It seems that the payrolls of NFL teams can be interpreted in many different ways. This is apparent from a pair of statements in articles over the last couple of days.
On Sunday, Dan Shaughnessy wrote the following:
If the Jets win the AFC Championship at Heinz Field, perhaps the Krafts will be inspired to spend a little more money on payroll next year (are we supposed to feel good that the Patriots have the third-lowest payroll in the NFL?).
Today, Mike Reiss has this:
“We’re comparing teams by a simple, bottom-line metric: Player payroll dollars spent per regular-season victory,” Hruby writes. “Using the most recent and accurate salary figures available, we’re also examining which clubs have been penny-wise and which have been pound-foolish.”
Hruby ranks the Patriots fourth in the NFL — their $152.73 million was the second highest in the league and the team produced 14 regular-season wins.
So which is it?
This is a game I’ve heard the likes of Ron Borges, Michael Felger, and Shaughnessy play. They interpret the payroll one way so that they can accuse the Krafts of being “cheap” and others calculate things out so that it shows that the Patriots are near the top of the league in payroll. They cite bonuses, “dead money” and actual salary paid for that season as variables that can be swapped out, apparently to make your argument either way.
Where did Shaughnessy get his information? If you type NFL Payrolls into Google, this page is the second result, and has the Patriots third-lowest in the NFL. The problem is that the data on that page is from at least 2008.
I’d like to think that Shaughnessy used better information than just a quick Google search.
Shaughnessy also snuck in: Maybe New England will stop trading down to get “value’’ for high draft picks.
I think that strategy, while criticized, has worked out pretty well the last two years. In 2010, they traded down twice in the first round, and still ended up with Pro Bowler and Second Team NFL All Pro cornerback Devin McCourty. In trading down from their original position at 22, the Patriots obtained the picks used to later select Taylor Price (3rd round, from Dallas) and Aaron Hernandez (4th round, from Denver).
Then check out this maneuver - During the 2009 draft, the Patriots obtained the #47 pick in 2010 in exchange for a third round pick in 2009. Then in this year’s draft, the Patriots traded that second round pick (47 overall) to Arizona for a later second round pick (58 overall) and a third round pick (89 overall). They then sent the #58 pick to Houston for #62 (Brandon Spikes) and #150 (Zoltan Mesko). They then took that #89 pick and sent it to Carolina for their 2011 second round pick, which is now the top pick in the second round.
So from that one third round pick in 2009, they turned it into Brandon Spikes, Zoltan Mesko and the top pick in the second round in this coming draft.
Instead of sarcastically refering to that as “value,” I’m going to say they got VALUE from that one pick and a couple of trades.
For some reason, the media and fans HATE when the Patriots trade around in the draft. It generates snide remarks like the one from Shaughnessy, who can’t be bothered to see what actually comes of those moves.