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Using Roster Management to predict who will make the playoffs

Written by 5 Yard Rush (Co-Authored by Adam Murfet and Chris Mitchell)

The Super Bowl. The pinnacle of American Sports. Every year, the nation and the world is stopped in its tracks for three hours to watch the AFC and NFC conference winners collide to determine an ultimate champion. Tickets to the spectacle will set the fans back a pretty penny, an advert however will set you back astronomical amounts. An advertising spot during the Super Bowl will cost more than any other slot at any other time worldwide. Companies such as Doritos and Pepsi returned to the superbowl adverts list in 2018 and paid in excess of $5 million for a 30-second spot during the halftime break. This number has risen steadily by half a Million Dollars a year since 2014 and shows no sign of stopping any time soon!

The glory of forever being crowned a World Champion, by winning the Super Bowl, earns a team and franchise a place in folklore; In History. The prize, the Lombardi Trophy, is arguably the most coveted piece of hardware in all of sports, with 1,700 athletes taking part.

What makes the NFL different to say the Premier League, is that you very rarely, if ever, see a repeat Super Bowl. By this, we mean having the same two teams appear in a Super Bowl. In the 21st century, the only repeat Super Bowls are The New England Patriots vs The New York Giants in Super Bowl 42 and Super Bowl 46 (by far the closest we have in recent memory to a repeat as a quite a few players on each team played in both) and the New England Patriots vs the Philadelphia Eagles which took place in Super Bowl 39 and Super Bowl 52. In this instance, only Tom Brady played in both, so it’s hardly a replay.

There are some key factors that are designed to promote parity and prevent the same teams dominating the sport for long periods. The first is a salary cap that has to be met by all teams. In 2018, this salary cap was $177,200,000 and this number tends to increase each year between 7-12% depending on what is agreed with the increased revenue into the league. The other is the NFL draft, which allows teams to recruit the best college talent available year after year. However, there is a twist. The teams with the worst records, get the highest picks in the draft, whilst the champions of the year before will have the last pick in each round. This allows losing teams the ability to pick, theoretically, the best players available. There may also trade,  with further nuanced strategy to consider, but in essence, the theory is the worst team has the ability to pick the best player in the draft.

So because the Super Bowl rarely repeats, why is it that so many of the same teams are constantly fighting for the playoffs? How have the New England Patriots managed to appear in nine Super Bowls since 2002 and win six? How do the Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys consistently make the playoffs more often than not (although both the Steelers and Packers both missed the playoffs in 2018)? Why do some teams always find a way to win, yet teams like the Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (although they did win the Super Bowl in 2003, they have not managed to make it back to the postseason in 11 years) and the Buffalo Bills for example, manage to struggle and fail to make the playoffs most years?

In 2018 Zack Moore released Caponomics: Building Super Bowl Champions. This book really changed our way of thinking on NFL rosters and the strategy behind how they are constructed. Zack was gracious with his time and with his insight we took a look to see who has taken on the advice outlined in the book since it’s publication. Details such as the percentage of cap each position of the team should have spent on it, as well as a theoretical look at how much should be spent generally on; Offense, Defense and Special Teams.

If you have not read the book, but find this article insightful and want to learn more, it is 1000% worth the money. We will reference some of the findings in this article, but we draw our own conclusions and be able to look at 2019 rosters to predict the majority of the playoff teams, before a ball has been snapped, purely by looking at how the roster has been assembled and the trends in cap.

The very reason we love the NFL is that no matter how likely a result, or outcome is, on “any given Sunday” the tables can easily turn. Who gave Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles more than a 2% chance to win the Super Bowl when Carson Wentz went down injured towards the end of the 2017 regular season? The league, in it’s very own nature, will always have an undercurrent of unpredictability and this is why the NFL is potentially the fastest growing sport in Europe.

Zack, in his book, comes up with a number of key areas to explain why the New England Patriots have been the best at roster construction in the last 20 years, and, as a result, have continued to have success when many fans of the game have written them off.

But now this research is widely available to be shared and read by all GM and Owners, who has taken up the mantle and started to learn from what the New England Patriots have been doing. Our research into the 2018 season, the last 3 seasons, and the last 25 seasons, has led us to the following conclusions:

– Playoff teams spent to within 10% of their cap limit in 2018, except the Colts


– Continuity is key for success. Having a General Manager or coach that have been there 3+ years to have built a philosophy for success is key. All playoff teams managed this, except the Colts.

– Half the playoff teams have QBs on rookie contracts on their rosters and all starting, meaning more money can be spent to improve other areas of the roster. If they are an elite Quarterback, attempting to keep them under 13% of the cap demonstrates good cap management.

– Only 3 teams (The Indianapolis Colts,  LA Chargers & Seattle Seahawks) spent more that 23.5% on their 4 highest paid offensive players, thus demonstrating great cap management. The top 6 paid Quarterbacks in the NFL in 2018 missed the playoffs.

– Hardly any of the playoff teams in 2018 paid top tier money to their Running Backs, therefore not paying a premium to a position that could throw cap balance out of whack.

– Keeping draft picks and accumulating more than your competition is vital to success. If teams do continue to build without using the draft, then as a team you will struggle. This is an area that made up for the Colts being an outlier in other categories.

We will tackle each of these individually to explain why the playoff teams gave themselves the best opportunity to succeed and leave the others in their wake, whilst also looking at anomalies. These are not perfect and some of the teams defy one or more of these conclusions, however we will still try to explain that. But these conclusions will give us a strong guide to predict playoff teams for years to come.

Playoff teams spent to within 10% of their cap limit, including rollover cap (All cap stats provided by https//www.overthecap.com unless otherwise stated)This seems like a no-brainer statement, however, 10 of the playoff teams in 2018 spent over 90% of their available cap to spend, as set by the NFL in 2018. The cap amounts differ each year due to teams being allowed to rollover cap to the following year. Zack Moore in his book explains this point very well and we encourage people to go and read it. The outliers in this category were the Houston Texans, who spent 87.2% of their available cap (and aided by a rookie Quarterback salary) and the Indianapolis Colts, who somehow only spent 69.2% of their available cap, yet still made the playoffs. The Indianapolis Colts spent the second fewest amount of dollars in cap space, behind the Cleveland Browns in 2018, and in 2019, they have the most available cap space. Why are they such an outlier? Well we will look to answer this in other conclusions, but in short, they are a statistical anomaly. Many experts of the game had the Indianapolis Colts at the very bottom of the Power Rankings and nobody had them above 25th. They also started 1-5, to help backup these Power Ranking projections. However, they managed to turn it around, go on an improbable run, and sneak in in Week 17 of the regular season. We do have a strong theory that we will share later.

