Wide Receiver Contract Tiers through 2016 Week 8

This week, I’m going to revisit the 2016 signings and note where each player stands after 8 weeks on their new contracts.


Methodology

See my prior article here for more information regarding how these tiers were constructed and what types of receivers fit into each tier.

 APYCatches/16Targets/16Catch %Yards/16TDs/16
Tier 1$14M+10016064%1,45011
Tier 2$10M-$11.5M9013068%1,1008
Tier 3$6M-$8M7011560%1,0006
Tier 4$3M-$5M558065%6754

 

Results through 2016 Week 8

  

16 Game Pace

 
Tier 2 Contracts

Current APY

CatchesTargetsCatch %YardsTDsAPY Value
Expectation$10M-$11.5M9013068%1,1008 
Doug Baldwin$11.5M8711775%1,0995Low Tier 2
Keenan Allen$11.25Mn/a – Injured Reserven/a
Emmanuel Sanders$11M8815059%1,1346Low Tier 2
Tavon Austin$10.56M8214656%6835Low Tier 3/High Tier 4
Allen Hurns$10M7112855%1,0135High Tier 3

Doug Baldwin and Emmanuel Sanders: Baldwin has been in a bit of a slump lately. He hasn’t topped 6 catches or 70 yards in the past 4 weeks and has failed to score a touchdown over that period. Sanders has had very similar production to Baldwin over the past four weeks: 1 more catch and 69 more yards, also without a touchdown. Baldwin has maintained his high catch rate of 75%. At this point, both players have looked like Tier 1 receivers for 2 weeks and Tier 3 receivers every other week. Both teams are getting around $10M APY production on the $11M and $11.5M contracts.

Tavon Austin: In the past two years, around 48% of Austin’s yardage and over half of his touchdowns came as a runner rather than a receiver. In 2016, only 17% of his yardage has come as a runner and he has yet to score on the ground. Given that change in use, I’m going to look at Austin solely as a receiving weapon. Unfortunately, while Austin is on pace to set or match career highs in catches, yards, or touchdowns, none are particularly high marks. Assuming Austin maintains his current pace, he will be providing the Rams with around $5M APY production on a $10.56M APY contract.

Allen Hurns: With the exception of his touchdown rate, Hurns’ 2016 is very close to his 2015 totals. He is on pace for 7 more catches, 18 fewer yards, and 5 fewer touchdowns. Without more touchdowns, his production looks to be slightly below expectation for his contract APY of $10M.

 

16 Game Pace

 
Tier 3 ContractsCurrent APYCatchesTargetsCatch %YardsTDsAPY Value
Expectation$6M-$8M7011560%1,0006 
Marvin Jones$8M7211861%1,3128Tier 2
Mohamed Sanu$6.5M6410064%6846High Tier 4
Travis Benjamin$6M7611666%1,0186High Tier 3
Mike Wallace$5.75M8013758%1,1207High Tier 3

Marvin Jones: Jones’ production has slowed quite a bit over the past four games. After totaling 23 catches, 482 league leading yards, and 2 touchdowns over his first four games, he has totaled 13 catches for 174 yards and 2 more touchdowns in his past four games. The combined eight game production is still enough to keep Jones as a good value for the Lions. He is currently production at around a $10M APY pace on an $8M contract.

Mohamed Sanu: Sanu’s 2016 pace is noticeably lower than should be expected given his current APY. The Falcons are currently getting at best $5M APY production on a $6.5M contract. Sanu has only topped 5 catches once this year and has only surpassed 50 yards receiving twice in eight games.

Travis Benjamin: Even with his production slowing down over the past four games, Benjamin is still on pace for career highs in catches, yards, touchdowns, and catch percentage. His production is right in line with what should be expected for a receiver on an $8M APY contract.

Mike Wallace: Even though Wallace’s touchdowns have slowed down from his early season, his production is still outpacing his $5.75M APY contract. Wallace’s production is more in line with a player on an $8M contract.

  

16 Game Pace

 
Tier 4 ContractsCurrent APYCatchesTargetsCatch %YardsTDsAPY Value
Expectation$3M-$5M558065%6754 
Rishard Matthews$5M547671%7146High Tier 4
Jermaine Kearse$4.5M507865%5600Low Tier 4
Chris Hogan$4M385470%7824High Tier 4

Tier 4 contracts are the hardest to criticize too hard because the team is essentially paying for competent veteran receiver play. Matthews is slightly out producing his contract, Kearse is still producing towards the lower end of his expectation, and Chris Hogan is inconsistent, but still a good value at $4M APY.

2015 Contracts

This week, I would like to look at the same two players I analyzed several weeks ago: TY Hilton and Jeremy Maclin.

The 2015 statistics shown below are the actual results from last year while the 2016 statistics have been pro-rated over 16 games.

  

16 Game Pace

 
2015 SigningsCurrent APYCatchesTargetsCatch %YardsTDsAPY Value
TY Hilton – 2015$13M6913451%1,1245High Tier 3
TY Hilton – 2016$13M9216456%1,4188High Tier 2/Low Tier 1
Jeremy Maclin – 2015$11M8712470%1,0888Tier 2
Jeremy Maclin – 2016$11M6912655%8595Tier 3

TY Hilton: When Hilton signed his contract in 2015, it seemed to be a bit of a reaction to the other high-profile receivers that had signed large contracts at the time. His contract is currently the 5th highest APY (not including Jeffery’s franchise tag), yet Hilton has never had a season over 82 catches or 7 touchdowns and just one season over 1,125 yards. At those rates, $13M APY was a definite overpayment. However, he is currently on pace for career highs in catches, yards, and touchdowns. While he will likely need to regularly produce 10+ touchdown seasons for the Colts to receive full value, he no longer appears to be significantly overpaid.

Jeremy Maclin: Maclin is not doing as well. While his 2015 season statistics put him almost exactly in line with what should be expected based on his $11M APY. In 2016, Maclin has failed to record more than 6 catches or 80 yards in any game and has only caught one touchdown on the season. If his production stays at this level, he will be giving the Chiefs $5-6M APY value on an $11M contract.