Chiefs, Tebow And The Dangle Rate


The Tim Tebow phenomenon has stirred up many kinds of debate since his entrance into the league. While I’m not willing to criticize who he is, or what he does, as a person, I also don’t believe his skills are at all suited for long-term success as an NFL quarterback.

Mark Schlereth, who played for the Redskins and the Broncos, serves as an analyst for ESPN and has been a longtime Broncos apologist, made an accurate statement about Tim Tebow’s abilities on Mike and Mike in the Morning earlier today, and I paraphrase,

"“Tim Tebow is a look-see quarterback. He breaks out of the pocket, his receivers break out of their routes, one of them gets wide open, 6 yards on either side and yells, look-see, I’m open. You must be able to complete a pass to a receiver who is… open in the NFL. He doesn’t have the ability to throw the ball into a receiver running a slant who is tightly covered. Even though, he is a receiver who is, open in the NFL. In fact, I’d say, Tim Tebow has never completed a pass like that.”"

Just a week ago, prior to the Chiefs win over the Broncos, it was being suggested by some that Tim Tebow be considered for the Pro Bowl based on the strength of his 7-1 run in the middle of the season.

Alright but, would any other team actually trade for Tim Tebow? Right now?

Certainly he’s of value to someone, right? And wouldn’t the fact that he has such a big following, that appears to have nothing to do with his football skills, or lack thereof, be reason enough for some other teams to take a flyer on him?

How would he compare to others if he was dangled in a trade? And… what would be the rate of exchange for someone like him and, for that matter, any player in the league, be.

Wouldn’t the process of determining a particular player’s “dangle rate” be a good way to determine his real value as a player on the field and to an organization?

For example, Derrick Johnson of the Chiefs has just made his first Pro Bowl. He was named team MVP. In the past three days, an analyst on the NFL Network has stated that Johnson is now better than Ray Lewis.

So, who could be traded for Derrick Johnson? How many draft picks would it take to tear DJ away from the Chiefs?

So, what other factors might be considered in a players value to a team? Or, his dangle rate?

If the Chiefs traded DJ right now the fan base would revolt.

So, there’s public perception.

That’s one of the reasons the Broncos had to give Tebow a chance earlier this season, because so many in the fan base were in an outcry for it to happen.

Then there’s past, or recent, performance.

Peyton Manning’s dangle rate would be somewhat less right now than it will be in a few months when he has a chance to throw some balls around the yard so that other teams can see if he still has it. Assuming the Colts are going to trade him.

So, there’s the health issue that affects the dangle rate.

While the Chiefs won’t be parting with a healthy DJ any time soon, it’s not only the health of  Ray Ray that makes him less desirable right now, it’s his age.

So, there’s the age factor that enters into consideration when attempting to evaluate a players’ dangle rate.

That brings me back to Tim Tebow. It occurs to me, and maybe I’m wrong, but I’m guessing that if you dangled every single QB in the NFL, Tebow would be the last to draw any interest.

In fact, if every team did open up every QB and dangle them, I’d rather see what Brady Quinn could possibly do before I’d consider Tim Tebow.

When you think about the other end of the spectrum, you’d have to consider Aaron Rodgers dangle rate to be higher than any other QBs. Why? Not just because he’s good, because Tom Brady and Drew Brees are obviously in the same class as Rodgers. It’s Rodgers’ age and number of years of possible future service that makes his dangle rate higher.

So, what’s the difference between the dangle rate and a player’s trade value?

The actual trade value for a player is often the degraded amount that a team can get depending on the current market rates and trends or other factors having nothing to do with that player.

As an example, the Patriots decided to trade Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel for a second round pick, but their actual dangle rate, and worth to the team, was much higher. So, teams make trades for many reason that don’t have to do with the player being traded sometimes and that shouldn’t be held against the players’ actual value. His dangle rate.

Now, if you’re a player in the NFL wouldn’t you want to know for yourself, and the team you play for, and possibly the fans, what a more realistic picture of your value would look like.

In this case, it’s hard for me to imagine any other team in the NFL wanting Tim Tebow.

How about the St. Louis Rams who currently employ the man who drafted Tebow in the first round, Josh McDaniels. So, if other coaches around the league have an interest in you, that increases your dangle rate.

The professional relationships you develop increases your dangle rate too.

The dangle rate could also help a team decide who was part of their core group.

