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Greg Landry's FA Dos and Don'ts

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FREE AGENCY MOSTLY BAD VALUE
Free Agency is almost always (80-85% of time since free agency started) a bad value proposition because teams will always look to keep their top homegrown players. So when a player reached free agency it is mainly because his team—-the people who know him best—decided that his projected production will NOT match the price of his contract demands. And if the team that knows the player better than anyone else is taking a pass, you must give that some deep thought.

With that said, 15-20% of the time, players can be on the market simply because teams are being squeezed by the cap. Sometimes teams can be victims of their own success. They end up with too many good players who all require too much money to keep and they are forced to part ways. Players coming from that circumstance are often better investments—but they are few and far between. And it is their scarcity that drives their price way up.

FREE AGENT PLAYERS USUALLY FALL INTO ONE OF TWO CATEGORIES:
A) Role Players
B) Players past their prime

THERE ARE RARELY IF EVER DIFFERENCE MAKERS AVAILABLE IN FREE AGENCY—THEY ARE ALREADY SIGNED OR TAGGED BY THEIR CURRENT TEAM. .

THE SALARY CAP DOESN’T FORGIVE OR FORGET
You must get something of value – Immediate production and longevity. A free agent must be able to give you a minimum of 600 plays per year.

QB’s second contracts take up a large percentage of the salary cap.

More mistakes are made in free agency at the cornerback position than any other.

LONG TERM DEALS FOR YOUNG ASCENDING PLAYERS ONLY
If a player is over 26 years old, do not give a 5 year contract. Even he is a Tier I player—and NEVER sign a high risk injury player to a long term deal. Do not give a four year contract or longer to a player 28 or older, even if he is a Tier I player.

PLAYER MUST FILL NEEDS AND FIT OR YOU WILL REGRET
You must evaluate the player, establish the fit and establish the right price. You MUST fill needs and make sure that the player is a specific schematic fit for your team. NEVER, EVER sign a player and change his technique or schematic fit. It just doesn’t work.
Free agency has a place in building your roster if you find the right player to fit the right need in the right scheme. But you must make sure of the precise reason you are signing the player.

CONTRACT YEAR WONDERS
Be aware of the player who production dramatically increases in their contract year as you are more likely to be paying for the production of the contract year while getting the production from those non contract years.

DON’T FORGET CAP MONEY FOR INJURY REPLACEMENTS AND PRACTICE SQUAD
You must have $ 6 million in cap resources for replacement for injured players—ideally $10 million.

You must have $1 million of cap space allocated for practice squad players- 8 players on practice squad at $90k/year for $720,000 cap amount allocation. Teams that want to be aggressive will spend even more money on practice guys, creating more depth and bottom of roster quality.

SELF CHECK QUESTION BEFORE SIGNING A PLAYER
On signing a player in Free agency, you have to ask yourself if you A) HAVE TO B) NEED TO or C) LIKE TO sign a player.

600 PLAYS OR WALK AWAY
How many plays can a player give you in a year?—-For Example, he might not be a starting corner but he might be a 600 play a year guy as a nickel or if he is a CORE special team player (playing on all 4 ST units)——-A core special team’s player is a 250 play per year player alone.

BUDGET SENSE
Stick to your budget. If you spend recklessly, there will inevitably come a time when you need the money that you no longer have and spending Tier I money on a Tier II player only inflates what you have to play your Tier I player. The salary cap penalizes SEVERELY for overpaying players relative to what their production value is.

THIRD DOWN VALUE A MUST
Never spend a money on a player who doesn’t play well on third downs, which is the money down in the NFL. If he is not on the field on third down, he definitely does not warrant upper tier money.

FINANCIAL CHEMISTRY IMPORTANT
Can’t sign a player for more than the team leader or your best player at that position. This about rewarding loyalty and maintaining a balanced cost structure within your team because it creates bad locker room chemistry. Trust me, players always know what everyone at their position makes around the league.

KNOW FOR SURE WHAT YOU ARE GETTING
Know the player you are signing very well. You must be informed as possible about a player as a mistake will cost you millions. You want to know the players practice habits, his off field habits, his football intelligence and any of his personal shortcomings. You gather this information through a variety of sources such as a coach who has coached him previously, a front office or staff person that knows him personally as well as through psychological reports and tests given in the pre draft process. You will diligently re-evaluate both his pre-draft college scouting report and put it up against the pro personnel evaluation from his time in the league. If a player had a problem back then, more often than not it means that the problem still likely exists.

