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Rich Graessle Giants running back Saquon Barkley.
NFL teams consulting with artificial intelligence to figure out how much they should pay players
The system has thus far determined that running backs are often overpaid by millions of dollars.

NFL FRANCHISES ARE working with an artificial intelligence programme in a bid to ascertain how much they should actually be paying their players.

The Wall Street Journal reports that an analytics company owned by former pro football player and current Sunday Night Football co-commentator Cris Collinsworth is testing a system which generates recommendations regarding player salaries for all 32 NFL teams.

Pro Football Focus (PFF) also work with over 60 college football teams to analyse data on player performance, which is useful for both tactics and recruitment.

NFL: Pro Hall of Fame Game-Chicago Bears at Baltimore Ravens SIPA USA / PA Images Former NFL player and current broadcaster, Chris Collinsworth. SIPA USA / PA Images / PA Images

PFF is now developing a salary-analysis system which aims to determine how valuable a player is in terms of both performance and compensation.

The company aims to project what a player’s value is based on both historical stats — such as dropped passes that were considered catchable or completed passes that had a high level of difficulty — as well as what a player’s future performance might resemble based on his past trends.

A specially developed algorithm that uses AI and machine-learning then assigns a financial value to each player’s potential, per The Journal.

So far, PFF’s system has found running backs to be both overrated and overpaid in the region of millions of dollars. Though a marquee position in the league which has produced a sizeable proportion of American football’s bona fide stars over the years, PFF has found that running backs are overvalued when one takes into consideration that their impact tends to rely on the strength of the team overall as opposed to the individual player in question.

If NFL franchises were to widely adopt PFF’s AI for salary recommendations, it would likely mean pay cuts for running backs down the line.

“Our goal is to answer the question, ‘what wins in the NFL’, whether it be at the player level or the game level,” George Chahrouri, PFF’s director of research of development, told Business Insider.

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“It comes down to a number game with a dollar sign in front of it at the end of the day, because if you’re paying players who aren’t going to win or contribute to winning football games, you’re obviously going to be an unsuccessful team.

“What it has brought, in my perspective, is the ability to not overexaggerate or underexaggerate things, to more properly weigh the components of football players that may have been swept under the rug.”

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