JVM: Quarterbacks

With the first Jahnke Value Model look at a position group, Nathan Jahnke checks out the quarterbacks who outperformed their pay in 2013 as well as those who fell short.

| 3 years ago

JVM: Quarterbacks

2013-JVM-QBIn this series of pieces, Pro Football Focus is exploring 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 Quarterbacks:

(* Denotes player missed significant portion of time through injury)


1. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

In the last few years there has been a wave of young quarterbacks taking the league by storm. The list of undervalued quarterbacks makes this very apparent. Each of these quarterbacks are on their rookie deal so they aren’t making much, but they’ve shown themselves to be worth a lot more. Topping the list is Wilson. While he doesn’t have many 300-yard games or three-plus touchdown outings, he is one of the more consistent quarterbacks week in and week out.

2013 Cap Hit: $700k
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $15.5m
Value Differential: +$14.8m

2. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

Tannehill is another quarterback from the 2012 draft class and after a decent rookie year he showed signs of improvement his second season. The biggest difference for Tannehill from Year 1 to Year 2 was his bad games as a sophomore weren’t as bad as his bad games the year before. While he hasn’t worked his way up into the elite tier of quarterbacks yet, he is trending in that direction and will one day receive his payday.

2013 Cap Hit: $2.9m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $15.3m
Value Differential: +$12.4m

3. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals

His inconsistent play might have you tearing your hair out, but when you average out his good and bad play, you still get an average NFL starting quarterback. His home games against the Jets, Colts and Vikings were some of the better quarterback games by anyone this season. On the down side he had a positive passing grade in just six of 16 games this season. Still, NFL teams are willing to pay a lot of money for a quarterback even if they aren’t in the Top 10, and that could very well be the case with Dalton.

2013 Cap Hit: $1.4m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $11.6m
Value Differential: +$10.1m

4. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Luck is the third quarterback from the 2012 draft class on the list, although he doesn’t make it as far up the list as some quarterbacks drafted after him — he was the top overall pick and his cap hit is much higher than those drafted later. Also, while Luck is more consistent then someone like Dalton, when he has a bad game he plays very poorly. This happened against the Dolphins, Rams, Cardinals and Chiefs this year. What helps set him apart is his great ability to get first downs running with the ball.

2013 Cap Hit: $5.0m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $12.8m
Value Differential: +$7.7m

5. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers

Kaepernick was very much hurt in his Jahnke Value Model performance due to a slow start to the season. From Week 1 to Week 4 he had an overall PFF rating of 9.4, while from Week 5 to Week 17 he had an overall PFF rating of +12.1. The NFL has become a league where any quarterback on their second contract is likely getting the money they deserve or more, so the only time a team can find value at the position is in a young starter.

2013 Cap Hit: $1.4m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $8.3m
Value Differential: +$6.9m

6. Josh McCown, CHI – Cap: $600k, JVM: $6.4m, Value Differential: +$5.8m

7. Nick Foles, PHI – Cap: $700k, JVM: $5.9m, Value Differential: +$5.2m

8. Cam Newton, CAR – Cap: $6.0m, JVM: $11.0m, Value Differential: +$5.0m

9. Carson Palmer, ARZ – Cap: $4.0m, JVM: $8.7m, Value Differential: +$4.7m

10. Matt Ryan, ATL – Cap: $9.6m, JVM: $13.5m, Value Differential: +$3.9m



1. Eli Manning, New York Giants

Typically when a veteran quarterback signs a long-term deal, once he gets to the second half of that contract the cap hits are very high. The 2013 season was that point where Manning’s cap hit was at a height while, unfortunately for him, his overall PFF grade was the lowest we’ve seen it. His league-leading 27 interceptions certainly didn’t help. There were quarterbacks worse than Manning over the 2013 season, but when you compare how much money he made to how much he should have, there was no one worse.

2013 Cap Hit: $20.8m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $5.4m
Value Differential: -$15.4m

2. Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

There were only 13 quarterbacks with a higher cap hit than Freeman had with the Buccaneers in the 2013 season. All that Tampa Bay got out of him was three games where his Passer Rating was under 70 and his completion percentage was under 50%. His replacement also saw three games with a Passer Rating under 70, but Glennon had 10 games where it was above that mark. When the Buccaneers would have been just as good off not starting Freeman at all, it’s clear that they received practically no value out of their former starter in 2013.

2013 Cap Hit: $10.3m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $200k
Value Differential: -$10.2m

3. Matt Schaub, Houston Texans

It’s crazy the difference one year can make. Year after year Schaub was rightfully considered an above average starting quarterback, then this year everything went wrong. Over half of his poor grade is due to his game against the 49ers. Not only did he struggle to complete anything downfield, he also had three interceptions on passes that were in the air for 10 yards or less. A lot of times when a player is overvalued, you can put some blame on either injury or a poor decision with a contract. It’s hard to blame the Texans on this one based on his past play.

