2022 Salary Cap Outlook, v2 (PostPace)

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Moriarty
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I know most people are wrapped up in the HC/GM search, but I'm more interested in the roster and overall direction.

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=15543&hilit=2022+cap
The earlier version of the conversation

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So, an updated look at the roster.
In this version, I've gone the simple/lazy route and not built in any trades or cuts (except Trevathan, because it's so obvious), just let all the free agents who aren't cheaper than ~2.5M to resign walk (Daniels, ARob, Ifedi, Peters, Dalton, Hicks, Nichols). Resigned some cheap/low demand free agents.
(I'll add or talk about a more aggressive version shortly, but this is a useful starting point for deciding approach)

And what does that leave us?

To be perfectly blunt - a total shit sandwich of a roster.
7 huge holes (at minimum, see below) and still only 8.5M in cap space to work with.



Now given that and some other key parameters - Fields going into year 2, new GM, HC, OC, DC, and systems - what is the sensible approach?


a) Spend really well and fix those 7 problems with your 8.5M
:rofl:
b) Start a brand new regime off by going all in and spending future money (restructuring, backloading, and such)
:o
c) Fuck it and start building with an eye on 2023 or, more likely, 2024
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Code: Select all

PLAYER	POS.	AGE	EXPIRES	 2022 CAP FIGURE 		
R2	        CB			 1,800,000 	 7,361,878 	solid
Jaylon Johnson	CB	23	2024	 1,764,210 		
Artie Burns	CB	26	2023	 2,000,000 		
Kindle Vildor	CB	25	2024	 972,668 		
Thomas Graham  CB	23		 825,000 		
Eddie Goldman	DL	28	2024	 11,810,000 	 21,730,028 	1 mediocre starter
Mario Edwards	DL	28	2024	 4,224,116 		                2 huge holes
Angelo Blackson	DL	30	2023	 3,000,000 		
whatever vet	DL			 1,000,000 		
R5	         DL			 850,000 		
Khyiris Tonga	DL	26	2025	 845,912 		
Roquan Smith	ILB	25	2023	 9,735,000 	 13,312,333 	1 very good starter
Ogletree	ILB			 1,000,000 		                          1 huge hole
R5	        ILB			 900,000 		
R6	        ILB			 850,000 		
Caleb Johnson	ILB	24	2024	 827,333 		
Cody Whitehair	OL	30	2025	 12,300,000 	 21,244,599 	1 starter
Teven Jenkins	OL	24	2025	 1,906,329 		    3 young hopes
R3	          OL			 1,200,000 		           1 huge hole
whatever vet	OL			 1,000,000 		
whatever vet	OL			 1,000,000 		
whatever vet	OL			 1,000,000 		
Sam Mustipher	OL			 965,000 		
Alex Bars	OL			 965,000 		
Larry Borom	OL	23	2025	 908,270 		
Khalil Mack	OLB	31	2025	 30,150,000 	 51,363,918 	strong
Robert Quinn	OLB	32	2025	 17,137,500 		
J Attaochu	OLB	29	2023	 3,100,000 		
Trevis Gipson	OLB	25	2024	 976,418 		
Nick Foles	QB	33	2023	 10,666,667 	 14,955,748 	ok
Justin Fields	QB	23	2026	 4,289,081 		
Tarik Cohen	RB	27	2024	 5,750,000 	 8,209,222 	solid
D Montgomery	RB	25	2023	 1,226,545 		
Khalil Herbert	RB	24	2025	 857,677 		
Damien Williams	RB	30	2022	 375,000 		
Eddie Jackson	S	30	2025	 15,090,000 	 20,090,000 	1 mediocre starter
DHC	              S			 2,000,000 		1 huge hole
Teez Tabor	S			 1,000,000 		
Bush	              S			 1,000,000 		
whatever vet	S			 1,000,000 		
Cairo Santos	ST-K	31	2024	 3,175,000 	 6,175,000 	strong
Pat Scales     	ST-LS			 1,000,000 		
O'Donnell	ST-P			 2,000,000 		
Jesse James	TE	28	 	 2,500,000 	 6,531,667 	ok
Cole Kmet	TE	23	2024	 2,066,667 		
Jesper Horsted	TE			 965,000 		
Nall/Holtz	TE/FB			 1,000,000 		
Coulter	        WR			 1,000,000 	 5,965,513 	1 starter
Goodwin/Byrd	WR			 1,000,000 		2 huge holes
Jakeem Grant	WR			 1,000,000 		
whatever vet	WR			 1,000,000 		
whatever vet	WR			 1,000,000 		
Darnell Mooney	WR	25	2024	 965,513 		
						
