Re: to all the BB GM naysayers
posted at 3/9/2012 11:20 AM EST
In Response to Re: to all the BB GM naysayers
In evaluating BB as a GM, I think you need to look at three things: First, his strategy of trading draft picks. The Pats have been disadvantaged in picks since BB came to the team because they had to give up picks for Belichick himself, they lost picks to spygate, and they have finished high in the standings nearly every year so they generally earn low-round picks. To compensate for this, BB has pursued a strategy of trading picks to get either (1) higher round picks in future drafts or (2) a larger number of lower round picks in the current draft. Overall, this strategy seems to have helped keep the Pats viable in the draft (the team always has a significant number of low first round through fourth round picks), though it has meant very few high first round picks (where a lot of impact players are drafted). The question is whether we would have done better with fewer, higher picks than with so many mid round picks. That's hard to answer, because even high first round picks can be busts. But the odds of getting someone good are certainly much higher in picks 1 through 15 than anywhere else in the draft. Low first round, second round, and third and fourth round picks are much more unpredictable. To truly evaluate the strategy, one also has to consider the value of having all those lower round picks for trades--and of acquiring additional picks through trades. Here BB has done a lot too, both gaining additional picks (Seymour) and using picks to acquire good free agents (Moss). Draft picks aren't just for drafting--they're for trading too--so you have to look at the strategy holistically. When you do that, I think you have to say BB has done a great job of keeping enough picks to keep the overall quality of the team relatively high through a combination of trades and drafting. However, there's a question mark whether the strategy has made it hard to acquire enough impact players and has left us with too many JAGs who end up being cut after clogging the roster for two or three years. Second, his evaluation of talent. Here, BB seems to have done just an average job. BB has definitely had a tendency to look for overlooked guys (small school, injured, etc.) who may have fallen in the draft relative their potential talent. This makes sense given the number of mid- to lower round picks we have and the shortage of high first round picks. He's had mixed success with this strategy: Brady, Gronk, Hernandez stand out as huge successes. But others (Butler, Tate, Wheatley, Cable, etc.) seem like so many wasted picks. Overall, I think you have to look at BB as just average here. While there are successes, there are a lot of misses and those misses have been costly. Just look at the long, tortured attempt to rebuild the secondary or to get an OLB or to find a WR or RB. Maybe at some point, BB should have traded up to get a top prospect . . . but even without trading up, he's missed on guys like Johnson, Maroney, Merriweather, etc., who were relatively high picks. Having to play Edelman and Slater in the secondary this year is not a sign of good success bringing in talent. Third, his management of the salary cap. With a salary cap of a bit over $120 million and the need to sign somewhat more than 60 players a year, your average cap hit per player is about $2 million. A lot of impact players result in cap hits of $5, $10, even $15 million. I think part of BB's strategy has been to avoid tying up too much of the cap on too few guys. When you add that variable, his approach of trying to build a team with guys in lower rounds and who aren't obvious impact players in free agency maybe starts to make even more sense. At a $8 to $10 million cap hit per player, you would eat up your entire salary cap with 12-15 guys. That's not enough to play a game. So you are severely limited in the number of high-contract, impact players you can bring in. However, good teams tend to have a few of these guys. We have Brady, Wilfork, Mankins . . . and no one else I can think of. Maybe that's too few. If you're not going to have those guys, you need to get guys like Rodney Harrison who can play at an impact level without demanding an impact salary. BB has been good at finding those kinds of players . . . but the current team doesn't have enough. Overall . . . I think you have to say BB has done a better than average job as a GM, but the talent level of the team is a bit too low to really ensure dominance in the league. It is high enough, however, to put the Pats in the running every year and that's a pretty major accomplishment.
Posted by prolate0spheroid
I wish I had read your's before I posted the same thing again.