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WP: The Numbers Don't Lie (How Snyder Has Handled the Cap)

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Old 04-04-2008, 10:26 AM   #1
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JLC: The Numbers Don't Lie (How Snyder Has Handled the Cap)

The Numbers Don't Lie - Redskins Insider

It's been impossible not to notice the stark contrast between this off season and most every one prior under Dan Snyder/Vinny Cerrato. Even in previous years where spending was down, they were always chasing at least a few free agents from the onset, wining and dining players at the start of free agency, etc.

Sure, Snyder's other businesses are in the tank and the economy is stumbling, and the Redskins had very limited cap space, especially when compared to most other teams. But reality is, they couldn't keep doing what they we're doing forever, and, most importantly, it wasn't working. Not even close.

Since 2000, the first year Snyder really had control of the team (he took over in the summer of 1999, with the off season over and the roster largely ser), the Redskins have been the most inefficient team in the NFL, regardless of the coach, starting quarterback, or anything else.

I got my hands on some figures compiled by the NFL Management Council on dead cap, and "committed cash" - which shows what teams really spend on players in any given year (the salary cap is soft and this shows what teams really spent, in real dollars included all bonuses and incentives in that league year, not just cap dollars spent). These figures are distributed to teams and the NFLPA, and I obtained them through league sources.

Here are the top 5 spending teams, in committed cash, since 2000:

1 Redskins $747 million
2 Indy $710 million
3 Balt $708 million
4 Dallas $700 million
5 New England - $694 million

Three of those 5 teams won Super Bowls, the other two reside in the NFC East

How about the top 5 teams in dead cap space since 2000?

1 Redskins $83 million
2 San Fran $80 million
3 Denver -$80 million
4 Tennessee $78 million
5 Oakland $75 million

That's like giving away one year of payroll every 8 seasons (the 2004 NFL cap was $80 million, as a comparison).
Yikes, not the company you want to keep, eh? The 49ers and Raiders have had front offices in perpetual disarray, Denver just fired its GM and the Titans let Floyd Reese go a year ago and gutted their aging team after nearly missing on the Super Bowl a few times early this decade.

So, for all of that spending,, and binging and purging, where do the Skins rank in wins since 2000 - 23rd with 58 wins. They won 1 playoff game, no division titles and hosted no playoff games.

"This stuff right here, these numbers, this is the NFL's version of 'Moneyball,'" said one high ranking official who had studying the spreadsheets from the management council. "This is how you grade the managers. This is how you evaluate the guys paid to do the evaluating. The numbers don't lie."

Let's look more closely at the short term. Dead cap totals for the past three years:

1 Tenn - $65 million
2 Houston - $57 million
3 Redskins $55 million
4 Miami - $50 million
5 Denver - $49 million

Now, as we went over, the Titans got rid of Reese - who has had a long and distinguished career and has a strong coaching backround along with his front office work - and went with a new regime. Houston parted with Charley Casserly, who ran and put together that expansion team. Denver fired its GM a few weeks back - though much of the blame must go to the ubber-powerful head coach there as well - and Miami completely overhauled its front office a few months back, with The Tuna ushering in a new regime.

What did the Redskins do? They handed the keys to the entire kingdom to Cerrato, the only constant of the Snyder era, who has been repeatedly promoted. The same guy who, a year ago, according to league sources, the Redskins very nearly replaced or at least demoted, with Gibbs coming very close to hiring someone else to oversee the personnel department.

This, my friends, is why the rest of the league looks at the Redskins as they do when it comes to these things. This is why so many people are dubious about this Snyder/Cerrato tandem working out.

Take a look at the past 4 years, The era of the much talked about Gibbs/Cerrato/Snyder front office model, and no team spent more in committed cash - $431 million - but at least they got two playoff appearances for that. And just because the Redskins aren't signing a bunch of free agents this season does not mean they will not have high committed cash totals, as they continue to rework 10 contracts each off season and guarantee huge chunks of money to aging players. The dead cap waste has been a constant of Snyder's as well. Trust me, Joe Gibbs never claimed to be a master salary negotiator, that's not why he was there. That's Snyder and Cerrato's domain, with their cap guy, Eric Schaffer. Gibbs loved to spend but never pretended to be a cap guru.

Imagine what a force the Redskins could have been had they actually found a way to utilize those massive resources at even close to the rate of most of the NFL's top front offices? They could be a juggernaut, the NFC's Patriots, but they have been miss-managed on many fronts in terms of player acquisitions and payroll.

Four years ago, prior to Gibbs first training camp back, Snyder and Cerrato told me they had learned from their mistakes, had the salary cap figured out and were close to winning their first Super Bowl. They had learned from their mistakes, and were better for it. Won't get fooled again, they said.

Two years ago, through an outside PR firm Snyder had hired to help try to restore his image at the time, he made the same remarks via email to me: Learned from the past, older and wiser now, got things better figured out now, ready to give the city a winner.