The good news for Chiefs fans is, there are as many players who have a high dangle rate as at any time in the past 15 years.

The question is determining who the non-core players are so the Chiefs can upgrade the back end of their roster. Because of all the injuries the Chiefs have had this year the holes in the back end of the roster have been exposed. To be a championship team, that will need to be fixed.

One way to do that is to determine how many of the non-core group players have any dangle rate.

If a GM were to dangle that player as trade bait, would any other teams be willing to give anything at all? If not, then does that player have any lasting value, or future in the organization? For younger, developing players like undrafted free agents, the answer may be yes.

For players like S Sabby Piscitelli the answer may be no. He was sitting out there as a free agent and Scott Pioli signed him and he stuck around the rest of the season. Does that mean anyone would be interested in trading for him? No. So, he has zero dangle rate. And I highly doubt he will have any dangle rate even on his own after this season’s load of poor performances.

However, the dangle rate may have unseen effects too. Effects that go beyond what even Pro Football Focus can measure.

How many times do you see one team trade a back-up type player for another back-up type player? You don’t. Why? Usually because team officials want to keep the guys they already have in their system so they don’t have to go through training them all over again.

Or, sometimes a teams sees potential in a back-up and that potential is figured into their dangle rate. One time the Chiefs didn’t see the potential was when they had Jason Babin and let him get away. Assessing potential is all about dangle rate.

Arrowhead Addict’s own Andrew Crock pointed out this week in his post called, The Chiefs May Be Fishing For A New QB, that Chiefs GM Scott Pioli may have been fishing for information about QB Matt Flynn. What Pioli really wants to know is what will the cost be when the Packers dangle Flynn to the other teams in the league?

So, second-level players do have a dangle rate. You can also witness some teams keeping players around for multiple years who make you wonder why they’re on the roster.

Players like Terrance Cooper. You have to figure that he has no “trade value” but, he must have some value (dangle rate) since he’s stuck with the Chiefs for three full seasons as a special teams player and wide receiver but only has a total of 30 catches to show for it.

So, non-core players have a dangle rate, for other reasons, often unseen or unknown.

The dangle rate for Dwayne Bowe may be at its zenith. Not only is there a lot of fan trade-talk involving Bowe to gain a more favorable position in the draft, but because Bowe has not been perceived to be a “Pioli guy,” people think his dangle rate is even higher.

Dwayne Bowe’s high dangle rate only means that for right now, he’s worth a lot. To the Chiefs and to other teams.

The Patriots traditionally do a good job of utilizing a player’s dangle rate to negotiate trades that help them build for the future. Pro Bowl DL Richard Seymour was traded last season to the Raiders for a 1st round pick. The Patriots drafted OT Nate Solder with that pick.

So, how much would a team give for Matt Cassel right now? That’s a bit of a mystery because although he made the Pro Bowl a season ago, he finished this season injured and on the bench.

Just three short years ago, following the break-out season Cassel had with the Patriots, there were many teams willing to pay a lot more than a second round choice for him. Now, his dangle rate is at a low.

Kyle Orton’s dangle rate is higher right now than Cassel’s. Although no team tried to trade for Orton before his release, several teams wanted him enough to file for him, had the Chiefs not snatched him up first.

Kyle Orton has a dangle rate, but only as a free agent.

That’s’ another way “trade value” is different than the dangle rate. Sometimes a player has to dangle his own value instead of a team doing it.

So, just because a player may have lost his value to a team doesn’t mean he has no value. His dangle rate remains intact as a free agent.

Matt Cassel likely has zero dangle rate of exchange as a trade-able player but, would most certainly be picked up as a released player or free agent.

However, Matt Cassel has been in K.C. for three years and became a team leader especially last off-season when the league had no bargaining agreement and he also helped organize relief to Joplin. So, Cassel’s value includes off-the-field leadership that may not get ignored by new decision makers for the Chiefs. Plus, there’s Scott Pioli’s desire to “not-be-wrong” which come into play.

All of which affects Cassel’s overall dangle rate. Although, I’d rather see us move on from Matt Cassel.

On a positive note, I know it’s a “what have you done for me lately” league but, if the Steelers trounce the Broncos this weekend and Tim Tebow plays poorly again, Mark Schlereth says, “It may be Tim Tebow’s last game with the Broncos.”

Then, he may be left dangling in the wind.

For good.