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Team & Fans Need to Get Out of "Franchise Player" Mindset


SetzerFalcon
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Three rather interesting bits of news occurred overnight and I find myself compelled this morning to speak about them:

1. The Giants may have offered their first round pick for DeAngelo Hall.

2. The Falcons may be interested in trading up with Miami to acquire Matt Ryan at #1.

3. The Falcons have won the coin toss and will draft 3rd.

Since the end of the season there has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the prospect of trading DeAngelo Hall, but now we have fairly solid confirmation that DeAngelo is legitimately on the market. Those who oppose this trade believe that DeAngelo is the best player on the team (rightly in my opinion) and the Falcons can ill afford to lose him. I contend that DeAngelo is no less expendable than a player like Alge Crumpler and if we can get consummate value for him we should not hesitate to do so.

How can I possibly think this when I believe Hall is the best player on this team? It's very simple: the Falcons can no longer afford to treat ANY player as if they are not expendable. Yes, DeAngelo Hall is very good but the question that must be asked is whether he is so good that we can afford to pass up the possibility of strengthening our team through the draft versus paying DeAngelo a massive sum of money to keep him?

In hypothetical terms let's say the Falcons take the deal with the Giants. In return for eliminating Hall and his salary we acquire Glen Dorsey and Pat Sims. Suddenly this team has one of the best Defensive Lines in football. Was the trade worth it then?

Obviously this might not happen (not least of which because Hall is very likely worth more than the 31st pick) but I want to illustrate that somewhere there is a median where trading Hall makes more sense than keeping him. I honestly believe that a decent first round pick is this point. Is Hall a great player? Yes. Is Hall worth holding on to in the face of this team's massive needs? Not at all. It is at the point of "need vs. greed" that the "franchise player" concept breaks down. We've seen what happens when we put all our eggs into one basket with Michael Vick. This is the dawning of a new era however and our new staff must look beyond the concept of "franchise" players. We have massive needs on this team and DeAngelo Hall as a player cannot fill them all. As a commodity however he can help start the process of filling the holes.

In that same vein comes the news that the Falcons may be interested in trading up for Matt Ryan. In my opinion this would be a massive error. Again looking at the fallacy of the "franchise" player we see the "need vs. greed" argument rear its head again. In this case, does making a trade with Miami for #1 make sense from a need standpoint? Based on what I've seen of Ryan and what Miami & St. Louis are likely to do I find this highly unlikely. Surely Mr. Dimitroff is not falling for Parcells' slimy rhetoric that they may take Ryan with their first pick? First, if they do more power to them, but like us the Dolphins have many massive holes to fill and taking Ryan #1 makes little to no sense for Miami. The Rams, obviously less. Odds are very good that Matt Ryan will be there at #3 and even if he isn't that leads me into my third thought:

Now that the matter of our draft pick is settled it seems clear to me that the Falcons must draft a lineman with it or trade down with a team desperate for a "franchise" player (there's that word again) like Darren McFadden, such as Dallas. Again, when looking at where the Falcons' need positions are it seems tremendously illogical to me to think we would spend our pick on anyone besides Glen Dorsey, Sedrick Ellis or Jake Long. My personal preference, as a believer that filling team needs trumps finding "franchise" players, would be to make a trade with Dallas and grab their two first rounders, but reasonable fans on this forum know that these kinds of trades are not as simple as a Madden game. When they were hired Coach Smith and Mr. Dimitroff emphasized the need to bolster the lines to improve this team. If we make a ludicrous move to #1 to draft Matt Ryan it will raise serious doubts in my mind about their ability to move this team into the future. Note that this applies only if we move up to draft him. If we take him with the 3rd pick I won't particularly like the move but I won't see it as necessarily being contrary to their words when they were hired either.

Anyway, sorry for the rambling nature of this post but as I said at the start i was just compelled to gather my thoughts this morning.

