JVM: San Diego Chargers
The Chargers' JVM went from -15.2 million last offseason to +600k this offseason. Scott Hanson takes a look at why their value improved so much from 2013 to 2014.
JVM: San Diego Chargers
In this series of pieces, Pro Football Focus is hammering into the value of players. To us it’s a “Janke 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 San Diego Chargers:
(* Denotes player missed significant portion of time through injury)
1. Danny Woodhead, Running Back
Darren who? The Chargers finally replaced a position they’d been sorely missing after the departure of Darren Sproles. Woodhead served as the shifty, reliable passing-down threat that came through time and time again. Woodhead posted the sixth highest overall grade among running backs and scored nine total touchdowns. Philip Rivers used him as a safety valve very effectively in their first season together.
2013 Cap Hit: $1.25m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $7.85m
Value Differential: +$6.5m
2. Keenan Allen, Wide Receiver
Starting the year out as the team’s fourth wide receiver, Allen quickly climbed the depth chart due to a series of injuries. He immediately stepped up when given the opportunity and proved a legitimate no. 1 receiver in just his rookie season. Catching over 70% of his targets, (71-of-101) Allen gained over 1,000 yards despite starting the year out with a limited role. His future with the Chargers is extremely bright.
2013 Cap Hit: $560k
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $7.0m
Value Differential: +$6.4m
3. King Dunlap, Left Tackle
In the offseason, much was made over the competition between veteran Max Starks and King Dunlap for the starting left tackle spot. Dunlap won the job convincingly, and became one of the best run blocking left tackles in the league. Dunlap held his own in pass protection as well, providing Philip Rivers with far more stability in the pocket than he had in 2012.
2013 Cap Hit: $1.8m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $6.4m
Value Differential: +$4.6m
4. Ladarius Green, TE – Cap: $600k, JVM: $4.2m, Value Differential: +$3.6m
5. Philip Rivers, QB – Cap: $13.8m, JVM: $17m, Value Differential: +$3.2m
6. Michael Harris, LT – Cap: $360k, JVM: $2.1m, Value Differential: +$1.7m
7. Lawrence Guy, DL – Cap: $340k, JVM: $1.75m, Value Differential: +$1.4m
8. Marcus Gilchrist, S – Cap: $1.1m, JVM: $2.2m, Value Differential: +$1.1m
9. Sean Lissemore, DL – Cap: $630k, JVM: $1.65m, Value Differential: +$1.0m
10. Willie Smith, LT – Cap: $200k, JVM: $900k, Value Differential: +$700k
1. Jeromey Clary, Right Guard
Not sure why Clary ever had such a contract to begin with. He had yet another rough season, this time serving as the starting right guard after a career at tackle. Clary did an adequate job in pass protection, but he was dominated quite regularly as a run blocker. His -19.8 run block grade was third worst among NFL guards last season.
2013 Cap Hit: $5.7m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $700k
Value Differential: -$5.0m
2. Antonio Gates, Tight End
Age and nagging injuries seem to have caught up with Gates. Clearly moving slower than in past years, Gates still managed to post respectable receiving numbers, but he’s definitely on the decline. However, the Chargers appear to have a capable understudy in the form of Ladarius Green. Another supremely athletic pass-catching tight end, Green may soon be counted on to fill the role that Gates excelled in for so long.
2013 Cap Hit: $6.85m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $2.85m
Value Differential: -$4.0m
3. Le’Ron McClain, Fullback
It’s tough to get a $3.1m value out of a fullback in this day and age. Especially when your role becomes limited to 134 regular season snaps. McClain did achieve a marginally positive grade, but he just didn’t factor much into San Diego’s offense in 2013. Mike McCoy’s scheme doesn’t require a whole lot from the fullback position, so this wasn’t the best value for the team.
2013 Cap Hit: $3.1m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $900k
Value Differential: -$3.2m
4. Jarret Johnson, OLB – Cap: $4.5m, JVM: $2.5m, Value Differential: -$2.0m
5. Melvin Ingram, OLB* – Cap: $1.9m, JVM: $100k, Value Differential: -$1.8m
6. Mike Scifres, P – Cap: $3.8m, JVM: $2.05m, Value Differential: -$1.75m
7. Larry English, OLB – Cap: $2.45m, JVM: $800k, Value Differential: -$1.65m
8. Dwight Freeney, OLB* – Cap: $3.6m, JVM: $2.1m, Value Differential: -$1.5m
9. Malcom Floyd, WR* – Cap: $2.65m, JVM: $1.25m, Value Differential: -$1.4m
10. Derek Cox, CB – Cap: $2.1m, JVM: $700k, Value Differential: -$1.4m
Summary – Team Value Differential: +$600k
Overall, the Chargers got a pretty even return on their investments from last season. Finishing 9-7 and making an impressive run at the end of the season, Chargers fans should be happy with GM Tom Telesco’s start. In 2012, the team had a -$15.2m value differential, so 2013 marked quite a bit of progress. Of the 66 players that played last season, 28 of them finished with values within $140k of their cap hit. Philip Rivers managed to outplay his high cap number, and factored enormously in the Chargers’ offensive success.
Players like Dwight Freeney and Melvin Ingram could have turned their values around had it not been for unfortunate injuries. Going into next season, San Diego has some good foundational pieces to build upon, and fans will be expecting continued improvement in year two of the new regime.
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