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Thread: Spending In FA Does Not = Wins

  1. #1
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    Spending In FA Does Not = Wins

    The Steelers rarely make splash signings in FA not because they are cheap but because they understand the value just isn't there. Many teams overpay in FA and get little to nothing for it.

    This writeup tells the story:

    https://ftw.usatoday.com/2020/03/nfl...atter-success\


    The lesson, as it always seems to be, for NFL teams: Build through the draft. Because as our rankings and these breakdowns show, winners aren’t built-in free agency … but losers can be.
    In fact, the relationship between the sum of points a team added in free agency and its win total over the four-year period was actually negative. In other words, even the teams that did manage to add talent — even if they didn’t spend a ton of money to make it happen — didn’t seem to get any better or worse than teams that either sat out of free agency completely or those that spent recklessly. Case in point: The two teams that finished at the bottom of our rankings just competed for a Super Bowl last month.

    That certainly makes sense anecdotally. Winning the offseason rarely (if ever) translates to the regular season. And even the teams that have found initial success after offseason spending sprees — the Giants, Jaguars and Bears to name a few recent examples — have had trouble maintaining it.









  2. #2
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    It's a nuanced thing. The Steelers have drafted not very well lately, as has been pointed out in other threads. They NEED to supplement in FA, but they choose the quantity over quality route, often taking bargains on reclamation projects (Jack, Shobert, Moncrief, Barron, Bostic, Green, etc.). I call it papering over holes instead of filling them.

    Obviously you can't go out and buy every top FA, but instead of getting five average guys who will likely not stick long, why not sign one impact player for the same money?

    This is the same conservative philosophy that shows up in game plans - they guard against what they perceive are "glaring holes", but end up with a roster full of mostly average players. That's led to 1 double digit win season in the last 5 with zero playoff success, and it's not trending up.

    Basically, it feels like they're securing 8-9 wins a year and they're content with that.
    Last edited by WindyCitySteel; 03-27-2023 at 07:02 AM.

  3. #3
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    The best free agent rarely switch teams. The rules state you can tag a guy but to get a tagged free agent if will cost you two-first round picks and an amount greater than the tag amount to obtain his services. The are tag rules ( upper and lower ). This is a reason why such player seldom leaves their team in free agency.

    Now most players who leave via free agency are over paid for their services or on a team with a lot of dead money and expensive players. Teams have to make a decision of them. Some teams do not have good cap room due to poor management decisons or loading up with expensive players already on the team. The QB can management in particular for 2nd contact guy that starts is a problem for some teams. You don't want a Wilson, Watson, or Murray type of deal on your cap! Their play combined with the amount of cap room they obtain is a boat anchor around their teams neck. Some say a good GM is as important as a head coach.
    The Steelers had a great draft in 2023. However better play calling / coaching is badly needed. Tomlin is hasn't won a playoff game in seven years and counting. Nor has hired anyone good to his coaching staff. Think about that. Mike Tomlin says, " hell yeah we've got to make some changes. " We are waiting. But Khan and Weidl appear to have better management on the salary cap and draft needs. How much we sign player for in 2nd and 3rd contracts need some major work.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by WindyCitySteel View Post
    It's a nuanced thing. The Steelers have drafted not very well lately, as has been pointed out in other threads. They NEED to supplement in FA, but they choose the quantity over quality route, often taking bargains on reclamation projects (Jack, Shobert, Moncrief, Barron, Bostic, Green, etc.). I call it papering over holes instead of filling them.

    Obviously you can't go out and buy every top FA, but instead of getting five average guys who will likely not stick long, why not sign one impact player for the same money?

    This is the same conservative philosophy that shows up in game plans - they guard against what they perceive are "glaring holes", but end up with a roster full of mostly average players. That's led to 1 double digit win season in the last 5 with zero playoff success, and it's not trending up.

    Basically, it feels like they're securing 8-9 wins a year and they're content with that.
    If you aren't drafting well, that probably means your team isn't going to be good.

    Spending in UFA isn't going to help a team like the Steelers that isn't going to "overcharge" a short window and burn the future IMO.

    I think teams that spend a lot of money in UFA typically just do it to spend a lot of money in UFA. Constraining yourself forces you to try to look for UFA value.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Buchsbaum View Post
    The best free agent rarely switch teams. The rules state you can tag a guy but to get a tagged free agent if will cost you two-first round picks and an amount greater than the tag amount to obtain his services. The are tag rules ( upper and lower ). This is a reason why such player seldom leaves their team in free agency.

