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Elway Re-Shuffles Front Office
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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the issues go beyond how Bill Bellicheck manages the cap.

That team has a great system they have very few superstars. Brady, and Gronk were it last year.

Denver has big superstars paying a huge sum of money too. Look at Von his salary alone was 60% of what nee England's total defensive roster was.
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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the issues go beyond how Bill Bellicheck manages the cap.

That team has a great system they have very few superstars. Brady, and Gronk were it last year.

Denver has big superstars paying a huge sum of money too. Look at Von his salary alone was 60% of what nee England's total defensive roster was.

At the same time, BB has never had a transcendent, generational defensive talent like Von Miller, nor has he been faced with the decision to pay, or not pay, a talent like Von Miller. I would wager that he wouldn't let him walk. For as frugal as BB has been, I really don't think he would do anything different than Elway when it came to Miller. Trading Von for two R1 picks and using his salary to field a few good-but-not-great talents wouldn't recoup the impact Von has unless you get REALLY lucky with those R1 picks. Sometimes quality is better than quantity, and Miller is just insane quality.
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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DEN's difference from NE isn't because they're dependent on superstars. DEN's difference is that they don't get value at the same level, nor as consistently, as NE does. NE does it so consistently that they aren't forced to pay big $ deals either in FA or in extensions (a point B67 was making before, which we covered in other threads looking at Elway's 2012-15 Day 2 record). Elway's done a fantastic job of getting market-friendly extensions - Von, CJ Anderson (Anderson was a major miscalculation on Elway's part on the whole 2nd-rd vs. original rd tender) & DT were the only deals that had the market decide the $. Wolfe, Stewart, Marshall and even Sanders' extension are far friendlier than what the market set the following offseason. The problem is being forced to pay the big $ contracts to solve key positions, or spend Day 1-2 picks repeatedly over a short period of time. That's really hurt our value return. 2 Rd 2 picks on 3-4 DE in back-to-back years. 3 Day 1-2 picks in 4 years for a LT. Missing on Latimer in the biggest WR draft of the decade, if not ever, forcing us to both re-extend Sanders at a much higher-$ deal, and then also spending a Day 2 pick on a 3rd WR now with Carlos Henderson.

Von is an elite EDGE defender. NFL MVP level player, and DPOE level. Just like Brady/Gronk are at their positions. He was the clear pick at 1.2 and he's done nothing but return elite play since his early struggles. He probably deserved the DPOY award, it was a literal dead heat with him and Mack. That's not the issue. The issue is we don't have the overall team the depth that NE provides continuously...and it's because the Pats do 3 things over & over, 1 very much against what anyone else in the NFL does, and 1 thing that DEN specifically does the exact opposite (the 3rd we do as well as them).

Let me list the 3 ways in greater detail:

1. NE is willing to let a non-elite player go a year early and trade them for value, because they have replacements ready to take their place. DEN doesn't.

AKRNA & BF2010 have already mentioned this, but this bears repeating - NE retains elite level players. Gronk, Brady. Brady gave them a discount. No doubt. But NE wasn't ever going to let them go, because they made the NE O elite and no one could do what they do. The same holds for Miller.

The bigger key is that for every other non-elite but high performing player, NE obtains roster depth to replace a player. If they don't, they do go out an pay when needed. Logan Ryan leaving? Well, they pay Stephen Gilmore 12.6M AAV, major $. Same with Darrelle Revis replacing Aqib Talib. Same with trading their 1st for Brandin Cook (this time pay big price in pick value, not $). NE will pay the $ when they need to - the thing is, they don't need to that often.

Most of the time, NE has a guy ready. Jaime Collins leaving? No problem, D'onta Hightower takes over, Kyle Van Noy and Jamie McLellan give depth for Hightower's old spot. Chandler Jones leaving? No problem, Trey Flowers can step in. Flowers was a 2H force, and in the playoffs, their best pass rusher. And you see now that Flowers is now a starter, what does NE do? They move down 6 spots in Rd 4 to get a depth guy in Kony Ealy to be their 3rd DE, and a bargain FA in Laurence Guy to be their 4th?

Us? When we lost Malik Jackson, we had no one who could fill in. When we lost Danny Trevathan, we had Todd Davis, who struggled.

And here's the punchline about how NE's approach to trading guys a year early is just scary - no one else does it. It's tricky, because if you don't have a replacement, you just made your team worse. But when you do it, it's amazing the returns:

2015, for example - NE trades their starting G from 2013 - trades him to Tampa for 4.101 and Tim Wright. Wright does nothing. But that pick? Trey Flowers.

2. NE drafts on a value-based future approach (complete opposite to locking in with Elway) - and with the exception of the 2011 draft, has been hitting with as many or more impact players:

Look at NE's 2012-15 draft, where we can project their outcomes:

2012 - Chandler Jones, D'onta Hightower were stars. Alfonzo Dennard had a brief career, but actually contributed in 2013-14.