SAVE MONEY FOR SOMETHING IMPORTANT
Save your money if you are not ready to contend. Due to the latest collective bargaining agreement now unused cap room can be rolled over as long as a team stays above the cap floor. So, do not waste money on players who are not going to help you in the long term. Save your money and extend your homegrown players. This creates greater stability within the team and the way the successful teams operate,

DON’T BELIEVE YOUR CULTURE WILL CHANGE A PLAYER
Never believe that your locker room culture will change a person’s behavior. This is rarely the case and when it does work it is only on a minimum salary short deal. Giving a large money or long term deal in this situation RARELY works if ever.

YOUR ARE NOT ONE PLAYER AWAY
Do NOT buy into the theory that you are ONE player away from a championship because there is a 100% injury rate in this sport.

IGNORE THE NOISE
Never chase the market for a player and do not allow agents to manipulate you. There is a lot of pressure on GM’s by the media and fans to produce activity in the free agency period. Never has anyone who has won the March race every wins anything during the football season.

A segment of your fan base will be unhappy. The local media will be unhappy, the agents will be unhappy and you are sure to hear that you are not trying to win. And, you will never get credit for the money you spend on re-signing your players—which also counts against the cap.

STAY FOCUSED—REMEMBER THE MISSION
Every one looks out for their own interest. You have to look out for the best interest for the team and stay focused on that. Set a price that is fair and if that price escalates, walk away. You are not in a church auction. You run a football team. If you do so, your cap will be well managed which is absolutely essential for sustained success and you will have the ability to sign your own free agents first. They are the priority when you are a good team because you are a good team because you draft well

A FREE AGENT LOSS HURTS MORE THAN HE HELPS HIS NEW TEAM
Always remember that the free agent you lose hurts you more than he helps his new team. This is why historical trends show that it takes a free agent changing teams and systems almost a year to fit and become really efficient. As much as GM’s think about dead years at the end of the contracts, they should also remember that the first year is unlikely to be a very productive one. It can be, but the odds are against it. Football is not baseball, basketball or hockey as such positions are far less interchangeable between teams.

 
 
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What makes Greg Landry right?

 

80-85%....  poor value based on ?

 

Never change Role or scheme fit??  Non-sense 

 

Was he an awesome GM and we missed it? 

 

There are are some interesting generalizations, but nfl free agency is far too dynamic and this laundry list substantially oversimplifies all the parameters that need consideration and evaluation. 

Edited by Over 29 years of fanhood
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38 minutes ago, Dave in Bluffton said:

Greg Landry used to be the Lions QB.  Not sure if it is the same guy

Was thinking the same thing. Ole number 11 throwing it to former bill Ron Jessie.

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According to that, Star Lotuleilei was a really bad signing.

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4 hours ago, Over 29 years of fanhood said:

What makes Greg Landry right?

 

80-85%....  poor value based on ?

 

Never change Role or scheme fit??  Non-sense 

 

Was he an awesome GM and we missed it? 

 

There are are some interesting generalizations, but nfl free agency is far too dynamic and this laundry list substantially oversimplifies all the parameters that need consideration and evaluation. 

 

 

I think that sounds about right.  Based on what he said:  

The people who know him best—decided that his projected production will NOT match the price of his contract demands. And if the team that knows the player better than anyone else is taking a pass, you must give that some deep thought.

 

The majority of the really good ones are kept and resigned.

 

I recall Marv Levy one saying something along the same line; "Free Agents typically hurt the team they are leaving more than they help the team they are going too."

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1 hour ago, 947 said:

According to that, Star Lotuleilei was a really bad signing.

 

 

It was a bad overpay...

 

 

 

 

IMO, the biggest thing with FAs is signing a guy to do something he's already doing, not overpaying on hope he can do more.  It seems like that's where the biggest mistakes come in, ie a guy produces well for half a season after an injury gives him a chance, new team signs and pays starter money to be an opening day starter.  Pass rusher performs well on situational work, new team pays him like a starting DE (Mark Anderson...).

 

I don't think we are asking / paying anyone we signed in this wave to do more than what they were already doing. 

Edited by Chuck Wagon
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6 minutes ago, Ed_Formerly_of_Roch said:

 

 

I think that sounds about right.  Based on what he said:  

The people who know him best—decided that his projected production will NOT match the price of his contract demands. And if the team that knows the player better than anyone else is taking a pass, you must give that some deep thought.

