Nickels and Dimes: Football Economics

Dilip Vishwanat

Kevin Demoff took part recently in a football analytics panel. With it, fans were granted a rare view into his financial reasoning.

The Rams (or any team, for that matter) typically don't take part in open discussions about economics and player contracts. As a result, fans are left with an often incomplete picture about what takes place behinds closed doors. Mike Sando's article details the results of a panel held at MIT. With it, we might have been able to glean a few ideas about the Rams plans.

"You might be better off spending $7 million on one guy"

For instance, one of the subjects that came up was the new CBA, specifically that it dramatically lowered rookie wage scales. As such, it's quite easy to replace the middle class football player with draft picks- it's cheaper to just draft someone that can replace the same medium level of production:

Elite players continue to get paid at high levels and there are no more $3-4 million players. A lot of that is because teams are getting better at scouting college players and the draft has become efficient.

Of course, this is merely hearsay, but take a player like Brandon Gibson. That 3-4 million dollar range is exactly the likely cost of a player with his production. Would it be easier to replace 600 yards through the draft, as opposed to spending 3-4 million on a veteran? Even more, Demoff talked about the free agent market and scenarios that play out in it:

If you have $8 million to spend in free agency, you might be better off spending $7 million on one guy and $1 million on the other than buying two players at $4 million.

You don't say? It's not as though the Rams have about eight million to spend in free agency, or anything so absurd like that. You certainly couldn't use this to confirm that the Rams are looking for one huge splash, but you can believe that the team certainly understands the value of those 'elite' players and isn't opposed to adding one of those top-tier players because of the huge value added to the team.

For those who are pure draftniks however, Demoff dropped a nugget there as well:

We have all stopped looking at where you spend. It is, 'How do you accumulate the best players regardless of position?'

Right. Like the Rams would seriously look at drafting a guard or a safety at 16! Oh, wait..

Like Demoff says, sometimes you just need to take a Chance, regardless of position.

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