Fun With NFL Payrolls and Draft “Value”

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.

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Still Picking Up The Pieces

With the sudden end to the Patriots season still stinging, things are slowly starting to return to normal, as we settle into the winter, another Patriots offseason, enjoy the Celtics and look forward to the Red Sox. The Bruins, well, will continue to be the Bruins.

Despite sour ending, Pats’ season had its moments – Robert Lee looks at some top moments from the 2010 season.

A look inside my 2010 All Pro ballot – Tom E Curran tells us who he selected as NFL All Pros.

Patriots enter offseason with variety of questions – Christopher Price has a look at where the Patriots will look to improve this offseason.

Wes Welker: I regret press conference – Karen Guregian has the Patriots receiver acknowledging his error in judgment.

Ben Roethlisberger’s a zero, not a hero – Gerry Callahan says that someone needs to stop Roethlisberger, who has had his way for far too long.

Matchup fine by any measure – Bob Ryan approves of this Super Bowl matchup. Greg A. Bedard notes that the teams are very similar.

Should David Ortiz be worried after Manny Ramirez’ $2 million deal? – Rob Bradford looks at the declining salary of the DH position.

Lester focusing on October – Peter Abraham has the lefty making sure he’s in good shape for October.

Still finding themselves short on big men – Frank Dell’Apa’s notebook has the Celtics again with a shortage up front. Dan Duggan has Shaq looking to return on the West coast trip.

Bruins late show a dud – Stephen Harris has the Bruins getting shut out in Los Angeles.

Jets Vanquished, Patriots Fans Can Now Move On

Now that the New York Jets have been silenced for the season, Patriots fans can now look forward to a quiet couple of weeks before the Super Bowl, and then the start of Red Sox spring training.

Even with the Jets eliminated, you may want to turn away from football completely for the next couple of weeks as the “Steelers Dynasty” talk heats up (Ron Borges is all over that this morning) and the Roethlisberger vs. Brady comparisons are hashed out.

I’ll get this out there. I thought I could root for the Jets yesterday, as the idea of the Steelers getting their third Super Bowl title since the Patriots last won one is sickening, but once the game started yesterday, the hatred for the Jets trumped all. I can respect the Steelers as a franchise and organization that has been consistently great for many, many years, and they have a great tradition there in Pittsburgh. That’s worthy of respect.

Nothing about the Jets is worthy of respect.

All that said, go Green Bay!

First Super Bowl was bittersweet – Mark Farinella has a very nice look back 25 years ago to the Patriots first Super Bowl trip, and his experience covering it. I do hope though, that Mark knows how pretentious this paragraph sounds:

Rubbing elbows with celebrities is no big thing for me after some 30-plus years of covering the NFL. I’ve seen the great and the near-great over that time. Remember, I stood next to Gisele Bündchen in the bowels of Qualcomm Stadium on the very day when she first met Tom Brady. I wasn’t impressed. He was, apparently.

Lining up the Patriots’ biggest needs – Mike Reiss looks at the Patriots biggest offseason needs.

Rapoport’s postseason awards – Ian Rapoport applies high school-yearbook style awards to the 2010 Patriots.

High-flying Celts fear looking down – Steve Bulpett looks at the Celtics odd issues with the weak sisters of the NBA.

The Celtics About To Perk Up – Alan Segal with a look at the imminent return of Kendrick Perkins to the Celtics. (with audio interview with Perk.) Gary Washburn also has a look at Perkins this morning.

What to watch in 2nd half – Peter May looks ahead to the major storylines of the second half of the season for the Celtics.

No alternative: Why Crawford’s deal looks even better in light of Wells trade – Alex Speier notes the extremely high price the Angels paid for Vernon Wells.

Dropping Carl Crawford to Fifth Creates Potent Red Sox Lineup, Keeps Sluggers in ‘Normal’ Slots – Tony Lee looks at why batting fifth might be the best spot for Crawford.

Just thinking: Rays not Idiots – John Tomase looks at the Rays landing Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon.

Big hit sends Savard home for tests – Stephen Harris has the Bruins center reeling after yet another big hit to the head.

Snowy Friday Media Roundup

How many snowstorms this week have we had? I’ve lost count.

After Jets-Patriots, A Vain Attempt To Avoid The Sports Media – Here is my SB Nation Boston media column, with a look at the aftermath of Patriots/Jets, and examining more garbage from Tony Massarotti.

Jackson takes hit on his credibility – Chad Finn has a look at the ridiculous comments, spin and backtracking this week from ESPN’s Tom Jackson, who picked the Patriots to win the game, then afterwards said he only picked them to fire up the Jets, and then backtracked to say that he actually did think the Patriots would win. Kirk Minihane also goes after Jackson.

Jets run may not be done – Bill Doyle’s media column has CBS’ Phil Simms and Jim Nantz weighing in on the AFC Championship game.

A pair of WEEI hosts have engaged in media-on-media crime in the last 24 hours:

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Both are worth a listen, though in the John Dennis rant, one of his primary targets is Tony Massarotti. That’s a tough one – who to side with?