				 176,939,906 	roster	
				 24,533,424 	dead	
				 201,473,330 	total	
						
				 210,000,000 	cap	
				 8,526,670 	room	
Deadpool						
PLAYER	POS.	AGE	 	 2022 CAP 		
Danny Trevathan	ILB	32	2023	 8,925,000 		
Andy Dalton	QB	35		 5,000,000 		
Jimmy Graham	TE	36		 4,660,000 		
Charles Leno	LT	31		 2,788,000 		
Germain Ifedi	OL	28	2022	 1,500,000 		
Tashaun Gipson	S	32	 	 750,000 		
Jesse James	TE	28	2022	 487,500 		
Riley Ridley	WR	26		 170,649 		
Thomas Graham	CB	23		 98,031 		
Dazz Newsome	WR	23		 65,354 		
A Hambright	T	26		 49,554 		
Charles Snowden	DE	24		 10,000 		
Thomas Schaffer	DT	 		 6,667 		
S Harrington	TE	25		 6,667 		
Sam Kamara	DT	25		 4,667 		
Dareuan Parker	G	24		 3,334 		
D Archibong	DT	 		 3,334 		
Khalil McClain	WR	23		 2,000 		
C.J. Marable	RB	25		 2,000 		
Dionte Ruffin	CB	 		 667 		



Last edited by Moriarty on Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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I think you've gotta be in full rebuild mode at this point. Trade whatever older players you can and gain as many draft assets as possible. Build a strong offensive and defensive line. Get some offensive-minded people in to develop JF and maybe sign a top-tier FA WR to help him out. But really, the team just needs to start drafting and developing their own talent as much as possible. It could turn around quickly, especially if JF can ascend, but I'm thinking it's going to be a couple of years before the Bears are playing for anything meaningful.
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These are crucial questions for the GM interview in my opinion.
I’d want a GM who can correct the problems we have at the moment follows by a clear succession plan going forward for the organisation.
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Why is cutting Trevathan obvious? He costs $5.9 if you play him or $8.9 million if you cut him. He was playing better until he got hurt again and you are creating a hole and less cap room by cutting him. This is not going to be popular; but trading Mack, Quinn, or Roquan makes more sense than cutting DT as you will actually gain cap space and be able to get a very high draft pick or two in return.
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Z Bear wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:01 am Why is cutting Trevathan obvious? He costs $5.9 if you play him or $8.9 million if you cut him. He was playing better until he got hurt again and you are creating a hole and less cap room by cutting him. This is not going to be popular; but trading Mack, Quinn, or Roquan makes more sense than cutting DT as you will actually gain cap space and be able to get a very high draft pick or two in return.
I know this is a rehash from the other thread, but it's more accurate to say IMO.

You can take an additional 3.5M cap hit to delay Trevathan's 6.5M dead cap by one year, or save the 3.5M and take the hit now.

If you owed me $650 and I told you I'd take $350 today, but next year you still owe me the $650, most wouldnt take the deal. It's a really tough argument to make that the little bit of extra money today is worth that outlay, even if that 3.5M outlay is also relatively small in the grand scheme of things. (this analogy isnt perfect from a cash outlay, but is roughly illustrative).

Basically theres not a shortage of ways to accommodate a 6.5M cap acceleration. Gotta separate opportunity and sunk costs.
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Z Bear wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:01 am Why is cutting Trevathan obvious? He costs $5.9 if you play him or $8.9 million if you cut him. He was playing better until he got hurt again and you are creating a hole and less cap room by cutting him. This is not going to be popular; but trading Mack, Quinn, or Roquan makes more sense than cutting DT as you will actually gain cap space and be able to get a very high draft pick or two in return.
I can see value in trading Mack and Quinn if you get a decent return. The fact that Quinn may never have as much value ever again makes him even more appealing. Since '23 or '24 are likely the goals to when we will be competing, those guys seem like better trades as they would likely bring little or no value at that point.

Smith is still young enough he can be a part of that and he has shown he is a leader on the defense (although I don't think he was ever given his one week to do do :flick: ). He's a guy I can see building around. Now I get the NFL has changes and he is not a premium position. I'm not saying he is not touchable, but he is a much harder sell for me.
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Z Bear wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:01 am Why is cutting Trevathan obvious? He costs $5.9 if you play him or $8.9 million if you cut him. He was playing better until he got hurt again and you are creating a hole and less cap room by cutting him.
I didn't really see that. PFF has him at the same 45 rating, last year and this.