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formul8or (2/22/2008)
Good points, but I can't think of one playoff team that doesn't have a franchise player that creates threat to the other team. Tampa Bay maybe, but in their division it doesn't really matter.

The thing is, it isn't about not having a franchise player as much as it is asking: what is a franchise player really worth? If we ignore the baggage that comes with DeAngelo Hall the question that must be asked is whether he brings more to the team than another first round draft pick would as well as the money we wouldn't have to pay him by moving him. My contention is that he isn't. DeAngelo is a valuable player but he is not the cornerstone to this team's success as Vick so obviously was. If we get appropriate value for him I think we can do more for this team than if we keep him, which right now is necessary. If we make the right moves we will eventually be able to get a "franchise" player that we can afford to keep but right now I don't think we're at that point.

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I both agree and disagree.

Franchise players are overrated. Team players who make others around them better are not. Hall is a franchise type of player, but whether he makes anyone else around him better is certainly up for debate. I think we need to get more for Hall than the 31st pick, perhaps an early 20's/late teen's, or an additional pick in the 3-5 round range. Just thinking out loud on this one.

As far as who we draft with the 3rd pick, my heart tells me Dorsey or Ellis would make this a formidable line. I also like the idea of Jake Long. Ryan scares me a little, but I can say with confidence that just about any QB not named Manning would scare me in the top 5 picks, it just comes with the territory. If TD feels that Ryan is the future, by all means take him, but I would almost rather take the best OL and DL prospects for our first few picks, then try for a QB in the later rounds.

By the way, in response to your apology for rambling, well thought out posts are never rambling. Your post was refreshing to read in the midst of so many silly thoughts over the recent weeks.

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Franchise players are overrated. Team players who make others around them better are not. Hall is a franchise type of player, but whether he makes anyone else around him better is certainly up for debate. I think we need to get more for Hall than the 31st pick, perhaps an early 20's/late teen's, or an additional pick in the 3-5 round range. Just thinking out loud on this one.

You make a good point here and I'm definitely not opposed to the concept of the franchise player as a means to improve your whole team as much as I'm opposed to slavish devotion to said player. I like Hall and though I've had problems with some of his behavior over the years I think he brings a lot to this team. Unfortunately, I don't think what he brings is so overwhelmingly terrific that he's irreplaceable, not in the face of the Falcons' needs. Like you I think for the equilibirum to be reached -- that is, where both teams benefit -- the Giants would have to give up more than 31. Essentially a 2nd rounder is not enough for Hall. However there are many here who seem to think that nothing is worth what Hall is worth to the team and on that point I very much disagree.

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Setzertopia (2/22/2008)

You make a good point here and I'm definitely not opposed to the concept of the franchise player as a means to improve your whole team as much as I'm opposed to slavish devotion to said player. I like Hall and though I've had problems with some of his behavior over the years I think he brings a lot to this team. Unfortunately, I don't think what he brings is so overwhelmingly terrific that he's irreplaceable, not in the face of the Falcons' needs. Like you I think for the equilibirum to be reached -- that is, where both teams benefit -- the Giants would have to give up more than 31. Essentially a 2nd rounder is not enough for Hall. However there are many here who seem to think that nothing is worth what Hall is worth to the team and on that point I very much disagree.

Agreed, when you are rebuilding, it makes sense to not use the same bricks that fell apart the last time.

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I am not a great judge of QB talent. However, I thought that Chris Redman did a very good job with a make shift OL and with little time to build chemistry with his receivers. Not bad for a man that has had to knock a lot of rust off. Matt Ryan might be the next Peyton Manning, but I don't see it. Is Ryan truly an upgrade from Redman? In my opinion, the offense would be better off with Jake Long than with Matt Ryan.

All of your points are on target. I would not trade Hall for the #31 pick, but I would certainly trade him for the two Dallas picks. My thinking is that the defense would be better off with Pat Sims and Kenny Phillips than with Hall alone. Of course, we would see a drop in CB quality, but, in the Cover-2, that is not a major impact.

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