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Will Kroenke Splash The Cash?

Much has been made of the “Moneyball Approach” that new owner Stan Kroenke has installed at legendary soccer club Arsenal in England.  Arsenal has never been known to pay for the biggest and brightest stars in world soccer even before Kroenke completed his takeover of the club, but now that they have publicly stated their approach, some wonder what it will mean for the team.

There is a lot of confusion about the “Moneyball Approach” as it pertains to non-baseball sports, but the gist of it is that the team will try to exploit market inefficiency.  The Oakland A’s in the book “Moneyball” exploited market inefficiency by picking up players with high on base percentage, which was not yet fully embraced by the baseball community.  In the past, Arsenal have exploited market inefficiency by signing young players from developing countries that a lot of other teams did not know about yet and therefore decreasing the signing fee.

Getting around to the point, will the Rams apply the “Moneyball Approach” to their roster construction now that Stan is the man officially around Rams Park, or will Mr. Kroenke open up his wallet and bring the big names to St. Louis?  The machinations of the NFL differs significiantly from the English soccer leagues and MLB.  First and foremost, there is a salary cap and more importantly a salary floor.  Some reports have the salary floor being over 90% of the salary cap, so NFL teams will have to spend more than cash-strapped MLB teams do.

However, in the last two to three years, the Rams have been unable to sign free agents to huge contracts as their funds were limited by what previous owners Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez had on hand.  Now that the sale is complete to Kroenke who has a seemingly Scrooge McDuck sized fortune on hand, those purse strings will be loosened to an extent.

The Rams are better off splashing the cash for important players at important positions (*cough* Barry Cofield *cough*) while shying away from big name players just to acquire a big name.  The Rams have built the roster correctly through youth and the draft and need to continue down that path while being able to attract slightly better players with larger contract demands to fill in the holes.  Signing players like Owens, Chad Ochocino or Nnamdi Asomugha has not and never will be in the Rams’ plans, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Stan splash the cash for mid range veterans like Quintin Mikell or Cofield, a player of the caliber the Rams would not been able to sign in seasons past.

Stan Kroenke will sign some big checks as the owner of the St. Louis Rams, but all will be smart and within reason, which is the reason he will be a great owner in the NFL.


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