Stock Down: Week 6


Every Monday during the season we will take a look back at three players who are entering important stages of their contract that may have hurt their stock in upcoming negotiations with their play on Sunday. In addition we will also look at one player signed in the offseason to a new contract that did not live up to the expectations that his contract sets for the player.

Stock Down

Antonio Cromartie– In 2012 Cromartie was arguably the best player on the Jets defense often drawing the most difficult assignment and shutting him down. 2013 has been a completely different story. Cromartie has been ineffective and often is spending a good deal of time playing catch up anytime someone puts a move on him at the start of a play. While he was nursing a knee injury yesterday he has been giving up too many big plays on the season and yesterday was no exception as he was toasted by Emmanuel Sanders of the Steelers on a 55 yard touchdown pass. Cromartie is set to earn $9.5 million next season and with a cap charge close to $15 million dollars this is essentially a free agent season for the cornerback. Give the soft state of the CB market and general worries about happens when Cromartie gets older and begins to lose some of that explosiveness, this is as bad a time as any for this kind of season.

Chris Johnson–  Johnson spent a long time trying to get an extension with the Titans following his explosion in 2009 where he rushed for 2000 yards. Finally in 2011 the Titans caved and signed him to an absurd contract making nearly $13.5 million a year with $30 million in guarantees. Johnson, unlike Adrian Peterson, was never able to recapture that real special season and has been little more than one of many overpaid and underperforming running backs. Yesterday Johnson was nearly worthless against the Seahawks rushing for just 33 yards on 12 carries. What’s even scarier is that this was his best game in 3 weeks. His 3 week total is now just 71 rushing yards on 37 carries for an average of 1.9. Johnson has a $10 million dollar cap figure and will earn $8 million in 2014. With just $6 million in dead money he’ll likely be cut and will probably not make $8 million over the span of the entire contract he signs with someone next season.

Ben Tate– Tate had tremendous expectations going into the season and early in the year there seemed to be a chance that he was going to get more work as he looked explosive at times. At some point a team would be convinced that he could be a featured back and he would get his salary in the $5 million a year range. But a few fumbles later and a resurgent set of performances by starter Arian Foster has seen Tate maintain a minimal workload. Tate only saw action on 20 snaps and it seems as if most of them came in mop up time when the game was out of reach.  On the second to last drive he did score a touchdown and pick up a 4th down conversion but that came after being stuffed three times in short yardage situations. All in all he ended up with 10 carries for 12 yards. He needs to get more meaningful opportunities and do better in the opportunities provided to try to get that contract he wants from someone next season.

New Contract Disappointment Of The Week

Greg Jennings– The Vikings paid Jennings big money to help revive their struggling passing attack but for the most part he has just become another limited use piece in the Minnesota offense. Jennings caught 6 passes on Sunday for just 34 yards. He is on pace to have his worst statistical non-injury plagued year since his rookie season. Despite earning $9 million a season he ranks 3rd on the team in both receptions and yards. It’s not all his fault but he’s a perfect example as to why in 90% of the cases you need to have some type of QB in place before spending big money on a wide receiver. The Ponder/Cassel tandem was not that type of QB.

Follow @Jason_OTC


Estimating the Value of WR Greg Jennings

Well today the story came out from multiple sources that free agent wide receiver Greg Jennings of the Green Bay Packers would like a contract worth $14 million a season. That seems like pretty lofty goals for a player who only saw action in 8 games last season and created 366 yards of offense for the team. A salary of $14 million a year would rank Jennings 3rd in the NFL and well above the market prices for anyone not named Johnson or Fitzgerald.  I’ve personally considered Jennings to be the least of the “big 3” of Jennings, Dwayne Bowe, and Mike Wallace but those thoughts were just based on watching the players rather than strong analysis of anything.  Now I’ve done analysis of both players and what they should receive so lets take a look at exactly how Jennings may stack up against these two players.

Basic Stats

Now for starters I am just going to throw out Jennings 2012 campaign since he dealt with injuries most of the season. While I don’t think a team can just throw that out for the sake of comparison I will do that just to see what the highest end market is for Jennings. So for Jennings the 3 year statistics will be from 2009-2011:






Catch Rate





























Clearly these are solid numbers and superior to both Wallace and Bowe, but Jennings also plays in a prolific offense with arguably the best Quarterback in the NFL.

Comparative Stats

Now comes the time where we look to see just how much Jennings contributed to his team’s wide receiver corps. over that three year stretch.