    Now most players who leave via free agency are over paid for their services or on a team with a lot of dead money and expensive players. Teams have to make a decision of them. Some teams do not have good cap room due to poor management decisons or loading up with expensive players already on the team. The QB can management in particular for 2nd contact guy that starts is a problem for some teams. You don't want a Wilson, Watson, or Murray type of deal on your cap! Their play combined with the amount of cap room they obtain is a boat anchor around their teams neck. Some say a good GM is as important as a head coach.
    I think this is a good point Joel.

    The UFAs that become available almost always become available because the team that knows them best doesn't think they will deliver good value for the contract they want.

    I think this is another reason that UFA signings tend to not work out. Too many times, these huge contracts go to guys that are already declining so teams are spending for the name and not the current production.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Northern_Blitz View Post
    If you aren't drafting well, that probably means your team isn't going to be good.

    Spending in UFA isn't going to help a team like the Steelers that isn't going to "overcharge" a short window and burn the future IMO.

    I think teams that spend a lot of money in UFA typically just do it to spend a lot of money in UFA. Constraining yourself forces you to try to look for UFA value.
    Again, I'm not asking for them to spend more, just spend more wisely.

  7. #7
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    Seems it has been a bit of a cluster fudge for this team recently between drafting and FAs.

    So many of our draft picks recently have moved on - Hargrave, Hilton, Bud, Juju, Conner, Sutton, Edmunds….

    Then we had abrupt endings with Shazier and Tuitt….

    Gotta do something to backfill via FA or we couldn’t field a team.

    But to the original point, spending money on FAs isn’t the natural path to a SuperBowl and success.

    So what do you do?

    Theres no easy answer, but how can you survive when the majority of your draft picks aren’t sticking around?

    The drafts probably don’t even look as bad if we keep some of our guys.

    Somehow we almost need a system that new guys can come in and learn and contribute to quickly and once they get past year 4 or 5 and can make
    out better elsewhere in FA, we’ve gotta be ready to turn them over and replace them quickly with new rookies and mid tier FAs.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by WindyCitySteel View Post
    Again, I'm not asking for them to spend more, just spend more wisely.
    Sorry...I thought you had said that we should be signing premier UFAs.

    Either way, I think that those "premier" UFAs tend to be disappointments more often then not when they come from the outside.

    And while I don't think any of the bets we placed at the time were "bad" given the information we had at the time, the draft and UFA solutions we've tried to put into place at ILB have been disappointing.

    And while PF looks like a good draft pick, I think not selecting a C at the time was a sub-optimal move.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by flippy View Post
    Seems it has been a bit of a cluster fudge for this team recently between drafting and FAs.

    So many of our draft picks recently have moved on - Hargrave, Hilton, Bud, Juju, Conner, Sutton, Edmunds….

    Then we had abrupt endings with Shazier and Tuitt….

    Gotta do something to backfill via FA or we couldn’t field a team.

    But to the original point, spending money on FAs isn’t the natural path to a SuperBowl and success.

    So what do you do?

    Theres no easy answer, but how can you survive when the majority of your draft picks aren’t sticking around?

    The drafts probably don’t even look as bad if we keep some of our guys.

    Somehow we almost need a system that new guys can come in and learn and contribute to quickly and once they get past year 4 or 5 and can make
    out better elsewhere in FA, we’ve gotta be ready to turn them over and replace them quickly with new rookies and mid tier FAs
    .
    +1

    This has been the strategy we've tried to use at WR as 2nd contracts get more and more important at that position.

    Unfortunately, it works better when you have a great QB in their prime.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorthCoast View Post
    The Steelers rarely make splash signings in FA not because they are cheap but because they understand the value just isn't there. Many teams overpay in FA and get little to nothing for it.

    This writeup tells the story:

    https://ftw.usatoday.com/2020/03/nfl...atter-success\




    In fact, the relationship between the sum of points a team added in free agency and its win total over the four-year period was actually negative. In other words, even the teams that did manage to add talent — even if they didn’t spend a ton of money to make it happen — didn’t seem to get any better or worse than teams that either sat out of free agency completely or those that spent recklessly. Case in point: The two teams that finished at the bottom of our rankings just competed for a Super Bowl last month.

    That certainly makes sense anecdotally. Winning the offseason rarely (if ever) translates to the regular season. And even the teams that have found initial success after offseason spending sprees — the Giants, Jaguars and Bears to name a few recent examples — have had trouble maintaining it.








    I think it will be interesting to see where that dot moves to if someone does the same analysis over KP's rookie contract.

    My guess is that having one of the higher QB cap hits from 2016 - 2019 kind of forced us into the "bargain hunter / low activity" quadrant.

    Seems like we spent more on higher level guys in UFA last year and this year. On paper, I think I liked last year's strategy of trying to get younger high-value UFAs better. But maybe the bets on some older guys will come through this season.

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