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Money(foot)ball?

I don't think there is nearly the deliberate system like "moneyball" that exists within the 49er structure. That being said, especially over the last two years of free agency, (one of which is only a few days old), there have only been a handful of players worth (if anyone is) the insane money the top tier FAs get. Some other players have gotten huge paydays because it is sometimes necessary to ensure you land someone, but that doesn't mean they are worth it.

Our FO does seem to have an philosophy that keeping your own talent, which you can evaluate far better than you can evaluate other FAs and/or draft picks is a better investment and that the drop off between most big name FAs and the next level isn't nearly as big as their price tag if you get the right guy to fit your system. And/or that if it is, at least it doesn't hurt you as much if you make a mistake. The upside is a limited improvement, the downside is a limited loss, but the expense and potential long term limitation can be crippling if you overpay for someone who doesn't pan out at all.

Case in point someone like Braylon Edwards. Didn't really help, but didn't really hurt. However, committing a long term contract to someone like Albert Haynesworth (worst case scenario) can really hurt your franchise and FAs rarely live up to those huge contracts even under the best case scenarios. Those that do, are usually the ones who are retained by their teams, "franchise players", so to speak. Ones who switch teams rarely (not never) live up to the huge payday.

I think our FO is well aware of that and would much rather bring in 4-5 guys with potential at reasonable numbers and improve the team in multiple areas rather than break the bank on one player who if he doesn't pan out hurts the team across the board because of the money committed over the long haul.
It's not like moneyball but I get your point. This front office is extremely disciplined, they use the majority of their cap space to keep players on their team they target. They want to do most of their damage in the draft which is the correct approach. Something that we're also learning is that they will make an initial offer to an upcoming free agent and if the player thinks he's worth more, they let them go out and test the market to get more. Though they aren't budging from their offer and have alternatives in place. Matt Maiocco made some similar remarks in Tuesdays interview on 957The Game
We are running things like the old Niner FO used to do. We sign our own young up-and-coming players (for VERY reasonable contracts), sprinkle in some veterans who have something to prove or are willing to sign for cheaper for a chance to win the SuperBowl, target our key needs in FA and the draft, continue to draft great players and develop them and it won't be long before veterans start restructuring contracts so that we can sign that missing piece. We are close to being the team everyone wants to pay for...to sign at the chance of truly winning a championship. We are also a bit cut-throat like Bill Walsh too in that we'll get rid of players just before their skill sets collapse and who are high paid but aren't expected to produce (Clements, Lawson, Spikes, Franklin, etc.). The "culture" is coming back.

The only thing missing is the "1st class" perspective from the Eddie days...the "family-feel" and that when you become a Niner, it's 1st class all the way and it's all about family; you WILL be taken care of and no cost is too much. Eddie will be in the room cheering your wife on while she delivers her first child. LOL.
Originally posted by susweel:
York's + Paraage = frugal

I don't know that I would agree that Michael Lewis and Franklin were vets who had anything to prove and were signed to cheap short term contracts to see how they did. Franklin filled a huge need when Nolan came in and switched us to a 3-4 defense. Lewis, well, we needed a good safety at the time. Rogers and Moss, sure, I'll agree with you there though.

As for the Moneyball comparison...I don't know. I don't think we're being cheap or even frugal. I think that we just don't want to overpay. I mean, look at the Redskins year after year. The Raiders the last decade. Even the Cowboys, Jets and Eagles. Do any of them have a Lombardi trophy to show for all that spending? No, just a bunch of mercenaries in jerseys.
I think that moving into a new stadium accelerates the need for a good team. Seating and luxury boxes are sold out and getting a SB brings in millions. The 49ers are not paying or keeping older players. They've done a good job of targeting players and locking them to long term deals before they've reached their peak. The fact that they are getting so much value out of the draft saves millions. Teams that trade away draft choices wind up overpaying in the long run.
Speaking of money... Did we get docked some cap space like the Skins and Boys? I heard it was us and the Broncos added to the list!
I like the thinking here but more to positions being overvalued, the Niners have not spent much on WR or OL in FA like almost every other team and with the new draft slot value system. I see us using 1-3 round picks on WR and OL extensively, and if current players don't want to resign with a contract similar to Staleys, they will be let go.
Originally posted by 12b6demurrer:
I think there's a difference between Moneyball (a.k.a. the dominant usage of sabre-metrics to find good players) and what the 49ers are doing. For one, with the exception of a few positions, sabre-metrics can't be readily applied to football. Analytics work great in baseball because every action is so isolated - pitcher versus batter. You can break down match ups. The goal is always the same and for the most part every team uses the same "game plan," but different pieces.

