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 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
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