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Illadelegend215

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27 minutes ago, Cearbhall said:

Sure, I would way rather have Alexander at the contract he signed with the Bengals and an $8M or less RB than Cook and the need to use a high draft pick to replace Alexander. Melvin Gordon was the $8M RB this year so you could use his name even though he isn't necessarily the RB that I would pick.

Melvin Gordon is a good example for this exercise.

You get Gordon for $16M/2 for his age 27-28 seasons. His contract is written such that he probably sees all of it (little cap savings if he's released after a year). 

And that leaves you ~$4-5M left over. 

Alexander wasn't going to stay with the Vikings for $4M. He took a prove-it deal because he wants to play as an outside corner. But OK, for the purpose of this exercise you get one more year of Mac Alexander: $4M/1 for 2020. 

You probably still want to draft both Gladney and Dantzler, since CB depth is important and Hughes/Hill are question marks plus Alexander is leaving in 2021. But you get to pick a different player in the 5th instead of Harrison Hand.

...

My analysis of that is that Dalvin Cook is a better RB than Melvin Gordon, but not 50% better, so you're probably getting a good deal.

I don't think Alexander is entirely realistic for the Vikings but you could have a comparable mid-tier vet CB for similar money, like Pierre Desir or Brian Poole. 

So you get Gordon for 2 years, a CB of Alexander's quality for a year, and still probably draft Gladney and Dantzler. 

We'll compare that to Cook for 2-3 years (2021-23 or -24, which will be the likely-to-be-earned part of his extension), no stopgap vet CB this year and the same draft class.

...

I will point out that paying Gordon $8M instead of drafting a RB1 is a different tactic than @whitehops is recommending. $8M is actually the 7th highest AAV for a RB in the league right now. 

So you're willing to buy a veteran RB of the sort that we're being told can't possibly live up to that contract, you just don't want to pay full price.

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15 hours ago, Krauser said:

Alexander wasn't going to stay with the Vikings for $4M.

 

15 hours ago, Krauser said:

I don't think Alexander is entirely realistic for the Vikings

It is strange that you put him in the list of choices that I responded to and then argue against it because you don't think it is realistic.

15 hours ago, Krauser said:

So you get Gordon for 2 years, a CB of Alexander's quality for a year, and still probably draft Gladney and Dantzler.

The point of keeping Alexander is so they have to draft one less DB. It is not fair to say they still need to do that. With Alexander, the team would need to draft one less CB. In fact, it would be a surprising if a rookie from outside the first round is better this year than Alexander. If you want to include the fact the team still needs a CB in the future, you better include in your scenario that the team would still need to draft a RB in the future even if they kept Cook. CBs generally have a lot more longevity in the league than RBs.

The team would have Cook for 2-3 years at $12M or they would have a CB for $4M for the 2-3 years. The team would still have the $4M per year in the second and third year. Forgetting about the $4M per year savings in all years after Alexander's contract expired is not a fair comparison.

15 hours ago, Krauser said:

I will point out that paying Gordon $8M instead of drafting a RB1 is a different tactic than @whitehops is recommending. $8M is actually the 7th highest AAV for a RB in the league right now. 

So you're willing to buy a veteran RB of the sort that we're being told can't possibly live up to that contract, you just don't want to pay full price.

I said straight up that Gordon isn't the RB I actually would choose. I just used his name because it matches the amount leftover after I selected Alexander out of your list of guys that I would have kept. The point is that I would rather use the cap space on another position. That is true no matter which RB the team actually rides with.

 

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Sorry, I’m just saying the Vikings probably didn’t have the option of keeping Alexander. They didn’t let him leave because they couldn’t afford him. He wanted to leave. And he probably wasn’t going to sign anywhere for $4M per year long term, he wants a chance at a bigger contract.

You’re right that if you choose Alexander for one year, you get the extra cap space in the following years. Most other options for DB signings in that price range would also be one year contracts, but then you could always bring in a different vet the following year for similar money. 

With Alexander or similar under contract, you’re under no obligation to draft both Gladney and Dantzler. I was trying to make it simple by saying the Vikings probably would. Feel free to specify which of the 2 you wouldn’t pick, and who you would’ve drafted in that position instead.

You’re under no obligation to spend the remaining $8M on a veteran RB. In this scenario you can sign Gordon if you want, but not if you don’t want. You could have Alexander (or similar) plus an $8M vet at a different position. You don’t have to add a RB at all if you’re OK with Mattison, Boone and a UDFA.

