Performance Based Value: Cincinnati Bengals
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)
So how about we tell you the most undervalued and overvalued Cincinnati Bengals.
(* Denotes player missed significant portion of time through injury)
1. Geno Atkins, Defensive Tackle
If you’ve read a bit of Pro Football Focus over the past year then you’ll know that to us (and really anyone who has watched a substantial amount of football) Atkins was the best defensive tackle in the game. Bona fide brilliance, he picked up 28 defensive stops in the run game (only Jurrell Casey had more among DTs) and 78 combined sacks, hits, and hurries (58 was the next most among his peers). A season for the ages and for such little money.
2012 Cap Hit: $660k
2012 Performance Based Value: $10m
Value Differential: +$9.3m
2. A.J. Green, Wide Receiver
The risk with an early pick is that they don’t live up to the billing. That was never the case with Green who built upon an impressive rookie year to showcase himself as one of the most talented receivers in the league. He would pick up 2.32 Yards Per Route Run (ninth-most among wide receivers) while showing himself a true deep threat with his 474 yards on deep passes (fifth-highest in the league).
2012 Cap Hit: $4.5m
2012 Performance Based Value: $9.8m
Value Differential: +$5.3m
3. Adam Jones, Cornerback
It tells you something about how well Jones played as the right cornerback in the Bengals’ nickel defense that he warranted such a high cap hit. Finishing the year as our 11th-ranked cornerback thanks to his work in coverage (just 4.35% of his snaps in coverage resulted in a first down or touchdown, seventh-lowest in the league) he played with the kind of ability that finally showcased why he was a first-round pick.
2012 Cap Hit: $1.1m
2012 Performance Based Value: $6m
Value Differential: +$4.9m
4. Carlos Dunlap, DE – Cap: $850k, PBV: $5.5m, Value Differential: +$4.6m
5. Terence Newman, CB – Cap: $1.6m, PBV: $5.8m, Value Differential: +$4.3m
6. Andy Dalton, QB – Cap: $1.2m, PBV: $5.3m, Value Differential: +$4.1m
7. Vontzae Burflict, LB – Cap: $390k, PBV: $3.6m, Value Differential: +$3.2m
8. Kevin Zeitler, OG – Cap: $1.4m, PBV: $3.9m, Value Differential: +$2.5m
9. Clint Boling, OG – Cap: $575k, PBV: $2.9m, Value Differential: +$2.3m
10. Michael Johnson, DE – Cap: $1.6m, PBV: $3.8m, Value Differential: +$2.1m
1. Robert Geathers, Defensive End
Geathers played an awful lot of regular season snaps (660 snaps) without making an awful lot of plays. Moving inside in the nickel package on obvious passing situations, what defines Geathers as a player is his constant inability to generate pressure — he earned the sixth-lowest grade of all defensive ends rushing the passer.
2012 Cap Hit: $6.2m
2012 Performance Based Value: $825k
Value Differential: -$5.4m
2. Nate Clements, Safety
The Bengals didn’t sign Clements to be a safety but injuries and a lack of faith in him at corner meant they moved him there. Naturally it didn’t quite work out, and while he saw 594 snaps on the season he just wasn’t good enough against the run to make the move a success.
2012 Cap Hit: $5.5m
2012 Performance Based Value: $950k
Value Differential: -$4.6m
3. Domata Peko, Defensive Tackle
For a player who specializes in his work in the run game, Peko was all too often pushed about. So while he did contribute a decent amount of defensive stops (his 25 were third in the league) it’s the other 91.6% of running plays he was in on that earned him our seventh-lowest run defense grade of all defensive tackles. We’re left wondering if he wouldn’t get quite as much attention without such a noticeable appearance.
2012 Cap Hit: $4.8m
2012 Performance Based Value: $942k
Value Differential: -$3.8m
4. Thomas Howard, LB – Cap: $3.3m, PBV: $50k, Value Differential: -$3m
5. Leon Hall, CB – Cap: $8.5m, PBV: $5.6m, Value Differential: -$2.9m
6. Jason Allen, CB – Cap: $3.6m, PBV: $825k, Value Differential: -$2.8m
7. Jamaal Anderson, DE – Cap: $2.8m, PBV: $90k, Value Differential: -$2.7m
8. Kyle Cook, OC – Cap: $3.3m, PBV: $700k, Value Differential: -$2.6m
9. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Cap: $3m, PBV: $1.1m, Value Differential: -$1.8m
10. Andrew Whitworth, OT – Cap: $6.7m, PBV: $4.9m, Value Differential: -$1.8m
Summary – Team Value Differential: +$6.4m
The Bengals were always at something of an advantage toward being in credit with some of their excellent drafting in recent years. A player like Geno Atkins is worth his weight in gold for what he can do on the field and yet is hardly costing Cincinnati anything. Overall, 31 players earned positive Value Differential’s, and 34 earned negative.
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