Sunday, April 29, 2007

Thinking About Brady Quinn

Beyond his cheap gangster suit, and Abercrombie & Fitch wannabe “haircut”. Or the fact that he can’t pick a shirt that doesn’t feature a collar straight out of 1975, (let alone one that fits), or select a decent tie or tie it properly,.

At some point, I began to feel sorry for Quinn, a guy who was proclaiming himself the best player in the draft, as he slid, slid, slid, and squirmed under the spotlight of diminished expectations.

But I mastered the unmanly weakness. Show up in public in that suit, that shirt, and that tie, combined with that “haircut”, and one can only conclude that he was born to suffer. Hey Brady baby – who the gods choose to humble, they first let them run their pothole to the national media. And then they dress them poorly on national TV.

Apparently, no one had the sense to take Brady aside and say something like, “Look, Brady, if people look at you and snicker, it’s a clue that you’ve picked out the wrong duds. Let’s put this “suit” back until the next masquerade ball, ok?”

Can’t believe I’ve wasted this many pixels on this topic. However, as Jeeves would say, “there is no time at which ties do not matter”. And ties never matter more than on national / international TV.

Leaving aside Brady’s trailer trash tackiness aside, let’s get to the real question: Can he play football?

If the answer turns out to be yes, then he can wear gold lame capes, and high heels holding live goldfish, and no one will care.

And now to the point:

Economists hold to a theory known as the time value of money. Boiled down to essentials, this theory holds that a dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow, due to the advantages of having a dollar now (buy a candy bar and a coke) vs. a dollar in the future (it may not show up, I may be dead, or prices may go up).

This holds for draft picks as well.

The Browns are exhibiting an short time preference (get the quarterback we need now, win now), and the Cowboys a longer time preference (get a premium pick next year).

Now, in most economic scenarios, the expected return for deferring consumption (taking the dollar in the future) has a fairly tight set of parameters – a “natural” interest rate in the 2-4% real rate of return range (invest a dollar today, get $1.02 – $1.04 in equivalent purchasing power in a year when the investment matures).

For the Browns, however, the expected payback is extremely variable, depending on how a) the team performs; b) how well Quinn plays; c) the career Quinn has; and d) who is available in the 2008 draft at the Browns’ slot traded to the Cowboys; and e) the weighted expectation of the contribution of all the players available at that point. F) would be other stuff I haven’t thought of, because a) I’m not a football guy, and b) I just started thinking about the draft and time preferences today, and c) My brain is rusty. .

Thank goodness that these are all known factors.

Let’s take a second to define terms:

A good rookie year for Quinn: He performs at ‘reasonable’ rookie expecations. Not as good as Roethlisberger, but well enough that you think he can play.

A good career for Quinn: comparable to Chad Pennington, Boomer Esiason, Bernie Kosar. Cusp of Hall of Fame. A great career looks like Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, or Tom Brady. HOF, Multiple Super Bowl winner.

Mediocre career: Tim Couch. Bad Career: Ryan Leaf.

For the Browns: A good season, given the currently constituted team, and the division, would be 6-10. They are thin everywhere, there will be pressure to start Quinn and Thomas before they are ready, the balance of the offensive line is replacement level, and the defensive line is 200 y ears old. And there’s no depth. They could do better, say, 9-7, if there are no major injuries.

So the best case draft pick for the Cowboys (and the price of Quinn) ranges from 12 – 18 or so. Likely case, somewhere in the 5-10 range.

However, the Browns being the Browns, Quinn’s most likely comparable is Tim Couch. And they will be hit with injuries, and finish 3-13 to 6-10.

So, assuming that the Browns and Quinn play to reasonable expectation levels, is giving up a top 10 (potentially top 5) pick in 2008 too much?

Unlike the normal draft crap shoot, Brady will always be compared, not tot the #20 – 25 picks of this year, but to the top 10 of next year.