2013 - Jaime Collins, Logan Ryan - a star and a top-half CB starter at a premium position.

2014 - On the surface, really unimpressive - except that like Elway, you have to look beyond the rounds - UDFA Malcolm Butler headlines. Then you add in Bryan Stork, who became their starting C that year and a key to their SB run on OL. James White we know about his playoff run last year.

2015 - Malcolm Brown their starting DT. Trey Flowers is their starting DE, and best pass rusher since 2H last year. Shaq Mason is their starting RG. And their C David Andrews? UDFA. Those guys were all major contributors to the SB51 title, all starters. 4 trench starters, and 2 of them replaced key starters when NE got more value by trading picks.

2012-15 netted NE Chandler Jones, Jaime Collins, Logan Ryan, D'onta Hightower, Brown, Flowers, Mason/Andrews as their core interior OL guys on a top 5 line. Jones & Collins leaving got them additional 2016-17 value too, in the form of picks, and Ryan may or may not (depending on how the comp formula shakes out). Hightower, Malcolm Brown, Trey Flowers, David Andrews & Shaq Mason are core starters on their 2017 squad, and key contributors on the SB51 winning squad (along with Ryan).

On our side, Malik Jackson & Danny Trevathan & Wolfe were awesome - but we've been unable to find their replacement, and now the butcher's bill came due. Our inability to replace Jackson/Trevathan was the epitath to our run D failures in 2016. Paradis is a godsend at C. Roby & Ray have been really good, Barrett was a key depth guy in 2015, and all 3 are in line for a bigger role in 2017. But you see the issue? Roby & Ray were our 1st rounders, and other than Paradis, no one else is starting. 3 guys. NE has 5, and I'd argue that 2-3 them are star level (and that's not even counting James White, or Malcolm Mitchell, since he's 2016). It's only a difference of 2-3 2017 starters - but going out in FA to get 2-3 FA starters at key positions costs HUGE $ if the talent pool isn't that great, and re-signing our guys who do great once their 1st contract pans out starts to cost us $ too (even when we get them at a great bargain) - B67's point in a nutshell. That's why whiffing completely on our Day 2 picks like we did in 2012-15 (Wolfe was our drop from Rd1, remember), is so huge - even 2-3 more starters at key spots and we'd have entered FA and the draft with a much different outlook.

And the BIG difference with us - NE doesn't try and reach for a guy early in Rd 1-2 (when the cost is high to move up) that often. Look at their trade history, they trade down when they see value, and don't see a difference in the guys available, or the tier of talent they target is large enough they see the board will let them drop back, and get more picks to hit later (free extra chances). They only trade up early in Rd 1-2 when they see a difference maker (D'onta Hightower in 2012, Antonio Garcia this year, and even then, it was Rd 3, when the cost is much lower) - otherwise, most of the time, they're moving back - because they are excellent at seeing how the board is falling for them. No better example than 2013 - NE sitting at 1.29 - they don't like where they are, MIN wants to move up, no problem - NE gets 2.53, 3.83 and 4.102. Those 2 picks? Jaime Collins and Logan Ryan. At 1.29, Cordarelle Patterson went, but you could have had guys like Travis Frederick, Kiko Alonso, Jonathan not all bad. But that value-based approach that Germany referred to with SEA & Schneider is exactly what NE does - and we haven't been doing for at least this year, and looking at 2015-16, likely the last 3 years, zeroing on 1 guy. Elway's trade back with Wolfe in 2012 was genius - because he got max value and didn't need to reach. We won't know the result, but getting Jake Butt at 5.145 instead of picking at 4.126, is a similar example of value-based drafting. When Elway hasn't locked in completely independent of how the board falls, he's doing what NE/SEA/other great draft orgs do. I hope we see more of it, and locking in only when the guy is head and shoulders above the rest, and the price reasonable (and necessary).

AKRNA's observation that Elway might have been BPA drafting in 2011-12 because our team needs were so many then rings very true - I think that's a fantastic observation, once B67 & germ were alluding to before (team's outlook changed Elway's drafting style). But, in contrast, no matter how they are doing, NE pretty much always looks at the draft that way - the draft builds the future, FA addresses the present year. Again, that goes back to the point champ & germ made in the Draft live thread and the Elway Draft Strategy thread - ideally, we don't enter drafts needing to fill out biggest, most glaring short term hole with the draft.

Which then brings me to....

3. NE pays only for a premium FA/trade when it's absolutely needed, but hits on bargain FA/low-cost trades as well as (and maybe better of late) than Elway does (so they don't need to go big $ that often).

