I've skimmed through a few teams that were doing well. Today was Cincinnati, I forget the team I skimmed earlier in the season that showed the same thing. There seem to be a variety of issues. I think some of it is trying to game the system, some of it may be guys willing to sign cheaper contracts too early in the season even when there is competition. Some examples:
- Gaming the system: LG Frank Resler (http://mfn2.myfootballnow.com/player/3235), 78/87, $1.2mil cap hit. Drafted, released in late FA, 3 teams try to sign (including his drafting team), he goes cheap and moved to LT. Philly trying to game the system to get him cheap, but 2 others jump on also trying to get him cheap. He ends up with a much smaller contract than he should. At least he took less to avoid Philly that had released him...
2015 2015 Late Free Agency 2 Signed contract with Cincinnati ($3,666,266, 3 yrs)
2015 2015 Late Free Agency 2 Rejected contract offer from Philadelphia ($4,113,226, 3 yrs)
2015 2015 Late Free Agency 2 Rejected contract offer from Buffalo ($4,300,041, 5 yrs)
2015 2015 Late Free Agency 1 Released by Philadelphia
2015 2015 Draft Number changed from 60 to 58
2015 2015 Draft Signed contract with Philadelphia ($32,806,323, 4 yrs)
2015 2015 Draft Drafted by Philadelphia, round 1 selection 26
- Player evaluation off. RB David Hill (http://mfn2.myfootballnow.com/player/284), 92/94, $2.75 mil cap hit. Wait one stage and he accepts a smaller contract than just rejected. Maybe backloading involved, but he still valued himself at less than $3 mil/year for HOF ratings.
2014 2014 Pre-Season Midweek 2 Signed contract with Cincinnati ($14,608,016, 5 yrs)
2014 2014 Pre-Season Midweek 1 Rejected contract offer from Cincinnati ($16,155,806, 5 yrs)
2013 2013 Game 5 Injury (Leg)
2013 2013 Draft Signed contract with Cincinnati ($8,742,900, 2 yrs)
2013 2013 Draft Drafted by Cincinnati, round 6 selection 20
WR Edward Guess (http://mfn2.myfootballnow.com/player/432) is the same: 85/95, resigned for a relatively small contract:
2014 2014 Pre-Season Midweek 3 Signed contract with Cincinnati ($11,823,338, 5 yrs)
2013 2013 Game 12 Injury (Neck)
2013 2013 Pre-Season Game 1 Injury (Foot)
2013 2013 Draft Signed contract with Cincinnati ($6,803,174, 2 yrs)
2013 2013 Draft Drafted by Cincinnati, round 8 selection 20
This actually seems pretty common for Cincy, several more players fit the same bill.
- Everybody being cheap: Maybe this is an example of the market at work, but RT Joel Parikh (http://mfn2.myfootballnow.com/player/2392), 80/84, $1.5mil cap hit. Signs in FA 3 with lots of teams competing, so it seems early. But none of them are trying very hard.
2015 2015 Free Agency 3 Number changed from 76 to 55
2015 2015 Free Agency 3 Signed contract with Cincinnati ($6,389,926, 4 yrs) (from DEN)
2015 2015 Free Agency 3 Rejected contract offer from Carolina ($8,534,977, 5 yrs)
2015 2015 Free Agency 3 Rejected contract offer from Detroit ($6,864,348, 4 yrs)
2015 2015 Free Agency 3 Rejected contract offer from Dallas ($6,863,643, 4 yrs)
2015 2015 Free Agency 3 Rejected contract offer from Kansas City ($6,863,230, 4 yrs)
Changes I might suggest:
- Players should have a better idea of their value when on a team, and not be so willing to be so cheap to resign with their talent. I do know one possibility here is that you could be looking at similar players and their average salaries for the player to decide what to take, and everything listed above is skewing the numbers, but it's clear players are willing to reneg cheap for their skills, when reneg should be more expensive for the player to be willing to not hit FA.
- If a player is going to accept a below-market deal because that is all that is being offered, they should require a shorter deal. In my last example, Joel Parikh should have turned them all down. He might take 1 year / $1.5 mil if that's all anyone is going to offer, but not 4 years / $6 mil. I would argue that these should be rejected out of hand and never even make it into the transaction log (ideally the GM would be laughed at when he tried to enter it, but that puts a lot of logic into the client you may not want).
- I'll have to think on the "draft player, cut immediately at the start of late FA when many teams have no cap, try to resign cheap before anyone notices" shenanigans. This one makes me unhappy. At the least that player should refuse to sign with the team (and maybe does, he clearly wanted more from them), and that should be communicated so someone who does this knows they have no chance to get them back, so maybe they should keep them. And maybe this one case got burned by the contract issue we caught and fixed quickly (in which case I retract all shenanigans claims). But at the very least the player should have waited at least one more sim, especially with multiple offers on the table, and not just jumped at the first opportunity.
- Maybe another thing that would help is a news page with "top players released this past sim"? It's easy to stealth-release and stealth-sign, because teams without injuries aren't browsing FA or transaction logs all the time. But if you advertise that a 60+ player just hit the streets, you'd get more interest in him, and up his price.