JVM: Houston Texans
In 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 Houston Texans:
(* Denotes player missed significant portion of time through injury)
1. J.J. Watt, Defensive End
To no surprise, for the second straight year Watt is the most undervalued Texan and one of the most undervalued in the league — he was, again, our Defensive Player of the Year. He has reached the last year of his rookie deal, so it is only a matter of time before he is given a new contract. The only question left is if that deal will even approach how much Watt is truly worth.
2013 Cap Hit: $3.1m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $17.4m
Value Differential: +$14.3m
2. Brandon Brooks, Right Guard
The most pleasant surprise for the Texans during their nightmare season is the emergence of the second-year guard. After splitting time at right guard late last season, he took the full-time role in 2013 and ended up with the third-highest run block grade for all guards at +15.0. He is a candidate to remain on the Texans’ undervalued list for the remainder of his rookie contract and is a player the Texans can build around on the offensive line in future years.
2013 Cap Hit: $700k
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $6.8m
Value Differential: +$6.1m
3. Shane Lechler, Punter
One sign that your team had a bad season is when one of the most undervalued players on the roster is a punter. In his first year with the Texans he ended up as the highest rated punter this year thanks to a high yards per punt at 47.4 and 34 of his punts getting downed within the opponents’ 20. While his cap hit goes up significantly in 2014 and 2015, if he continues to dominate at his job, the Texans will continue to get a deal.
2013 Cap Hit: $1.3m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $3.5m
Value Differential: +$2.1m
4. Case Keenum, QB – Cap: $400k, JVM: $1.9m, Value Differential: +$1.5m
5. Eddie Pleasant, S– Cap: $400k, JVM: $1.7m, Value Differential: +$1.3m
6. Ryan Griffin, TE – Cap: $400k, JVM: $1.4m, Value Differential: +$900k
7. Brooks Reed, OLB – Cap: $1.3m, JVM: $2.0m, Value Differential: +$700k
8. Shiloh Keo, S – Cap: $600k, JVM: $1.1m, Value Differential: +$500k
9. Ben Jones, LG – Cap: $600k, JVM: $1.1m, Value Differential: +$500k
10. Earl Mitchell, NT – Cap: $800k, JVM: $1.3m, Value Differential: +$500k
1. Matt Schaub, Quarterback
The Texans’ collapse starts and ends with Schaub. In the past he has played like a good but not great quarterback which matched his contract. It’s hard to remember he actually played very well in Week 1, but since that point his Overall PFF rating was at -20.0. At this point it would be more surprising if Schaub isn’t cut than if he is.
2013 Cap Hit: $10.8m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $800k
Value Differential: -$9.9m
2. Johnathan Joseph, Cornerback
In 2011 the Texans signed Joseph from the Bengals like he was one of the top few cornerbacks in the league. For the second straight year he hasn’t played up to that. He has remained a decent starter, but his play was only somewhat better in 2013 than 2012 while his cap hit has nearly doubled. While chances are Joseph will continue to be a productive player, it will be near impossible for him to live up to the second half of his contract.
2013 Cap Hit: $11.3m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $3.3m
Value Differential: -$7.9m
3. Arian Foster, Halfback*
Foster gets somewhat of a pass for his injury, but even if he played a full year it didn’t seem like he would live up to his deal. In the six games he played where he wasn’t facing the Titans he only forced two missed tackles. He was helped some by his offensive line, and had a below average 2.1 yards after contact per carry. It’s certainly possible a healthy Foster could live up to his deal, but all signs point to him being overpaid when he signed his five-year deal in 2012.
2013 Cap Hit: $8.3m
2013 Performance Value Model: $2.0m
Value Differential: -$6.2m
4. Danieal Manning, S* – Cap: $5.5m, JVM: $400k, Value Differential: -$5.1m
5. Antonio Smith, DE– Cap: $9.2m, JVM: $4.2m, Value Differential: $-5.0m
6. Owen Daniels, TE* – Cap: $5.8m, JVM: $2.1m, Value Differential: -$3.6m
7. Andre Johnson, WR – Cap: $10.7m, JVM: $7.4m, Value Differential: -$3.3m
8. Wade Smith, LG – Cap: $3.8m, JVM: $1.2m, Value Differential: -$2.6m
9. Edward Reed, S – Cap: $2.8m, JVM: $500k, Value Differential: -$2.3m
10. Brian Cushing, ILB* – Cap: $4.4m, JVM: $2.4m, Value Differential: -$2.0m
Summary – Team Value Differential: -$20.7m
The Texans seem to have a big cap problem that will be hard to get out of. Seven of their 10 most overvalued players from 2012 remained amongst the 10 overvalued this year. Five of those players are still under contract for 2014. It is also concerning that the vast majority of undervalued players are those making less than a million dollars and should just be making a little more.
Follow Nathan on Twitter: @PFF_NateJahnke