Performance Based Value: Carolina Panthers
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 Carolina Panthers:
(* Denotes player missed significant portion of time through injury)
1. Greg Hardy, Defensive End
After a solid rookie year, followed by a sophomore slump, Greg Hardy established himself at defensive end as a double threat for the Panthers. His Run Stop Percentage of 8.6% was fourth-best for 4-3 defensive ends, and his Pass Rushing Productivity of 10.8 was fifth at the position. Not bad for a sixth-round pick.
2012 Cap Hit: $570k
2012 Performance Based Value: $7.4m
Value Differential: +$6.8m
2. Cam Newton, Quarterback
Early in the season, some said Newton was suffering from a sophomore slump, but for the second half of the year he was much more consistent in his play, which led him to be an above-average passer to go along with his great running skills. Even though he was the first pick in the 2011 draft, he still isn’t making half as much as he deserves.
2012 Cap Hit: $5.0m
2012 Performance Based Value: $10.4m
Value Differential: +$5.4m
3. Greg Olsen, Tight End
The former first-round pick had a breakout year as a receiving tight end in 2012. While a lot of his statistics remained the same, the one thing that changed is his catch rate. It was a low 52.9% in 2011, and this year it was up to a much more respectable 71.9%. Future years of his contract are much closer to his performance than this year was.
2012 Cap Hit: $2.4m
2012 Performance Based Value: $6.7m
Value Differential: +$4.2m
4. Thomas Davis, OLB – Cap: $2.1m, PBV: $5.6m, Value Differential: +$3.4m
5. Luke Kuechly, ILB – Cap: $2.3m, PBV: $4.9m, Value Differential: +$2.6m
6. Brandon LaFell, WR – Cap: $750k, PBV: $3.0m, Value Differential: +$2.2m
7. Mike Tolbert, FB – Cap: $1.2m, PBV: $3.2m, Value Differential: +$2.0m
8. Steve Smith, WR – Cap: $6.0m, PBV: $7.2m, Value Differential: +$1.2m
9. Captain Munnerlyn, CB – Cap: $1.3m, PBV: $2.3m, Value Differential: +$1.0m
10. Jeff Byers, G – Cap: $470k, PBV: $1.3m, Value Differential: +$830k
1. Chris Gamble, Cornerback*
While Chris Gamble had a decent 2011 season, in 2012 he played only one quarter of the year due to injury. The team clearly missed him in the lineup, although his 2012 season really wasn’t off to a great start. He had two missed tackles, and was allowing a 61.5% catch rate compared to a 45.0% one in 2011.
2012 Cap Hit: $9.8m
2012 Performance Based Value: $830k
Value Differential: -$8.9m
2. DeAngelo Williams, Halfback
There are two problems with this overpriced Panthers back. First, there are not enough snaps to go around with him, Mike Tolbert and Jonathan Stewart. The other problem is his production. While he had his great 210-yard game against the Saints to end the season, there were six games where his rushing average was 2.0 yards per carry or worse. That in no way should equate to top running back dollars.
2012 Cap Hit: $8.7m
2012 Performance Based Value: $1.3m
Value Differential: -$7.4m
3. Jordan Gross, Offensive Tackle
This is a simple case of a good player getting paid the money of a great player. His 94.7 Pass Blocking Efficiency is right in the middle for starting tackles, and he is a decent run blocker. His salary is roughly going to be the same over these next two years, and his play has been slightly declining rather than improving, which isn’t a good combination.
2012 Cap Hit: $11.5m
2012 Performance Based Value: $6.1m
Value Differential: -$5.4m
4. Jon Beason, LB* – Cap: $5.5m, PBV: $700k, Value Differential: -$4.8m
5. Ryan Kalil, C* – Cap: $5.4m, PBV: $700k, Value Differential: -$4.7m
6. James Anderson, OLB – Cap: $3.9m, PBV: $830k, Value Differential: -$3.1m
7. Jonathan Stewart, HB – Cap: $4.8m, PBV: $2.1m, Value Differential: -$2.7m
8. Charles Godfrey, S – Cap: $2.8m, PBV: $960k, Value Differential: -$1.8m
9. Ron Edwards, DT – Cap: $2.6m, PBV: $930k, Value Differential: -$1.7m
10. Charles Johnson, DE – Cap: $11.0m, PBV: $10.3m, Value Differential: -$730k
Summary – Team Value Differential: -9.7m
The Panthers were an above-average team in terms of cap space spent, but below average in terms of their performance based value. While most things seem to even out for the team, the fact that the top few overvalued players are more overvalued than the top few undervalued players are overvalued is really causing a difference.
Follow Nathan on Twitter: @PFF_NateJahnke