Back to spending within the 10% limit of the cap, the participants of Super Bowl 51 (the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons) and Super Bowl 52 (the New England Patriots again and the Philadelphia Eagles) all spent within 10% of the cap space. At the time of writing this, the Kansas City Chiefs, LA Rams, New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints are preparing to meet off in the Championship round of the Playoffs (subsequently the New England Patriots went on to win it all again in a 13-3 win vs the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII). The Rams have spent the 2nd most amount of their cap (97.0%), with only the LA Chargers spending more (another 2018 playoff team). The Saints have spent the 6th most amount of their cap with just 4.4% of their cap remaining. The Chiefs have spent 8th most amount of their cap (sandwiched in-between them and the Saints is the Bears, another 2018 playoff team) with just 5.2% of their cap remaining, whilst the New England Patriots spent the 17th most with 6.6% of their cap remaining. In fact, from 2010, only the 2011 New England Patriots have ever made the Super Bowl spending less than 90% of their cap.

In 2017 only two teams spent under 90% of the cap, the Jags (20% remaining) and Titans (16.9% remaining). In 2016, no team that made the playoffs spent less that 90% of their cap. (https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/cap/)

There are many examples of teams spending within this range and not being successful. The Atlanta Falcons were the 3rd highest spenders of cap in 2018 and were out of playoff contention in early November. Spending within 10% does not guarantee success, as only 7 teams in 2018 spent less than 90% of cap available and obviously not all those teams can win. But as we continue to look at teams potentially to make the playoffs and eventually the Super Bowl, this is the first metric to weed out a number of teams potentially. There will always be exceptions, but in 10 years worth of Super Bowls (if you include Super Bowl 53), to only have 1 team to have made it to a Super Bowl (they were unsuccessful, as they were defeated by the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50), makes this statistic somewhat compelling.

Continuity is key for success. Having a General Manager or Head Coach that have been there for 3 or more years to have built a philosophy for success is key. (All records obtained by www.pro-football-reference.com)Moving away from the cap for a second, it is important for any organisation, not only in sports, but in any industry, to have some continuity. The two most important positions when it comes to the playing squad of an NFL franchise are the General Manager and the Head Coach. Successful franchises see these parts working seamlessly with a goal, vision and strategy in mind. Therefore, it is important to see continuity. Looking at the playoff teams from this season, 9 of the 12 teams had continuity at the General Manager position, meaning that that General Manager had been in charge since 2015 or sooner, thus giving them 3 or so seasons to build a roster that will allow playoff challenges. As for Head Coaches, that same number spits out, 9 of the 12 teams that made the playoffs had continuity at the Head Coach Position. However there was only 1 team that had a reasonably new General Manager, in their second season, and a new Head Coach in his first season, and yet still made the playoffs. This was the Indianapolis Colts.

In the case of the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick assumes both roles. This is extremely rare, and nobody else in the NFL today has that kind of responsibility. However, as he has demonstrated with over 20 years of coaching and roster management and construction, he has earned this right.

Only two rookie Head Coaches have won the Super Bowl in their first year as a Head Coach of a team. Don McCafferty did it with the Baltimore Colts (yes you are reading this right) in Super Bowl 5 and George Seifert did it with the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 24. This makes it pretty easy when looking to discount teams with first time Head Coaches when we are predicting for playoff and Super Bowl success. Only 2 men this century, Bill Callahan of the Oakland Raiders in 2002-2003 and Jim Caldwell in 2009-2010 with the Indianapolis Colts have taken their team to the Super Bowl in their first season ever as a Head Coach. They both lost.

However when looking at Head Coaches who took charge of a team within their first two years, and winning it all, there are more examples of success since the year 2000. Brian Billick won the Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens in 2000 in his second year as Head Coach. Bill Belichick managed the same feat in 2001 with the New England Patriots, winning it all in his second season. Jon Gruden, in his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a very expensive trade with the Oakland Raiders, led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to their first and only Super Bowl in 2003. Mike Tomlin with the PIttsburgh Steelers in 2008 and Doug Pederson with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018 also won the Super Bowl in their second season, whilst Gary Kubiak joined Jon Gruden with winning it in his first season with the  Denver Broncos in the 2015 season.

Looking at continuity, Billick had Ozzie Newsome who has been there almost 5 years at the point they won the Super Bowl, Rich McKay had built the roster for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1994 and stepped down after their Super Bowl win. Kevin Colbert has been the General Manager of the Pittsburgh Steelers since the year 2000 and he assisted Mike Tomlin with assembling his roster, John Elway has been the Denver Broncos General Manager since 2011 whilst Howie Roseman has had the reigns as General Manager from 2010-2014 before picking them up again in 2016. Only Bill Belichick, who was appointed General Manager when he was given the Head Coaching job, as that is what the owners wanted, was into his second year in both roles when he won it all. However, as he was one person, it probably made the process easier.

What the Indianapolis Colts did this year to come back and make the playoffs from 1-5, one of only 3 teams ever in the history of the NFL to have achieved that, is nothing short of remarkable. Therefore, when we begin to analyse the teams making the playoffs, if neither the General Manager, or the Head Coach have been there for 3 years or more, we can pretty much discount them from our predictions of making the playoffs and the Super Bowl.

Half the playoff teams have QBs on rookie contracts on their rosters and all starting, meaning more money can be spent to improve other areas of the roster. (all cap numbers come from https://www.spotrac.com unless otherwise stated)A big part of Caponomics: Building Super Bowl Champions is presenting the theory, and backing up with examples and statistics, that you best chance to win a Super Bowl, is to win with a Quarterback on their rookie contract. Russell Wilson, when the Seattle Seahawks won Super Bowl 48, was on his rookie contract and Zack explains how the Seahawks were able to spend money on key positions on the defence that allowed them to restrict the Denver Broncos to just 8 points in that game and earn a place in history.

Since then, it is widely accepted that your best chance to succeed is to have a Quarterback on a rookie contract. However, according to Zack in his book, if you have an elite talent, a Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, you need to keep your Quarterback spending to under 13% otherwise you are going to struggle with roster construction. You should also only restrict this type of spending to generational, highly efficient, elite Quarterbacks like those mentioned.

Now, when we break down the 2018 playoff participants, we can see that the Chicago Bears, the Baltimore Ravens (although they also pay Joe Flacco 14% of the cap, however they look likely to move on from him in 2019), the Dallas Cowboys, the Houston Texans, the Kansas City Chiefs, the LA Rams, and the Philadelphia Eagles (although they have Nick Foles on 7.68% of the cap, and again he looks certain to leave in Free Agency in 2019). That is 7 of the 12 teams that have Quarterbacks on rookie deals, although the Ravens have a massive hit in their QB room, so we should discount them slightly, although this is a short term problem. The other 5 teams, the Indianapolis Colts with Andrew Luck, the LA Chargers with Phillip Rivers, the New England Patriots with Tom Brady, the New Orleans Saints with Drew Brees, and the Seahawks with Russell Wilson, all have QBs that can be considered elite. Three of these names (Brady, Rivers and Brees) are contenders for the Hall of Fame, whilst Luck and Wilson are considered to be up there with the very best of “their generation”.

