Part Three of the SB Nation Small Market Roundtable was hosted over at Stampede Blue (our Colts blogger) on the topic of free agents and markets and how those interact. Don't forget to check out Part One (Relocation) and Part Two (Stadiums) if you're interested.
Big Blue Shoe did a respectable job covering small markets and free agents and even went out of his way to mention the Redskins by name. As you could probably guess, we did not get complemented on our free agent strategy. For the most part I agree with BBS' post though felt compelled to respond to a few points (mostly just expanding on them) given that he's called us out. Large portions of his post will be left out here so keep in mind much of my criticism lacks context, which you can get by reading his entire post.
Take the recent episode involving Willis McGahee. Willis was recently traded from the Buffalo Bills to the Baltimore Ravens. While in Buffalo, Willis actually complained that there wasn't much to do...
A familiar example of location influencing a decision more than the benjamins is our own David Macklin, who turned down more lucrative offers from the Saints, Chiefs, and Eagles to join Your Washington Redskins thanks in no small part to the fact that he's a Virginia native. I doubt it had anything to do with the size of the television market here.
Interesting factoid from above as well. Presumption here is that San Fransisco was enabled to pay Nate Clements large sums of moneys because of "local revenue". At least as of August of 2006 that certainly wasn't the case. Per Forbes, the Buffalo Bills franchise was worth more in total, generated more revenue, and had an operating income of nearly triple the San Fransisco 49ers. What enabled the latter team to take Nate Clements was a friendly cap number and the Bills' unwillingness to overpay for a guy they knew more about than anyone else. We'll see who was right after Clements plays a few years in San Fransisco.
Secondly, I think BBS is again overstating the problem. Revenue sharing is a future predicament, the presumption being total NFL revenues will increase more and more in the future, which will justify larger salaries for the players, since they will rightfully demand a larger slice of an increasing pie. The reason this might become a problem is that locally generated revenues in big markets are driving this increase in total revenue. Thus the salary cap might (eventually) outpace the budget of small market teams, like Buffalo and Indy. That is a future problem that will have to be addressed through revenue sharing, though that would also demand a good faith effort on small market teams to maximize their local revenues enough to justify a subsidy. More on that below.
I mentioned earlier about a good faith effort on the part of small markets to increase revenue outside of
charity revenue sharing programs, because it doesn't make any sense for rich, well-run teams to subsidize poorly managed ones simply in virtue of their bad television markets. Small teams should be run efficiently if they want to claim other people's dollars. One reason why the Redskins generate more revenue than the Bills or Bengals is because we've sold the naming rights of our stadium to the tune of 7M dollars per year. Lest you think that's a small sum, 7M is around the difference in annual revenue between the big market New York Giants and the small market Bills. Or the about twice the difference in annual revenue between the small market Colts and the big market 49ers.
So why should Redskins' fans have to suffer a horribly corporate stadium name just so we can subsidize Paul Brown Stadium (named after Mike Brown's father) or Ralph Wilson Stadium (named after himself)? I know both these teams are not exploiting every means of generating revenue, yet their hands are out. Ralph Wilson and Mike Brown need to tell me directly why I need to fund their poorly managed franchises? I sympathize with any team that at least goes through the motions and pretends to generate as much revenue as possible, but you have to prove that subsidizing you is worth it, namely through your own efforts to maximize income. Naming your stadium after yourself is not what I'd consider a good-faith effort at aggressively pursuing profits.
This post is already longer than I had anticipated, so let me close with something said that may draw criticism or depressed nods of acknowledgment from Redskins' fans: