Jaidyn Stephenson and Atu Bosenavulagi escape from Collingwood

Perhaps the story of this trade period is the seeming fire sale held for a bunch of Collingwood’s most prominent players. Of the numerous players talked about, two (including one not previously mentioned) finally have made their way to a new club.

Jaidyn Stephenson’s 2018 was extraordinarily good. Kicking a goal and a half a game as a fresh draftee, and playing every game in a grand finalist side is truly rare air. He wouldn’t be the first player to not live up to the standards of a phenomenal first season, but he’s still clearly a really good player despite some road bumps.

His 2019 was interrupted by his own stupidity, as he was suspended for ten games for betting on his own matches. That is something which in many sports would have drawn a ban for match fixing counted in years, not weeks. However, up to that point, he at least matched his output from his debut season and even upped his scoring rate.

His 2020 was not as good, perhaps impacted by his off-season bout of glandular fever or by the pressures of pandemic hub life.

And now, probably due to salary squeeze, the former number 6 draft pick has been more or less forced out of Collingwood:

Stephenson will obviously slot in at a rebuilding North as one of their best players and, assuming he doesn’t repeat some of his bad off-field decisions, could be a lynchpin of their rebuild in future years. His age fits that project perfectly.

With his mix of form, a stellar debut and two troubled seasons, the HPN Salary Prediction tool shows that he’s currently only produced near the minimum of the potential shown in his debut. Indeed, while based on optimism, the $600,000 reported salary Collingwood are reportedly shedding was far from indefensible.

Then there’s Atu Bosenavulugi. With just 3 games under his belt, the 20 year midfielder/forward has little value in HPN’s main PAPLEY projections and as a number 77 draft pick was a cheap flyer of a selection to begin with.

However, as shown above, extrapolated out to a full season he’s at least plausibly worth something to a club. His minimal projected value is largely what keeps this trade looking reasonably fair:

Stephenson still projects as worth around pick 7, even with two interrupted seasons influencing the data. If his future looks more like his first 40 games rather than the interrupted period since then, he could easily outperform this projection.

As well as Bosenavulagi’s likely underrating here, the later pick swaps also serve to somewhat balance out the deal, as Collingwood get back two quite usable picks and a marginal one, for Stephenson and one lower pick.

As a salary dump, this is as good as could be expected.

Verdict: Somewhat fair trade, but only because Stephenson had a bad year and Bosenavulagi has no real projected value at this point. Even then, North have all the upside in this cap dump trade.

Note: This post is part of a series of posts using a valuation method called Player Approximate Value (PAV) to evaluate trades for fairness and balance. Readers can explore these values with tools such as 5-year player value projection charts and a Salary Prediction tool as well as the HPN Trade Calculator to evaluate potential trades.

Elsewhere, read much more about the method and theory behind PAVExpressing the value of players and picks in terms of expected future PAV provides a common currency for comparing them in trades and other movements. Players are projected using PAPLEY, a method to derive expected future PAVs.

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