Only 3 Quarterbacks are paid over that magic 13% that Zack Moore mentions, Joe Flacco, who at 14% was the highest paid Quarterback in the Playoffs (he didn’t play a single minute), which was rewarded off the back of winning the Super Bowl in 2013 and it is in its final year, Russell Wilson at 13.44% and Drew Brees who commands 13.56% of the cap. None of these Quarterbacks appear in the top 6 paid Quarterbacks in the NFL in 2018, which we will touch upon later.

The Quarterback position can command the highest valued contracts in the league. Collectively it is the highest paid position in the game. Given that it is arguably the most important position in football, this might not be a surprise. But when you look at the six highest paid Quarterbacks in the NFL, only 1 had a Super Bowl ring, and only 1 other has a Super Bowl appearance. We will look into more detail to see test our theory on offensive spend in the next section.

Looking at this data set of 2018, you can see that the 2018 playoff teams, baring Flacco’s contract, have followed the principles of rewarding elite talent, however, not over paying them so that it becomes a detriment for the rest of the roster to be built and strong enough to compete for a place in the playoffs, and more importantly, a place in the Super Bowl. If teams do continue to spend over 13% of middle of the road talent at the Quarterback position, they will continue to struggle to make the postseason and the Super Bowl.

Now this can be said of any position, and it is 100% true. We will focus on Running Backs later on, as another example of roster construction. However, the major issue with the QB position is that it continues to escalate at an unmanageable scale, whilst other positions continue to be underpaid and struggle to get significant contract raises. It is becoming easier and easier for teams to ignore the research and advice of not spending elite money on a Quarterback for non elite returns, however, if you choose to overpay your Quarterback, you will struggle to have sustained success.

We expect there will be a few head scratching deals this summer for Free Agent Quarterbacks like Nick Foles and Teddy Bridgewater, as the 2019 draft class does not seem to be stacked with elite Quarterback talent like say, the 2018 draft class. However, even saying that, we were seeing Quarterbacks like Sam Bradford getting 11.3% of cap salaries on Free Agency (although because he was cut the cap hit was only 6.18%), almost as prove it deals in 2018, so I expect every summer, teams will ignore the research and pay the money, based on gut instinct and not on facts.

When we will look at playoff contenders in the summer, if we see a QB getting paid over 13% of the cap, and they are not an elite talent, or even if they are but receiving well over 13% of the cap, we will begin to discount them from our model, as we feel there will be too many weaknesses in the team for them to build a sustainable run into the postseason.

Only 3 teams (The Indianapolis Colts, LA Chargers, Seattle Seahawks) spent more that 23.5% of the Salary Cap on their 4 highest paid offensive players, thus demonstrating great cap management. (all cap numbers come from https://www.spotrac.com unless otherwise stated)Continuing on nicely with the theme of using cap guidelines as a method of demonstrating great roster construction, we looked at the playoff teams this season and measured the spending of their four most expensive offensive weapons, to see how they measured against others in the league. As we continue to state, these are not hard rules that if you don’t follow, you won’t make the playoffs, it’s just statistically more unlikely, and when we model with the other conclusions, it continues to show that a combination of these give a strong possibility of you making the playoffs.

9 of the 12 playoffs teams in 2018, spent less than 23.5% of cap on their 4 most expensive offensive weapons. By weapons, we are looking at offensive playmakers and not offensive line players, as it’s the playmakers that tend to get overpaid. This means that by not overspending on typically expensive pieces on offence, they were able to balance their team and strengthen in other areas. 3 teams, the Indianapolis Colts (again!) the LA Chargers, and the Seattle Seahawks, all went over the figure, yet were able to get in. Again, it’s not a hard rule, but merely an indicator of what to look for when making predictions. We would say however, that none of these teams advanced to the Championship round of the Playoffs in 2018, so therefore they still have some gaps and holes in the roster that the overspending on the offense could have caused. Here is a table of the 12 teams what they spent, percentage of cap wise, on their 4 most expensive offensive players:

This shows good roster management. Again, there are teams that didn’t make the playoffs, that also fit into this category. However, they also fall down on other conclusions we have found by doing this research. But using a combination, it’s key to see what teams fall into the majority of these areas, and if there are outliers, like the Indianapolis Colts are in a lot of these examples, to try and understand what they are doing differently.

Quarterback spending has a lot to do with these numbers. Remember the names we gave of the 6 players who command a large salary in the previous section. It is of no surprise then, that the six teams who pay those salary are the bottom six of these 12 teams in terms of cap percentage spent on 4 offensive players. Rookie Quarterback deals allow for huge flexibility to spend on key positions that will help you win championships such as Offensive Line, Defensive Line, Edge Rusher and the Secondary for example. Maybe as a franchise you want to pay more on Special Teams to gain an advantage. Having a Rookie Quarterback contract will allow you to do this.

Now, the NFL’s six highest-paid quarterbacks in 2018, according to NFL Research, are Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers ($33.5 million), Atlanta’s Matt Ryan ($30 million), Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins ($28 million), San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo ($27.5 million), Detroit’s Matthew Stafford ($27 million) and Oakland’s Derek Carr ($25 million). How did they fair when we looked at their top 4 offensive players spending percentage:


As you can see, the Detroit Lions were successfully under this number, yet they didn’t make the playoffs. There are a number of reasons as to why they didn’t make the postseason this season, a rookie Head Coach, and not accumulating draft picks as well as others, which we will touch upon (they are bottom 7 in the last 25 years in terms of number of picks average per season). But that is not to say that they won’t be a candidate in 2019, based on the steps they are taking.

As for the others, it is clear from this picture in a lot of cases where it went wrong. The San Francisco 49ers spent a 3rd of their cap space on just 4 players, Jimmy Garoppolo, Pierre Garcon, Jerick Mckinnon and Marquise Goodwin. Most of these players got hurt, so there was no strength and depth to do anything, and as a result 2018 was a write-off. The Green Bay Packers were in a similar boat in terms of depth, which led them to rely purely on Aaron Rodgers, and he couldn’t get it done. The Oakland Raiders are in a transition, and have moved some big salaries off the wage bill and accumulated high value draft picks. They, for us, are doing all the right things they need to do in order to be successful in future seasons. The Minnesota Vikings and the Atlanta Falcons again lacked depth and had clear holes. It might not be much in terms of cash sums, but every penny counts. The Atlanta Falcons also fall down on draft picks, having even less picks than the aforementioned Detroit Lions.

As we mentioned, 3 of the 6 teams that spent premium money on their QB (Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots) were able to get under this line, so it is possible to spend the money on your Quarterback, and still have a balanced roster in terms of cap. You will just need to use the other resources available to make this work, like the NFL Draft, which we will touch upon shortly.

