The fact that one sports outlet in ESPN can have such differing views on the Cleveland Browns is something common we'll see as the media tries to review the new regime's approach to re-building the team.
The other day, we highlighted how Football Outsiders projected Cleveland to finish last in the AFC, but offered no analysis other than the fact that the club would be scouting college quarterbacks through 2017. This morning, we highlighted how Bill Barnwell assigned the Browns an A- grade for their offseason report card, with some thoughtful and well-researched work.
Then, you have the ever-so-popular power rankings that ESPN released earlier this week, where the Browns are pigeon-holed at the No. 32 spot again. I've always said that I can live with the No. 32 ranking -- I get why it is easy to put the Browns in that spot. What I'm more interested in reading is the commentary that comes along with it, and this commentary was provided by Dan Graziano, who typically covers the New York Giants for ESPN:
I don't know. I'm all for new points of view, and I recognize that nothing the Browns were doing was working. But I'd love to get a look at the groundbreaking analytic study that says Robert Griffin III is worth $7.5 million a year.
(Bangs head against the wall)
I went over this when I broke down Griffin's contract in March. Yes, to the everyday citizen, $7.5 million a year sounds like an absurd amount. This is the former No. 2 overall pick of the draft, though, and we have to realize that $7.5 million puts him at a salary that is practically the lowest in the NFL for a starting quarterback. Here is a refresher of what I wrote back then:
In terms of average per year ($7.5 million), Griffin is the 23rd-highest paid quarterback in the league. Even if he reaches all of his incentives ($11 million a year), he would still be the 23rd-highest paid quarterback in the league. The only quarterbacks Griffin is really making more than right now are quarterbacks on their rookie contracts (which are standard amounts), and the likes of Chad Henne and Brian Hoyer.
Griffin's guaranteed money isn't all that much either. A few members of the national media were astounded that the Browns gave Griffin a massive contract or something. The truth is that they found the sweet spot of what is pretty much the minimum deal for a quarterback these days, and that's even if Griffin plays out-of-his-mind to earn his maximum incentives.
So, as it turns out, you really don't need a groundbreaking analytic study to say that Griffin is worth $7.5 million a year -- just a couple of minutes of research. Being associated with analytics is both a blessing and a curse from a media perspective: it is very intriguing and offers some new perspectives into approaching things, but it also gives some reporters a lazy excuse to pan the organization.