JVM: Indianapolis Colts
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 Indianapolis Colts:
(* Denotes player missed significant portion of time through injury)
1. Vontae Davis, Cornerback
It might not be the trade Jim Irsay is remembered for, but giving up a second round pick for Vontae Davis paid off huge dividends this last season. Davis had easily the most impressive year of his career to date. He allowed a career best 50.6% catch rate against and defended 11 passes. The fifth-year corner would end up as our third-highest graded cornerback at +15.5 and had the second-highest coverage grade at +12.8. In the end, though, it’s hard to call the trade too much of a success. Davis is a free agent and will be looking to capitalize on his recent success.
2013 Cap Hit: $1.9m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $11.7m
Value Differential: +$9.8m
2. Andrew Luck, Quarterback
The single greatest leg up a team can gain in the NFL today is to procure a top-quality starting quarterback on a rookie contract. Fourteen teams had a quarterback with a cap hit over $10m last season. The Colts were not one of them. Andrew Luck’s $5m 2013 cap hit and subsequent $6m and $7m cap hits look like a bargain when 10 quarterbacks will be over $15m next season.
2013, while a fine year, was not the big leap forward everyone was hoping for from Luck. It may have looked like he cut down on his bad decisions going from 19 interceptions to just nine, but Luck benefitted from a ludicrous eight dropped interceptions. He finished the season with a passing grade of +0.3, a tiny improvement from his +0.1 grade in 2012.
2013 Cap Hit: $5m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $12.8m
Value Differential: +$7.7m
3. T.Y. Hilton, Wide Receiver
T.Y. Hilton’s second-year jump went from luxury to necessity in Week 7 when Reggie Wayne was placed on the IR after tearing his ACL. Prior to that game Hilton had already put up one of the most impressive receiving performances of the season with his 140 yards against Seattle’s secondary in Week 5. Hilton’s best performance was easily his 224 yard drubbing of the once vaunted Chiefs secondary in the Colts’ unbelievable wildcard win. The Colts are lucky to have Hilton paired with Luck for the foreseeable future.
2013 Cap Hit: $622k
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $4.6m
Value Differential: +$4m
4. Anthony Castonzo, LT – Cap: $2.2m, JVM: $3.9m, Value Differential: +$1.7m
5. Coby Fleener, TE – Cap: $1.2k, JVM: $2.9m, Value Differential: +$1.7m
6. Joe Reitz, LG — Cap: $2.9m, JVM: $5.7m, Value Differential: +$2.8m
7. Griff Whalen, WR — Cap: $630k, JVM: $2.9m, Value Differential: +$2.3m
8. Robert Mathis, OLB — Cap: $4.4m, JVM: $6.5m, Value Differential: +$2.1m
9. Josh McNary, LB — Cap: $169k, JVM: $1.8m, Value Differential: +$1.6m
10. Kavell Conner, LB — Cap: $2.9m, JVM: $4.5m, Value Differential: +$1.6m
1. Reggie Wayne*, Wide Receiver
Not much to blame here other than an ACL injury. Wayne was productive when he was in and was on pace for 1,150 yards for the season before he got hurt. The difference between the Colts with and without Wayne was obvious, but it was even more obvious in Andrew Luck. Luck had a +16.0 grade in the seven games with Wayne and a -4.9 grade in the nine games without him. Wayne is due a cap hit of $6.2m next season and he should be worth every penny if he comes back fully healthy.
2013 Cap Hit: $8.2m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $2.9m
Value Differential: -$5.3m
2. Antoine Bethea, Safety
Antoine Bethea has been an extremely productive player for Colts ever since he was drafted in the sixth round back in 2006. Last year wasn’t a banner season for the safety, but he still played all but 31 snaps all season. The problem is when you are paying a guy a Top-10 safety salary and he plays like an average safety with a -2.9 grade for the season, there is a value disconnect. The one area Bethea did excel at last season was his tackling. He had the seventh best tackling efficiency among safeties at 15.7.
2013 Cap Hit: $5.8m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $1.1m
Value Differential: -$4.7m
3. LaRon Landry, Safety
Much of the last paragraph about Antoine Bethea can almost be copied and pasted and put for LaRon Landry’s write up. Landry was a fine safety, but he tied Bethea for the eighth highest cap hit at the position last season. That is just too much for the production the Colts got. Landry had an overall grade of -2.2, but he did perform well in coverage. Landry had the 14th best yards per coverage snap among safeties at 0.40.
2013 Cap Hit: $5.8m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $1.8m
Value Differential: -$3.9m
4. Greg Toler*, CB – Cap: $4.3m, JVM: $700k, Value Differential: -$3.6m
5. Samson Satele, C — Cap: $3.9m, JVM: $700k, Value Differential: -$3.2m
6. Ricky Jean-Francois*, DL — Cap: $4.6m, JVM: $1.8m, Value Differential: -$2.9m
7. Matt Hasselbeck, QB — Cap: $3.5m, JVM: $925k, Value Differential: -$2.6m
8. Adam Vinatieri, K — Cap: $3.4m, JVM: $1.4m, Value Differential: -$2.0m
9. Mike McGlynn, RG — Cap: $2.6m, JVM: $700k, Value Differential: -$1.9m
10. Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR — Cap: $2.5m, JVM: $700k, Value Differential: -$1.8m
Summary – Team Value Differential: -$23.1m
This is a concerning number for Indianapolis. It’s troubling because of the vast amounts of free agents that the Colts overvalued recently. Recent free agents Ahmad Bradshaw, Erik Walden, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Mike McGlynn, Matt Hasselbeck, Donald Thomas, Ricky Jean-Francois, Samson Satele, Greg Toler, and LaRon Landry all had value differentials of over $1m. Now some of those were due to injury, but teams can’t afford that many non-impact free agents for too long. For the Colts to get their differential into positive numbers they must get more production from their free agent signings.
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