 

The majority of the really good ones are kept and resigned.

 

I recall Marv Levy one saying something along the same line; "Free Agents typically hurt the team they are leaving more than they help the team they are going too."

Yup

Stehon Gilmore 

Robert Woods

Ill include Jason Peters as the real case was Ralph didnt feel he was worth the money.  Need I go on.

 

Sometimes it is the case but not 85% of the time.  I also thing sometimes the reason it didnt work is where they go.

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22 minutes ago, formerlyofCtown said:

Yup

Stehon Gilmore 

Robert Woods

Ill include Jason Peters as the real case was Ralph didnt feel he was worth the money.  Need I go on.

 

Sometimes it is the case but not 85% of the time.  I also thing sometimes the reason it didnt work is where they go.

 

98.37% of the time I see numbers like 80-85% of the time, I know it’s totally fabricated bullchit based on someone’s random ‘feeling’ 

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2 hours ago, formerlyofCtown said:

Yup

Stehon Gilmore 

Robert Woods

Ill include Jason Peters as the real case was Ralph didnt feel he was worth the money.  Need I go on.

 

Sometimes it is the case but not 85% of the time.  I also thing sometimes the reason it didnt work is where they go.

OK

I'll counter Gilmore and Woods with Clay, Mario, Percy Harvens,  seems I can recall a long list of lineman signed by the Bills who were flops

 

Look at the numbers from the 31 other teams in the league and also the ones that didn't work out.  Granted a team that's been losing for years certainly the numbers are going to be much lower.  On a league wide basis, I'd think that 85% number isn't bad.

 

 

How many players have left NE over maybe the past 10 years and have done much better on their new team.

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1 hour ago, Ed_Formerly_of_Roch said:

OK

I'll counter Gilmore and Woods with Clay, Mario, Percy Harvens,  seems I can recall a long list of lineman signed by the Bills who were flops

 

Look at the numbers from the 31 other teams in the league and also the ones that didn't work out.  Granted a team that's been losing for years certainly the numbers are going to be much lower.  On a league wide basis, I'd think that 85% number isn't bad.

 

 

How many players have left NE over maybe the past 10 years and have done much better on their new team.

Mario was an All-Pro the year before Rex came.  Rex ruined him and Dareus.  Took away there desire to play.  By bad GMs. You want to take a look at their draft records.

The success rate isnt what teams would like it to be but not 85 percent failure.

Edited by formerlyofCtown

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I didn't need to read all of this, do you think the rams got a return on their investment? me to. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. If you have a QB you need to be swinging for the fences before said QB's contract is up.

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10 hours ago, formerlyofCtown said:

Mario was an All-Pro the year before Rex came.  Rex ruined him and Dareus.  Took away there desire to play.  By bad GMs. You want to take a look at their draft records.

The success rate isnt what teams would like it to be but not 85 percent failure.

 

He never said 85% failure, he said 80 to 85% bad value proposition, big difference.  If these guys were signed to reasonable contracts, it would be fine, but in particular the first couple of days of FA, many are over paid.

  

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3 hours ago, Ed_Formerly_of_Roch said:

 

He never said 85% failure, he said 80 to 85% bad value proposition, big difference.  If these guys were signed to reasonable contracts, it would be fine, but in particular the first couple of days of FA, many are over paid.

  

Where is your response to Mario.  I would believe 50-60.  The author has no credibility because he offers no credible source and does not say how he arrived at that number.  I believe some FOs have a higher hit rate than others.  Such as our current FO which includes our scouting department.  Guys are also signed for depth and to do things that dont show up on the stat sheet.  The media will not account for that but The coaching staff and FO know.

 

Did you know that 80-85% of authors just pull a number off the top of their head.  Especially if it is an exact number such as 80-85%.  

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Some of that was obvious, a lot of it was sometimes proven wrong, but if the Bills or any team took that advice, for the most part (infrequently deviating when it thought it had to for a specific strong player) we would be way ahead by now. Overall, that's very sound advice and makes a lot of sense.

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37 minutes ago, formerlyofCtown said:

Where is your response to Mario.  I would believe 50-60.  The author has no credibility because he offers no credible source and does not say how he arrived at that number.  I believe some FOs have a higher hit rate than others.  Such as our current FO which includes our scouting department.  Guys are also signed for depth and to do things that dont show up on the stat sheet.  The media will not account for that but The coaching staff and FO know.

