Performance Based Value: San Francisco 49ers
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 Francisco 49ers:
(* Denotes player missed significant portion of time through injury)
1. Joe Staley, Offensive Tackle
It’s incredible really that the 49ers are getting such good value from their franchise tackle. He finished 2012 our top ranked left tackle on the strength of his rather incredible run blocking. Simply put, there aren’t many offensive linemen in the league who makes as many key blocks in the run game as Staley, who would also wind up with a positive pass blocking grade.
2012 Cap Hit: $2.5m
2012 Performance Based Value: $13.8m
Value Differential: +$11.3m
2. Aldon Smith, Linebacker
While his sack numbers may have inflated the level of his performance in the eyes of some, that doesn’t mean the 49ers didn’t get a tremendous amount of production for a relatively small part of their cap. Smith led all 3-4 outside linebackers with 70 combined sacks, hits and hurries as he transitioned to a full-time, every-down role. Not quite as explosive as his rookie year, but plenty good.
2012 Cap Hit: $3.3m
2012 Performance Based Value: $12.9m
Value Differential: +$9.7m
3. NaVorro Bowman, Linebacker
The contract of Bowman is only going to produce bigger cap hits, but for 2012 it cost the 49ers a little over $2m and he needed only a fraction of the season to earn that. Our seventh-ranked inside linebacker had his usual good year in the run game, even if his second half of the season didn’t quite match the first half.
2012 Cap Hit: $2.2m
2012 Performance Based Value: $10.3m
Value Differential: +$8.1m
4. Tarell Brown, CB – Cap: $1.8m, PBV: $9.1m, Value Differential: $7.3m
5. Ahmad Brooks, LB – Cap: $2.9m, PBV: $9.4m, Value Differential: $6.6m
6. Colin Kaepernick, QB – Cap: $1.2m, PBV: $7m, Value Differential: $5.8m
7. Anthony Davis, OT – Cap: $3.2m, PBV: $8.7m, Value Differential: $5.5m
8. Alex Boone, OG – Cap: $900k, PBV: $5.8m, Value Differential: $4.9m
9. Ray McDonald, DE – Cap: $3.6m, PBV: $7.5m, Value Differential: $3.9m
10. Chris Culliver, CB – Cap: $600k, PBV: $4.4m, Value Differential: $3.8m
1. Isaac Sopoaga, Nose Tackle
It’s not just that the 49ers are paying Sopoaga a ridiculous amount for a guy who played 30.3% of the team’s defensive snaps — it’s that he’s not even that good. The defensive end turned nose tackle offers nothing as a pass rusher, but it’s his inability to make plays in the run game that stands out. Aubrayo Franklin he is not.
2012 Cap Hit: $4.9m
2012 Performance Based Value: $825k
Value Differential: -$4.1m
2. Alex Smith, Quarterback
Who knows how this would have played out if Smith had actually played the whole season, because while he wasn’t lighting it up, he was playing well enough to turn his 501 snaps into a +7.0 grade. Then along came Colin Kaepernick and ensured the end of the Alex Smith Era in San Fran was near. For a quarterback his cap hit wasn’t all that bad, but only if he started every game.
2012 Cap Hit: $9.3m
2012 Performance Based Value: $5.6m
Value Differential: -$3.6m
3. Donte Whitner, Safety
For all the impressive displays on the 49ers’ defense, one guy who didn’t stand out for the right reasons was the former Bill, Whitner. He gave up more touchdowns than any other safety in the league (eight) and missed more tackles than you’d like (12). An area for this team to improve.
2012 Cap Hit: $4.4m
2012 Performance Based Value: $1.3m
Value Differential: -$3.1m
4. Patrick Willis, LB – Cap: $17.8m, PBV: $15.6m, Value Differential: -$2.2m
5. Dashon Goldson, S – Cap: $6.1m, PBV: $5m, Value Differential: -$1.2m
6. Vernon Davis, TE – Cap: $6.8m, PBV: $5.8m, Value Differential: -$1.1m
7. A.J. Jenkins, WR – Cap: $1.3m, PBV: $400k, Value Differential: -$900k
8. Carlos Rogers, CB – Cap: $4.8m, PBV: $3.9m, Value Differential: -$900k
9. Brandon Jacobs, RB – Cap: $1.5m, PBV: $700k, Value Differential: -$900k
10. Delanie Walker, TE – Cap: $1.9m, PBV: $1.1m, Value Differential: -$800k
Summary – Team Value Differential: $59.4m
How about that? The 49ers are getting the kind of value out of their players that most teams can only dream of. That even their “overvalued” features one guy who is the best in the league at his position should tell you how good a job the front office has done. In total, 28 players were handed negative values and 30 positive.
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