The Redskins need to restock the cupboard with talent. Here's how a team can build and sustain a winning roster.
Playing Moneyball in the NFL is about jettisoning expensive and under-producing veterans, rejecting the big-splash free agent, and stockpiling draft picks. There are two ways of generating those picks. First, you can trade away soon-to-be free agents to other teams in return for picks or allow restricted free agents to sign elsewhere in return for compensatory picks. For too long, the Redskins have been on the wrong end of those transactions.
The second way is to trade picks for more picks. Overconfidence and urgency run rife in personnel departments around the league, and smart teams can take advantage of this. There are always teams willing to overpay for a pick that they are so certain will immediately turn their team into a Super Bowl winner. A team can sell its first-round pick for a second-round pick this year, plus a first-round pick next year. In the next draft, that team will have an additional first-round pick that could be sold for another second-rounder, plus another future first rounder. Presuming there are enough buyers, a team could generate an additional second-round pick in perpetuity by foregoing its first-round pick in only one year.
There's one team in the league that understands this, and they've been phenomenally successful doing it:
There’s one model NFL team that’s in continuous Moneyball rebuilding mode. It releases or trades expensive veterans on what seem like irrational whims. It trades away picks for more and more future picks. In fact, at one point this team had two picks in each of the top four rounds of the 2011 draft. Since 2001, this team has averaged more than 12 wins per year, and has missed the playoffs only twice. By now, I’m sure you know I’m talking about the New England Patriots.
This is one of those articles you'll want to read even if you're not particularly interested in the Redskins.