If I understand it right (his contract is a mess), you can either pay:
22: 5.9M + 23: 6.4M for him to play in 2022
or
22: 8.9M for him to go away now
2022 is going absolutely nowhere for this team. Better to eat 3.4M less overall and eat the costs in the least competitive year you can.
Z Bear wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:01 am This is not going to be popular; but trading Mack, Quinn, or Roquan makes more sense than cutting DT as you will actually gain cap space and be able to get a very high draft pick or two in return.
I absolutely agree that some anti-sentimental moves should be made - that's what I'm alluding to by the "aggressive version" of the roster.
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Totally agree and I want Roquan a Bear for a long time, but you for sure could get a first round draft pick for him and he is an instant $9.7M savings with no dead money. In today's NFL paying $60M of your cap to LBs (Mack, Quinn, Roquan) reall doesn not make sense. My order or preferemce would be Quinn > Mack > Roquan, but moving Roquan is the best for the cap of the three and would net you probably the most in a trade due to his youth.


EDIT: Just want to say I would not be upset at all about cutting DT, but is it just not an obivous move with the cap situation.
Last edited by Z Bear on Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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If the new GM comes in and says "hey George, my first order of business is trading away the one young superstar you have on your team...well because cap stuff...and trade him for a pick that I'll use later, assuming I'm still employed here. How's that sound?"

People would lose their shit.

This obsession over the cap is weird.
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Some of this depends on any changes in scheme. The new GM isnt stepping into a cap friendly situation like Pace did originally. I wonder how much that is looked at with candidates.
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wab wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:52 am This obsession over the cap is weird.
I dont think it is. I'm not overly interested in it either. One could say the same thing about the draft. Obsessions over players who likely wont be selected and have at best a 50% failure rate can be taken as dumb.
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Your cap room is the best way to judge the talent you can acquire. The Bears really need to bring in talent on offense, especially at WR which is an expensive position. The Bears are not in a bad situation this year but there needs to be an adjustment from the money spent on defense to offense so the O can get more talented.
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mmmc_35 wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:54 am
wab wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:52 am This obsession over the cap is weird.
I dont think it is. I'm not overly interested in it either. One could say the same thing about the draft. Obsessions over players who likely wont be selected and have at best a 50% failure rate can be taken as dumb.
I mean weird in the context of it doesn't "really" matter. The Bears will find money if they need to find money.

Hand-wringing over the cap is probably a better way to put it. I don't understand the thought process behind "we gotta have 90 million in cap space!"
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wab wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:52 am If the new GM comes in and says "hey George, my first order of business is trading away the one young superstar you have on your team...well because cap stuff...and trade him for a pick that I'll use later, assuming I'm still employed here.
???

You've completely lost me on this.
Are you imagining Roquan being traded for a pick in 2026 or later?
wab wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:56 am I mean weird in the context of it doesn't "really" matter. The Bears will find money if they need to find money.
That doesn't make any sense.

Pace was fighting for his job in 2021. He couldn't find the money for a better CB than Desmond Trufant (1M). He couldn't find the money to keep Leno, in case Jenkins was broken. He couldn't find the money for a 2nd ILB. Etc.

If teams could find money whenever they wanted it, player salaries would skyrocket without end, because difference makers are in very limited supply. Bidding would go up like crazy, because you can always find the money you need.

It's just not true. The cap is limiting. Resource is finite.
There is some squishiness with regard to pushing costs forward, but that still doesn't allow you to do anything and get everyone.

If there's a handful of players on your team you're committed to keeping, then yes, you can always find a way to keep those couple of players. But the cost of doing so is real and it hurts your team if you pay more than their worth, just to keep them, and sometimes you're better off not paying whatever it takes to keep them. See Khalil Mack, for example, as a player who's now more burden than benefit, because they found a way to pay him.
Last edited by Moriarty on Thu Jan 13, 2022 12:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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It’s good to have these problems as it will take an exceptional GM to figure them out and any shysters will be instantly exposed at interview.
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Will the Bears play the NE style and get rid of guys before they demand huge extensions? Roquan has another year before a decision has to be made; he’d bring a high draft pick. I don’t think Mack would bring a first anymore, don’t know about Quinn’s value after his great year. Try to re-sign Daniels but let him go if he gets a big offer from elsewhere. Lots of holes and few picks so trades would be the only way to rebuild.
The solution to the mess that is the Bears organization would be to sell the team. If, however, it was placed in a receivership, well, being the Bears, we know it would be dropped
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Paying big money for an ILB is a tough proposition, but if they wait a couple years and didn't extend him they'll probably have like a 80M+ hole they NEED to spend and very likely no one as good as Roquan to spend it on.

