More on Elton Brand and Brett Favre

Posted on July 20, 2008 by


More on The Brand Value from James Beale

Recently I posted “The Brand Value“, a column that details the expected impact of Elton Brand on the 76ers in 2008-09.  In this post I linked to an article by James Beale of the Philadelphia City Paper.  Beale’s article – “Better Experts Needed” – details how wrong the sports media were on the 76ers prospects in 2007-08.  Specifically, the Beale article notes that the media thought the loss of Allen Iverson meant the Sixers would be one of the league’s worst teams this past year [while some economist — that would be me — clearly thought otherwise]. 

The post on Elton Brand led Beale to once again think about The Wages of Wins approach.  Via a series of e-mails, Beale asked – and I offered some answers – some basic questions about Wins Produced.  Much of the discussion is detailed in the following posts:

David Berri on the Brand Value

More Sixer Talk: on Berri and Brand

Berri and Brand, cont.

More on Brett Favre from Stacey Brook

Stacey Brook – co-author of The Wages of Wins – has recently started Hawkonomics.  Stacey will be teaching at the University of Iowa in the fall, and this blog will be a forum where Stacey will discuss economics (and the economics of sports) with his students (and of course, everyone else). 

A few days ago I posted a comment on the c0sts and benefits of Favre coming out of retirement, from Favre’s perspective.  This led Stacey to think about the costs and benefits from the Packers perspective.  You can go to Hawkonomics to read Stacey’s thoughts , or you can just keep reading.

Recently Brett Favre has changed his mind about retirement and has decided to come back for another year in the NFL. Dave Berri – my good friend and co-author- has written a short piece on the benefits and cost to Brett Favre of returning to the NFL. I normally agree with Dave and do so with his perspective from Favre’s side. What I would like to do is think about Favre’s return from the perspective of the Green Bay Packers.
Favre has asked for him to be unconditionally released from the Green Bay Packers, which could be done by the Packers. But, Favre still has three years left on his contract and the Green Bay Packers have a player with trade value on the NFL QB market. So do the Green Bay Packers just release him and get nothing in return, or do they reinstate him to the active 80-man roster and try and trade him, or do they have a media circus with a battle for the starting QB position between Favre and Rodgers? Compounding the situation is fan interest on both sides of Favre returning to the Packers and any fan backlash of trading one of the marquee Packer players.
This is a difficult decision from management’s perspective, since reinstating Favre means the Packers will be on the hook for his salary if they cannot trade him, but by just releasing Favre, means the Packers miss a chance at making their team better – even though I am guessing they are only likely to get draft picks in trade for him.
Here’s the wildcard in the mix – how good will Favre be? It is assumed that Favre will be excellent, but as we show – using Brett Favre’s performance – in The Wages of Wins, Favre like most quarterbacks have up and down years. In fact, Favre had a great year last year, but by our QB Score per play measure was below average in 2006. With most QB’s, last year’s performance is not indicative of the next year’s performance. And if the Green Bay Packers keep Favre, and he starts and does not do well, benching him will be a monumental media nightmare for the team.
So, while the benefit-cost to Brett Favre coming back look rather good according to Dave, the benefit-cost of Brett Favre coming back to the Packers is not as good.
So, if you are the GM for the Green Bay Packers, what would you do?

I would add one more comment to Stacey’s post.  From what I understand, Aaron Rodgers is a free agent at the end of this season.  If the Packers play Favre this year, it’s possible that in 2009 the Packers will not have Favre (because he will retire) or Rodgers (because he will leave).  The Rodgers contract situation is just one more factor the Packers have to think about in responding to Favre.

– DJ

The WoW Journal Comments Policy

Our research on the NBA was summarized HERE.

The Technical Notes at provides substantially more information on the published research behind Wins Produced and Win Score

Wins Produced, Win Score, and PAWSmin are also discussed in the following posts:

Simple Models of Player Performance

Wins Produced vs. Win Score

What Wins Produced Says and What It Does Not Say

Introducing PAWSmin — and a Defense of Box Score Statistics

Finally, A Guide to Evaluating Models contains useful hints on how to interpret and evaluate statistical models.