 

Did you know that 80-85% of authors just pull a number off the top of their head.  Especially if it is an exact number such as 80-85%.  

 

As far as Mario goes, he signed the highest contract in NFL history for a defensive player, made all pro one time.  Thanks for mentioning him, guess Mario does prove the authors point of the 85% failure part.  Or do you consider being the highest paid defensive player in league history and making all pro 1 time show success.  I will agree, Rex caused his stats and play to drop way off, but he didn't go to Miami and have much success either. 

 

IMO if you look at the top 50 players signed in FA each season based on contract value, then I'd think  that 85% is a pretty accurate number.  If you look at the total number of players yes  likely more than 20% are successful signings because the lower paid ones do more work out.  And will agree our FO of late has been more successful as they haven't signed many of the top $$ players. 

 

Authors may pull numbers out of their head without looking at any data, but that's OK when they have alot of experience in the field  The authors source is himself as he does this type of thing for a living.   Did he literally mean 85% probably not,  the point was there;s a pretty high rate of failure looking at top paid free agents.  What credibility do you have to dispute him other than posting on a fan message board?

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12 minutes ago, Ed_Formerly_of_Roch said:

 

As far as Mario goes, he signed the highest contract in NFL history for a defensive player, made all pro one time.  Thanks for mentioning him, guess Mario does prove the authors point of the 85% failure part.  Or do you consider being the highest paid defensive player in league history and making all pro 1 time show success.  I will agree, Rex caused his stats and play to drop way off, but he didn't go to Miami and have much success either. 

 

IMO if you look at the top 50 players signed in FA each season based on contract value, then I'd think  that 85% is a pretty accurate number.  If you look at the total number of players yes  likely more than 20% are successful signings because the lower paid ones do more work out.  And will agree our FO of late has been more successful as they haven't signed many of the top $$ players. 

 

Authors may pull numbers out of their head without looking at any data, but that's OK when they have alot of experience in the field  The authors source is himself as he does this type of thing for a living.   Did he literally mean 85% probably not,  the point was there;s a pretty high rate of failure looking at top paid free agents.  What credibility do you have to dispute him other than posting on a fan message board?

All-Pro means he was the best in the world at his position bud.  His numbers were on par with that season until Rex and if Jim Schwartz remaind DC I believe he would have made AllPro again.

 

My credibility is education bro.  And since you are going so hard on this with no statistics toback it up and dont even recall bringing up Mario earlier shows me you are not credible and are a waste of my time.  You are just going off the authors numbers and are not even acknowledging or taking note of valid points.  

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18 hours ago, formerlyofCtown said:

All-Pro means he was the best in the world at his position bud.  His numbers were on par with that season until Rex and if Jim Schwartz remaind DC I believe he would have made AllPro again.

 

My credibility is education bro.  And since you are going so hard on this with no statistics toback it up and dont even recall bringing up Mario earlier shows me you are not credible and are a waste of my time.  You are just going off the authors numbers and are not even acknowledging or taking note of valid points.  

 

Well since you believe he would have made all pro again, that makes all the difference with your expert credibility, which BTW also is backed up by no data other than the couple of Bills, you mention.  What about the rest of the league. The Redskins over the past 20 years or so are one of the best teams  to look at to make the authors point.  

 

I didn't bother mentioning Mario as I'd think he helps prove the authors point, 6 year contract, one good year, and even if Rex didn't ruin him, it still took him until the 3rd year of his contract  to have that good of a year.  BTW I do recall many post the first couple of years Mario was here, reading what a waste of money he was in signing him and even after the 4 years were up and he was gone, the posts saying he was a bad signing far outweighed the ones who felt the signing was good.

 

As far as me going hard on it, you replied to my post stating that I'm wrong and the Greg Laundry is wrong who I think has a hell of a lot more credibility than you do.  So if I'm a waste of time, why did you reply with no data either to back it up other than 3 Bills, in which none really dispute Laundry's position.  (I must have missed Robert Woods making all pro)

 

 

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An individual FA doesn't need to be a difference maker, but he should be able to upgrade a spot. A group of FA's can make an impact like going from 1 to 4 "above average" OL will allow you to start running the ball well enough to take a lot of the pressure off an inexperienced QB, for example. Also, putting the ball in McCoy's hands twice as much could mean 2 more wins over the course of the season.

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