Perfect can't get in the way of good. The idea isn't the be the most cap efficient team, it's to be the team with the best talent. Cap efficiency can help make that possible, but only to a point. This isn't a team projected to be busting out the seems with extensions anytime soon. Let's lock up Roquan and make sure the next DC maximizes his value.
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wab wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:56 am
mmmc_35 wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:54 am

I dont think it is. I'm not overly interested in it either. One could say the same thing about the draft. Obsessions over players who likely wont be selected and have at best a 50% failure rate can be taken as dumb.
I mean weird in the context of it doesn't "really" matter. The Bears will find money if they need to find money.

Hand-wringing over the cap is probably a better way to put it. I don't understand the thought process behind "we gotta have 90 million in cap space!"
Yep the only real benefactors to those big cap space years is the owners pocket books. There is a point of diminishing returns on either spectrum and the Bears aren't in either spectrum.
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The Cooler King wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 1:21 pm
wab wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:56 am
I mean weird in the context of it doesn't "really" matter. The Bears will find money if they need to find money.

Hand-wringing over the cap is probably a better way to put it. I don't understand the thought process behind "we gotta have 90 million in cap space!"
Yep the only real benefactors to those big cap space years is the owners pocket books. There is a point of diminishing returns on either spectrum and the Bears aren't in either spectrum.
In responding to both of you, I guess I dont see it that way. I think I understand your logic.

I think i would analogize your views as, "If you need food you will find a way wether it skip a bill or eat cheap ramen."

The other side of the coin is, "let's not get cable, so we can order lobster ".

If this was a successful team with a lot of talent I would understand in having to eat ramen weekly, but this team is not successful. Having cap difficulties and a losing team isnt ideal. Luckily nfl contracts generally work in 2 year windows allowing teams to offload fiscal burdens.
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I mean the two year window is a component as well as the 90% cash requirement (over 4 year periods) . The teams with consistent big cap space tend to just be owners meeting the 90% cash requirement and pocketing the rest.

Go be the team spending 110% of the cap (I don't know what an actual number would be) and using deferrals to get there. It's a competitive advantage to be the cap taker and not the cap giver (the cap will get realloacted league wide to make sure the NFLPA revenue share is met).

As far as the Bears specifically, team situation of course has some bearing, but I think the diminishing returns are real. Take a long term outlook and then try and normalize your spending as much as possible, IMO. I had run a calc and posted in another thread but the Bears very conservatively figure to have about 50% of their cap spending capability over the next 3 year window. I'd suggest normalizing that cash spend across the 3 years (and basically continually reevaluate each year, keeping that long term view) . No real benefit in starving today and so you can binge tomorrow.

I guess if you really feel they're in a tank position you could argue to wait for the binge, but with potential franchise QB already in hand I 100% believe they can't have that attitude. The moment is continued incrimemtal improvement.
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Being on year 2 of a 1st round QB matters too. A team like the Cardinals for example (who have pretty broadly a similar cap situation as Bears) know they have a QB contract looming. Little specifics like that matter. Even using the long term 3 year outlook I'm using Fields contract falls out of view. Closer I get to that date and the more I know about Fields development the more I can revise my outlook and adjust my agressiveness or plan to keep my powder clear.
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I get that. The cap savings on a rookie QB deal is real. Hopefully he is the right guy.
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I think you can only reasonably shore up one side of the ball and it makes the most sense to build a good offense for Fields to grow in. They need to get younger on defense anyway so let's start now and backfill the defense with draft picks (I see you've mostly done this Moriarty). I additionally would waive Eddie Goldman and probably Tarik Cohen unless the new OC really wants to throw to RBs every play. I spend on WR and OL. If I can trade Mack or Quinn and turn that quality into quantity on D I do that and I hope the young defenders contribute early.
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The Cooler King wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 1:19 pm The idea isn't the be the most cap efficient team, it's to be the team with the best talent. Cap efficiency can help make that possible, but only to a point.
Disagree

While the first part is technically true, you're almost never becoming the team with the best talent without excelling at efficiency. And efficiency is what you need to drive most of your decisions off of.

