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Announcing the 2017 NFL Free Agency Armchair GM Challenge

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NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks
Seahawks Free Agent to be Luke Willson
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As regulars here at Field Gulls know, each year heading into the draft there has been an Armchair GM Challenge where we compete against one another to guess which players the Seattle Seahawks will take in the draft. That has been pretty fun and amusing each season, and so this year there will also be an Armchair GM Challenge for the free agency period so that everyone gets the chance to be smarter than John Schneider.

Since the Hawks are not typically big players in free agency, rather than focus on the players they may sign from other teams, this will be a general GM exercise with the purpose of the competition being to attempt to predict the size of the contracts specific players will sign in free agency, regardless of the team with which they sign.

A preliminary list of 24 players will be posted to the site on Friday or Saturday of this week so that commenters can begin to submit their estimates for those players. Of those 24 players, any who sign extensions with their 2016 teams prior to the beginning of the legal tampering period on Tuesday, March 7th will be removed from the competition (so that commenters who submit their entries after the signing is announced will not have an advantage). Submissions for the competition will be accepted through 11:59 PM Eastern Time March 6, 2017, with the official submission time being the time shown on the submission portal. The competition will continue through the end at 4 PM ET of the third Friday of the free agency period (March 24, 2017) or until all of the players on the list have signed.

A post will go up Wednesday, March 8 showing all of the submissions received, with an interim standing post slated for each of the two weekends between the start of free agency and the end of the competition.

Obviously, as with any competition the purpose is to win, and in the case of this competition the winner will not only get bragging rights for the next year, but also will receive a subscription to GamePass for the 2017 NFL season. (Author’s note: If the competition is won by one of our international commenters for whom GamePass would be significantly more expensive, the prize will be a $100.00 Visa Gift Card.)

The competition will be scored on two categories for each player. The first is the APY (average per year) for the contract the player signs and the second is the length of the contract in number of years. The competition will be scored with players getting one point for how far away from the actual APY they guessed and two points for how many years their guess was off, with the goal being to end the competition with as few points as possible. (Author’s note: players who sign an option contract similar to the ones signed by Russell Okung or Kelvin Beachum last season will only have the pre-option portion of their contract included for calculations. The same applies for voidable years added to the end of a contract for cap manipulation purposes.)

To illustrate how the scoring will work, I will use an example from last offseason:

If J.R. Sweezy had been included last year, let’s say Commenter A had guessed Sweezy would sign a 4-year, $20M ($5M APY) deal and Commenter B guessed Sweezy would sign a 5-year, $15 deal ($3M APY). In the end, Sweezy signed for $32.5M over 5 years, meaning his APY was $6.5M and the length of the contract was, obviously, 5 years. Commenter A would be assigned 1.5 points for missing the APY by $1.5M annually and 2 points for being off by a year in regards to the length of the contract, for a total of 3.5 points. Commenter B would be assigned 3.5 points for incorrectly guessing the APY by $3.5M and 0 points for correctly guessing the length of the contract. Thus, both Commenter A and Commenter B would both have received 3.5 points and would have tied.

If there are any questions or comments about the competition, please feel free to ask away in the comment section. If you dislike the structure or scoring, well, that’s too bad. It’s my competition and I get to choose how it’s scored, so you’ll simply have to deal with it.

In addition, while I will be submitting my own guesses as part of the competition, I will not be eligible to win. Since there may be contracts which require me, as grand supreme arbitrator of the competition to make a decision about scoring, I don’t feel it would be fair to have the ability to win my own prize. The 24 players selected will be chosen in attempt to assemble as complete a team as possible, with one player from each position (excluding long snapper) as available. I am going to eliminate a punter and replace it with an offensive lineman so you are likely to see such names as Andrew Whitworth, Matt Kalil, Ricky Wagner, Ryan Clady and others, though with Steven Hauschka set to be a free agent I will definitely be including him in the list.

So, be sure to check back on Friday or Saturday to get the list of players who are to be included, as well as the link to the submission portal through which entries will be made!

Of course, only one entry per commenter, and all the typical legal disclaimers regarding legality in your location and that you hold no claim against Field Gulls or any affiliate apply.

Get your valuation caps on, and get ready to prove that you are more John Schneider than Jason Licht or Ryan Grigson!