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Old 07-23-2014   #1
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Default Grantland: Bill Barnwell's NFLís top 50 most valuable assets

Long read, interesting perspective/takes...


Bill Barnwell delivers his annual ranking of pro football’s top 50 most valuable assets
Grantland

NFL Trade Value, Part 1


Quote:
Trade Value Rules
1. Contracts matter. Joe Flacco is probably a better quarterback than Andy Dalton, but Flacco is in the middle of a franchise-killing, six-year, $120 million deal, while Dalton’s in the final season of a rookie contract that will pay him less than $1.7 million in 2014. The Bengals will have to pay Dalton soon if they want to keep him, so his contract isn’t quite as good as it was when he still had three years left at that price.

2. Contracts don’t matter as much as they do in the NBA version of this column. NBA contracts are guaranteed and clearly defined. NFL contracts have nonguaranteed base salaries as well as bonuses that are often paid early in a deal, even as the cap hit stretches across the length of the contract. Those bonuses then accelerate onto the current cap in the event of a trade, but the team can also get out of the contract without having to pay the nonguaranteed base salaries if they wa— you’re falling asleep. Just work through this. For the purposes of this column, we’re considering both the specific nature of the current point in the player’s contract (e.g., Randall Cobb having just one year left on his contract) as well as the broader terms of the contract (e.g., the entirety of Cobb’s deal). And in terms of our hypothetical trades, we’re pretending — just for this moment — that there’s no salary cap acceleration.

3. Age matters. When Peyton Manning entered the NFL, Blake Bortles was 6 years old and his arm talent was barely professional-caliber. Remember the golden rule of contracts: You don’t value a player for what he’s done, you value him for what he’s going to do.

4. Pretend that every team can fit each player on this list within its cap and that it has a below-average starter at the position in question. The Panthers aren’t going to deal Greg Hardy for Jay Cutler because they have Cam Newton, even though that trade could happen in a heartbeat if Derek Anderson suddenly had to take over in Carolina.

5. Positional scarcity matters. Quarterbacks are more valuable than pass-rushers, who are more valuable than wide receivers, who are more valuable than interior linemen. When in doubt, we looked at how organizations valued top players at each position when re-signing their own or shopping in free agency. You might know a lot more about Ben Tate than you do about Jared Veldheer, but there’s a reason Tate got $2.5 million guaranteed this offseason and Veldheer got $17 million.

6. It’s a question of degree. The Giants might not trade Eli Manning for Colin Kaepernick, but they would have to sit down and give it some thought. The 49ers would hang up if the Giants offered them Eli for Kaepernick. Well, maybe they would put on their headphones and walk away from the phone all cool. But they wouldn’t answer the Giants.

7. This list runs in reverse order. If A.J. Green is 25th on the list, the Bengals would probably at least consider dealing him for one of the first 24 players on the list, but they wouldn’t bother having much of a conversation for players 26 through 50.
50. Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia

49. Jim Harbaugh, COACH, San Francisco

48. Sheldon Richardson, DT, New York Jets

47. Dontari Poe, DT, Kansas City

46. Gerald McCoy, DT, Tampa Bay

45. Ndamukong Suh, DT, Detroit

44. Mike Iupati, G, San Francisco

43. Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami

42. Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota

41. Nate Solder, LT, New England

40. Joe Haden, CB, Cleveland

39. Trent Williams, LT, Washington

38. Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, New York Jets

37. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver

36. Lavonte David, OLB, Tampa Bay

35. Darrelle Revis, CB, New England

34. Patrick Willis, ILB, San Francisco

33. Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit

32. Tony Romo, QB, Dallas

31. Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas

30. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta
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Old 07-23-2014   #2
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Default Re: Grantland: Bill Barnwell's NFLís top 50 most valuable assets

NFL Trade Value, Part 2 (continued)

29. Duane Brown, LT, Houston
28. Tyron Smith, LT, Dallas
These are two great left tackles with different contract situations. Brown, who missed two games during Houston’s disastrous 2013 season, is two years into a very manageable six-year, $53.4 million contract that will never see his cap hit rise over $10 million. Average-or-worse left tackles were getting deals in that range this offseason, and Brown’s a great one. Smith, meanwhile, is still just 23 years old and made the first of what will likely be many Pro Bowls last season. It’s crazy to think he’s just a couple of weeks older than Eric Fisher, who was the first overall pick in last year’s draft, two seasons after Smith entered the league. The Cowboys have him signed for one more year at a cap hit of just less than $4 million and picked up his team option for 2015 at just more than $10 million; they may use the cap space vacated by a released Tony Romo to lock Smith up to an extension in 2016.
27. Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans

26. Jadeveon Clowney, LB, Houston
Put it this way: Everson Griffen has started one game in four seasons for the Vikings, but because he has contributed 17.5 sacks in part-time duty, Minnesota gave him a five-year, $42.5 million deal with nearly $20 million guaranteed over the next two years. Every team in football would take Clowney over Griffen based on the former’s college tape and athleticism alone, and he’s on a fully guaranteed four-year, $22.3 million deal with a fifth-year option that should come in around $12 million. Even if Clowney’s not a superstar, he can still be enormously valuable if he comes in with Ryan Kerrigan–level production on an annual basis while retaining a ceiling that Kerrigan can’t touch. And if Clowney really is the once-in-a-generation pass-rusher many project him to be, he’s a top-10 value for each of the next three seasons. As long as he stays healthy, it’s hard for this pick not to work out for Houston.
25. Greg Hardy, DE, Carolina

24. Luke Kuechly, MLB, Carolina

23. Joe Staley, LT, San Francisco

22. Joe Thomas, LT, Cleveland

21. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh

20. Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants

19. Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego

18. Von Miller, LB, Denver

17. Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit

16. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati

15. Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington

14. Richard Sherman, CB, Seattle

13. Earl Thomas, S, Seattle

12. Patrick Peterson, CB, Arizona

11. Tom Brady, QB, New England

10. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans

9. Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta

8. Peyton Manning, QB, Denver

7. Robert Quinn, DE, St. Louis

6. Cam Newton, QB, Carolina

5. Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco

4. J.J. Watt, DE, Houston
Yes, the numbers regressed toward the mean last year, because nobody picks up 20.5 sacks or bats down 16 passes each and every season. He was still J.J. Watt last year, even if the numbers weren’t all the way there. Nobody makes the players around him look like they shouldn’t be playing football more than Watt does. The 25-year-old wasn’t the Defensive Player of the Year last year, but he would still be your selection if you had to pick a favorite for this season and each of the next five seasons to come. And he’s going to cost the Texans $3.6 million and then $7 million on their cap over the next two years, chump change for the most terrifying player in football. Oh, and he gets Clowney to help out the pass rush this season. If there’s not a Costacos Brothers poster of those two available by the end of the season (“Texas Toast”?), something’s gone horribly wrong.


3. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay

2. Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis

1. Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle
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Old 07-26-2014   #3
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Default Re: Grantland: Bill Barnwell's NFLís top 50 most valuable assets

Interesting, thanks for posting. Knowing we could have drafted Revis still irritates me.
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