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.
Wilkerson signed the richest contract in terms of APY for a pass rushing defensive lineman this season. His five-year, $86 million deal is nearly identical to the contract signed by Eagles defensive lineman, Fletcher Cox. Wilkerson’s deal is for five years as compared to six for Cox and fully guarantees $36.75 million at signing whereas Cox’s deal guarantees $36.299 million. When the Jets drafted Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, and Leonard Williams, their plan was clearly to create pressure on the quarterback. Thus far this season, their plan has not panned out. Through eight games, the Jets have only recorded 15 sacks, projecting them for 30 on the season. The last time the Jets recorded 30 or less sacks in a season was 2012. Wilkerson hasn’t lived up to the hopes of his contract as he as just 3 sacks and 5 hurries. Whether it is a schematic issue or something else, the Jets surely expect more production from Wilkerson and the defensive line as a whole.
Adrian Clayborn has been one of the biggest surprises and best values for defensive lineman signed this off-season. The former first-round draft pick of the Buccaneers may finally be reaching his potential. Paired with fellow, first round-pick, Vic Beasley, the Falcons defense may finally be getting to the point where it can complement their offense. Through Week 8, Clayborn has 4 sacks, 12 QB hurries, and 2 stuffs. Clayborn’s two-year, $8.5-million-dollar deal ranked as the 13th highest in terms of APY this off-season. His production thus far has surpassed his value and the Falcons will continue to look for him to produce on their quest to an NFC South championship.
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.
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 .
|Player||Team||APY||APY Rank||Def Snaps||% Def Snaps||Solo Tackle||Tot Tackle||TFL||TFL %||Sacks||Hurries||Stuffs||Prod. Rank|
|Robert Ayers Jr.||Buccaneers||$6,500,000||9||157||32%||5||5||1||20%||1||0||0||26|