During the Gibbs departure press conference we got more of the same - more stable now, learned from our mistakes, learned from Coach Joe, yada, yada yada, And perhaps, finally, they have. Showing some restraint in a poor free agent market with limited available cap space is a positive step no doubt.

But this is also a veteran team, particularly aging at some key spots on both sides of the line, and the years of restructured contracts has continued to push huge cap sums into the future. So this is why I cast a skeptical eye (and, oh yeah, it's also part of my job). I tend to fall back on that axiom Bush butchers - "Fool me one, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."

We'll see if they become demons at the draft table. We'll see how they fare in player development. We'll see how they manage the cap. We'll see if they make cold, calculated decisions about rebuilding and shedding high priced veterans, or if they keep redoing every contract they can, convinced that THIS is the year.

Attach the W's and L's to Snyder and Cerrato, for better or worse, and keep your fingers crossed.
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Old 04-04-2008, 10:39 AM   #2
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Re: WP: The Numbers Don't Lie (How Snyder Has Handled the Cap)

People have absolutely nothing to do in the offseason. I cringe and get pissed everytime I hear someone say that Snyder couldn't afford to make any offseason moves, or that they couldn't continue elaborate spending. Newsflash: Yes, they could have, but they chose not to. Here is another newsflash; if you are the top 1 or 2 money making franchises in the NFL, or even in the United States; you can afford to do whatever the hell you want.

Plain and simple, they had the cap figured out, and they are not, and never were in cap hell.
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Old 04-04-2008, 10:42 AM   #3
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Re: WP: The Numbers Don't Lie (How Snyder Has Handled the Cap)

The statement that they couldn't continue doing it is wrong. Dead wrong. The statement that it wasn't working is true.
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Old 04-04-2008, 10:42 AM   #4
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Re: WP: The Numbers Don't Lie (How Snyder Has Handled the Cap)

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Originally Posted by angryssg View Post
People have absolutely nothing to do in the offseason. I cringe and get pissed everytime I hear someone say that Snyder couldn't afford to make any offseason moves, or that they couldn't continue elaborate spending. Newsflash: Yes, they could have, but they chose not to. Here is another newsflash; if you are the top 1 or 2 money making franchises in the NFL, or even in the United States; you can afford to do whatever the hell you want.

Plain and simple, they had the cap figured out, and they are not, and never were in cap hell.
Amen
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Old 04-04-2008, 10:44 AM   #5
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Re: WP: The Numbers Don't Lie (How Snyder Has Handled the Cap)

And I love the title "Number don't lie". That is very true but the the important thing is to understand what they are telling you.
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Old 04-04-2008, 10:46 AM   #6
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Re: WP: The Numbers Don't Lie (How Snyder Has Handled the Cap)

Is this really anything new? I think we're well aware that the Redskins have spent a ton of money since Snyder took over without much success. Hopefully making the playoffs in 2 of the last 3 seasons is an indication that things are changing for the better.
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Old 04-04-2008, 10:50 AM   #7
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Re: WP: The Numbers Don't Lie (How Snyder Has Handled the Cap)

I am just tired of people taking shots at Danny and the organization. He is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. It comes with the territory, but the constant critisism is getting annoying.
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Old 04-04-2008, 11:15 AM   #8
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Re: WP: The Numbers Don't Lie (How Snyder Has Handled the Cap)

We've made horrible mistakes in player acquisition, which has led to the high ranking in deadcap money. Brandon Lloyd, Adam Archuleta, TJ Duckett, these were terrible moves that the front office deserves to be grilled on. But to say that we couldn't afford to continue spending if we wanted was flat out incorrect. The team had the capability to generate up to $16 million in cap room this year through contract restructures, but they did not. They stopped at $10 million in room.

They've cleared that space for a good reason. Everyone likes to say a player trade is on the way, but I'm not so sure. I think it's likely there to accomodate a very large payout in the form of an extension for our franchise QB, which will probably get negotiated sometime during 2008.

J-La's review is essentially a look back at the last 7 or 3 years. But his numbers are not going to reflect the positive steps the team has been taking in the last year. Basically, all he's saying is the Redskins have sucked at all things football over the last 7 years. No shit, Sherlock, but tell me what you think of what they're doing NOW.

You're a reporter, not a historian. I want your insight, not your freakin evaluation of the past, we're all capable of that.
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Old 04-04-2008, 11:47 AM   #9
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Re: WP: The Numbers Don't Lie (How Snyder Has Handled the Cap)

The media really has run with this notion that the Skins were cap strapped this year and that's why they weren't aggressive in free agency. I cringe when I hear anyone say it now.
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Old 04-04-2008, 11:48 AM   #10
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Re: WP: The Numbers Don't Lie (How Snyder Has Handled the Cap)

What I find annoying is the "knee jerk reaction" criticism and uninformed criticism. The sort of criticism in the JLC article is neither of these. This is a well documented, well researched and thorough examination of the Redskin organization under Snyder. The simple fact is, he has thus far been unsuccessful as an owner, and at the same time has drawn a significant amount of attention to himself with the contracts he has given to players. Of course he will be criticized, and deservedly so.