Rosy memories – This was a good piece from Buddy Thomas, who catches up with former Ohio State and Bears running back Bobby Watkins, who grew up in New Bedford and still lives in Dartmouth.

Ken Powers In Trouble Again

Remember Ken Powers? Fired from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette for plagiarism in February 2005 after being sent home from the Super Bowl?

Well, it seems like he steals more than just words.

Reporter accused of $100,000 theft

UXBRIDGE — A well-known Central Massachusetts reporter is facing criminal charges that he stole $100,000 from a Sutton golf course where he worked as the pro shop manager.

Kenneth P. Powers, 49, of 36 Abbott St., No. 4B, Worcester, is scheduled to be arraigned in Uxbridge District Court Jan. 28 on one count of larceny over $250. A criminal complaint was issued Jan. 11.

Celtics Grind Out Win Over Pistons, Brady To Have Surgery

The Celtics were not at their best last night. For much of the night, their offense was stagnant. When cruch time rolled around, it was 38-year-old Shaquille O’Neal who gave them a spark, and Ray Allen hit a big shot late in the game to help the Celtics to a 86-82 win over the Detroit Pistons.

Shoot, give it to Ray Allen – Steve Bulpett says that even though Allen was 1-7 heading into that final shot, he was still the man the Celtics wanted to take the big shot. A. Sherrod Blakely has more on Allen getting the shot.

Shaquille O’Neal defies age with big play – Chris Forsberg has Shaquille O’Neal more than pulling his weight with this Celtics team. Mark Murphy says that Shaq shocked the Celtics into business mode last night.

Winning the games they shouldn’t – Paul Flannery says that the Celtics had no business winning this game, but this is what elite team do.

Surgery not in the cards – Julian Benbow’s notebook reports that Jermaine O’Neal will not have surgery, but instead another month of rest and strengthening work. The Herald notebook from Murphy has more on O’Neal’s knee.

Brady to have foot surgery today – Shira Springer and Monique Walker broke the news last night that the Patriots quarterback has been playing with a stress fracture in his foot, and will have surgery today to put a screw in.

Defense tackles many questions – Karen Guregian looks over the Patriots defense for who is worth keeping, and who should be gone.

Patriots hoping to draft up successful offseason game plan – Glen Farley has the Patriots looking to improve the team through the draft.

Rookie receiver Taylor Price’s future wide open – Ian Rapoport’s notebook has the rookie receiver looking for a bigger role next year.

Lavarnway next in receiving line – Peter Abraham has a look at minor league catching prospect Ryan Lavarnway. Christopher Smith has more on Lavarnway.

Red Sox and Ryan Kalish see virtue in patience – Alex Speier has Kalish’s AAA manager predicting that he’ll be a 10-time All Star – even though he’ll start the year at Pawtucket.

Red Sox insist minor-league talent hasn’t dried up – Sean McAdam has the Red Sox believing they’ve still got plenty of young prospects.

Ex-Portsmouth star Westmoreland continues rehabbing – Brian MacPherson has an update on the outfielder.

Curt Young set to pitch in – Michael Silverman checks in with the new Red Sox pitching coach.

Welcome to Red Sox 101 – Joe McDonald has a look at the rookie development program.

Bruins finding their third identity – Joe Haggerty has the Bruins becoming a team that can pull off third period comebacks.

It occurs to me that . . . – Bob Ryan has a thoughts column.

A Step Further Away, Perspective Is Coming On Patriots

With the loss to the Jets a day further away, some are starting to come around to the notion that this was a surprisingly good season for the New England Patriots, and that the future is looking bright for the franchise. The labor situation in the NFL stands between now and the 2011 season, but assuming things get worked out, we should expect that his team will continue to get better.

Kraft laboring forward – Greg A Bedard has the Patriots owner keeping positive about not only his own franchise, but the league’s labor situation as well.

Patriot fans, all is not lost – Mark Farinella says that there certainly is reason to look to the future with optimism.

Deion Branch uses defeat as Jet fuel for 2011 – Dan Duggan has the receiver saying that despite the loss, he’s glad to be back in New England and excited for next season.

Ten quotes that define the legacy of the 2010 Patriots – Christopher Price has 10 quotes that will define this season.

All is not lost for fans – Bob Ryan says that Boston fans can look to the other local teams for support during this tough time.

The Continuing Slow, Agonizing Death of Sports Commentary – Michael Gee wonders why credit cannot be given to the other team after a loss, it’s always the fault of the home team.

Talent, not coaching, doomed Patriots – Staying consistent, at least, Ron Borges says that it wasn’t the X’s and O’s, it was the Jimmys and Joes that lost this game.

Tim Thomas remains way ahead of the pack, follows easy shutout with hard-earned win – DJ Bean with a look at last night’s Bruins victory over the Hurricanes.

Red Sox hope for rebound from Beckett, but he doesn’t need to be the ace – Brian MacPherson looks at the prospects for a bounce back season for Josh Beckett.

Jed Lowrie not short on hope in bid to be a Red Sox starter – John Tomase has Lowrie hoping to seize the starting shortstop position.