We recently did a study that determined which running backs had the best value in the NFL as measured by their statistical output.
That study showed that Tyler Allgeier one of the very best in the 2022-2023 NFL season. He was paid just $322 per rushing yard, which was almost half the price paid per yard to the next running back on the list and dramatically lower than the $14,155 per rushing yard paid to Ezekiel Elliott.
So if they’re getting such good value out of Allgeier, why would the Atlanta Falcons spend a first-round pick on another running back?
There are a few reasons to consider.
1) As much of a value as Allgeier offered, he doesn’t have a ton of name-brand recognition. Many NFL fans wouldn’t recognize the name.
And ultimately, NFL teams are for-profit organizations that need to make money. Adding a high-profile player like Bijan Robinson (who was widely regarded as the best running back in the NFL draft) can help accomplish exactly that. It excites the fans and draws them to the games, which can help a team’s bottom line.
2) Allgeier’s per-year earnings will likely increase over time. As good as his value was this year, that could change as his salary escalates within his current contract and certainly after he signs a new contract. Allgeier deserves credit for his statistical productivity this year on such an affordable salary, but it doesn’t mean you can necessarily expect similar metrics from him moving forward since his salary could be increasing.
3) As useful as it is to see the value a player had by comparing his earnings against his statistics, that doesn’t paint the full picture of what is needed to win football games.
For example, let’s say that Allgeier’s success as a blocker on passing downs is very poor. In that case, having another running back on the roster who may not have as good of a “earnings per rushing yard” value as Allgeier might still be very well worth it because blocking can be a big factor in a team’s ability to win games.
So in other words, rushing yards are not the only metric to consider for the value of a running back. There are other stats like rush yards per attempt or goal line success rate, etc.
We are casting any judgment, good or bad, on the Falcons for drafting Bijan Robinson. The purpose of this article is to highlight other things the Falcons may have considered when making that draft pick.
As good of a metric as earnings per rushing yard is, there are more facets to a roster decision than just that metric.
It will be fun to watch the Falcons in the coming years to see if their draft decision ends up paying off.
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