Performance Based Value: San Diego Chargers
In this series of pieces, Pro Football Focus is hammering into the value of players. To us it’s a “Performance Based Value” number, telling you what players were worth (by our grading) in 2012. 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 2012
• 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 2012′s most undervalued and overvalued San Diego Chargers:
(* Denotes player missed significant portion of time through injury)
1. Corey Liuget, Defensive End
After something of a disappointing rookie year, Liuget looked a lot more comfortable in the NFL in 2012. He ended the year our eighth-ranked 3-4 defensive end, finishing with a healthy 33 quarterback disruptions, 28 defensive stops and eight batted passes. Incredible production as the Chargers benefit from the rookie wage cap.
2012 Cap Hit: $1.9m
2012 Performance Based Value: $6.2m
Value Differential: +$4.3
2. Donald Butler, Linebacker
Butler established himself as the leader in waiting of a Chargers defense undergoing something of a transformation in personnel. His work in the run game earned him the 15th-highest grade of all inside linebackers, hardly earth shattering but at such a small cost Butler represents tremendous value.
2012 Cap Hit: $700k
2012 Performance Based Value: $4m
Value Differential: +$3.4m
3. Louis Vasquez, Offensive Guard
Vasquez is getting ready for free agency and after the year he had it couldn’t come at a better time. Our 13th-ranked guard in 2012 didn’t exactly ‘wow’ us with his run blocking, but with teams needing guards to prevent pressure up the gut, it should be noted he gave up only 22 quarterback disruptions on 584 pass blocking snaps.
2012 Cap Hit: $1.5m
2012 Performance Based Value: $4.3m
Value Differential: +$2.8m
4. Danario Alexander, WR – Cap: $300k, PBV: $2.5m, Value Differential: +$2.2m
5. Malcom Floyd, WR – Cap: $3.3m, PBV: $5.2m, Value Differential: +$1.9m
6. Eric Weddle, S – Cap: $7.6m, PBV: $9.3m, Value Differential: +$1.7m
7. Ryan Mathews, RB – Cap: $2.4m, PBV: $3.9m, Value Differential: +$1.6m
8. Cam Thomas, NT – Cap: $600k, PBV: $2.1m, Value Differential: +$1.5m
9. Ronnie Brown, RB – Cap: $1m, PBV: $2.5m, Value Differential: +$1.5m
10. Aubrayo Franklin, NT – Cap: $600k, PBV: $2.1m, Value Differential: +$1.5m
1. Philip Rivers, Quarterback
There was a time when a $15.3m cap hit for Rivers would look like a bargain. Now it’s looking like one of the biggest wastes of money out there. Rivers would finish only 16th among quarterbacks for his adjusted accuracy percentage on deep balls, with his 637 deep yards only 18th. He looks and plays like a shadow of his former self.
2012 Cap Hit: $15.3m
2012 Performance Based Value: $5m
Value Differential: -$10.3m
2. Antonio Gates, Tight End
No longer the league’s premier tight end, Antonio Gates picked up just 1.03 yards per route run. Only Kellen Davis and Anthony Fasano had fewer amounts, and at least in the case of Fasano he can be counted on to deliver the goods with his blocking. Gates has battled injuries the past few years and while this contract made sense when he was at the top of his game, now it represents horrible value for money.
2012 Cap Hit: $6.4m
2012 Performance Based Value: $1.5m
Value Differential: -$4.8m
3. Shaun Phillips, Linebacker
It’s no surprise the Chargers are prepared to part with long-time outside linebacker Phillips. The most familiar face on their defense, Phillips’ play fell off a cliff this year as he managed just 39 quarterback disruptions on 403 pass rushes. Couple that with some horrible run defense and you’ve got our second-lowest ranked outside linebacker on the year.
2012 Cap Hit: $5.6m
2012 Performance Based Value: $900k
Value Differential: -$4.7m
4. Quentin Jammer, CB – Cap: $4m, PBV: $1.1m, Value Differential: -$2.9m
5. Robert Meachem, WR – Cap: $3.8m, PBV: $700k, Value Differential: $-2.7m
6. Jeromey Clary, OT – Cap: $4.5m, PBV: $2.2m, Value Differential: -$2.4m
7. Eddie Royal, WR – Cap: $3m, PBV: $800k, Value Differential: -$2.2m
8. Jared Gaither, OT – Cap: $3m, PBV: $1.1m, Value Differential: -$1.9m
9. Nick Hardwick, OC – Cap: $3m, PBV: $1.2m, Value Differential: -$1.8m
10. Takeo Spikes, LB – Cap: $3.6m, PBV: $1.9m, Value Differential: -$1.7m
Summary – Team Value Differential: -$15.2m
Is anyone surprised that the Chargers’ old regime walked away getting such poor value for money? You get the feeling this team was in some ways built in a similar fashion to the old Indianapolis Colts. Overly dependent on their quarterback, and when something happened to him (such as a drop off in his play) they hadn’t built the support to make a postseason challenge. Overall, 31 players earned positive values and 37 negative.
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