So you want Alexander on a $4M/1, ~$8M on ???, and ??? drafted instead of Dantzler (or Gladney). If there’s no RB there, let us know what your plan is for RB1. 

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17 hours ago, Krauser said:

You don't know that for a fact.

You're inferring that based on the last 5 years or so of RBs coming off their rookie contracts. But that trend may not continue.

those are the examples i used, but the data goes back a ways:

https://www.pff.com/news/fantasy-football-what-is-the-fantasy-shelf-life-of-the-top-current-running-backs

I can't see the entire article or what they said about Cook specifically but the PFF analysts projected an average of four starting fantasy seasons left for Cook at the time of the article - that would give him two left now.

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/articles/age.htm

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According to this data, the word "old" means 28 for a running back

https://apexfantasyleagues.com/2018/01/peak-age-nfl-running-back/#

Quote

While 12 percent of the peak seasons have taken place at age 28, just 4.7 percent have taken place at age 29 – this appears to be where the decline starts

 

And this is just data that supports running backs falling off at age 28. There's also the matter that a running back's success has more to do with factors beyond their own ability (scheme/OL blocking, mainly). 

 

And here's another article from PFF because I know you like them:

https://www.pff.com/news/nfl-rams-cardinals-showed-why-teams-should-never-invest-running-backs

 

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Dalvin Cook is 24, turns 25 this summer. His extension would start the year he turns 26.

RB aging curves are real but the articles you linked to put RB peak performance at ages 27-28. 

If they sign Cook for 4-5 years with an out after 3 years, they get him for ages 26-28.

PFF’s argument has everything to do with a statistical model of football that says that running the ball is useless, or at least that no one is more valuable in the run game than a replacement level player like a UDFA. That’s nothing to do with aging curves.

They are also assessing the value of RB contracts based on PFF grades. But it’s a little weird to think that their grades are useful given that they themselves find no value in what they’re grading. Makes you wonder if those grades are valid for what they’re describing.

If PFF are right, and RBs are useless, the Vikings should let Cook walk, trade Mattison and roll with Mike Boone as RB1. Is that what you’re recommending? 

To keep the discussion more relevant — despite PFF’s best efforts, RB talent does still have some value in the NFL. Melvin Gordon got a cheap contract but he’s paid better than most 2 down NTs, slot corners and blocking TEs. JK Dobbins went in the 2nd round to the Ravens, not as a UDFA. 

And the Vikings evidently share the opinion of most of the rest of the league. Under Spielman, they have consistently valued RB1 with a high value pick (Peterson then Cook) and RB2 with a day 2 pick or similar investment (Gerhart, McKinnon, Murray, Mattison). 

So letting Cook walk will not likely result in them following the suggestions of that PFF article and going with UDFAs as their only option at RB. They will instead draft his replacement, probably no later than round 2 next year.

So the choice for the Vikings is $12M ish for Cook or a top 50 ish pick on a new RB.

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4 hours ago, Krauser said:

Dalvin Cook is 24, turns 25 this summer. His extension would start the year he turns 26.

RB aging curves are real but the articles you linked to put RB peak performance at ages 27-28. 

If they sign Cook for 4-5 years with an out after 3 years, they get him for ages 26-28.

so the best case scenario for them if they extend cook for $14 million AAV (the number that's been reported and projected) is to get three seasons of top-10 production from him and then cut him and take on a couple million in dead money. if you do the math, that's getting three years of top-10 RB play for $14 million AAV when we are more likely to get top-10 production for four years from a newly drafted running back making like $2-3 million AAV. you still haven't commented on my point that historically running backs are more productive on their rookie contracts than on their veteran deals. 

Quote

PFF’s argument has everything to do with a statistical model of football that says that running the ball is useless, or at least that no one is more valuable in the run game than a replacement level player like a UDFA. That’s nothing to do with aging curves.

They are also assessing the value of RB contracts based on PFF grades. But it’s a little weird to think that their grades are useful given that they themselves find no value in what they’re grading. Makes you wonder if those grades are valid for what they’re describing.