Hardly any of the playoff teams in 2018 have paid top tier Running Back money to a non rookie contract Running Back, therefore not paying a premium to a position that could throw cap balance out of whack. (all cap numbers come from https://www.spotrac.com unless otherwise stated)

The Running Back position is the most under-paid position in all of sports. For the punishment these guys take, their careers are practically over by 30 due to the aging of their bodies and all the punishment they have to take. Le’veon Bell walked away from the Franchise Tag with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2018 as he didn’t want a year to year deal, and instead he wanted protection of a longer term deal, whilst also wanting to be paid his perceived worth. He knows his career is winding down, so he wanted to preserve his body and hit Free Agency, and test the market to get a longer term deal with more guarantees. He walked away from over $13 mil in 2018 to achieve this, so we don’t think this is entirely about money per se, but more on respect and guarantee if he gets injured.

Zack Moore comes to the same conclusion, and recommends the 2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) really looks at rookie Running Back contracts, as they are grossly underpaid compared to other skill positions in the NFL.

Having said that, to have a Running Back on a high salary can be seen as a huge mistake, as you are tying huge cap into an area of the roster where most teams use rookie Running Backs. As a result, only one of the top 7 highest paid Running Backs by contract value (Todd Gurley, who is the highest paid Running Back by contract value in the NFL) made the playoffs in 2018. If teams seriously want to consider paying their Running Back a second contract, they will need to make savings elsewhere, or they are putting themselves in a spending deficiency against the rest of their division, and the league potentially.

We have already mentioned Gurley has the highest contract value of all running backs, but he is also an elite Running Back, so similar to Quarterbacks, this is not a bad place to be. The Rams kept Gurley’s cap hit this year down to just 4.08%, making it friendly to make the deal.

The highest paid offensive player for the Dallas Cowboys is Ezekiel Elliott, and again, he is paid a friendly 3.85% of cap. He is again, an elite talent, so you don’t begrudge the money he receives and he earns it. Lamar Miller earns 3.79% of cap, and given his injuries recently, whilst it is a small amount, the Houston Texans are not getting the same production out of him as the LA Rams and Dallas Cowboys are getting out of Gurley and Elliott. However, he is also not got one of the 7 highest paid total contracts in football currently. The New Orleans Saints also pay Mark Ingram 3% of the cap but he could leave in 2019 in Free Agency.

The remaining teams are all taking advantage of rookie deals. The New Orleans Saints with Alvin Kamara, the LA Chargers with Melvin Gordon, the Chicago  Bears with Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard, the Baltimore Ravens with Gus Edwards, Javorius Allen, Kenneth Dixon and Alex Collins and the Indianapolis Colts with Marlon Mack are taking advantage of the price of rookie Running Backs. The Seattle Seahawks also have Rashaad Penny on the first year of his rookie deal. As most of these players (except Penny and Gordon) were not drafted in the first round, they are considerably cheap for their output and production. The Denver Broncos picked up undrafted rookie Phillip Lindsay and he rushed for over 1,000 yards and got nominated to go to the Pro Bowl.

We are firmly of the belief that running backs should be paid more than they are, especially in their rookie contracts, however, until it is sorted in the next CBA in 2020, teams need to play by the current market conditions, or they will be caught out. By the way, the top 7 paid running backs by contract value are, according to Bleacher Report:

1) Todd Gurley- $57.5 million

2) Devonta Freeman- $41.2 million

3) LeSean McCoy- $40 million
4) David Johnson- $39 million
5) Saquon Barkley- $31.2 million (As a result of being drafted second overall, whilst it is still a rookie deal)
6) Jerrick McKinnon- $30 million
7) Leonard Fournette- $27.2 million

The 6 names under Todd Gurley, whilst still good players, should not necessarily be paid more than Melvin Gordon, Alvin Kamara, and, as the Cleveland Browns have proved with Nick Chubb this season, there is always talent in the draft that can be picked up and implemented.

Keeping draft picks and accumulating more than your competition is vital to success. If teams do continue to build without using the draft, then as a team you will struggle. (draft pick numbers come from Caponomics: Building Super Bowl Champions and http://www.overthecap.com) We have discussed cap management throughout this article and talked about equalisers to stop dynasties in the beginning. However the key piece that links the two is the NFL Draft. This is the way to secure top class players, ready to make a splash in the NFL, whilst being extremely cheap through their first four in the league.

Each year, each team is allocated 7 picks in the draft. 1 in each round. Where they pick in the draft, is determined by where they finished the year before. So the team with the worst record will pick 1st in every round, and the team that wins the Super Bowl picks 32nd. Therefore, the teams not making the playoffs will fall between numbers 1-20 in the draft, whilst the playoff teams occupy positions 21-32 in the draft.

However, teams have the ability to trade for picks. In most instances a player might move to another team for another teams certain draft pick. This season, as an example, Golden Tate III moved from the Detroit Lions to the Philadelphia Eagles for their 2019 3rd round pick.

The other way teams can collect picks in the draft is through compensatory picks. In addition to the 32 selections in each of the seven rounds, there is also 32 picks added to the draft between the 3rd and 7th rounds. These are given to teams based on the amount of Unrestricted Free Agents they have lost and signed in Free Agency the previous year. Teams that have lost more Free Agents then they have signed, can be allocated between 1 and 4 picks somewhere in the 3rd-7th rounds. These picks are awarded at the end of March typically, weeks before the draft and as of the 2017 draft, they can be traded. On average, a team should have 8 picks in the draft if they use this system correctly, which we see in the analysis below.

For more information, here is a link to a wonderful article explaining it by overthecap.com (https://overthecap.com/the-basics-and-methodology-of-projecting-the-nfls-compensatory-draft-picks/ )

Zack Moore has a wonderful table in Caponomics: Building Super Bowl Champions which highlights the amount of draft picks collated by teams from 1994-2016. Using his table, we have added in the 2017 and 2018 draft picks to give you a total number of draft picks over the past 25 years, as well as an average number of picks over that time, as well as the total number of picks these teams have had in the last 3 years. We rank them by highest average number of picks per draft (The teams with brackets next to their name is the number of years they have been a franchise):


Some really striking things here. The first thing people might be drawn to here is seeing the New Orleans Saints at the bottom. They have had the fewest number of picks. People will look at them and say “But they are a really good team!” but they have also had periods in the wilderness. Since they won the Super Bowl in the 2009 season, they made the postseason in each of the following two seasons with a similar roster. However, after that, they proceeded to yield 4 7-9 seasons in the next 5 seasons. Also between 1994-2009, they made 2 post season trips before going to the Super Bowl with 9 losing seasons and 3 8-8 seasons. The point is they are not sustaining success. It also appears they still have not learnt this season, trading away their 1st round pick to the Green Bay Packers to get Marcus Davenport in the 2018 Draft, a 3rd round pick to trade for Teddy Bridgewater to the New York Jets and a 4th round pick to the New York Giants in 2019 to get Eli Apple.

