Performance Based Value: San Francisco 49ers

We all know the 49ers enjoyed a great season on the field, but how is that reflected on the team's roster spending?

| 4 years ago
PBV-SF-Feature

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)

 

Undervalued

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

 

Overvalued

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.
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled


  • Modesto Matt

    Willis’ cap value is overstated because bonus money was accelerated into 2012. His cap number for 2013 is only $3.5mm

  • Tones

    I’m curious if you overlap the team records with the value how close of a correlation do you have?

  • dylan

    Finally, being a 49er fan feels good again.

  • NinerInNC

    The Kaepernick/Smith values are a moot point given the situation. And Kaep can’t negotiate for more money until after next year. I take issue with Tarrel Brown and Chris Culliver being undervalued, especially since Culliver gave up some big plays in the SB.

    • http://www.naidle.com/ naidle

      What issue do you take? Brown and, to a lesser extent, Culliver had great years given their salaries. Culliver had a bad game. So did a lot of 49ers that day.

  • Matt

    Add in the fact that the 49ers have 14 draft picks, and we have a franchise that knows what it is doing right now.