Football is entirely different. Everything is too interrelated to get a valuable statistical view on the quality of a player. Kicking and punting are two positions where you can literally not watch any film and probably find good players. Other than those two positions, you have to do a heavy film analysis and still rely on traditional forms of scouting. There's always a reason behind statistics that can't be simplified down to, "He's a bad player" or "He's a good player."

The 49ers are simply using common sense. We need a player to do X task. We have a choice between a player who knows how to do X task but wants $$$, OR we can get this player who knows how to do X task for $$. You have to do a lot of due diligence to come to these conclusions, naturally, which is where I think the 49ers strive.

Exactly this. Moneyball has nothing to do with football or the 49ers.

Perhaps the only comparison that can be made, is that generally, the 49ers conduct their team differently than the rest of the league.
Originally posted by IdentityCrisis:
Originally posted by 12b6demurrer:

Exactly this. Moneyball has nothing to do with football or the 49ers.

Perhaps the only comparison that can be made, is that generally, the 49ers conduct their team differently than the rest of the league.

I'd agree. If we're unique it seems to be in the fact that we were quick (having our hands burned repeatedly) to chop to the notion that the free agent market isn't especially a good value. That notion has recently become very faddish, but I think you can make an argument that we were one of the first clubs to reach that conclusion and put it into operation.
The "formula" theory is pure bologna. Jed's formula for success is simple; surround yourself with people who are excellent at what they do, let them do their damn jobs, then just kick back and enjoy your team's success. Patriots, Steelers, Ravens, Packers, Colts, Giants, and the Saints just to name a few have been doing the same thing. When you try to do too much on your own, (e.g. Al Davis) that is when you are doomed for mediocrity.
Originally posted by iLLEST209ER:
The "formula" theory is pure bologna. Jed's formula for success is simple; surround yourself with people who are excellent at what they do, let them do their damn jobs, then just kick back and enjoy your team's success. Patriots, Steelers, Ravens, Packers, Colts, Giants, and the Saints just to name a few have been doing the same thing. When you try to do too much on your own, (e.g. Al Davis) that is when you are doomed for mediocrity.

I 110% agree with you!

Many owners love the game of football and because of this fact step beyond their role as owner and become too involved. Al Davis like you said and Jerry Jones are prime examples. I've said it before and will say it again, Jed York deserves more credit. He's made some great hires and promotions. He was frugal with promoting Balkee while willing to spend on Harbaugh. Smart enought give Balkee and extension while hiring Gideon Yu from YouTube. I don't think most realize the long term turn around will be primarily because of Jed York.
[ Edited by mustangmele on Mar 21, 2012 at 9:11 PM ]
I think that a value-based strategy is a necessity in the Salary Cap era.

If you blow the bank on a big contract, it constrains what you can do with the rest of the team.
Originally posted by iLLEST209ER:
The "formula" theory is pure bologna. Jed's formula for success is simple; surround yourself with people who are excellent at what they do, let them do their damn jobs, then just kick back and enjoy your team's success. Patriots, Steelers, Ravens, Packers, Colts, Giants, and the Saints just to name a few have been doing the same thing. When you try to do too much on your own, (e.g. Al Davis) that is when you are doomed for mediocrity.



This +1!!!!!
Originally posted by susweel:
York's + Paraage = frugal

How can you say this when we are near the top of the cap. Frugal is always being way under the cap and being at the minimum you have to spend and hardly going over that minimum.

Just cause we don't throw dollars and waste money like they did for Sanchez or other talent means they are not crazy and stupid.

As for the Patriots, we keep out own but have let players go also if they are not worth it. The patriots didn't think the players they let go were not worth what they were asking for or wanted. Thats just common sense. We may not exactly be like the pats, but we are not exactly like money ball either. We didn't our team and go after only bargin bin with huge upside.