If PFF are right, and RBs are useless, the Vikings should let Cook walk, trade Mattison and roll with Mike Boone as RB1. Is that what you’re recommending? 

first of all - different people at PFF have different opinions on the matter and while most (all?) acknowledge that running backs have less value than some other positions they are to varying degrees. so saying "PFF thinks running backs are useless" isn't a fair statement. 

their biggest argument is that passing the ball, statistically, is much more effective for a productive offense. that's why they value running backs that add to the passing game more, which makes sense. if i recall correctly the ravens were the only team in the league with a positive EPA per rush? or the only one comparable the league average EPA per passing play? anyways, investing heavily (in cap space) to add to the running game is very inefficient. 

their grades are valid - they aren't grading them in context to their salary, draft position, etc. the conclusions they draw from those grades when they see marginal differences in the data is that it makes little sense to invest in running backs.

 

i know you're just playing devil's advocate but spending a day 2 pick on a running back is a much more preferable alternative than spending top-5 money on one. you still have to invest something in talent, even if the returns are marginal increases over the alternatives. 

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6 hours ago, whitehops said:

so the best case scenario for them if they extend cook for $14 million AAV (the number that's been reported and projected) is to get three seasons of top-10 production from him and then cut him and take on a couple million in dead money. if you do the math, that's getting three years of top-10 RB play for $14 million AAV when we are more likely to get top-10 production for four years from a newly drafted running back making like $2-3 million AAV. 

That is a very debatable statement to just chuck out as fact.

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29 minutes ago, the_cote_kid said:

That is a very debatable statement to just chuck out as fact.

But a very true statement. Just look at this years past draft. 1 RB in the 1st round ( last pick) and 5 in round 2. I would of took any of them if we needed  a back and there is a good chance all of them put up good numbers.

l’m all for drafting a RB next year if Cook doesn’t take a contract in the 7-8 million per year range. If he doesn’t, goodbye 👋 

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15 hours ago, Krauser said:

So you want Alexander on a $4M/1, ~$8M on ???, and ??? drafted instead of Dantzler (or Gladney). If there’s no RB there, let us know what your plan is for RB1.

If we are talking about what I personally would want, I would go with a cheap veteran RB to give some baseline of reliability and a RB drafted in the 4th round or lower. The RBs I would consider for '21, in the hypothetical world where these free agents were warped forward a year without aging and still being free agents, would be the RBs of this tier:

Lamar Miller, Todd Gurley, Matt Breida (for a sixth), DeAndre Washington, Jordan Howard, Carlos Hyde.

Of that group I am a bit partial to Lamar Miller, but there are the medicals that he would need to check boxes on. The Vikings medical staff seems to have a handle on dealing with torn ACLs. He would be fairly affordable.

Since this is hypothetical, I'll say that I bring in a RB of that tier for $3.5M per year on average as I cycle through a different veteran every year or two. However, when I am lucky the rookie contract guys look good enough for me to cut these guys before the season starts. I'll say that happens 20% of the time. This brings the average cost down below $3M per year.

The team still has Mattison so my plan going into the year would be Mattison and the mediocre veteran sharing the load. My hope is that a rookie contract RB displaces the veteran at some point in the next couple years allowing me to roll with two RBs on rookie contracts.

As far as draft capital required to invest in the RB position, we can go with the third round pick spent on Mattison, a 5th mid round pick, a 6th round pick, and an UDFA. I would keep investing something like that on a rolling basis so that when Mattison ages out there is a new 3rd round pick brought in. When the 5th round pick ages out, there is a new 5th round pick brought in. Now obviously, there would be some flexibility depending on how things are looking in a given year. Like if the mid round pick was performing well enough the team doesn't have to invest the 3rd round pick when Mattison ages out and instead go with another mid round pick.

Meanwhile, depending on the situation each year bring in a cheap veteran to share the load in years where the team doesn't have enough guys on rookie contracts that have proven they would form a strong enough committee. Average cost: $3M.

Those are the guys of the tier I listed above, but depending on the year it is guys like Latavious Murray (2017), Mark Ingram, Matt Forte (2016), Blount (2016), Gore (2015), etc... You know, the Leroy Hoards of the world that aren't explosive (anymore) but can dependably carry the ball forward.

In any year that the team looks to be seriously contending other than the mediocre stable of RBs I would be open to trading for RB. There always seems to be one available.

This leaves me with some additional draft capital and a pile of cap space to build other areas of the team. I am partial to the trenches and given that we have had decent defensive lines lately and offensive lines that have continually struggled I would focus more of that draft capital and cap space into the offensive line.

