2016 New Contract Tracker: Wide Receivers

As in any year, many Wide Receivers signed deals this off-season. Whether it’s a big-name or middle-class player who signed a big contract, or an average player who inked an average deal, not everyone has been playing to the value for which they signed. That can go two ways. Some players have over-performed while others have under-performed. Every week, I’ll spotlight two players and analyse their contract value versus their production.


Week 4 Stud: Jeremy Kerley ($850,000 APY)

Jeremy Kerley was signed by the Lions to a one-year $850,000 deal, then was later traded to the 49ers. The Niners got their money’s worth this week. Kerley’s stats were more or less equal to Michael Crabtree’s and Doug Baldwin’s average numbers per game.

NameTeamTargetsReceptionsYardsTDsSnaps
Jeremy Kerley49ers9688124
Michael CrabtreeRaiders9.36.577134
Doug BaldwinSeahawks95.75120.50.544.75

 

 

Kerley did that well despite the fact he had 10-20 fewer opportunities. Here’s how efficient he was in Week Four:

NameTeamSnaps/TargetSnaps/ReceptionYards/SnapCatch RateYards/TargetYards/Reception
Jeremy Kerley49ers2.74.03.766.7%9.814.7
Michael CrabtreeRaiders3.75.22.369.9%8.311.8
Doug BaldwinSeahawks5.07.82.763.9%13.421.0

Kerley was right on par with Crabtree and Baldwin in terms of catch-rate, yards-per-target, and yards-per-receptions. Furthermore, he ranked higher than the others in the rest of the categories. Based on Kerley’s play this week, his value would be somewhere between Crabtree’s $8,500,000 APY and Baldwin’s $11,500,000 APY. That equals to 10-13.5 times more than what he’s earning now.

Week 4 Dud: Tavon Austin ($10,555,501 APY)

 

Tavon Austin signed a big contract extension well before his rookie contract was set to expire. Many people criticized this move, and in Week Four Austin gave some juice to their claim. Based on the contract he signed, we can compare Austin to Jeremy Maclin and Randall Cobb. Maclin and Cobb both signed new contracts last year.

NameTeamAPY
Tavon AustinRams$10,555,501
Jeremy MaclinChiefs$11,000,000
Randall CobbPackers$10,000,000

Austin was payed the value of a Tier 1A player. Based on that, he isn’t expected to produce to the level of a number one target, although he should put up stats of a good second-option. Nevertheless, Austin’s efforts this week weren’t nearly close to that caliber. Here is his Week Four stat sheet juxtaposed with Maclin’s and Cobb’s average numbers for the season.

NameTeamTargetsReceptionsYardsTDsSnaps
Tavon AustinRams6214032
Jeremy MaclinChiefs9.25561046.5
Randall CobbPackers6444038.3

Maclin clearly has the advantage over everyone. Even though Austin was targeted the same number of times as Cobb, he fell well short in reception and yards. Additionally, he got a few less snaps than his Packers counterpart. Looking at the efficiency scores, Austin isn’t even in the same ballpark as Maclin and Cobb.

NameTeamSnaps/TargetSnaps/ReceptionYards/SnapCatch RateYards/TargetYards/Reception
Tavon AustinRams5.316.00.433.3%2.37.0
Jeremy MaclinChiefs5.09.31.354.1%6.612.2
Randall CobbPackers6.49.61.166.7%7.311.0

So to whom did Austin compare this week?

NameTeamTargetsReceptionsYardsTDsSnaps
Tavon AustinRams6214032
Charles JohnsonVikings3.51.2522.503.5

Johnson produced about the same as Austin, give or take a little on targets and yards. The snap count difference, however, shows that the Rams could be getting similar production from a different player who plays 10.9% of the time Austin does. That would be somewhere in the range of $510,000 per-year, which is what Johnson earns — a 20.7 dividend.

Eli (@Ebookstaber) is a big follower of every facet of the NFL: from the contracts, to the film, and to the Draft. He also writes for OvertimeIreland.com. Eli compiles their weekly power rankings and analyzes game film. Additionally, in the offseason he does a variety of articles on free agency and the Draft. Growing up in Silver Spring, Maryland, Eli was brought up as a Redskins fan from the day he heard his dad yell at the TV as little kid.