Performance Based Value: Cleveland Browns
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)
Who the most undervalued and overvalued Cleveland Browns in 2012? Here they are:
(* Denotes player missed significant portion of time through injury)
1. T.J. Ward, Safety
Since the Browns snagged Ward in the second round of the 2010 NFL draft, the strong safety has represented excellent value. An impressive rookie year put him on the radar of everyone, but missing time in 2011 and playing in Cleveland saw him fall just as quickly off it. Even his 2012 season — where he would finish the year our third-ranked strong safety — didn’t garner much attention. The Browns won’t care, though, because it helps keep his value down when the man who made the fourth-most defensive stops in the run game (22) comes to renegotiate his contract.
2012 Cap Hit: $1.1m
2012 Performance Based Value: $6.1m
Value Differential: +$4.9m
2. Mitchell Schwartz, Offensive Tackle
With the implementation of a rookie wage cap, those making the leap from the college game have never been more valuable. Literally. With team-friendly deals that ensure players must prove themselves first, if you can find a starter and he proves competent, you’re guaranteed to get value. That’s where Schwartz comes in, with the young right tackle having a great debut season after a slow start. He finished seventh overall in our right tackle rankings.
2012 Cap Hit: 940k
2012 Performance Based Value: $4.8m
Value Differential: +$3.9m
3. Kaluka Maiava, Linebacker
After years of really doing nothing for the Browns, injury meant Cleveland didn’t have anywhere to turn at linebacker. Rather than this being a bad thing, Maiava took his chance with both hands in the Browns’ base 4-3 defense (coming off the field in nickel) and made a case for an every-down role wherever he plays football next year. He was responsible for just 0.5 Yards Per Cover Snap, lowest of all 4-3 outside linebackers.
2012 Cap Hit: $700k
2012 Performance Based Value: $4m
Value Differential: +$3.3m
4. John Greco, OG – Cap: $800k, PBV: $3.7m, Value Differential: $2.6m
5. Josh Gordon, WR– Cap: $970k, PBV: $3.1m, Value Differential: $2.1m
6. Trent Richardson, RB – Cap: $3.7m, PBV: $5.8m, Value Differential: $2.1m
7. Usama Young, S – Cap: $1.8m, PBV: $2.9m, Value Differential: $1.1m
8. Juqua Parker, DE – Cap: $2.5m, PBV: $3.6m, Value Differential: $1.1m
9. Billy Winn, DT – Cap: $400k, PBV: $1.5m, Value Differential: $1m
10. Alex Mack, OC – Cap: $3.2m, PBV: $4.2m, Value Differential: $960k
1. Ahtyba Rubin, Defensive Tackle
Far from Rubin having a terrible year, he’s just the owner of a contract not reflective of his talents. He finished 2012 with a positive grade, particularly for his work in the run game where he finished 15th of all defensive tackles, with 20 defensive stops. But for a player who rushed the passer as much as he did (388 times), 18 combined sacks, hits, and hurries (he had 28 in 2011) isn’t enough.
2012 Cap Hit: $9.4m
2012 Performance Based Value: $2.8m
Value Differential: -$6.6m
2. Scott Fujita*, Linebacker
What do you expect when Fujita, who made more of an impact off the field with his battle with the Commissioner, and played only 126 snaps all year. He actually played pretty well in those, picking up eight defensive stops, but you’re never going to represent good value missing this much time.
2012 Cap Hit: $4.9m
2012 Performance Based Value: $950k
Value Differential: -$3.9m
3. D’Qwell Jackson, Linebacker
There are certain things Jackson does very well — he flows to the ball and is good at working through traffic to find the ballcarrier — but if an offensive linemen gets their hands on him? Well, he can be made to look very average. After a genuinely impressive comeback year in 2011, he couldn’t match his performance, as the Browns didn’t do a great job of keeping bodies off him.
2012 Cap Hit: $6.2m
2012 Performance Based Value: $2.4m
Value Differential: -$3.8m
4. Joe Haden, CB – Cap: $8.7m, PBV: $5m, Value Differential: -$3.7m
5. Phil Dawson, K – Cap: $3.8m, PBV: $1.3m, Value Differential: -$2.5m
6. Joe Thomas, OT – Cap: $11.9m, PBV: $9.6m, Value Differential: -$2.3m
7. Dimitri Patterson, CB – Cap: $3.7m, PBV: $1.5m, Value Differential: -$2.2m
8. Joshua Cribbs, WR – Cap: $2.7m, PBV: $825k, Value Differential: -$1.9m
9. Brandon Jackson, RB – Cap: $2.3m, PBV: $700k, Value Differential: -$1.6m
10. Frostee Rucker, DE – Cap: $2.1m, PBV: $825k, Value Differential: -$1.3m
Summary – Team Value Differential: -$2.5m
Relatively speaking, the Browns got decent value out of a lot of their players. Part of the problem is guys like Joe Thomas being paid amounts that are nigh on impossible to live up to, while few players really blew away what they should be earning. In total, 31 put the team in credit, 32 put them in the red.
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