year (before his legal issues play out) and (2) would take that team off the salary cap hook next year or three if he is convicted of something.  Miami, of course, is not going to the Super Bowl this year unless the '78 Steelers in their prime show up ready to play, and should not have considered Watson for anything at all. But the Saints, in particular, could have offered a single first rounder if they could have made the cap work. 

Which doesn't mean it's right for the Saints, but it might be a winning play.

17 So to be clear if it had…

So to be clear if it had happened before the season I would've said "yeah, OK, maybe." Wouldn't've agreed, but it's at least plausible.

But at this point in the season? Even if they got Goodell to let him play (big if), there's also then a big if as to whether or not he's realistically capable of playing the rest of the season (again big if) and a big if as to whether or not he could integrate into the team quick enough to make a difference (another big if).

That's a lotta ifs.

It would've cracked me up to see the Saints do it, though. 39 players under contract at ~$300M, that would've been hilarious - they could've cut literally every single player that could generate savings and they still would've been $50M over.

18 Since it’s theoretically…

Since it’s theoretically possible for a team to put themselves in a situation where they quite literally are unable to get under the cap, what happens? Do they just pay a fine or something? Do they lose draft picks? 

I mean there has to be something.

19 Yes, but it's not…

Yes, but it's not standardized because the NFL basically wants the penalty to be "whatever we want it to be."

It's happened before, with the 49ers back in 2000. The NFL ended up fining the executives. Not the team. The actual executives. And the agents, too. Which means technically it's Mickey Loomis literally putting his money on the line. Plus they docked draft picks, too.

To be clear there are plenty of ways for the Saints to actually get under the cap next year, it's just that they need players to agree to it, unless there are option clauses built into the contracts (which there easily could be). 

Even right now, there's literally no way for them to get under the cap next year with the set of contracts they currently have. None. Which is... a really weird situation to be in, if you think about it - if all of the players banded together and were like, "pay us more or else," they'd be in deep crap.

22 Even if they got Goodell to…

Even if they got Goodell to let him play (big if),

My understanding is that Watson has not been suspended. As such, he no more needs permission from Goodell to play than any other player. Goodell would have to actively intervene to prevent him from taking the field.

23 That just makes the whole…

That just makes the whole thing even more up in the air. If Goodell decides to suspend Watson for a year, which seems plausible to me, does that suspension start at the moment it's imposed? Or will Goodell give him credit for "time served," so to speak? 

30 That's a good question,…

That's a good question, though I imagine in practice his suspension would be indefinite, i.e. until his legal matters have reached a resolution.  At which point, he is either in deep shit or "cleared" (at least to the point where the NFL's PR hit wouldn't be horrible) and allowed to play from that point on.

6 My football memory being…

My football memory being what it is nowadays, I'm really hooked on the Tebow saga. Whatever is going to happen next?? I know it ends in tragedy, but I remember very few details.

15 haha

Tebow-mania was probably the most interesting NFL story of my lifetime. 


"To top Sunday's 18-15 overtime effort, Tebow must take the snap and simply roll the ball to Lions defenders this week, then wait for a meteor shower to force the Lions to evacuate their bench and forfeit the game. With Tebow, anything is possible."


This is accurate.

16 2011 is one of my favorite…

In reply to by Sid

2011 is one of my favorite years for three main reasons (in order of importance):

1)My first child was born: no explanation needed.

2)The Lions fielded a good team for the first time in about a decade and a half: After living through the Matt Millen years, this was like being re-born.  Even the Suh stomp and Matt Flynn game couldn't completely erase my joy.

3)Tebow-mania: there are only a handful of times when I laughed out loud while watching a sporting event, but the 2011 Broncos are involved in like 75% of them.

34 Tebow defied DVOA and Aaron Schatz!

Rewatching many of those Broncos games, I can't help but laugh knowing the statheads on sites like this would have freaked out at Tebow winning in spite of his limitations.

Punctuated by that one pass to beat the Steelers in the playoffs.

It's truly amazing what he was able to achieve with his marginal talent.

Then he parlayed that in to several years of MiLB with the Mets.

Then a tryout for Urban's Jags.

All of this while having a great back-up gig as ESPN's CFB host.

Talk about a charmed life.

8 You shout and no one seems to hear

I can only assume by the lyrics at the end of the column that next week we will be getting a deep dive into the Bears game, the Bottom Line game that defined all Bottom Line games, the ultimate in the Tebow narrative where you ignore every single bit of luck that happened in spite of him. That was when the band you were in started playing different tunes...

10 That game was hilarious. …

That game was hilarious.  Aside from Marion Barber running out of bounds (saving time for a Tebow miracle drive), Caleb Haney (in for an injured Jay Cutler) somehow played worse than Tebow.  As both teams came out for the overtime coin toss, I remember the stunned look on Urlacher's face like it was yesterday.

13 The Watson situation is comparable to the Ben Simmons thing

76ers and Texans both demanding full price for something broken.


You have a fancy new car, get in an accident, and then put it up for sale at full price.


No one pays it and now you're stuck owning something you do not want for a long time. 



24 The Von Miller Trade

Here is a thought on giving up all of your high round draft picks on a perennial basis.  On average, the risk of in-season injury to an NFL player on offense or defense is about 4.1% on a per game basis.  So with 9 games left in the season, and assuming the injuries are independent events and evenly distributed across all players, the average NFL team will see about 31% of their roster get injured between now and the end of the regular season.  Approximately 24% of these injuries will result in a player missing 4 or more games.  so, assuming the average NFL team uses 35 players per game, on average over the balance of the season a team will lose 2.64 players to a long term injury of a month or more.  Counting all injuries, the average team will miss at least part of a game from 10.85 players over the balance of the regular season.