Sure, if one team spends 210M and another spends 150M, the 150 team can be more efficient and still have less talent.
But most teams aren't spending way short of the cap. Your competition should be and is the other teams who are also spending. With that pretty trivial caveat (and a couple other minor ones), after that, it's mostly a game of who can spend the smartest.

For a highly exaggerated & simplified example:
Let's suppose your team's C retired and all you have is a cheap 2nd yr backup, who isn't starter material.
There's 2 FA choices: a slightly below average veteran starter who can be had for 2M or an average starter who is going to cost 20M.

Who do you take?
If you think in terms of "who's the most cap efficient", you'll take the 1st one
If you think in terms of "who improves my team talent more right now", you'll take the 2nd one


Which one is correct?
Everything is circumstantial, but 95+% of the time, the correct answer is going to be the first one.
The average guy makes your team better at that moment, but the extra cost makes your team worse in the bigger picture.
The choice isn't really "A or B?", it's "A + 18M on something else or B?"
(not to mention B will count against your comp picks and A won't, which is another form of resource efficiency you need to consider and 'win' at)
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I honestly don't know how to respond to a hypothetical where slightly below average to average is 10x cost driver.

So I guess I won't.
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Moriarty wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 12:12 pm
Pace was fighting for his job in 2021. He couldn't find the money for a better CB than Desmond Trufant (1M). He couldn't find the money to keep Leno, in case Jenkins was broken. He couldn't find the money for a 2nd ILB. Etc.

If teams could find money whenever they wanted it, player salaries would skyrocket without end, because difference makers are in very limited supply. Bidding would go up like crazy, because you can always find the money you need.

It's just not true. The cap is limiting. Resource is finite.
There is some squishiness with regard to pushing costs forward, but that still doesn't allow you to do anything and get everyone.

If there's a handful of players on your team you're committed to keeping, then yes, you can always find a way to keep those couple of players. But the cost of doing so is real and it hurts your team if you pay more than their worth, just to keep them, and sometimes you're better off not paying whatever it takes to keep them. See Khalil Mack, for example, as a player who's now more burden than benefit, because they found a way to pay him.
This right here. I keep reading your posts Cooler and you know I respect you and your knowledge in this area, but this truth right here just keeps surfacing and I can't get past it. I know you said that Pace could've pushed a few more contacts out to accommodate Fuller, but there is a limit to that and each time you do it you take that option away going forward and continue to build up 'bad debt'. I mean, I remember some of you guys warning us ahead of the last FA cycle not to get our hopes up because we couldn't afford any of the top players. That was real, and you were right - to now hear from some of the same voices that we shouldn't be overly concerned with cap management just doesn't make any sense to me at all. And before you point to the unexpected cap drop due to Covid, I'd point out that other teams managed to keep key players and sign high priced free agents - just not us. It matters, clearly it matters as we just saw it's impact during our last free agency cycle - we signed a bunch of low cost bottom feeders while cutting our LT and CB1 just so we could make the cap. And now, looking forward to this cycle, we appear to be in a very similar position - we have a MASSIVE need for a WR1, Adams will likely be available, but we can't afford to go after him.
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The Bears absolutely can go after Devante Adams, they are not in that bad of a cap position. You can give Adams a 5 yr $25M per contract but only have it cost $10-15M against next years cap very easily. There are only a few players that have negative cap hits if cut or traded, so there is a ton of flexibility this offseason. Plus....the new regular TV and Sunday Ticket money is hitting in the next 3 years and the cap will go WAY up.
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Z Bear wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 3:50 pm The Bears absolutely can go after Devante Adams, they are not in that bad of a cap position. You can give Adams a 5 yr $25M per contract but only have it cost $10-15M against next years cap very easily. There are only a few players that have negative cap hits if cut or traded, so there is a ton of flexibility this offseason. Plus....the new regular TV and Sunday Ticket money is hitting in the next 3 years and the cap will go WAY up.
Can we still field a full 53? Or will we have the Golden Girls out there pass blocking?
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The Cooler King wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 3:35 pm I honestly don't know how to respond to a hypothetical where slightly below average to average is 10x cost driver.

So I guess I won't.
Like I said, it's a silly exaggeration to prove a point. Most decisions aren't this clear-cut, or there'd be no arguing and no need for intelligent GMs. But it illustrates the underlying principles.

The bottom line is:
  • Player B is better than A, but not by a lot
  • Player B costs more than A, by a lot
  • Player A is a good value contract
  • Player B is a really bad value contract
Do you decide based on talent or by value?
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