Again, if NE needs to pay for an premium position talent where one is needed - they will do so. Revis. Gilmore (I don't think he's elite, but the position called for him to get big $). Brandin Cooks for 1.32. Why? Because FA is the way to address immediate needs. The draft is more long-term. Still, you can't just pay top $ for FA's, that only goes so far before your cap is destroyed. So teams have to find bargains. Like Elway's magic we saw from 2012-15. I really hope Edebali & Kerr are our value magic finds this year.

But, when it comes to NE, for all the love Elway gets in bargain FA (and he does so deservedly - Pot Roast, Brandon Marshall, Darian Stewart, Manny Sanders, amazing, amazing value deals), look at what NE has done in 2014-2016 (FA, unlike the draft, you see the impact right away - why you fill short-term holes with FA, and long-term with the draft):

2014 - Revis big $ deal, , Brandon Browner 1 yr / 2.9M, Patrick Chung 4 yr / 13.8M. Traded away G Logan Mankins for Tim Wright and the 2015 4.101 pick that would become Trey Flowers.

2015 - Jabal Sheard, 2 yrs / 10M FA, traded for DL Akeem Hicks for Michael Hoomanawanui.

2016 - Shea McClellan 3 yrs / 9M FA, Chris Hogan 3 yrs / 12M, Chris Long, 1 yr / 2.4M, traded for Kyle Van Noy by moving down from the 6th to the 7th round, with 2 yrs / 1.6M left on his rookie deal. Traded for Eric Rowe for their 2018 3rd/4th round pick (depending on if he plays 50+ percent of 2017 snaps).

Chung is still on the team at a bargain rate as a starter. Flowers was drafted as a result of the trade and a key player. McLellan, Hogan, Van Noy are all cheap starters, and Rowe is expected to be their 3rd CB (4th at worst) for 2017, and likely 2018 3rd CB once Butler leaves...and he's cheap.

Elway's hits in cheap UFA are fantastic - but the problem is they've dried up since 2015. And the 2014-15 bargain FA's needed to be extended, because we had no in-house replacements - that's what missing on Day 2 of the draft really impacted us - not just being unable to replace key spots that were getting expensive, but also re-investing 2016-17 early picks in those areas.


So, if you want to say NE's system is different than DEN's - it sure is. But it's not because of 1 star being paid a lot. Miller is a DPOY guy - PFF actually had him and Mack in a dead heat, and deservedly so. No one makes a bigger impact - and when Mack signs for a huge extension with OAK and Carr signs for a huge extension as well, no one is going to say OAK is throwing the $ away - they'll be saying the same about us - can we provide the same supporting cast at value, like NE does? Because that's what BB & co. do in their FO - and why our FO matters so much.

Elway is still a top 5 GM, no doubt - but to be the top org in the NFL, you have to hit on every aspect of FA/draft - Day 1, Day 2 & Day 3, and you have to spend wisely when you pay top-tier FA's, and find bargains in the value market. NE isn't by any means perfect - but their value-based approach to drafting and rarely if ever locking in to 1 guy (unlike Elway of 2015-present), and willingness to part a year early when the guy isn't elite (i.e. if you're not Brady/Gronk/Von, goodbye) and won't sign a market-reasonable extension, combined with NE's ability to find bargains later in the draft (overall better than Elway 2012-onwards) and FA (just as good as Elway's), it's why DEN and other contenders can't just accept 1-2 weaknesses in their draft/FA portfolio. Because it only takes those differences to separate the top of the NFL from those are good but not quite good enough to get back there.

We did it in 2015, and I believe we can do it again - but we need to understand where we are missing to bridge those gaps. Von Miller and calling our org a star-based system isn't the reason - it's our inability to max out value in each part of the draft, and our most recent struggles in developing not only in Day 2 and OL overall (as BF2010 noted), but I'd say trench D as well has been a problem draft-wise as well. Finally, the bargain FA system is still an area to look for, but it rarely gives more than 1-2 year bargains - which is why the draft is the long-term solution. Locking in regardless of the draft board's falling is only a recent phenomenon, hopefully this new FO change addresses that too.
steelpanther wrote:
This is like playing checkers with a pigeon. No matter how well you play, sooner or later the pigeon is going to crap on the board, then puff his chest out and strut around like he won something.

Last edited by Broncofan on Wed May 10, 2017 11:04 am; edited 6 times in total
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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The difference between the Patriots and Broncos is that the Broncos have bonafide superstars like: Von and DT. Below that you get Talib and Harris and Ward and Sanders. Because of that, you gotta pay them.

I think the Broncos have better talent than the Patriots. The Patriots simply have better coaching and great leadership. They can get by on middle tier players and get to the Super Bowl. They have to superstars in Brady and Gronk. And, leaders in guys like Edelman, McCourty, and Nickovich.

If the Belicheck had the the level of talent the Broncos have...the Broncos easily be a dynasty.
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