Marquise Goodwin went from being an under-performing receiver with little else to offer but speed with the Buffalo Bills to a potential breakout star for the San Francisco 49ers, and all it took was one season with head coach Kyle Shanahan and a trade for a franchise quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo. Goodwin’s 2017 season, especially the back half of it, was remarkable, and the team recognized that by giving him a contract extension this offseason.
Last year though, he represented a pretty good value for his contract and the production he managed. Stats wizard Chase Stuart of Football Perspective took a look at wide receiver production vs. their salary cap number for 2017, and Goodwin places pretty well on the list, despite catching passes from Brian Hoyer and C.J. Beathard for most of the season.
Stuart is also using a receiving model that awards bonus yards for touchdowns and bonus yards for receptions, and he weighs that against the cap, coming up with a number to represent the overall “value” of a player. Michael Thomas of the New Orleans Saints comes in on top, with a cap hit of just $1.16 million and 1,245 yards for a value number of 2.58.
Tavon Austin of the Los Angeles Rams, with a hilarious cap hit of $14.98 million, comes in at 89th, last among eligible receivers using this model with a value of minus-3.99. Goodwin, though, fits nicely with a value of 0.97, 20th out of 89 players.
It’s pretty great seeing Goodwin break out, and I’m excited to see what he can do going forward. It’s also interesting to consider the angle of Goodwin succeeding after just one season with Shanahan, an offensive-minded coach who felt strongly about Goodwin before acquiring him.
Jenn recently posted that video of Shanahan talking to media for about an hour, and also provided timestamps. I think when Shanahan is asked how satisfying it is to go after someone like Goodwin, successfully turn him around and see him develop provided a great answer from Shanahan.
“It makes me real happy for him, too,” Shanahan said. “It’s something you try and do for players all the time. And it gets easier the longer you coach. I was a coordinator for nine years. I’ve been through a lot of different teams with a lot of different players. And it’s nice when you have that experience, when you can talk to guys, and you can bring up guys from the past, what you did with certain players [to get the most out of them]. Whether it was in Washington, Atlanta, Cleveland or Houston, to show how each player should have a certain type of skillset. And usually when you have that, you can sell stuff to guys because they know what you’re talking about. They remember that or they’ve seen it before, so that always helps. When they do it, it helps your team a lot because once they do do it, everyone else sees that they can do it. Now that they’re on your team, the value is more appreciative and they appreciate you for it and it’s easier to keep them.”
Shanahan will get flack here and there for having “his guys,” and being adamant about them. But Goodwin is proof that it can work. It sure would be nice to see a similar story with Jerick McKinnon in 2018.