The error occurred during a discussion on Cleveland Browns QB Brady Quinn, who the Browns traded up* to pick in 2007. Lombardi suggested the Browns might think about drafting a new QB this year.
*It cost them a 2007 second-rounder and 2008 first-rounder.
Simmons--interjecting that the VP of Common Sense had to step in--said that he didn't think that would be a good idea:
I think it's too early to give up on Brady Quinn. I just don't think he played enough. And I still like him, I like the way he carries himself. I'm not willing to write him off yet, especially after all they gave up for him.
That may be the "common sense" decision, but it's not the economically smart one.
The investment to draft Quinn, as anyone who has taken Econ 101 can tell you, is a sunk cost. You've already traded the picks and can't recoup them, so they should not weigh on how you make any decisions. It makes no sense to keep playing Quinn in the future just because you paid a lot to get him in the past.
Simmons comments, though, highlight one of the problems with basic economic models -- they assume people are rational. In this case, there are plenty of people that, just like Simmons, would have too much pride or emotional attachment in a past decision to recognize these investments are sunk costs and that it makes economic sense to move on. In economic theory, this sounds stupid, but in practice, it happens all the time. For instance, haven't you ever sat through a movie you hated just because you bought a ticket to it?
Maybe this needs to be required reading.