JVM: Philadelphia Eagles
John Breitenbach highlights the Eagles most over- and under-valued players based on their play in 2013 as compared to their cap hits.
JVM: Philadelphia Eagles
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 Philadelphia Eagles:
(* Denotes player missed significant portion of time through injury)
1. LeSean McCoy, Running Back
McCoy was so good this year he made his six-year $45 million contract he signed last offseason look like an absolute bargain. The Pitt alum finished a full +8.8 higher than any other running back this season. Even his poor blocking (-4.2) couldn’t take away from a season where McCoy established himself as the best back in the league. McCoy’s +27.5 rushing grade was the second best we’ve handed out since 2008. From a pure statistical standpoint, his 2.4 yards after contact on average aren’t elite but that doesn’t take into account the times when he’s left defenders grabbing at air. Not only a threat in the run game, McCoy and the Eagles’ athletic offensive line picked up yardage for fun in the screen game.
2013 Cap Hit: $4.95m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $14.25m
Value Differential: +$9.3m
2. Jason Kelce, Center
Kelce showed a glimpse of what was to come in 2012 when he picked up a +4.5 grade in just 138 snaps. A season‐ending knee injury cut his year short but, fully recovered, Kelce was able to respond with the highest grade of any center in the league in 2013 (+18.9). That was even with one of the worst performances we’ve ever seen in Week 5 against the Giants with a -7.9 grade. While he’s not the best pass blocker Kelce’s athleticism lets him get to the second level with ease. He’s not the biggest guy but his quickness enables him to get position on stronger defensive tackles in the Eagles’ zone blocking scheme. Kelce will be sticking around for a while too with the six-year $37.5 million deal he signed a week ago.
2013 Cap Hit: $584k
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $9.1m
Value Differential: +$8.5m
3. Brandon Boykin, Cornerback
Boykin had a solid rookie season after being drafted in the fourth round in 2012. The Georgia product had a tough buildup to the draft, suffering a broken leg in the senior bowl, which led to him slipping a couple of rounds. That injury perhaps influenced him as a rookie but Boykin looked a new player this season. He finished with the highest coverage grade of any corner, allowing a QB rating of just 64.6. That grade come on just 635 so could have been even better had he in the Eagles base defense as well. The coaches were unwilling to use him on the outside but with his potential and play‐making ability it’s got to be difficult to keep him off the field. That play‐making ability was huge as Boykin personally sealed a couple of games in 2013. The scary part is Boykin’s only in his second year; surely the only way is up.
2013 Cap Hit: $587k
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $8.8m
Value Differential: +$8.2m
4. Evan Mathis, G – Cap: $4.0m, JVM: $10.0m, Value Differential: +$6.0m
5. Cedric Thornton, DL – Cap: $560k, JVM: $5.9m, Value Differential: +$5.4m
6. Nick Foles, QB – Cap: $661k, JVM: $5.9m, Value Differential: +$5.2m
7. Zach Ertz, TE – Cap: $978k, JVM: $5.0m, Value Differential: +4.0m
8. Trent Cole, ED – Cap: $5.4m, JVM: $9.2m, Value Differential: +$3.8m
9. Fletcher Cox, DL – Cap: $2.3m, JVM: $4.7m, Value Differential: +$2.4m
10. Riley Cooper, WR – Cap: $678k, JVM: $3.0m, Value Differential: +$2.3m
1. Michael Vick, Quarterback
The numbers looked good for Vick early in the season but his performances left much to be desired. Poor location led to a number of missed opportunities and Vick failed to show the deep accuracy which made him so dangerous in years past. While he’s still a threat with his legs, poor decision making and durability once again cost Vick in the end. The Eagles’ offense proved to be efficient regardless of its’ quarterback’s capacity to run the option leaving the Week 1 starter on the outside looking in. It will be interesting to see what his value is as he hits the free agent market but it would be surprising if he finds a lot of teams vying for his services.
2013 Cap Hit: $12.2m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $3.1m
Value Differential: ‐$906k
2. Demeco Ryans, Inside Linebacker
After a solid year shedding block after block behind the Wide-9, it seemed Ryans would appreciate being freed up as the Eagles moved to a two‐gap 3‐4. Not so, as the former Texan found himself stuck on blocks with more frequency than he’d have liked. Ultimately he finished with a Run Stop Percentage of just 7.5, good enough for only 28 out of 40 qualifying inside linebackers. It was difficult for Ryans in coverage too, allowing a 94.1 QB rating. To cap everything off he really struggled to generate anything as a pass rusher (-9.1) finishing last in that department at his position a good -5.0 below anyone else. Billy Davis’ scheme was unusual in that it used the inside linebackers frequently on the blitz so it’s an area Ryans will need to improve going forward.
2013 Cap Hit: $6.7m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $825k
Value Differential: ‐$5.9m
3. James Casey, Tight End
Casey looked a good signing when the Eagles signed him from the Texans last offseason. The coaching staff in Houston was criticized for underutilizing Casey and it seemed as if he was the perfect fit for Kelly’s versatile offense. However, plans seemed to change with Zach Ertz dropping to the Eagles’ pick in the second round. It was the duo of Ertz and Brent Celek who got the vast majority of snaps (864 and 459 respectively) while Casey was forced to watch on (157). Casey did well when he was on the field, especially in the run game (+2.8) and it may be the Eagles use him more as a run blocker in the future. Celek struggled in that department in 2012 but improved significantly (+3.7) last season. Ertz, meanwhile, had some issues in that department (+1.2) but is primarily on the team for his receiving ability (+6.7).
2013 Cap Hit: $4.0m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $1.1m
Value Differential: ‐$2.9
4. Isaac Sopoaga, DL – Cap: $3.2m, JVM: $412k, Value Differential: -$2.8m
5. Patrick Chung, S – Cap: $3.0m, JVM: $700k, Value Differential: -$2.3m
6. Jason Avant, WR – Cap: $2.7m, JVM: $825k, Value Differential: -$1.9m
7. DeSean Jackson, WR – Cap: $9.0m, JVM: $7.1m, Value Differential: -$1.9m
8. Cary Williams, CB – Cap: $2.4m, JVM: $700k, Value Differential: -$1.7m
9. Mychael Kendricks, LB – Cap: $1.0m, JVM: $465k, Value Differential: -$550k
10. Kurt Coleman, S – Cap: $1.1m, JVM: $685k, Value Differential: -$431k
Summary – Team Value Differential 2013 Cap: +$37.0m
The one thing you can say consistently about the Eagles is they’re never short of cap room. Since Joe Banner took over the finances have always been in order but ultimately going too far with that frugality might have cost him his job in the end. Howie Roseman may have gone crazy in the uncapped season but his first free agency foray with Kelly was very much marked by conservatism. The future’s bright in Philadelphia with so many youngsters outperforming their rookie deals but can they sustain it?
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