According to Jay Glazer, the Chicago Bears have agreed to trade pass rusher Jared Allen to the Carolina Panthers. The trade furthers the deconstruction of the roster that was put together last season by former GM Phil Emery who spent big on a number of players, including Allen, that never worked out. From a financial standpoint there are few deals that will look worse on the books in a given year than this one. The Bears will have paid Allen $11.676 million this year for three games worth of work that resulted in 4 tackles. The Panthers will only pay Allen slightly over $823,000 for the remainder of the season. Continue reading Bears Trade Jared Allen to the Panthers »
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.
Colin Kaepernick– Coming into 2013 I often received numerous tweets or emails concerning Kaepernick and how can the 49ers afford him going forward. Kaepernick caught fire last season when he replaced Alex Smith and helped lead the team to the Super Bowl. He added another dimension to the 49ers and looked to be the next big thing with some very well respected media personalities going so far as to say he has the ability to be the best QB of all time. When asked about Kaepernick I’ve always been cautious because the sample size last year was next to nothing and his situation was the perfect storm as teams spent months preparing for Smith, who had no arm and was a standard scrambler, and ended up getting Kaepernick who had a rocket for an arm and was a fantastic runner. Teams adjust and the last two weeks they got him good. Kaepernick followed up a disaster in Seattle with another disaster, except this time at home and against the Colts, a team not considered a juggernaut on defense. He threw for just 150 yards on 48% passing and only added 20 rushing yards. The 49ers always prefer to extend players early and Kaepernick’s first season of eligibility for a new contract was after the completion of the 2013 season. He has now played the worst two games of his career in back to back weeks which is going to put the process on hold if it keeps up.
Jared Allen– The Vikings allowed Allen to play out his contract and he needed a big season to prove to a team that he could still be an elite pass rusher as he makes the turn into his 30s. Allen was nowhere to be seen on Sunday against a team that threw the ball 54 times. Allen registered just one pressure on the day according to Pro Football Focus which is not the kind of game that will get Allen the double digit APY he supposedly is looking for in 2014. Allen’s pace for the season is not strong considering the circumstances. His 1 sack in three games has him on pace for his lowest sack total of his career and these have been in games where teams are averaging over 45 attempts a game. In terms of pressures he is only generating pressure on around 8% of his pass rush attempts compared to 11.5% the last few seasons. With the team off to an 0-3 start and the defense looking below average Allen has a chance to be lost in obscurity this year with teams feeling he was unable to do anything in the few early season meaningful games they played.
CJ Spiller– It was a miserable day for Spiller rushing for just 9 yards on 10 carries before leaving the game on Sunday against the Jets. Spiller was expected to carry the Bills offense following his explosion in 2012 when he was arguably the second most productive back in the NFL behind the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson. Spiller was explosive and difficult to contain, finally living up to the draft day promises. This season was set to be the perfect storm for Spiller. The Bills were starting a young QB, considered to be a bit of a project, making him the man to carry the offense. Players like Ray Rice, Chris Johnson, etc…were able to use that to their benefit in getting lucrative contracts in the last few years. With some relatively heavier escalators possible to be earned in his contract 2014 should be an extension year for Spiller. But Spiller has had a difficult time this season with 2 of 3 games seeing him held under 50 yards and none will ever be worse than Sunday’s contest against the Jets.
New Contract Disappointment Of The Week
Will Beatty– Beatty, signed to a $7.5 million dollar a year contract extension in the offseason by the Giants, was abused by the Panthers’ Greg Hardy. While Hardy is a terrific player Beatty was expected to be a top line tackle. Instead he looked like a 4th quarter throw in from the first Preseason game of the year. He was out-muscled all day and never looked like he could match up physically with the Panthers. There was no technique helping him cope with the pressure. He was a revolving door and it set the tone for what turned into a blowout for the Giants.
Jared Allen #69 DE, Minnesota Vikings
Johnny Manziel should take some pointers about alcohol consumption from Jared Allen. Allen’s two DUIs in 2007 nearly derailed his eventual Hall of Fame career. Although the Kansas City Chiefs truly wanted to offer a contract extension commensurate with his talent, the team had to take into account that off the field, Allen was spiraling out of control. The Chiefs eventually used the highest RFA tender to retain him for the 2007 season.
After serving a league mandated two game suspension-reduced from four- Allen went on an absolute tear, recording 15.5 sacks in only 14 games. Chiefs GM at the time was Carl Peterson who vowed “We will not lose Jared Allen”. Instead of offering a long term contract to their reformed superstar, the Chiefs decided to play hardball and slapped the Franchise Tag on him. Obviously Allen did not take kindly to this and demanded a trade out of Kansas City which was granted. On April 23, 2008 Allen was traded to the Minnesota Vikings and received a then record-breaking (for a defensive player) 6 year, $73.5 million contract.
This bring us to today. Allen has honored not only his contract but also staying away from drinking. Over the past six years he has built upon his Hall of Fame resume. At 31 years old, my assumption is he will be awarded an extension by the Vikings commensurate to the one Cameron Wake signed lasted year.
Estimated New Contract: Minnesota Vikings extention 5 years, $38 million
One of the things that I like to do here is come up with different ways to value positional players. Today on Twitter Joel Corry mentioned Jared Allen and how difficult it will be to get a $10 million a year contract because of his age. I pretty much think its impossible but Joel brought up a great point when I compared him to John Abraham in that Allen plays well over 90% of the snaps while Abraham is a situational player. So of course that got me to thinking about putting something together on the 43 Defensive End position. As always the raw data comes from Pro Football Focus but the actual analytical work is my own.
