Neil's NFL Daily: April 18, 2013
So Clay Matthews got paid, and rightly so — it’s always great to see players who really deserve the cash actually getting it. In our set of “Performance Based Value” articles he was, in our view, the most undervalued player on the Green Bay roster and should have earned about $10m last year. The APY of $13.2m on his new contract isn’t that far off (by the time you muck about with final years and guaranteed cash etc.). I’ll talk in a while about why we feel this is a good deal, but first let’s cover a couple of ‘lesser’ topics (except to the players and teams concerned of course).
Thursday, April 18th
Cameron Morrah Signs with San Francisco
Many may think the 49ers’ biggest loss this year was Dashon Goldson, but I don’t see it that way. For me the player they really wanted to keep was Delaine Walker — the multifaceted tight end who lined up everywhere and gave their offense real flexibility in 12 personnel. However, when the Titans lost Jared Cook they came in at $4.3m a year for him, and San Francisco couldn’t match that for a No. 2 tight end.
Morrah missed all of 2012 with a toe injury, but even prior to that he was no Delaine Walker (at least not yet), although there are similarities. Firstly, he’s a better than average blocker which was key for the 49ers last year. Both Vernon Davis and Walker can block extremely well and this level of all-around skill is what made the offense so hard to defend. Will they run, will they pass — no team (not even the Patriots) had such multifunctional ability at the position. He’s also shown ability as a receiver and could be split out wide if required, but it’s the last similarity with Walker that means this is probably just pie in the sky. For the 19 balls he caught in 2010 and 2011, he also dropped 7, a frankly ridiculous Drop Rate of 27%. Walker’s drop rate last year? A league leading 30%, although it should be pointed out dropped passes had not been a problem for Walker prior to last year.
Nigel Bradham to Play Three Downs for Bills
When Buddy Nix defended his underrated linebackers it became apparent that Nigel Bradham was a player they expected to step up. Last year he played 402 snaps as the first guy off in nickel. That said, he was still on the field for 159 passes, 144 of which he dropped in coverage. It wasn’t a disaster giving up receptions on only 58% of targets, a single touchdown and defending one pass, but playing every down is a big step up and he’ll obviously be seen as a weakness by opposing offenses until he proves otherwise.
As a run defender he did a creditable job and came on particularly in the last quarter of the year. His Run Stop Percentage of 8.3 saw him rated equal-14th of 44 eligible players while only missing one tackle after Week 6.
Clay Matthews Becomes NFL’s Highest Paid Linebacker
As Marc Sessler over at NFL.com has been good enough to quote us later in his article, I’ll reciprocate by using his article to give you the details of the deal.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m all for this move as Matthews has been nothing short of superb since being drafted in 2009. He’s had a couple of rough patches — it took him to midseason to get warmed up as a rookie (his first eight games saw him log only 11 QB disruptions) and the end of his sophomore campaign was poor (we graded -13.9 through his last 10 games in 2010) but beyond that you cannot fault him, either in terms of production or effort. In Pass Rush Productivity, since he was drafted, he’s ranked sixth, fifth, sixth and last year third among his peer group.
Past editions of Neil’s NFL Daily.
Follow Neil on Twitter: @PFF_Neil