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More Fun! With the Salary Database--Were the 2006 Saints the Best Value in Football?

Last week, we discussd how Drew Brees ranked second in the NFL in 2006 total salary at $22 million. Today, let's take a look at the aggregate 2006 payroll of each NFL team to try to figure out which team provided the most return for every dollar spent.

Admittedly, this will be a rough statistic, but each team will be evaluated in terms of dollars per win. There are certainly better ways to do this, but this metric will suffice for now. For the sake of brevity, the study will only include include a few teams--the ones who tallied the most wins last season.

  • The World Champion Indianapolis Colts led the NFL in payroll at $131,149,741. The Colts also won 16 games, giving them an average cost of $8,196,858.81 per win. That was certainly money well spent, but not even close to the best value in the league--according to this metric.
  • The New England Patriots spent $105,110,495 for their 14 wins, an average of $7,507,892.50 per win.
  • The New York Jets spent $86,145,839 on a ten-game-winner, an average of $8,614,583.90 per win.
  • The San Diego Chargers spent $99,782,506 to win 14 games, or $7,127,321.86 per win.
  • The NFC Champion Bears spent $91,648,722 on 15 wins, an average of $6,109,914 per win.
  • The Saints spent $91,021,286 to win 11 games, or $8,274,662.36 on every win.
  • Baltimore and Philadelphia also won a substantial numbers of games, but spent $8,584,365 and $9,531,496 respectively for each win.

From the numbers, we can see that the Saints were not even close to being the best value in the NFL last season, the Chicago Bears were. In fact, the Saints spent more dollars per win than the Colts, who spent the most money of anybody. However, of all the listed teams, only the Jets spent fewer dollars than the Saints. Perhaps this is the most important lesson of the study--of the nine lowest-spending teams, three won at least 10 games, and two others, the Chiefs and Titans, won at least eight. The more interesting--and, for once, less germane to the Saints--study would certainly be the worst NFL value. A superficial glance indicates that the Oakland Raiders' $71,822,140 payroll for 2 wins must be close-to tops.