2013 Cap Hit: $10.8m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $800k
Value Differential: -$9.9m

4. Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles*

This is mostly a case of an injured player losing his starting job. While Vick had a poor start and end to his season, how he played from Weeks 2-5 were respectable. While a full years’ worth of play might not have been enough to live up to $12.2m, it at least would have been enough to drop his value differential considerably.

2013 Cap Hit: $12.2m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $3.1m
Value Differential: -$9.1m

5. Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams*

Bradford’s reason to be on the list is very similar to Vick’s. Limited playing time cost him the opportunity to make a lot more money in the Jahnke Value Model. His best two games of the season were his last two. Even though an entire season might not have been enough to earn Bradford $12.6m, it would have at least gotten him much closer and had him less likely to be in this Top 5.

2013 Cap Hit: $12.6m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $4.2m
Value Differential: -$8.4m

6. Matt Flynn, OAK – Cap: $3.9m, JVM: $500k, Value Differential: -$3.4m

7. Chad Henne, JAX – Cap: $4.6m, JVM: $1.8m, Value Differential: -$2.8m

8. Blaine Gabbert, JAX – Cap: $3.3m, JVM: $500k, Value Differential: -$2.7m

9. Matt Hasselbeck, IND – Cap: $3.5m, JVM: $900k, Value Differential: -$2.6m

10. Matthew Stafford, DET – Cap: $17.8m, JVM: $15.3m, Value Differential: -$2.5m


Follow Nathan on Twitter: @PFF_NateJahnke

| Director of Analytics

Nathan has been with Pro Football Focus since 2010. He is the Director of Analytics, an NFL analyst, and a fantasy writer.

  • Jason Williams

    love this stuff.

  • Jonathan Comey


    • Nathan Jahnke

      Even though Flacco signed his massive contract, his cap hit in 2013 wasn’t that high. It more than doubles in 2014, and then in 2016 roughly doubles again. If he plays the same in 2014 as he did in 2013, he would very likely make the top 5.

  • Rick S.

    This is great, but something that takes away some credibility is that The max value for Luck ($12.8M) is considerably less than the value for Tanneyhill & Wilson ($15+M)… Luck seems like a one man team and closest thing I’ve seen to Elway (80s) in terms of a young QB carrying a team.

    • [email protected]

      Yes, what has Wilson done? Just go 18-25 for 206 and 2TD 0 INt’s and a 123.1 passer rating while his team won the Superbowl. Two of his three wide receivers were undrafted free agents.

      Marshawn Lynch only had 37 yards rushing. Russell Wilson still put up
      36 points in basicly 3 quarters on the same defense that shut down Tom
      Brady 2 weeks before.

      But yes, Luck should be higher than Tannehill.

      • Rick S.

        Wilson is a great player, but he is a cog in a machine. For Indy, Luck is the machine. Luck carries his team and has to take way more chances.

        If Luck played for Seattle, it wouldn’t surprise me if they went undefeated. I guarantee if you surveyed GMs and they could pick any player in the NFL to start a franchise with, Luck would overwhelmingly be either first or second (Rodgers) choice.

        • Hannah Hayes

          I feel that maybe a bit of fan bias is influencing your thoughts on luck.

          • Rick S.

            I’m not a fan of him or the Colts. Like I said he reminds me of Elway in the 80s.

          • [email protected]

            Just like John Elway, except for the whole taking his team to the SuperBowl that Elway did 6 times.

            Russell Wilson is more like Joe Montana: 3rd round pick, went to stacked team with revolutionary coach. Won SuperBowls and played very well doing so. Russell Wilson and Joe Montana both won a Superbowl in their second season.

          • Phil

            And the Guy acting like Wilson is football’s god isn’t biased?

          • [email protected]

            Winning the SuperBowl with a 123 QB rating in your second season puts you in some pretty rarified air.

          • Shrek Jones

            With all due respect, take a look at what Wilson did coming into the Super Bowl, pretty darn pedestrian; Seattle’s strength is their dominating defense…Wilson and their O is asked to not turn the ball over and grind it out on the ground…..the likely reason Wilson had a good statistical game was that Denver decided that Lynch was not going to beat them thus the passing game was more available; WIlson should get better with age but its the defense that butters his bread…Luck is far and away the better QB at this point.

          • [email protected]

            Statistics are for losers. Stop looking at box scores to evaluate players. Go watch his tape he makes plays.