You will see the San Francisco 49ers near the top. They made 10 postseasons in this time and won 1 Super Bowl in 1994. You will see they have had a large number of draft picks in the last 3 years, and they were very high on the early season Power Rankings. However, as we have highlighted, spending 33.3% of cap on 4 offensive players will leave holes in their roster and lower quality reinforcements. This was made very evident in 2018 when Garoppolo, Garcon and McKinnon all ended up on IR, their 3 most expensive offensive players.

You might have also noticed the amount of draft picks the Cleveland Browns have used in the last 3 years. A league high 33 draft picks with the Lions. This has seen them go from being an 0-16 team to a 7-8-1 team in this time, and being one of the teams to watch in 2019, as all these draft picks have yielded a young and talented roster.

And then there is the Indianapolis Colts. A huge reason why they have seen a rise in the last season, is that they have spent 27 picks in the draft in the last 3 years, assembling a young and talented roster. It is also another reason they are able to spend so little on cap space. They have paid their Quarterback and Wide Receiver, but they are elite talents, whilst keeping spending low in other areas due to rookie contracts. Their spending is too low still, as we have suggested, however, for a team in full rebuild mode, to get to the playoffs is an outstanding achievement. It’s not one predicted by experts in the industry at the start of the season. They also did something very rare, and hit massively on their top 3 draft picks in their rookie year. They took Quenton Nelson at Guard with the number 6 pick in the 2018 draft, and he was voted onto the PFWA All- NFL team and the Pro Bowl in his rookie year. With the 36th pick they selected Linebacker Darius Leonard who made the PFWA All-AFC team and is under consideration for Defensive Rookie of the Year. He also set the franchise record for tackles in his debut season. With the very next pick, the 37th selection, the Indianapolis Colts then selected Braden Smith who is another Guard, that they converted to Right Tackle. He does not come with the same accolades as the first two, but he was still ranked by PFF as an above average grade at 71.4, which rated him at the 30th Tackle in the league in 2018. Rebuilding that offensive line lead to them being graded the number 3 offensive line by PFF behind the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland  Browns in 2018.

Amassing a large number of draft picks is not a guarantee for success, as you still need to select the right players. Only the New Orleans Saints picked less than 7 players per average in the last 3 years and made the playoffs this year, whilst the Chicago Bears, Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans picked exactly 7 picks a year average over the last 3 years.

As proof of this concept- only 13 teams have a greater record than .500 in the last 3 years if adding all their wins and losses and ties together. Of those 13 teams, only the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints picked less than an average of 7 picks per draft. over that timeframe, and the Kansas City Chiefs picked exactly 7 times a draft. The other 10 teams all had an average of over 7 picks per season, as the table below demonstrates.



What then adds to this is the number of picks for 2019. Who has been working out their strategy to gather draft picks to continue to build success. Well the 2019 picks so far (as of 20th January 2019) are here (* denotes 2018 playoff team):

Arizona Cardinals 10
San Francisco 49ers 6
New York Jets 6
Oakland Raiders 9
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6
New York Giants 11
Jacksonville Jags 8
Buffalo Bills 10
Denver Broncos 9
Cincinnati Bengals 11
Green Bay Packers 10
Miami Dolphins 8
Atlanta Falcons 8
Washington Redskins 8
Carolina Panthers 7
Cleveland Browns 10
Minnesota Vikings 8
Tennessee Titans 6
Pittsburgh Steelers 7
* Seattle Seahawks 5
* Baltimore Ravens 7
* Houston Texans 7
* Chicago Bears 4
* Philadelphia Eagles 10
* Indianapolis Colts 9
* Dallas Cowboys 6
* New England Patriots 12
* LA Chargers 7
* New Orleans Saints 6
* Kansas City Chiefs 8
* LA Rams 7
These include the projected compensatory picks, however there is time for some of these totals to be added to with off season trading. You can see the New England Patriots have a league leading 12 picks in the 2019 Draft, which will help them manage their roster and bring in more exciting talent to a team that is consistently making the playoffs every year as it is. Teams that missed the playoffs by just a couple of games like the Cleveland Browns and the Minnesota Vikings have a good number of picks, meaning that if they select wisely and manage their rosters with cap carefully, they could be in good positions to push for the playoffs. The one minus mark for the Cleveland Browns next season is a rookie Head Coach in Freddie Kitchens and John Dorsey will not have done three years as a General Manager. But they will certainly be a team to keep an eye on. The Minnesota Vikings almost went all the way in 2017 but they need to manage that Kirk Cousins salary and strengthen in key areas in order to be successful.

It is still too early to look at the draft picks for the 2019 draft until we get all the data in March. But this gives us a good indication as to what teams have been attempting to do over the last few years, in terms of trying to get salaries off the books, acquiring younger, cheaper talent in high skill positions, whilst also being able to still build consistently for playoff challenges.

Summary

As you have read this, you will see organisations like the New England Patriots tick all the boxes here, because they effectively built the model. It is hard to argue with 9 Super Bowl appearances and 5 wins in 17 years. These numbers could climb to 9 and 6 within the next 3 weeks, making it even more impressive. But what is clear from all this research, is that most teams are starting to use data and analytics more and they are beginning to truly understand that good cap management, mixed with a clear and consistent draft philosophy, with continuity at the top, will yield to higher performance on the field and more playoff appearances.

What is evident, is that over the past few years, teams are starting to understand and use data analytics more, but more importantly, they are committing to it. Salary cap management is becoming better in many teams, with teams not giving fully guaranteed contracts, meaning that they can move away from players for little to no money. We are also seeing more trades than ever before and teams prepared to let players leave after their rookie contract and taking a compensatory pick in exchange to just letting them go. Teams are accumulating draft picks at a greater rate than ever before it seems, and are understanding that the value of rookie contracts gives the franchise a greater chance to succeed.

The nature of this article however is not to tell franchises what to do. These General Managers have millions of dollars at their disposal and experience that we cannot even begin to comprehend. We are sure they probably know all of the above and that their decisions are based on other factors not known to us outside the NFL. Overthecap.com and Zack Moore have presented findings and research to General Managers, so we do not want people to read this telling organisations what to do, because this is not the purpose of this article.

The nature of this piece is for us as podcasters and writers to become better as what we do, when we present information to our loyal listeners and readers. We are looking at statistical trends that allow us to give you, the listener and reader, the best information and interpretation of that information as possible. As mentioned several times, this is not foolproof, and the Indianapolis Colts make some of these conclusions look a little silly. However they are the anomaly and not the norm.There are many fans, ourselves included, of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Cleveland Browns and look to what they have done already this offseason and dreaming of a playoff run. We are not here to tell you how you should support your team. Far from it, embrace that fandom. However, if we look to our predictions in the summer and you don’t see these teams on the list (we aren’t saying if they will or won’t, as at this juncture, we still don’t have all the information we need), it doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. If we could build a model that perfectly predicted the future, I’m not sure that we would even want to build it. It takes all the fun out of the game, and as mentioned before, the NFL is always special because “any given Sunday” the tables can be turned. That is why we are fans of the sport and why we spend many hours producing content for our fans and fans of the sport.

