JVM: Cincinnati Bengals
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 Cincinnati Bengals:
(* Denotes player missed significant portion of time through injury)
1. Andy Dalton, Quarterback
The Bengals’ oft-criticized signal caller sits atop this list, and third on the quarterback JVM list. Dalton went through massive peaks and staggering valleys, but when you sum him up, he’s in the middle of the pack. His averageness is apparent in his overall grade (17th), PFF QB Rating (14th), and Accuracy Percentage (11th). The peaks and valleys show up in Deep Passing accuracy (eigth) and Under Pressure Accuracy (22nd). You get the picture. In the NFL, average quarterbacks can make a whole lot of money (Matt Schaub, recently considered above-average, made $10.8 million last year). Despite his tribulations, Dalton is a bargain at $1.4m.
2013 Cap Hit: $1.4m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $11.5m
Value Differential: +$10.1m
2. Giovani Bernard, Halfback
Another second-round pick, Bernard electrified the NFL in his rookie season. He was a dynamic receiver, racking up a good amount of his value via a +10.6 regular season grade, third among halfbacks in that category. As we mentioned in the halfback JVM piece, Bernard isn’t expected to make more than $1.7m million over the course of his rookie contract. He stayed strong over the course of the season, finishing with positive grades in every running back category, and could actually gain value in the next few years if he gets a few more carries in lieu of BenJarvus Green-Ellis if that’s where Hue Jackson takes the offense.
2013 Cap Hit: $955k
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $7.2m
Value Differential: +$6.3m
3. Marvin Jones, Wide Receiver
Despite playing only 555 snaps in 2013, Jones sits third on the Bengals’ undervalued list and fifth on the wide receiver list. He was targeted on 20.4% of his routes, in the same ballpark as Demaryius Thomas and Marques Colston. He scored 10 touchdowns on those limited opportunities, propelling him to fifth in our WR Rating metric. Making that all the more impressive is that the rest of the Top 10 in WR Rating had higher-graded QBs throwing them the ball. Jones is a bonafide No. 2 target in the Cincinnati offense, and with two years on his contract (that total $1.2 million), more playing time should see him repeat on the undervalued list.
2013 Cap Hit: $526k
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $5.7m
Value Differential: +$5.2m
4. Vontaze Burfict, LB – Cap: $485k, JVM: $5.6m, Value Differential: +$5.1m
5. Andrew Whitworth, LT – Cap: $6.7m, JVM: $9.6m, Value Differential: +$2.9m
6. Vincent Rey, LB – Cap: $635k, JVM: $3.4m, Value Differential: +$2.8m
7. Clint Boling, LG – Cap: $680k, JVM: $2.7m, Value Differential: +$2.0m
8. James Harrison, LB – Cap: $2.4m, JVM: $4.2m, Value Differential: +$1.9m
9. Adam Jones, CB – Cap: $1.6m, JVM: $3.4m, Value Differential: +$1.8m
10. George Iloka, S – Cap: $525k, JVM: $2.2m, Value Differential: +$1.6m
1. Andre Smith, Right Tackle
In 2012, Andre Smith was the best right tackle in football, and the fourth-best tackle overall according to our grades. In 2013, he still earned a positive grade and was the 20th-best tackle by our rankings (seventh -est right tackle), but compared to the rest of the league, he slipped. As a right tackle earning a nice payday for his 2012 play, he couldn’t quite live up to his cap hit. Considering that the top-performing right tackle in 2013 wasn’t even worth Smith’s cap number, it was always going to be tough for the highest-paid player at that position to be worth his contract.
2013 Cap Hit: $7.3m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $2.5m
Value Differential: –$4.7m
2. Domata Peko, Defensive Tackle
Peko signed a seven-year deal in 2008 worth $30.3 million. Not all of that was guaranteed money, but the Bengals gave their big defensive leader a handsome paycheck for production that’s never really been quite up to snuff. Going into a contract year at age 29, Peko might need to step it up to bring in another big contract. He consistently graded in the red in 2013, taking up space but not effectively controlling his blockers in the running game or getting much of a pass rush. He’s a leader and has all the intangibles, but his tape in 2013 wasn’t impressive considering the contract.
2013 Cap Hit: $5.1m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $825k
Value Differential: -$4.3m
3. Leon Hall*, Cornerback
One of the tragedies of the Bengals’ 2013 season was Leon Hall’s second Achilles injury. He only played four full games before going down with the injury against the Lions in Week 7. Among the league’s top corners when he’s healthy, Hall was well on pace to outperform his contract. If he can return to form as he did after the last Achilles tear, you won’t likely see Hall on this list again.
2013 Cap Hit: $8.4m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $4.3m
Value Differential: +$4.1m
4. Robert Geathers*, DE – Cap: $3.5m, JVM: $103k, Value Differential: -$3.1m
5. Kyle Cook, C – Cap: $3.3m, JVM: $700k, Value Differential: -$2.6m
6. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB – Cap: $3.2m, JVM: $700k, Value Differential: -$2.5m
7. Rey Maualuga, LB – Cap: $2.6m, JVM: $700k, Value Differential: -$1.9m
8. Jermaine Gresham, TE – Cap: $2.3m, JVM: $615k, Value Differential: -$1.7m
9. Dre Kirkpatrick, CB – Cap: $2m, JVM: $465k, Value Differential: -$1.5m
10. Kevin Huber, P – Cap: $2.7m, JVM: $1.2m, Value Differential: -$1.5m
Summary – Team Value Differential: +$16.6m
The Bengals got a ton of value from some of their late-round draft picks and undrafted free agents this year. To top it off, average quarterbacks get paid in the NFL, and with a second-round contract, Andy Dalton dramatically outperformed his cap number. They have a lot of cap room to extend their undervalued players, and some of the bigger underperformers are potential cap casualties and/or missed significant time due to injury. Cincinnati has done a good job hitting on young, cheap contracts lately and it shows up here.
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