Trading draft picks away repeatedly robs a team of the talent pool to step in and cover for injured starters.  The Rams make the argument that draft picks are a lottery while at the same time making the argument that they have superior ability to find top talent in the back end of the draft.  Getting the next Aaron Darnold is certainly one objective of the draft but the larger goal is to add a pool of new talent that creates diversification of risk for the inevitable injuries to starters.  

In light of the expected injuries that will affect the team and considering that they are already winning nearly every game, it seems like a bad trade to give up these picks for a 32 year old currently injured Von Miller.  


28 I like your math but...

I thought you were going to end up somewhere else.

Coming from the school of "Bill Belichick can't draft skill players in the first three rounds", giving up all of one's early picks could save millions to spend on undrafted lottery tickets. This would give you a larger pool of talent to replace injured starters instead of a smaller one dependent on hitting on a few expensive early picks. The Rams could spend the $3 million for a first round pick on like 5 UFAs. It seems like Belichick has done better on those when it comes to WRs than with his first round picks.

If they win a SB and Von Miller has a big play or two in January/February, then it will be worth it. They don't really need him until then, which I think was Tanier's point.

39 Imagine The 2021 Rams Without These Players

Cam Akers, Van Jefferson, Darrell Henderson, Rod Haverstein, David Long, Tyler Rapp, Aaron Donald.  All drafted in rounds 1 through 3 by the Rams. (1 Round 1 pick, 4 - Round 2, and 2 Round 3).  How many top veterans could you sign for these seven draft picks? You might be able to get 3 or 4 more talented players but you would still have holes in the roster and you would be more vulnerable to injuries.

As far as Belichick, he does not often use picks in the top three rounds of the draft to go after offensive skill players.  In the last decade, he has selected 11 offensive skill players in these rounds.  Among these 11 players are Mac Jones, Damien Harris, Sony Michel, Jacoby Brisset, and Jimmy Garappolo.  All of these players contributed to the success of the team in a meaningful way either on the field or through trades with other teams.  He mostly uses top picks on defense and OL positions and he has done very well in both categories consistently over the years.

Belichick seems to focus on getting disciplined skill position players who don't need to be rock stars and are willing to work hard and do their job consistently.  This keeps their payroll costs down and the team always has another player to throw into the line-up should there be an injury. 

32 2021 Rams prospectus.

I don't know who termed it first in the media, but I completely agree with the assertion that the Rams are a "stars and scrubs" team.  Top-heavy rather than loaded with talent across all levels of the roster.

The Von Miller trade is Akin to JJ Watt's signing by Arizona.  Arizona signed JJ while the Rams gave up picks to acquire Von Miller.  

I understand "going all in", but what they're doing is beyond the pale.  For all of it to justify the cost, they need to win a SB in the next couple years.  I'm not convinced they will.  

Additionally, even one injury to one of their impact stars dooms the team as they don't have quality depth.  Many pundits were lamenting this in the pre-season.  It's not like people didn't see this coming.

Throwing money and picks at problems is not what good GM's do.  A good GM can evaluate and draft talent.

The Rams missed on Jared Goff and gave him an extension before it was known just how good he was.  Wouldn't you think it was Snead and McVay's job to know their own player?

In two years, the Rams will be worse than they are now.  How much worse?  I guess it depends on whether Snead can get veterans on the cheap because those draft picks aren't coming back.

42 Mischaracterisation?

The Rams make the argument that draft picks are a lottery while at the same time making the argument that they have superior ability to find top talent in the back end of the draft.

Is that really what they say (or mean)? Or is their approach just based on an assessment that the league generally overvalues high draft picks, and your chances of getting adequate non-premium starters and backups from later rounds/UDFAs are not as much lower as people think they are? Which would be consistent with the lottery argument.

I'm not sure I necessarily agree, but logically there must a point at which the value being placed on draft picks exceeds that which is rational, and it becomes logically optimal to trade picks for players.

There is also the classic boom/bust debate - caricatured as "would you rather own/watch a team which is 8-8 every year or one which goes all in then suffers"? As to which there is no clear right answer.

26 DeShaun Watson

People keep blaming the Texans for this, and it's easy to. But Watson has a No Trade Clause and he's only agreed to waive it for Miami, who apparently (and for good reason) doesn't want him. What is Houston supposed to do here? If he won't budge, they can't move him at any price. 

33 Houston.

In reply to by IlluminatusUIUC

I'm down in Galveston for a Conference.  

These people are still upset over the Hopkins and Watt departures.

In Texas, Football is as big as Religion, Brisket and Guns.

27 One thing to be said for…

One thing to be said for Tebow: he got his first playoff win a lot faster than Peyton Manning did.

Did I say “one thing”? I meant “the only thing”.

37 Time is a precious NFL…

Time is a precious NFL resource. Waiting, seeing, and stinking for multiple years makes sense if the Texans are just some team that generates fantasy stats or column topics to you. It makes no sense to someone trying to sell tickets or jerseys, attract or motivate players, convince agents to work with you or coaches to work for you, or, heaven forbid, build a decent roster.

The faster you build a decent roster, the closer you are to the inevitable loss of that roster through aging and retirements.  What's your hurry for getting there?