The goal here is to be better and to analyse trends. But the other goal is to inform and education our listeners and readers. We are very blessed to have such loyal and interactive listeners and readers. We have had the incredible opportunity to speak to people who have given us an incredible amount of time to help improve our understand of the game as well as the theory and statistical trends that help us become better Fantasy Football players. This is where our love of the game comes from. Not just watching the sport, put playing Fantasy Football. However we are inquisitive guys, who always look to improve and understand the game in every facit. We are not experts here, but we work incredibly hard. For those of you that have read this article and felt inspired to write, podcast, listen to us or other amazing podcasts available, or even just watch the sport in more detail, then do so. The only thing it will cost you in most instances is time. We are also here to help. Message us and we will offer any advice, guidance, or support that we can. We have, as mentioned, to have been blessed that those who work for NFL.com, Fantasy Pros, USA Today, and other places have given us the time, energy and support to help us do what we do. Zack has been an incredible help in this process also and we thank him from the bottom of our hearts. To finish this piece, we thought it would be worthwhile testing our conclusions on the last couple of playoffs. To give you a yardstick, the hard metric score for this year for the playoff teams was 62 out of 72 or 86%.Here were the results:

Playoffs 2017

Philadelphia Eagles:
– Spent over 90% of the cap.
– Spent only 15.4% of their cap on their 4 highest paid offensive weapons
– Had a Quarterback on a rookie contract in Carson Wentz with Foles being paid just above 0.96% of the cap.
– Only spent 0.75% on LeGarrette Blount as they highest paid Running Back and traded for Jay Ajayi who was on a rookie deal
– Have been picking over 7 draft picks a year on average.
– They also had a General Manager who although it was technically his second year, he only had 1 year out from a title he held previously.

New England Patriots:
– Spent over 90% of the cap
– Spent 19.4% of their cap on their 4 highest paid offensive weapons,
– They did not have a Quarterback on a rookie deal but Brady’s cap hit was a very cap friendly 8.34% of cap,
– Mike Gillislee was paid at 2.38% of cap,
– They have been picking over 7 picks a year on average
– Bill Belichick has been in both roles for 17 years at this point. They tick all the boxes.

Minnesota Vikings:
– Spent over 90% of the cap
– Spent only 18.9% of their cap on the 4 highest paid offensive weapons
– They did not have a rookie Quarterback, but Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater and Case Keenum combined came in under the 13% of cap
– They did have a rookie Running Back they drafted in Dalvin Cook and also have Latavius Murray on 1.74% of the cap 

– Have been picking over 7 players in the draft consistently.
– They also had continuity at both the GM and Head Coach position

Jacksonville Jaguars:
– They only spent 80% of their cap in 2017

– They only spent 14.7% of cap on their 4 most expensive offensive weapons 

– They had Blake Bortles on a rookie deal
– They drafted a rookie Running Back very high in Fournette, but he was 2.96% of the cap this year.They also had Chris Ivory however who was earning 3.59% of cap.
– They were picking 7 picks a year over the previous 3 year 

– Have had continuity at the General Manager position.

New Orleans Saints:
– They actually spent over 99% of their cap in 2017
– Spent 20.9% of their cap on the 4 highest paid weapons
– They had Drew Brees but kept his number to 11.38% of cap
– They fall down for paying Mark Ingram 3.20% of cap however they also drafted Rookie of the Year Alvin Kamara in this year
– They also didn’t pick 7 draft picks a year on average over the 3 years.
– They had continuity at the General Manager and the Head Coach position.

Atlanta Falcons:
– They spent over 90% of their cap in 2017
– Spent a whopping 29.6% of cap on their 4 main offensive weapons
– Including a staggering 14.22% cap hit on 2016 NFL MVP Matt Ryan
– They paid Devonta Freeman 2.65% of cap
– They have not been selecting 7 players on average in the draft
– They had continuity at the General Manager position, with Dan Quinn being in his 3rd year.

Philadelphia Steelers:
– Spent over 90% of their cap in 2017
– Spent 27.6% of cap on their 4 main offensive weapons
– They spent 10.90% of cap on Ben Roethlisberger’s 2017 deal
– However they spent an eye watering 7.25% of cap on Le’veon Bell on the Franchise Tag
– They have consistently been using over 7 picks in the draft
– Have had continuity at the General Manager and Head Coach position.

Tennessee Titans:
– They only spent 83.1% of their cap in 2017
– Spent only 15.1% of cap on their 4 main offensive players (sidenote, these 4 were the most expensive paid players on the roster)
– Mariota was still on his rookie deal earning 3.95% of cap
– DeMarco Murray was the highest paid player on the roster at 4.16% of cap, though they did have Derrick Henry on his rookie deal
– The Titans usually have over 7 picks per draft
– However their General Manager was into his second year and Mike Mularkey was in his third, and final year, with the team.

Carolina Panthers:
– They spent over 90% of the cap in 2017,
– Spent 24.9% of cap on their main 4 offensive players

– Paid Cam Newton 12.08% of cap
– However, they paid Jonathan Stewart 3.70% of cap as well as drafting rookie Running Back Christian McCaffrey
– They picked on average less than 7 players over the previous 3 years in the draft
– They have benefited from continuity at the GM and Head Coaching position.

LA Rams:
– They spent over 90% of the cap in 2017,
– Spent 19.2% of cap on their main 4 offensive players
– Had Jared Goff on a rookie deal paying 3.80% of Cap
– Running Back Todd Gurley on rookie contract as well at 2.26% of cap
– They drafted over 7 players on average over the previous 3 years in the draft and benefited from continuity at the General Manager position
– However this was Sean McVey’s first year as Head Coach

Buffalo Bills:
– They spent over 90% of the cap in 2017
– Spent 18.5% of cap on their main 4 offensive players
– Tyrod Taylor wasn’t a rookie but he was only costing 5.82% of the cap
– However LeSean McCoy took an impressive 6.21% of cap in 2017
– They drafted 7 players on average over the previous 3 years in the draft
– Have benefited from continuity at the General Manager position, however this was Sean McDermott’s first year as Head Coach

Kansas City Chiefs:
– They spent over 90% of the cap in 2017
– Spent 16.2% of cap on their main offensive players,
– Alex Smith was paid 10.1% of cap however they did have rookie QB Patrick Mahomes who they drafted that year

– They had rookie Running Back Kareem Hunt on a cheap deal partnered with Spencer Ware who was receiving 1% of cap
– They drafted over 7 players on average over the previous 3 years in the draft 

– Benefited from continuity at the Head Coach position, however this was Brett Veach’s first year General Manager.