          • Shrek Jones

            YOU brought up his stats for one game, but i guess they dont count when his stats are below average; yes he makes plays but his coaching staff does not trust him much when you look at their game plans…….put him on the Jaguars and he is not making the playoffs

          • [email protected]

            They trust him to bail them out whenever they get in a 3rd and 9 or 2nd and 24.

          • Shrek Jones

            I think he is better that CK in San Fran, but that is what their fans were saying after he converted several of those in the GBay playoff game; BTW i live in Niner country but they outplayed your team for 3.3 quarters until CK started turning the ball over (3) in the 4th qtr………

          • [email protected]

            Russell Wilson played horrible in the last 4 games of the season but i think that was by design. I think either he reeled himself in, or the coaches did. Told him to save it for the playoffs

          • Shrek Jones

            Seriously? HE played poorly on purpose?? Look you have one of the very best rosters in the league no need to hyper-inflate their victory or players……Wilson like Rothlesberger and Eli when they were winning their two rings were carried by their defenses, and made enobuh throws at crtical times to supplement their Ds

          • [email protected]

            He didnt play poorly on purpose, what he did was not go out of his way to try to carry the team like he was doing. Remember they were 11-1 and NO was 9-3 and down a tiebreaker. There was no reason to try to win every game.

          • [email protected]

            The only game in the last 4 they HAD to win was the final game vs the Rams and he played very well in that one.

          • [email protected]

            You probably wont believe this, but i’m 100% convinced they made little effort to win the Arizona game at home. If they win then the final game is meaningless, then they’d have a bye. They’d already blown out Arizona on the road.

          • Shrek Jones

            Scott that is not how things work in the NFL, Wilson had never lost a game in Seattle until the Cards knocked them off…nobody gives away division games especially to an up and coming opponent that has a dynamic new coach…….we got that game here and Wilson was just pedestrian in crunch time; 16 games is not 162 or 82 like the other sports

          • [email protected]

            Turnovers are the number one thing that will win or lose football games, to act like they are an accident or a coincidence is silly. Russell Wilson is very good at not turning the ball over, that is a skill.

          • [email protected]

            The truth is that the Seahawks were 9th in the league in scoring. That is with fewer possesions than any other team. That is an efficient offense.

          • Shrek Jones

            Here you go again quoting me stats, which is it??
            Efficient, conservative, winning football but their defense had plenty to do with many of those scores either directly or mostly indireclty by the turnovers created and the field position given to the Seattle O.

          • [email protected]

            Points scored is a valid stat. Passing yards is bull. People will point out that he didnt have a 300 yard passing game, but he’d throw for 250 and run for 50, that doesnt count?

          • Peter Smith

            I’m just curious, is this an opinion that Luck is better, or do you actually have some stats to back this up…? Maybe instead of saying Luck was a one-man wrecking crew, why not pull up some advanced metrics to make your point? Maybe you should also accept the fact that by “most people’s opinions” Luck had twice the receiving corp than Wilson had… maybe Hilton and crew helped make Luck look better…?? Hmm, bet you never thought of that, did ya? Really, go dig up some stats… give me some numbers. And I recommend you find good ones, so I don’t have to tear ya a new… well, excrement comes out of it. 😉 I have a LOT of stats to definitively prove you are wrong, but I’d love for you to try and prove me wrong first. Balls in your court.

          • Hannah Hayes

            I must have missed that. Where is it again?

  • Sifter

    No surprise the undervalued list is dominated by rookies taken outside the top 5-10 where the contracts start to shrink. That, or backups who surprised eg. McCown. First real name of interest to me is Carson Palmer. Well done Carson!

  • Shrek Jones

    Where did Romo fall on this metric??
    Ryan seems high since he played for a 4-12 team??

    • Hannah Hayes

      We’ll find out when they release the JVMs per team.

    • [email protected]

      As much as Romo is fun to make fun of, he’s a pretty good QB. Dallas would be Jacksonville without Tony Romo. In fact here’s a 2014-15 prediction. Dallas wins at most 1 more game than Jacksonville.

      • Shrek Jones

        Romo would be elite if paired with a better organization/supporting cast…….Romo rocks the Broncos even more than did Wilson inthis past SB……

        • [email protected]

          I’d really like to see that. What he could do with a different team. I’m not sold that he’d be great, or sold that he’d be bad, i’d just like to see it.

          • Shrek Jones

            You are entitled to your opinion, but when we played you early in 2012 if Witten does not drop two TDs down the seam that game would have been quite different as to its outcome….Romo had like 4 passes dropped in that game in critical situations

          • [email protected]

            What are you talking about? Dallas played pretty well in the first half, but Seattle dominated the second half.

  • JWT

    Why can’t we see the Dree Brees, Payton Manning, Tom Brady’s values… No elite QB’s in here.