Performance Based Value: Offensive Tackles
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 the 10 most overvalued offensive tackles from 2012:
1. Jake Long, Miami Dolphins
2012 Cap Hit: $12.8m
2012 Performance Based Value: $1.2m
Value Differential: -$11.6
There are plenty of factors that play into Long being our most overvalued offensive tackle of 2012. For starters, he played in just 12 games and was in the final year of a monster contract that he received as a former first-overall draft pick under the old Collective Bargaining Agreement. Beyond that, however, he just wasn’t very good last year. Ranking 46th among all offensive tackles, Long had a particularly poor outing against the Indianapolis Colts, but — as his 95.7 Pass Blocking Efficiency (PBE) Rating suggests — his struggled were year long, preventing him from coming close to that astronomical valuation.
2. Trent Williams, Washingston Redskins
2012 Cap Hit: $14.0m
2012 Performance Based Value: $6.9m
Value Differential: -$7.1m
Another victim of the old CBA, Williams actually had a pretty good season where he ranked 19th among all offensive tackles with a PFF grade of +18.8. Coming out of his best season in the league hopes will be high for Williams, especially with him finishing joint 12th among players at the position with a PBE Rating of 96.1. Still, with that lofty cap hit he would still have had a negative value differential had he been perfect in pass protection and just didn’t represent good value for money through little fault of his own.
3. Jordan Gross, Carolina Panthers
2012 Cap Hit: $11.5m
2012 Performance Based Value: $6.1m
Value Differential: -$5.4m
Like Williams, Gross (+16.3) didn’t grade out poorly in 2012, finishing the regular season as our 20th-rated offensive tackle, but he just wasn’t worth the $11.5 million that Carolina paid him. His 94.7 PBE Rating was tied for 26th among players at his position and, while it would have been difficult for him to justify that cap hit regardless, that’s too much pressure to allow from a left tackle being paid that much.
4. Jermon Bushrod, New Orleans
2012 Cap Hit: $6.9m
2012 Performance Based Value: $2.0m
Value Differential: -$4.9m
Bushrod has come a long way since his first two seasons as a starter in New Orleans where, despite winning a Super Bowl, he at times was little more than a minor speed bump for opposing defensive linemen. His past two seasons, while still a little inconsistent with some poor performances sprinkled in, have been much better. That said, he hasn’t played well enough to justify a contract of nearly $7 million despite the improvement.
5. Jeremy Trueblood, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2012 Cap Hit: $4.2m
2012 Performance Based Value: $800k
Value Differential: -$3.4m
We’ve been long time critics of Trueblood’s poor play in Tampa Bay, with several seasons of struggles contributing to this. With that in mind it’s probably a good thing that he was on the field for just 82 snaps in 2012, with Demar Dotson playing much better than him upon cracking the starting lineup. Still 82 snaps isn’t enough value to get out of a contract that high, especially with the Buccaneers being a better team with Trueblood out of the lineup.
6. Doug Free, Dallas Cowboys
2012 Cap Hit: $4.2m
2012 Performance Based Value: $900k
Value Differential: -$3.3m
After the success both had in 2011, Dallas opted to switch sides on the offensive line with Free and Tyron Smith. While Smith recovered from a poor start to the year to have a solid season, it took Free until the final three games of the year to impress. Highlighted by a pretty horrific outing at home against Philadelphia, Free finished the year ranked 66th out of the 80 offensive tackles who played enough snaps to qualify, never coming close to justifying his price tag.
7. David Stewart, Tennessee Titans
2012 Cap Hit: $6.2m
2012 Performance Based Value: $2.8m
Value Differential: -$3.2m
Like a few other tackles on this list, Stewart certainly didn’t play poorly in 2012, with his +11.2 PFF grade good enough for 10th-best among right tackles. Still, that wasn’t enough to deserve a contract in excess of $6 million and when you factor in that he missed four games, he never stood a chance of giving the Titans good value for their money.
8. Demetress Bell, Philadelphia Eagles
2012 Cap Hit: $3.3m
2012 Performance Based Value: $700k
Value Differential: -$2.6m
Brought in to limit the impact of Jason Peters injury that kept him out for all of 2012, Bell (-24.5) graded out as our third worst offensive tackle, despite playing in just eight games. Replaced at left tackle by King Dunlap, Bell wasn’t close to being worth what the Eagles paid him, both in terms of how many snaps he saw on the field and how he played when he did.
9. David Diehl, New York Giants
2012 Cap Hit: $3.4m
2012 Performance Based Value: $900k
Value Differential: -$2.5m
Our 60th-ranked offensive tackle in 2012, Diehl (-6.8) actually helped the Giants more when he was on the sideline. His value was diminished by missing three games, but factor in his awful PBE Rating of 91.0 and you’ll see why Diehl wasn’t good value in New York.
10. Jeromey Clary, San Diego Chargers
2012 Cap Hit: $4.6m
2012 Performance Based Value: $2.2m
Value Differential: -$2.4m
Our fourth-worst-graded offensive tackle in 2011, Clary (+4.8) improved his game this past season, finishing the year ranked 38th. That improvement is nice, but still not worthy of a cap hit that high and that’s before taking into account the two missed games.
Follow Gordon on Twitter: @PFF_Gordon