Putting hard metrics to this, for 2017:

Teams that spent over 90% of the cap: 10 out of 12

Teams that had continuity at either the General Manager of Head Coach Position: 11 out of 12

Having a Quarterback on a rookie deal or under 13% of the cap- 11 out of 12 (5 Rookie QBs)

Being under 23.5% of cap on your 4 main offensive weapons: 9 out of 12

Rookie Running back deals or having a low cost experienced Running Back with a rookie: 9 out of 12 with a further one being low cost

Being able to increase the number of Draft picks, but making sure teams keep what they have as a minimum- 9 out of 12

Final score: 59 out of 72 or 82%


Playoffs 2016:


Dallas Cowboys:
– Spent over 90% of the cap.
– Spent only 28.5% of their cap on their 4 highest paid offensive weapons
– had Dak Prescott the Quarterback on a rookie contract, but they did have Tony Romo still on the books at 13.41% of the Salary cap
– Drafted Ezekiel Elliott as their rookie RB but he was on 2.92% of cap
– Have been picking over 7 draft picks a year on average.
– They also had a General Manager and Head Coach with over 3 years with the organisation

New England Patriots:
– Spent over 90% of the cap
– Spent 18.6% of their cap on their 4 highest paid offensive weapons,
– They did not have a Quarterback on a rookie deal but Brady’s cap hit was a very cap friendly 8.7% of cap,
– Brandon Bolden was paid less than 1% of the salary cap.
– They have been picking over 7 picks a year on average
– Bill Belichick has been in both roles for 16 years at this point. They tick all the boxes.

Detroit Lions:
– Spent over 90% of the cap
– Spent spent a high 25.5% of their cap on the 4 highest paid offensive weapons
– They did not have a rookie Quarterback, Matt Stafford was paid a massive 14.5% of cap
– They did have an undrafted Running Back in Zack Zenner who was paid less than 0.5% of cap in 2016 and he was the highest paid.

– Have been picking less than 7 players in the draft consistently.
– They only had Caldwell in his 3rd season as coach and Bob Quinn was in his first season as GM.

New York Giants:
– They spent over 90% of their cap

– They spent 22.7% of cap on their 4 most expensive offensive weapons 

– They had Eli Manning on 15.6% of cap in 2016, which is far too high.
– They also drafted Rookie Running Back Paul Perkins that year with Rashad Jennings getting 1.8% of the cap
– They were picking less than 7 players a year over the previous 3 drafts

– Have had continuity at the General Manager position.

Houston Texans:
– They spent over 90% of their caps
– Spent 14% of their cap on the 4 highest paid weapons
– They had Tom Savage on a rookie deal and Brock Osweiler on a friendly 7.7% cap hit
– They had Running Back Lamar Miller on 3.5% of cap but Alfred Blue on a rookie friendly deal less than 0.5%
– They also picked over 7 draft picks a year on average over the 3 years.
– They had continuity at the General Manager and the Head Coach position.

Atlanta Falcons:
– They spent over 90% of their cap in 2017
– Spent a whopping 28.2% of cap on their 4 main offensive weapons
– Including a staggering 15.3% cap hit on 2016 NFL MVP Matt Ryan
– They had Running Backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman on rookie deals around 0.5% each
– They have not been selecting 7 players on average in the draft
– They had continuity at the General Manager position, with Dan Quinn being in his 2nd year.

Pittsburgh Steelers:
– Spent over 90% of their cap in 2017
– Spent 26.3% of cap on their 4 main offensive weapons
– They spent 15.4% of cap on Ben Roethlisberger’s 2016 deal
– Le’veon Bell was on his rookie deal and DeAngelo Williams was paid 1.7% of cap
– They have consistently been using over 7 picks in the draft
– Have had continuity at the General Manager and Head Coach position.

Seattle Seahawks:
– They spent over 90% of their cap in 2017
– Spent a high 24.6% of cap on their 4 main offensive players
– Russell Wilson was on 11.9% of cap
– They drafted rookie C. J. Prosise in 2016 who was paid 0.4% of cap
– The Titans usually have over 7 picks per draft
– Both their GM and Head Coach were appointed in 2010

Green Bay Packers:
– They spent over 90% of the cap in 2017,
– Spent 25.4% of cap on their main 4 offensive players

– Paid Aaron Rodgers 12.4% of cap
– However,they had Running Back Ty Montgomery on a rookie deal and James Starks at 1.4% of cap
– They picked on average less than 7 players over the previous 3 years in the draft
– They have benefited from continuity at the GM and Head Coaching position.

Oakland Raiders:
– They spent over 90% of the cap in 2017,
– Spent 13.3% of cap on their main 4 offensive players
– Had Derek Carr on a rookie contract at 0.9% of cap and Matt McGloin on 1.4% of cap
– Running Back Latavius Murray on a rookie contract deal and Taiwan Jones on 0.7% of cap.
– They drafted over 7 players on average over the previous 3 years in the draft
– Benefited from continuity at the General Manager position however this was Jack Del Rio’s second year as Head Coach

Miami Dolphins:
– They spent over 90% of the cap in 2017
– Spent 11.3% of cap on their main 4 offensive players
– Ryan Tannehill wasn’t on a rookie deal but he was on a cap friendly 7.5% cap
– Running Back Kenyan Drake was drafted in 2016 and was on 0.42% of the cap
– They drafted 7 players on average over the previous 3 years in the draft
– Both Chris Greer as General Manager and Adam Gase as Head Coach were in their first year in these roles.

Kansas City Chiefs:
– They spent over 90% of the cap in 2017
– Spent 22.5% of cap on their main offensive players,
– Alex Smith was paid 11.4% of cap.

– Rookie Running Back Spencer Ware who was receiving 0.6% of cap
– They drafted over 7 players on average over the previous 3 years in the draft 

– Benefited from continuity at the Head Coach position, however this was Brett Veach’s first year General Manager.

Putting hard metrics to this, for 2016:

Teams that spent over 90% of the cap: 12 out of 12

Teams that had continuity at either the General Manager of Head Coach Position: 10 out of 12

Having a Quarterback on a rookie deal or under 13% of the cap- 8 out of 12 (4 Rookie QBs)

Being under 23.5% of cap on your 4 main offensive weapons: 6 out of 12

Rookie Running back deals or having a low cost experienced Running Back with a rookie: 12 out of 12 with a further one being low cost

Being able to increase the number of Draft picks, but making sure teams keep what they have as a minimum- 9 out of 12

Final score: 57 out of 72 or 79%
Looking at the last three years data tends to suggest that these conclusions are starting to be fully understood by the Front Office of the NFL Franchises. Teams are starting to realise there needs to be more balance and that the draft is the way to get that balance of rosters in order to consider making a playoff and Super Bowl run. However, as we saw in the summer of 2018, there still seems to be this desire to pay Quarterbacks well over the required market rate, meaning that the rest of the roster will lack some depth in key areas. This lack of depth is the reason why so many teams fall by the wasteside when they are deemed to be in “Win Now” mode by the national and international media.

As a result, in order for people to replicate success year after year, then more teams will need to replicate the New England Patriots model of success and understanding and implementing the points raised in this article are the first of a long list of steps needed in order to achieve sustained success.