Team Tgts

Team Rec

Team Yds

Team Tds

Team Ints

























Overall these are extremely steady numbers. He is more or less about 1/3 of the Packer passing attack that gets filtered to the Wideouts. His yardage contribution began to decline in 2011 (and these stats are adjusted for only his 13 games played so its not due to less games) and his interceptions are higher than expected given his targets, both of which are negatives. Green Bay seems to have little interest in bringing him back and I think these numbers paint a picture as to why. He is part of the machine but not the key component of it.

Comparable Players

Rather than rehashing the old charts with all the players lets just look at Jennings in comparison to the other two stud free agents.


From a standpoint of importance there is little comparison between Jennings and Bowe. Bowe was on a far worse team with no supporting cast. He was the dominant figure in Kansas City accounting for nearly 50% of the WR offense. Those are the numbers that define true number 1 potential. Jennings was targeted slightly more than Wallace in Pittsburgh but did not have the yardage production of Wallace. The touchdown category is no comparison. Bowe and Wallace are potential difference makers, Jennings is not. Jennings also saw a much higher percentage of passes get picked off than these other two players.

The Final Verdict

If you want to get a better idea of the market you can just read the two articles I wrote looking at Bowe and Wallace. Even discounting the last season Jennings is simply not in the same class as the group of talent that makes over $10 million a season. At best you would say he would earn the same as Wallace, which I put to be in that $9.7 million dollar range, but that doesn’t even take into account the other variables that come into play with Jennings.

Jennings has only played in 21 regular season games over the last two years. His YPC fell to 14.2 in 2011 to just 10.6 in 2012 after years of being around 16. That’s a 38% drop. Jennings will be in his 8th NFL season next year compared to 7th for Bowe and only 5th for Wallace. In a study I am working on looking at productivity of receivers beyond their 5th year in the NFL, the drops in production seem to begin in year 9 for elite receivers and Jennings is close to that and his numbers are already seemingly in the declining stage.  While that won’t make him unproductive by any means he probably will not be the  consistent 1,000+ yard number 1 target that a team would expect. Most likely he fits best on a team that is in a “win now” position rather than a developmental stage like the Miami Dolphins., unless they were going to pair him with another high quality wide receiver, such as Wallace.

$14 million is a pipe dream. If he accomplishes that number that is truly amazing, but I can’t imagine any team would see him as that type of talent. My guess is the model we would be looking at would be that of Anquan Boldin in Baltimore back in 2010. Boldin was in his 8th season in the NFL when traded to the Baltimore Ravens and quickly signed a new 3 contract extension worth $25 million in new money containing $8 million in firm guarantees and $10 million in functional guarantees. Boldin’s numbers immediately tailed off though he was always a useful player and was an integral part of their Super Bowl run, but he just never was the dominant player they expected.

At the time I believe the top market contract was Larry Fitzgerald of the Cardinals making $10 million a year with $15 million in guarantees.  So Boldin’s deal was 83% of the top market number in the league and a few percent less on the guaranteed percentage of the contract. Maybe that is where Jennings came up with $14 million. The top of the market APY is now around $16.2 million, 83% of which is just under $13.5 million a year.  The problem with using that number as a base is that the two contracts at the top of the market are positional outliers which won’t be used by other teams as a point of reference.  The real top of the market is Brandon Marshall and Vincent Jackson at just under $11.2 million a year. Based off that salary Jennings new APY would be $9.296 million a year which fits in much better with our statistical analysis and actual past market data.

So I think Jennings realistically is looking at a 4 year contract worth just north of $37 million with around $12 million in real guarantees and between $15 and 16 million in functional guarantees assuming teams feel he is perfectly healthy and negotiate based on what he did prior to 2012. I think for him to push the price point to DeSean Jackson territory ($9.7 million a year) he will need to reach certain incentives to get there.  My guess is most teams would be disappointed with the overall results over the 4 year period but that is a reasonable deal if he can sign with a winning team.

What benefits Jennings finding a home and maybe pushing the price is the fact that he was injured last season and put up a statistically poor season. Teams that should be most interested in a player like Jennings who is likely just out of his prime are those that think its window of opportunity is now such as the Patriots, Texans, 49ers, or even Cowboys. Those are the type of teams that tend to overpay a bit for results in the present and deal with the problems that could arise in the future.  Utilizing a number of “not likely to be earned” incentives in his contract such as a large bonuses for40 receptions or 400 yards available one time in any of the next four years and backed up by guaranteed base salary in future years, cap strapped teams can fit Jennings under the cap in 2013 and push those charges out into future years when perhaps they have more payroll flexibility. That’s really the perfect match for Jennings and his best chance of getting his top contract.