For '20 I'll roll with Miller, Mattison, Boone, Abdullah, and a low round pick RB.

As far as the 3rd round pick, I wouldn't force anything. Having retained Alexander the team's need for CB is mitigated. I don't know enough about the prospects to tell you who the team would have liked there. What I do know is that the team would like to have a 3rd round pick. I will tell you that I liked John Simpson. Maybe they trade back and take him. They can use the 6th round pick from the trade back to get their rookie RB too then.

With the extra $7M in cap space the team can sign Warford or Clowney along with one of the veteran CBs sitting out there.

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4 hours ago, Vikes22 said:

But a very true statement. Just look at this years past draft. 1 RB in the 1st round ( last pick) and 5 in round 2. I would of took any of them if we needed  a back and there is a good chance all of them put up good numbers.

Anyone who doesn’t want to pay Cook more than $8M should be violently allergic to the idea of using a 1st round pick to replace him. You only get one 1st round pick a year — they’re worth way more than 5% of the cap.

There’s no world where it’s worthwhile letting Cook walk over $4M a year (the difference between what he likely gets and what people here are willing to pay him), only to turn around and use a top draft pick to replace him. That’s Dan Bailey money, or CJ Ham money. If they let the FB or the kicker leave to save a few million, would you be OK with drafting their replacement in round 2? 

Either running backs matter, and you draft them in the top 50, or they don’t, and you don’t. Pick one. 

If RBs do matter, and you’re willing to draft them early, then no — a RB drafted on day 2 is unlikely to be top 10 in the league.

The 2019 day 2 RBs included Miles Sanders, David Montgomery and Devin Singletary, who had their moments but were nowhere near elite, Damien Harris and Darrell Henderson, who did little or nothing, and our own Alexander Mattison, who played well but was still obviously not as good as Cook.

The 2018 group includes Nick Chubb, who’s really good but who went 35th, higher than anyone should take a RB who they don’t value paying more than a nickel corner, and a bunch of disappointing picks like Kerryon Johnson, Ronald Jones and Derrius Guice.

If they’d had to replace Cook in 2018 or 2019, those options would have made the team worse.

If you want to argue that RBs don’t matter, and downgrading at RB1 doesn’t really affect the team’s chances of winning and losing games (PFF’s argument), that’s fine. But then you shouldn’t be willing to draft JK Dobbins either. It’s no smarter to use a round 2 pick on a position than to pay 5% of the cap for a veteran that allows you to use that pick on a different position. 

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I would give Cook $8M ($6M difference per year to a potential $14M)... Else I'll add additional RBs in the next draft in the 3rd\4th round range. Keep the cap space for something more valuable (more scare, non depreciating, non offense limiting resource)

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3 hours ago, Cearbhall said:

If we are talking about what I personally would want, I would go with a cheap veteran RB to give some baseline of reliability and a RB drafted in the 4th round or lower. The RBs I would consider for '21, in the hypothetical world where these free agents were warped forward a year without aging and still being free agents, would be the RBs of this tier:

Lamar Miller, Todd Gurley, Matt Breida (for a sixth), DeAndre Washington, Jordan Howard, Carlos Hyde.

Of that group I am a bit partial to Lamar Miller, but there are the medicals that he would need to check boxes on. The Vikings medical staff seems to have a handle on dealing with torn ACLs. He would be fairly affordable.

Lamar Miller, OK. 29 and missed last year for an ACL but he was good in 2018.

3 hours ago, Cearbhall said:

As far as the 3rd round pick, I wouldn't force anything. Having retained Alexander the team's need for CB is mitigated. I don't know enough about the prospects to tell you who the team would have liked there. What I do know is that the team would like to have a 3rd round pick. I will tell you that I liked John Simpson. Maybe they trade back and take him. They can use the 6th round pick from the trade back to get their rookie RB too then.

OK, you get John Simpson instead of Dantzler plus a late round RB to be named later. 

3 hours ago, Cearbhall said:

With the extra $7M in cap space the team can sign Warford or Clowney along with one of the veteran CBs sitting out there.

If you’re paying Alexander or a similar CB $4M every year and a veteran RB $3.5M every year, you don’t really have $7M left over.

Remember our discussion about the AAV for Cook — that number will be higher than what the Vikings effectively have to pay, given that the last year or two will be higher paid but unlikely to be earned. Even if Cook’s extension is $14M AAV, there’s zero chance that his cap hit will be $14M in the first year, and it may be substantially lower than that in year 2 as well.