References:

Caponomics: Building Super Bowl Champions written by Zack Moore for many of the principles, data points credited through the piece and for the general inspiration of this piece.

https://www.syracuse.com/superbowl/index.ssf/2018/02/super_bowl_52_how_much_does_a_30-second_commercial_cost.html when looking at the cost of advertising for the Super Bowl

https://overthecap.com/ when looking at 2018 cap numbers for teams and 2019 draft picks and historical salary cap limits

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/ for team records, playoff history, and Super Bowl history

https://www.spotrac.com for historical cap data and team data when looking at percentage of cap spent

@NFLResearch on Twitter for the Highest 6 pod Quarterbacks tweet.

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2805269-the-highest-paid-running-backs-in-the-nfl#slide0 article on the highest paid Running Backs in the League

https://overthecap.com/the-basics-and-methodology-of-projecting-the-nfls-compensatory-draft-picks/

https://www.profootballfocus.com/news/pro-2018-nfl-offensive-line-rankings-all-32-teams-units-after-week-17 for looking at offensive line grades in 2018 and also for player ratings

https://fftoolbox.scoutfantasysports.com/nfl_draft/ when looking at players drafted in previous drafts and how many draft picks per team in previous years

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Emma Love

    June 24, 2019 at 3:01 am

    Hey, how’s it going?

    I want to pass along some very important news that everyone needs to hear!

    In December of 2017, Donald Trump made history by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Why is this big news? Because by this the Jewish people of Israel are now able to press forward in bringing about the Third Temple prophesied in the Bible.

    Jewish Rabbis have publicly announced that their Messiah will be revealed in the coming years who will be a leader and spiritual guide to all nations, gathering all religions under the worship of one God.

    Biblical prophecy tells us that this Jewish Messiah who will take the stage will be the antichrist “who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4). For a time he will bring about a false peace, but “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (Matthew 24:15)…then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21).

    More importantly, the power that runs the world wants to put a RFID microchip in our body making us total slaves to them. This chip matches perfectly with the Mark of the Beast in the Bible, more specifically in Revelation 13:16-18:

    “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

    Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.”

    Referring to the last days, this could only be speaking of a cashless society, which we have yet to see, but are heading towards. Otherwise, we could still buy or sell without the mark amongst others if physical money was still currency. This Mark couldn’t be spiritual because the word references two different physical locations. If it was spiritual it would just say in the forehead. RFID microchip implant technology will be the future of a one world cashless society containing digital currency. It will be implanted in the right-hand or the forehead, and we cannot buy or sell without it. Revelation 13:11-18 tells us that a false prophet will arise on the world scene doing miracles before men, deceiving them to receive this Mark. Do not be deceived! We must grow strong in Jesus. AT ALL COSTS, DO NOT TAKE IT!

    “Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:9-11).

    People have been saying the end is coming for many years, but we needed two key things. One, the Third Temple, and two, the technology for a cashless society to fulfill the prophecy of the Mark of the Beast.

    Visit http://WWW.BIBLEFREEDOM.COM to see proof for these things and why the Bible truly is the word of God!

    If you haven’t already, it is time to seek God with all your heart. Jesus loves you more than you could imagine. He wants to have a relationship with you and redeem you from your sins. Turn to Him and repent while there is still hope! This is forever…God bless!

    “EITHER HUMAN INTELLIGENCE ULTIMATELY OWES ITS ORIGIN TO MINDLESS MATTER OR THERE IS A CREATOR…” – JOHN LENNOX

    We all know God exists. Why? Because without Him, we couldn’t prove anything at all. Do we live our lives as if we cannot know anything? No. So why is God necessary? In order to know anything for certain, you would have to know everything, or have revelation from somebody who does. Who is capable of knowing everything? God. So to know anything, you would have to be God, or know God.

    A worldview without God cannot account for the uniformity and intelligibility of nature. And why is it that we can even reason that God is the best explanation for this if there is no God? We are given reason to know or reject God, but never to know that He does not exist.

    It has been calculated by Roger Penrose that the odds of the initial conditions for the big bang to produce the universe that we see to be a number so big, that we could put a zero on every particle in the universe, and even that would not be enough to use every zero. What are the odds that God created the universe? Odds are no such thing. Who of you would gamble your life on one coin flip?

    Is there evidence that the Bible is the truth? Yes. Did you know that the creation accounts listed in the book of Genesis are not only all correct, but are also in the correct chronological order? That the Bible doesn’t say the Earth was formed in six 24-hour days but rather six long but finite periods of time? That the Bible makes 10 times more creation claims than all major “holy” books combined with no contradictions, while these other books have errors in them? The Bible stood alone by concurring with the big bang saying, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1); and says our universe is expanding, thousands of years before scientists discovered these things. Watch a potential life-changing video on the front page of http://WWW.BIBLEFREEDOM.COM with Astronomer(PhD) Hugh Ross explaining all these facts based on published scientific data. He has authored many books, backed even by atheist scientists.

    Jesus came to pay a debt that we could not; to be our legal justifier to reconcile us back to a Holy God; only if we are willing to receive Him: “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23).

    God so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten son, so that whoever believes in Him, through faith, shall not perish, but have everlasting life. Jesus says if we wish to enter into life to keep the commands! The two greatest commands are to love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind; and your neighbor as yourself. All the law hang on these commands. We must be born of and lead by the Holy Spirit, to be called children of God, to inherit the kingdom. If we are willing to humble ourselves in prayer to Jesus, to confess and forsake our sins, He is willing to give the Holy Spirit to those who keep asking of Him; giving us a new heart, leading us into all truth!

    Jesus came to free us from the bondage of sin. The everlasting fire was prepared for the devil and his angels due to disobedience to God’s law. If we do the same, what makes us any different than the devil? Jesus says unless we repent, we shall perish. For sin is the transgression of the law. We must walk in the Spirit so we may not fulfill the lusts of the flesh, being hatred, fornication, drunkenness and the like. Whoever practices such things will not inherit the kingdom (Galatians 5:16-26). If we sin, we may come before Jesus to ask for forgiveness (1 John 2:1-2). Evil thoughts are not sins, but rather temptations. It is not until these thoughts conceive and give birth by our own desires that they become sin (James 1:12-15). When we sin, we become in the likeness of the devil’s image, for he who sins is of the devil (1 John 3:8); but if we obey Jesus, in the image of God. For without holiness, we shall not see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).

    The oldest religion in the world is holiness through faith (James 1:27). What religion did Adam and Eve follow before the fall? Jesus, Who became the last Adam, what religion does He follow? Is He not holy? He never told us to follow the rituals and traditions of man but to take up our cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23). There are many false doctrines being taught leading people astray. This is why we need the Holy Spirit for discernment. Unlike religion, holiness cannot be created. It is given to us from above by the baptism of the Spirit. Jesus is more than a religion; He is about having a personal relationship with the Father. Start by reading the Gospel of Matthew, to hear the words of God, to know His character and commandments. Follow and obey Jesus, for He is the way, the truth, and the life!

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