There are those who automatically criticize Snyder, and there are those who will automatically defend him; both are annoying. Personally, I would have trouble criticizing JLC for this article, because it is so well written, and I think those who do criticize it see Snyder through rose colored glasses and will defend him at any point.
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Old 04-04-2008, 11:48 AM   #11
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Re: WP: The Numbers Don't Lie (How Snyder Has Handled the Cap)

I think J-La is short sighted a lot when it comes to the Skins. I believe he has reason to question what they are doing because of the evidence of our success but he relies way too much on "league sources" to tell him what to think. Most of these "league sources" are probably a small set of people who may or may not have biases against the Skins or the way they do things. I can see a capologist from Philly for example being totally blown away by the way the Skins do things cap wise and then inferring that their monetary policies simply don't work based on their football success when the two things are not as correlated as some simple minded football people would like to believe. How you handle the cap money wise doesn't have a ton of effect on your football success in the long term but talent evaluation does. Bash them for that but as for cap management they are the best in the league simply because their cash on hand allows them so much flexibility and opportunity.
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Old 04-04-2008, 11:54 AM   #12
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Re: WP: The Numbers Don't Lie (How Snyder Has Handled the Cap)

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Originally Posted by Mattyk72 View Post
The media really has run with this notion that the Skins were cap strapped this year and that's why they weren't aggressive in free agency. I cringe when I hear anyone say it now.
That is what I was trying to say. I like the way that you worded it better. Simple and effective.
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Old 04-04-2008, 11:57 AM   #13
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Re: WP: The Numbers Don't Lie (How Snyder Has Handled the Cap)

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What I find annoying is the "knee jerk reaction" criticism and uninformed criticism. The sort of criticism in the JLC article is neither of these. This is a well documented, well researched and thorough examination of the Redskin organization under Snyder. The simple fact is, he has thus far been unsuccessful as an owner, and at the same time has drawn a significant amount of attention to himself with the contracts he has given to players. Of course he will be criticized, and deservedly so.

There are those who automatically criticize Snyder, and there are those who will automatically defend him; both are annoying. Personally, I would have trouble criticizing JLC for this article, because it is so well written, and I think those who do criticize it see Snyder through rose colored glasses and will defend him at any point.
I think just spewing numbers and making inferences about their meaning is not a well written article. To correlate poor football success with dead cap space or cash outlay is tenuous at best. Again, these guys need to be smart enough to understand what the numbers are telling them and what the numbers aren't telling them.

For example one (incorrect) way to interpret the cash outlay number is to say that because of our cash outlay we have won more games than we should have because our talent evaluation has been awful. Now that number doesn't really say that but it doesn't say that we have been bad either. In fact cash outlay seems completely irrelevant to me when it comes to football. Dead space probably seems to more closely correlates to football success because it theoretically effects the on field talent but if you really examine how the skins manage the cap you might realize that dead space doesn't effect them much at all because....you guessed it, cash outlay mostly offsets dead space. So the two actually in economic terms cancel each other out to a certain degree.

But simple minded football people see things through the way they think is right to do something. I tend to think with better talent evaluation our management style of the cap is FAR superior than others. BUT, huge but here, our style requires cash resources that probably 4 or 5 teams in the league can handle.

All in all we just need to keep spending the money the same way but on better talent. I think we have undoubtedly been doing that over the last 3-4 years.
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Old 04-04-2008, 12:02 PM   #14
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Re: WP: The Numbers Don't Lie (How Snyder Has Handled the Cap)

As others noted, this ignores the actions Cerrato has taken since he officially took over. I've been less than impressed with JLC's reporting lately. His blogging is excellent, though.
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Old 04-04-2008, 12:08 PM   #15
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Re: WP: The Numbers Don't Lie (How Snyder Has Handled the Cap)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coff View Post
What I find annoying is the "knee jerk reaction" criticism and uninformed criticism. The sort of criticism in the JLC article is neither of these. This is a well documented, well researched and thorough examination of the Redskin organization under Snyder. The simple fact is, he has thus far been unsuccessful as an owner, and at the same time has drawn a significant amount of attention to himself with the contracts he has given to players. Of course he will be criticized, and deservedly so.

There are those who automatically criticize Snyder, and there are those who will automatically defend him; both are annoying. Personally, I would have trouble criticizing JLC for this article, because it is so well written, and I think those who do criticize it see Snyder through rose colored glasses and will defend him at any point.

I was one of his biggest critics. What is ticking me off is that there is nothing new to report and the press keeps dwelling on the past with their well documented, well researched, and thorough examination of the Redskins organization under Snyder.

The fact of the matter is that he is changing his approach, but his finacial abilty remains. If he fails this year, then the press can put out a well documented, well researched, and thorough examination of the Redskins organization under Snyder, and tell us all how badly he sucks. As it stands right now, we made the playoffs and didn't overpay for crap this offseason. There is no need for this offseason driven, over analytical, criticizing trash right now.
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