On a weekly basis, I will be evaluating pass rushing defensive lineman that signed some sort of contract in this offseason. Players on-field performance will be evaluated against the annual salary of their new contract. In terms of on-field production, I will be taking into account stats relevant to the defensive end position such as percentage of defensive team snaps played, tackles, tackles for loss, sacks and hurries. The basis for contract evaluation will be the APY of a given player’s contract.
This week, we look to two players who signed one-year deals and that can thus far be considered relative bargains in the off-season market.
Dwight Freeney is no stranger to stellar production. The former stalwart of the Colts’ defense is likely destined for Canton after his career is over. However, few could’ve foreseen the numbers he has accumulated so far this season. Freeney signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Falcons in the off-season. Freeney’s deal was the 25th lowest APY out of 36 deals we have examined for pass rushing defensive lineman. The low risk, high reward move, seems to have thus far come to fruition for the Falcons. Freeney has recorded a sack in each of his last three games; doing exactly what he’s been paid to do in the NFL for the last 15 seasons. As currently calculated, Freeney’s production ranks 5th highest out of this free agent class, all the while, his contract ranks 25th. The large difference between the two rankings, show us Freeney has been a great value for the Falcons this season.
A lesser known name who has provided similar value to Freeney is Miami DE, Jason Jones. Jones, 30, signed a one-year deal worth $1.535 million with the Dolphins in the off-season. Jones has recorded two sacks and fifteen total tackles through five games. While the numbers aren’t eye popping, Jones provides the Dolphins with cheap depth at a position where they have already dedicated so much of their salary cap towards. With players like Ndamukong Suh, Cameron Wake and Mario Williams, the Dolphins rank second in the league in spending on the defensive line position. Their total spending for the defensive line is almost $39 million this season, only behind the Jaguars who’ve spent about $40 million on the position group. Jones’ contract ranks 29th among eligible contracts examined and his production ranking is the 11th highest. Once again, the variance between the two numbers signifies a relative bargain for the Dolphins.
Here are the current stats for the newly contracted rushers as tabulated by Sportingcharts.com. The chart is sorted from highest to lowest based on a production formula that takes into account some of the relevant stats shown in the table.
|Player||Team||APY||APY Rank||Def Snaps||% Def Snaps||Solo Tackle||Tot Tackle||TFL||Sacks||Hurries||Stuffs||Prod. Rank|
|Robert Ayers Jr.||Buccaneers||$6,500,000||9||86||32%||4||4||1||1||–||–||23|
Rohan is a law student at Villanova Law School. He also writes for the Villanova Sports and Entertainment Law Society Blog. For more insight, follow Rohan on Twitter, @rmohanty3 .