Meanwhile your plan to sign veteran stopgap CBs and RBs to one year deals will have a more direct effect on the cap — $4M/1 for Alexander is actually $4M this year, $3M on Lamar Miller would be $3M.

You’re certainly not getting Clowney for the cap space difference between Cook and a CB+RB. Clowney’s contract will be more expensive than Cook’s. 

I don’t think you can afford more than a cheap vet OL (our old friend Tom Compton is getting $2.7M from SF this year) under the cap space opened up by forgoing year one of Cook’s extension, though maybe year 2 would let you be a little more ambitious.

You could have Warford if you skip the CB, but then you’re probably drafting Dantzler, so you lose Simpson.

...

So the Vikings in this scenario have Cook extended, draft Dantzler, and use their current stable of OL.

Your version is Lamar Miller as RB1 in a RBBC, Alexander or similar stopgap vet CB, a cheap veteran OL (Warford if you can afford him, though I don’t think you can), John Simpson, and a late round flyer on a RB.

Nicely done. I’d be interested to see @whitehops’s attempt, and any others.

Edited by Krauser

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I think overall the implication is that the decision to wait is backed up by pretty much all the data available. In almost every case the players value was likely going to fall, not rise, in the two years remaining on that rookie contract. Id argue from looking at the list of players the ones who bucked the trends overall were Peterson, McCoy, Forte and Lynch. So maybe McCaffrey will be like those four players. Its about a 10% chance that his value would remain constant and over the next two years the Panthers and fantasy owners will be happy with the performance. $16 million for a 10% chance. I wouldn’t call that a great management or decision making but we shall wait and see how things unfold over the next two seasons.

insert cook for mccaffrey and $13-14 million for $16 million and you have the same argument.

https://overthecap.com/the-outcomes-of-running-back-contracts/

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28 minutes ago, whitehops said:

insert cook for mccaffrey and $13-14 million for $16 million and you have the same argument.

It's similar, but not quite the same argument: the Panthers had an extra year of McCaffrey on his rookie contract since he was drafted in the 1st round. Cook will be cheaper and would need to be replaced a year earlier

The comparison would also be more useful if we compared the results of long-term extensions / UFA contracts given to players at other positions. By this analysis, multiple long-term contracts were failures for the Vikings in recent years, including Griffen and Joseph's extensions (both terminated 3 years early with declining performance), and most of their UFA deals (Kline, Boone, Remmers, Jennings, etc). It's easy to make one option look bad if you only look at the bad outcomes for that one option. 

Again I'll ask you to outline specifically what you'd do instead, as if Cook was being replaced this year. Do you sign Melvin Gordon or a veteran RB? How high do you draft a new RB? How specifically do you spend the money that would have gone to Cook?

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3 hours ago, Krauser said:

Meanwhile your plan to sign veteran stopgap CBs and RBs to one year deals

I wouldn't say my plan is to sign veteran stopgap CBs to one year deals. That is just how it would have worked out the first year owing to the team situation. I wouldn't advocate that as a general strategy at the CB position. The team will be able to get better CBs in the future.

3 hours ago, Krauser said:

If you’re paying Alexander or a similar CB $4M every year and a veteran RB $3.5M every year

I am not paying a veteran RB $3.5M every year. The team needs a body so I would sign someone like that but I would be looking to get enough out of the low round RBs and UDFAs that there are years that I don't need to carry the mediocre veteran onto the 53.

3 hours ago, Krauser said:

You’re certainly not getting Clowney for the cap space difference between Cook and a CB+RB.

You're probably right. We'll have to see what Clowney signs for, but you are probably right. That's okay. Then the team has money for Warford.

 

3 hours ago, Krauser said:

I don’t think you can afford more than a cheap vet OL (our old friend Tom Compton is getting $2.7M from SF this year) under the cap space opened up by forgoing year one of Cook’s extension, though maybe year 2 would let you be a little more ambitious.

It's hard to say. The same as Cook's cap values starting low and escalating is true of other veteran signees. Warford could sign a contract with a cap value of $5M or less for this year. And I know that the savings from not extending Cook starts next year but the strange time warp was your idea, not mine, unless I was understanding you wrong. Some of the veteran CBs left out there won't get much more than veteran minimum for the year meaning their cost could almost be neutral considering the veteran cap benefit.

 

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