Pro Football Focus evaluated players based on their cap hit. Essentially, did they outperform their salary or did they underachieve?
Of the top 10 undervalued Rams, five of them were rookies. Not included on that list was Janoris Jenkins, likely because his early season coverage struggles.
The most interesting undervalued name is safety Quintin Mikell. Mikell, earning $4.7 million, finished with 101 tackles, three sacks, and four forced fumbles. Whether or not the Rams retain Mikell is unknown considering cutting him would save $9 million against the cap for next season.
Overall, 36 players earned positive values and 23 received negative values. That number is somewhat misleading for a number of reasons:
- The Rams had the youngest roster in the NFL last season, so many receiving the league minimum easily over achieved.
- The Rams have held way too many top picks in the draft prior to the rookie wage scale.
The Rams most overvalued player was Chris Long. While Long did have 74 quarterback disruptions, he also picked up the 3rd worst grade among defensive lineman in the run game. Long earned $18.6 million and PFF rated his value at $5.8 million. Ouch … and his new 5-year, $60 million contract kicks in this season.
Bradford was the last #1 overall pick to avoid the rookie wage scale implemented into the new CBA.
More concerning was his overall play. PFF rated him as the 23rd best QB in 2012. Bradford apologists: start your engines. It’s well documented how I feel about Sam.
Steven Jackson rushed for 1,042 yards, but he only scored 4 touchdowns, hurting his overall production grade. It’s fairly obvious Jackson is not worth over $10 million a year anymore, and that’s why he’s no longer under contract.
Of the 10 most overvalued Rams, five signed as free agents — something every team deals with. With the free agency period opening next Tuesday, teams should take a look at how free agents typically pan out. Put simply: not as planned.
Cortland Finnegan, Scott Wells, Kendall Langford, Steve Smith, and Harvey Dahl all found their names in the top 10. Even though all four of those guys (excluding Smith) had reputable seasons, outperforming a loaded free agent contract is almost impossible.
When news broke that the Kansas City Chiefs re signed Dwayne Bowe, the pool of wide outs took a major hit. Bowe, 28, was no doubt the best WR available. Though his numbers have diminished since his 15 TD receptions in 2010, Bowe was by far the most coveted receiver.