Interesting take on the DeSean Jaccson situation from Neil Paine of FiveThirtyEight, who looked at a stat called Approximate Value and found every receiver since 1970 who went to a new team after having an AV of 10 or higher. What Paine discovered was that those receivers typically experienced a sharper decline in productivity the following season than receivers who didn’t go to a new team:
The average receiver on the above list was 28.5 years old and posted 11.5 receiving AV in the last year with his former team. The following season, these receivers averaged 7.1 receiving AV, for a decline of 4.4 AV.
As a control group, I also looked at wide receivers who had at least 10 receiving AV in a season and didn’t change teams. Their average age in the first year was 27.5, and they put up 11.8 receiving AV. The following season, they produced 9 receiving AV on average — a decline of only 2.8 AV.
There’s probably a selective sampling effect here — teams don’t tend to let these guys go for no reason — but it doesn’t matter, because Jackson fits that trend. Whatever the reason for leaving, it’s clear that good receivers who change addresses in the offseason see more of a regression than the typical pass-catcher coming off a strong season.
Basically, receivers who go to a new team after a stellar season are more likely to fall back to Earth than receivers who don’t switch teams. Whether that’s a result of a new system or because the player was moved for a specific (negative) reason isn’t known. But whatever the reason, the numbers say take the under on DeSean in Washington.
H/T to reader Kevin