Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith was recently reported as having said that he considers Connor Barwin one of his core players. Barwin's people will supposedly meet with the Texans' brass in Indianapolis during the Combine to begin or reestablish discussions about a new contract.
What's most interesting to me is what Smith said about Barwin. The eighth year general manager has said before that he uses former General Electric CEO Jack Welch's business philosophy of 20/70/10. It's explained here by Peter King in an interview with Smith from June of last year.
GE boss Jack Welch's 20-70-10 philosophy: the top 20 percent of your employees are standouts and must be nurtured. The majority, the 70 percent, are the working class -- needed but still able to move if the right situation arises. The lowest 10 percent have to be churned and replaced, because a company always is looking for ways to get better by importing new blood. "If you have a 53-man roster, maybe you've got 10 or 11 core players,'' Smith said, "and then 25 to 30 role players, and then you're always looking to churn the bottom of the roster.''
I know Smith's philosophy has been discussed here before, but it's worth discussing again as we move into yet another offseason. For Smith to name Barwin as one of his "core players" is pretty significant.
I thought the Texans would let Barwin walk without much of a fight, like Mario Williams did last year. By keeping emotion out of the equation, Smith hasn't been afraid to let key players go before. Along with Williams, DeMeco Ryans and Eric Winston found themselves outside of the 20% last year and played elsewhere in 2012, but their respective fill-ins left much to be desired. Perhaps the lack of readily available replacements increases Barwin's value in Smith's eyes?
Do you believe Barwin is a top 10 player according to the 20/70/10 model? Is fellow free-agent-to-be Glover Quin on this list? Here's my list in order of importance to the team:
1. Matt Schaub
2. Duane Brown
3. Andre Johnson
4. J.J. Watt
5. Brian Cushing
6. Chris Myers
7. Johnathan Joseph
8. Antonio Smith
9. Arian Foster
10. Glover Quin
11. Connor Barwin? Danieal Manning? Shiloh Keo??!
In today's NFL, I believe the two most important aspects of a football team are the passing game and stopping the opponent's passing game. My list reflects that. Barwin would've been a bit higher after 2011, but his decreased numbers in 2012 put him on the cusp this year.
What's your 20% list, BRB? Leave it in the comments!