Monday, April 03, 2006

On paper it makes sense...

But no one will care when Vinatieri's replacement misses a game winning field goal.

In Bill Belichick New Englanders trust, but this became tougher to do for some Patriot fans with Adam Vinatieri leaving. Many fans argued it was worth paying Vinatieri a little too much. The reasoning was that kickers don't make much to begin with, and having the comfort of knowing your kicker will make clutch kicks is worth the extra money.

Cold Hard Football Facts does a good job explaining the logic behind the Patriots letting Vinatieri go.

Vinatieri is the best kicker the Patriots have ever had and arguably the best kicker they will ever have. He's also the best clutch kicker in the history of football, and it will be a long time before any team, let alone the Patriots, see another kicker like him again. And the Colts have a better kicker now that they replaced Vandershank with Vinatieri. When it comes time for Vinatieri to head to the Hall of Fame, we’ll write the application to get him in. So, yes, we agree: Having a trusted name at kicker helps.

And, barring some sort of miracle, New England’s kicker this season will not be as good as the one they just lost. But … the Patriots could be a better team. We’re not saying they will be a better team. Just that they could. This is certainly what New England’s management is banking on.
New England’s management strategy represents a new paradigm in football management – the Salary Cap Paradigm (SCP). Most people realize New England is looking for value in personnel. In other words, they’re not going to dish out top dollar for, say, a wide receiver who makes twice as much as another receiver but only provides 25 percent more production. That’s poor value. People understand value. But the SCP means that New England looks at BOTH sides of every personnel equation. Fans and most other management groups do not. They just look at the Big Name player in question. They figure if they pick up Big Name, they’ll be a better team, and if they lose Big Name, they will not be as good. It seems logical.
But the SCP means that these seemingly logical conclusions are simply not valid. This is where New England is rewriting the football management book in the salary cap era.
Instead of paying $2.5 million per season for Vinatieri – the minimum, apparently, it would have taken to keep him in New England – maybe the Patriots can get a kicker for $1 million to $1.5 million. For $1.25 million, they can get a solid NFL kicker who, perhaps, delivers 90 percent of the production that Vinatieri does – for half the money. So right away, they’re getting better value.
But here’s where they Salary Cap Paradigm moves beyond value: For the $1.25 million they saved on a kicker, New England figures it can pick up, for example, a stud situational player who they otherwise could not have afforded. Perhaps this situational player comes up with a big sack, a long kick return, or a drive-killing INT at a key moment in a big game. Perhaps he bulks up the offensive line and fills in ably when a starter goes down. Maybe this play or this player eliminates the need for a major clutch kicker to come through at the end of the game. Maybe, because of this play, they win the Super Bowl by 10 points rather than by 3. This play from the situational player will never generate the same publicity as a last-second field goal, but it will certainly be no less important. The student of the SCP understands that a game-changing play in the middle of a contest by a backup linebacker is just as important as a last-second, game-winning kick – even if the play goes unnoticed by history.
Maybe the Patriots are a better team because they find value at kicker and pick up an otherwise unaffordable player who bolsters them in a position where they had been weak in the past.
Maybe it will work. Or maybe it blows up in their face. We will see. In either case, you can’t just look at what the team lost. You have to look at what they can pick up in return. That is the Salary Cap Paradigm.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

La la la. The Pats had an incredible run; but the organization is not the players, and luck (some made, some given)played more than just a part in the their success (much like most "great teams"). Tuck rule. Manning turning into Joey Harrington whenever he play'd them.
Please. They had a run. Now its over. RIP.

The Godfather said...

As a Jets fan, let me again stress the importance of a good kicker. The Pats should have been destroying the Jets in the AFC championship game 2 years ago in that huge snowstorm as opposed to winning in Pittsburgh.
It's time to move on and stop trying to justify this move or non-move. If this was any other team, Pats fans would be ridiculing any team for letting a player like Vinatieri go. He's now gone. They need to go get a kicker, sign Seymour and Branch to long term deals and have a good draft and then no one will care once the season starts (when they win 11 or 12 games and the division again). But honestly, I don't rea;ly think you can jstify not paying him when they are currently $20 million under the cap. They still need to find a kicker (obviously a good one would be preferred). So what do they end up saving, $1 million a year? Maybe $1.5 million?

I don't think this move should even be attempted to be justified, but it is done and time to move on.

Patriotsy2k said...

Yeah anonymous, you are right. The Pats were lucky to win all those titles, and "Manning turning into Joey Harrington" was luck also....and had nothing to do with their defensive scheme.
What team do you like? Who even are you? Your an idiot, that's why you log on as "anonymous". Go follow the World Cup this summer with Kris from Key West....and leave the intelligent football talk to the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

temper temper...must be feeling some pressure.
btw, is patriotsy2k your given name?

Patriotsy2k said...

No, anonymous. It's "ignoramus", right?