In this series of pieces, Pro Football Focus is hammering into the value of players. To us it’s a “Jahnke Value Model” number, telling you what players were worth (by our grading) in 2013. You can read about the work we’ve done to create it here, but in short:
• It’s solely about what a player did on the field in 2013
• Players are grouped by positions so their play essentially earns them a portion of the positional salary pool
• It’s all about cap hits (these values are approximate)
Here are 2013′s most undervalued and overvalued Kansas City Chiefs:
(* Denotes player missed significant portion of time through injury)
1. Justin Houston, Left Outside Linebacker
If you have been keeping up with the Jahnke Value Model articles over the past two weeks, you’ve seen stories like this before. Justin Houston is one of the best players at his position while playing on his rookie contract. Anytime you find that combination you have a very undervalued player. Over his first two years in the league he had a slump at some point of the season, but in his third year he was able to put it all together. He never had a game with a grade below -0.5, and had a few games where he was dominant.
2013 Cap Hit: $700k
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $11.1m
Value Differential: +$10.4m
2. Jamaal Charles, Halfback
In 2009 and 2010, Charles was among the best running backs in the league. The Chiefs didn’t hesitate to sign Charles to a five-year extension. Looking back, the Chiefs got a bargain at the price they are paying him. In 2013 he averaged 4.9 yards per carry which is difficult to do on over 250 carries. He also made a big impact in the pass game where he had seven touchdowns and 22 players miss tackles on him which led the league for backs in both categories. While Charles’ cap hit increases in each of the next two years, if he keeps playing at this high level the Chiefs will continue to get a deal.
2013 Cap Hit: $4.3m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $10.4m
Value Differential: +$6.1m
3. Dontari Poe, Nose Tackle
One of the biggest surprises of the 2013 season was the improvement of Poe. He was a great run stuffer with 30 run stops which was fourth most for all nose or defensive tackles. He was noticed for his pass rushing early in the season with four sacks over the first two games. While he only had one sack the rest of the season, he continued to consistently get a few pressures per game. Because he was a high draft pick, his rookie deal was worth more than most players. Still, Poe became one of the better defensive tackles in the league and one day will get paid as such.
2013 Cap Hit: $2.6m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $7.9m
Value Differential: +$5.3m
4. Geoff Schwartz, Offensive Lineman – Cap: $700k, JVM: $5.4m, Value Differential: +$4.7m
5. Derrick Johnson, ILB – Cap: $3.5m, JVM: $8.2m, Value Differential: +$4.7m
6. Mike Devito, DE – Cap: $2.3m, JVM: $5.1m, Value Differential: +$2.8m
7. Akeem Jordan, ILB – Cap: $600k, JVM: $3.3m, Value Differential: +$2.7m
8. Anthony Sherman, FB – Cap: $600k, JVM: $3.2m, Value Differential: +$2.6m
9. Rodney Hudson, C – Cap: $1.0m, JVM: $2.6m, Value Differential: +$1.6m
10. Husain Abdullah, S – Cap: $600k, JVM: $2.1m, Value Differential: +$1.6m
1. Branden Albert, Left Tackle
Whenever you are given the franchise tag, you are paid like one of the best players at your position. If you look solely at pass protection, Albert was among the best. His Pass Blocking Efficiency of 96.2 was tied for fourth-best among all tackles. The problem is a lot of the best tackles in the league are also strong in run blocking, while Albert has been below average. His nine penalties were among the Top 10 for offensive tackles, and missing four games hurt his value as well. He certainly deserves a decent contract going forward, but not one where he averages nearly $10m per year.
2013 Cap Hit: $9.8m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $3.5m
Value Differential: -$6.3m
2. Brandon Flowers, Cornerback
Year after year, Flowers has been among the best cornerbacks in the game so it’s no surprise that his cap hit was so high in 2013. Part of the problem is the Chiefs tried to move him to slot cornerback in their nickel and dime defense. He also had a lot of trouble trying to cover Dez Bryant early in the season and allowed two long touchdowns to Eric Decker later on in the season. On the year, when quarterbacks threw to the receiver Flowers was covering, they had a passer rating of 101.6. That all adds up to a season to forget.
2013 Cap Hit: $6.6m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $700k
Value Differential: -$5.9m
3. Tamba Hali, Right Outside Linebacker
The way Hali’s contract was set up, his cap hit was highest this year even though he is in the middle of his contract. Therefore, the only way Hali would have broken even in value differential is if he played like one of the best two pass rushers in the league. He had a great season with a Pass Rushing Productivity of 12.2 and 77 total pressures, but there were a few pass rushers that were more impressive. It was obviously a very good year for Hali, just not good enough to live up to his cap hit.
2013 Cap Hit: $15.5m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $10.3m
Value Differential: -$5.2m
4. Tyson Jackson, DE – Cap: $7.4m, JVM: $3.6m, Value Differential: -$3.8m
5. Eric Fisher, RT– Cap: $4.0m, JVM: $600k, Value Differential: $-3.4m
6. Alex Smith, QB – Cap: $8.5m, JVM: $6.2m, Value Differential: -$2.3m
7. Dunta Robinson, CB – Cap: $2.7m, JVM: $800k, Value Differential: -$1.9m
8. Anthony Fasano, TE – Cap: $2.4m, JVM: $800k, Value Differential: -$1.6m
9. Sean Smith, CB – Cap: $3.0m, JVM: $1.6m, Value Differential: -$1.4m
10. Donnie Avery, WR – Cap: $1.8m, JVM: $700k, Value Differential: -$1.1m
Summary – Team Value Differential: +$10.4m
The Chiefs were a very interesting team to examine using the Jahnke Value Model. There are a number of teams that have fewer than 10 players undervalued by $1.0m or more, while Kansas City had 13. Most teams also have at least one player who is very overvalued due to missing half of the season or more, but the Chiefs stayed relatively healthy this year. The majority of their overvalued players were those who signed contracts last year which isn’t a good sign. It all added up to the Chiefs being a little above average in terms of their team value differential.
Follow Nathan on Twitter: @PFF_NateJahnke