Saturday, April 24, 2010

Delayed Gratification

Something that I find curious is that most years a team will be willing to trade a round X pick for this year's round X+1 pick. In other words, a team might add a third round pick in exchange for their trade partner's 2nd rounder in the subsequent season. I can't imagine a worse value for a trade.

It doesn't take a math genius to realize that if this is actually the going rate then a team that trades away its 7th round picks every year and then cashes each pick it receives in a ladder-like method will have 2 first round picks every single season starting in only 7 years - effectively the trade would be, I'll give you a 7th rounder today for your 1st rounder in 2017. No one in their right mind would take that deal, but effectively this is the trade we see every year.

So on the principle that any team that is able to execute this kind of deal is effectively acquiring future first round picks in perpetuity, and since this is an instantly gradable and indisputable "win", the 2010 NFL draft winners are as follows:

New England: they keep their well loaded. Acquired a 2011 2nd rounder from Carolina so the Panthers could draft one of the three quarterbacks they selected.

Jacksonville: Get the Saints' 2011 4th rounder for their 5th.

Detroit: Acquired a 2011 6th for a 7th.

Tampa Bay: swapped their two 7th rounders to move up to the 5th next year.


Another interesting relative value question:

at the end of day one Detroit moved up 4 spots (from 34 - 30) and moved back 28 spots in the 4th in exchange, while throwing in a 7th rounder. Fine.

But then we see Tampa Bay giving up a 5th rounder to move up 3 spots in then 2nd (from 42 to 39), even worse, Minnesota gave up a 3rd rounder to move up 11 spots in the 2nd (from 62 to 51). And then Dallas gave up a 4th rounder to move from 59 to 55. Finally, Green Bay gave away their 4th to move up 15 spots in the 3rd.

So did Detroit get great value their or did those other teams all get raped?


What a great offseason this has been.


  1. I completely agree about giving up a draft pick this year to get one a round higher next year -- or one a couple rounds higher, 2 or 3 years out. I've thought about that a lot over the years. If I were a GM, I would turn over a draft pick like that EVERY YEAR. If I were an owner, I would order my team to do it every year.

    So why doesn't it happen? Well, it's a win-now league. Everyone has a short-term focus. "Long term" is considered 2 or 3 years. Even a GM has a nearer-term focus than that strategy would require: invest those picks, and it might be the next GM who benefits, not you.

    You'd think an owner might insist that his team give that a try. But think about the owners you know the most about. Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder don't want to wait 5 to 7 years to get a leg up. They believe their acumen gives them a leg up on acquiring talent *NOW*.

    Everyone falls in love with the player in front of their face -- that's why so many GMs trade up. I think if some organization were to take the long view necessary for that trade...

    Well, I think in 5 yrs they would have a big advantage. And immediately after, every team in the league would try to initiate the same "ladder". The market would dry up.

  2. Iggles traded 2 2nds for 4 4ths iirc. I don't get it at all. Maybe with the new format their expected 'value' was gone when it was their turn to draft?


  3. Jim's point is the real teller I think. Problem is that most likely many teams would see it happening and refuse to allow it. I'm not sure if that would actually happen or not, but there's no doubt in my mind I'd try to run that game.

    That said, part of it could be a value-now vs. value-then question. For instance, when I heard the Ravens traded with the Broncos, I immediately thought I hoped they got more picks in this year's draft than just one in next year's because the talent pool was so much deeper this year.

    Also surprised you didn't mention that the Boyz got raped hardcore by the Patriots, giving up a 3rd round pick to move up just a couple spots to secure Dez. I wanted the Ravens to get Dez, but if they'd have given up a 3rd next year or something like that to go up one or two spots for him, I'd have been pretty outraged.


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