Defensive Ends primarily have two responsibilities- rushing the passer and stopping the run. Some drop off into coverage but it’s a small part of the positional responsibilities so Ill avoid that here. I thought maybe an interesting way to look at things would be strictly from the point of view of increased failures on a play. How do we define a failure?
People who read my work know I focus on something called Pass Russ Performance (PRP) where I determine the expected result of a pass play if there was no pressure vs that of pressure. That difference for each player equals the added benefit of a player. Using Allen as an example he rushed the QB on 638 snaps and registered 64 pressures and 11 sacks. If the QB was not pressured he would have completed 413.8 passes. Factoring in the effect of Allen’s pressures and 11 sacks he only completes 394.7. So he adds 19.06 negative plays to the Vikings defense via his pass rush.
To value run defense I wanted to look at PFF’s category of stops since a stop would constitute a “loss” for the offense similar to an incompletion. To value this I wanted to compare the player to the average performance of DE’s in the NFL. The average DE generates a stop 6.1% of the time he is on the field for a run possession. So to grade this we calculate the number of times a player would simply be stopped by an average player and subtract that from the number of stops the player was actually credited. Using Allen as an example we can calculate that a player should fail 21.5 times based on Allen’s 349 run snaps. Allen was credited with 28 stops, so we can say he was responsible for 6.5 additional failures on his run play.
We can use those figures to determine a number of benefits about a player. Adding them together we can say that the Vikings are paying Allen for 25.6 negative plays. You can look at it as negative plays as a percentage of on field opportunities. You can also look at it from the perspective of percent of increased failures. There can be a big difference between the 3 numbers. Allen ranks 2nd just based on total number of negative plays but falls to 13th and 14th among players with at least 200 snaps in the other categories, putting his totals more as a byproduct of snaps played than overall impact.
I always find this a hard item to reconcile. A player in on every down is hurt by the latter metrics because we are not taking situations into account, such as that of a screen pass having no chance of leading to a pressure. If a player comes in only on 3rd and 6 or more he can just tee off on a QB. Those same players often suffer when they are forced to play more snaps. So it can be hard to put a numeric value on the player.
One method I thought of using was to use percentage increase in failed plays and then adjust downward based on downs played. In other words if a player is worth $10 million but only plays 300 snaps we need to reduce that salary by what it costs for an average players that plays somewhere between 600 and 700 snaps to make up for the snaps. After some thought that seemed to be a lot of extra work so instead I looked at the median snaps for the top 32 players (807) and adjusted the players who had above that level downward based on their negative plays per snap. While not perfect I felt that this provided a fair estimate of what the player would do in a normal role with another team.
To revalue the position I wanted to look at the performance of the top 50 players and determine how much above or below the average a player performed and then use that to determine the players salary. The average performance worked out to be 12.23 negative plays and the average salary was $4.77 million.
Not surprisingly the results indicate a gross overpricing of the market, which is the result of a combination of free agency and likely the overvaluing of the sack statistic. Cameron Wake, who graded out as the best player, should be the top of the market at just over $10 million a year. Based on the current marketplace there are 7 players who make more than that. Greg Hardy of the Panthers and Jason Pierre Paul of the Giants ranked 2nd and 3rd, which shows the importance Pierre-Paul has to that team and how devastating his injury can be to New York. Allen ranked 5th and should be worth around $8.2 million a year.
The biggest upside players would be Brandon Graham of the Eagles and William Hayes of the Rams. Neither played 400 snaps but both still racked up enough negative plays to rank in the top 11. Their performance per play was off the charts with over 20% increases in failures. Top of the market is under 14% for a full time guy. Other high upside players would be Junior Gallette and Austen Lane.
The most overpaid is clearly Mario Williams at $16 million. Williams only ranked 19th last season and was worth barely over $5 million. The signing of Williams, which was way outside of any logical parameters even when signed, shows the problems with many philosophies in pricing free agents. In fact the 7 players who are paid in the double digits in APY only ranked 19, 14, 10, 5, 9, 21, and 17. Six of the top eight players are on rookie contracts and with some lower cost options like Hayes, Ron Ninkovich, and Kroy Biermann in the top 16 it should signal something to NFL front offices.
If your options are Williams at $16 million or drafting a rookie you should be drafting a rookie. There is more upside and far less cost involved. You also need to set positional allocations and decide how best to fill those voids. The Bills spent nearly $21 million on two free agents and they combined for only an additional 15.7 negative plays. The Giants got 34 on around 1/3 of the cost with a rookie and a timely contract with Osi Umenyiora. The Panthers got around 41 with 1 high cost player and a rookie. Their spending was around $13 million. So if you must sign a high priced player or re-sign one of your own he must be paired with a low cost player. The dual high priced approach is doomed to failure.
More teams seem to realizing this as teams paid record low dollars for free agents and the older veterans had trouble even finding jobs. John Abraham, who ranked 18th last season can’t even find a job. Getting back to the original question surrounding Allen it would be hard pressed for him to reach the $10 million mark next year. Even as arguably the 2nd best player last year he would not be worth that kind of money. My guess is the market drops further in the near future. Both Williams and Julius Peppers will likely see their contracts vanish by 2014 or 2015. Chris Long can be renegotiated at any time as he has little protection in his contract. Michael Johnson is a free agent next season as is Allen. That leaves Charles Johnson as the lone player who will be left earning over $10 million a year. We will need to wait and see how the market turns in the future but it should be closer to this chart than the current chart as it exists.
|Rank||Name||Team||Failures||Total Snaps||% Increase|
|% Fails/Snap||New APY|
|17||Michael D. Johnson||Bengals||14.44||796||7.4%||1.8%||$5,630,695|