I was going to post this in the Whitney Mercilus thread in response to posts concerning the retention of Barwin, but I realized that this deserves a broader conversation as it maps exactly how Rick Smith will be making his personnel decisions going forward. Smith just said in a recent interview with Peter King that he adopted the personnel philosophy of former GE CEO Jack Welch, described as 20/70/10. This site describes how the philosophy is applied to a football roster, so it seems to be an accurate reference for Rick Smith's GM tendencies. By this logic, if Conner Barwin fits into group A --which I believe he will-- then he will be offered a competitive contract by Smith. This is based on the assumption of a reasonable demand/free market appraisal (as explained in the bolded paragraph), and I doubt he'll attract Mario Williams money when the sack opportunities in the Phillips defense will be spread among every one of the front seven. This is why I believe Brown and Barwin are in no danger of being lost to the market. They fit into the top 10, and Smith has proven that he will cut or renegotiate contracts on any roster spot in group B in order to retain his top producers. The model accurately makes sense of the contract decisions on Foster, Demeco, Winston, and Walter. So if every contract were up for renegotiation right now, I would expect the following contracts to be solidified: 1 - Andre Johnson 2 - Arian Foster 3 - Duane Brown 4 - Brian Cushing 5 - Conner Barwin 6 - JJ Watt 7 - Jonathan Joseph 8 - Daniel Manning 9 - Brooks Reed 10 - Matt Schaub* It is expected that many of you will suggest a different top 10, but I'm sticking with this one for the sake of argument. The asterisk is for players in danger of sinking into group B, and as the article above explains, these players are a burden on the GM. You would expect either a contract renegotiation, early expiration, or trade if they allow their value to slip into group B. Right now, based on what I've observed, I am concluding the timeframe for qualifying value to be at least two years, but may be dependent upon special cap situations and team needs from year to year. Regarding Schaub, I would expect him to reverse his decline in value if he can remain healthy. But if he misses significant time this season, I do expect to see a contract renegotiation. So the questions that will arise every offseason will be: Who fits into the top 10? Who is falling into group B? Who is overpaid in group B? Accurately answering those questions will be the key to predicting the contract status of each player.