2016 New Contract Tracker: Pass Rushing Linemen (Week 9)

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.

Mario Williams

Mario Williams, the former first overall pick of the Houston Texans, signed a two-year, $17 million deal with the Dolphins this off-season. With names like Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake, the Dolphins were surely expecting to create a formidable pass rushing defense. So far this season, the Dolphins are right dead in the middle of the league, with 19 sacks on the season. Williams, now 31, is a big name, who may be on the downslope of his career. He has only recorded one sack on the season. In the 2015 season, Williams had 5 sacks in 15 games. However, in the three years’ prior, Williams averaged roughly 12.5 sacks a season, with his lowest output during that time span coming in 2012, when he recorded 10.5 sacks. There has been a significant dip in his production, but it would be tough to argue that teams around the league didn’t see this coming. Williams’ $8.5 million deal reflects the Dolphins may have paid up a bit for the name recognition and the short length of the contract indicates the risk in signing a 31-year old defensive end.

William Hayes

Another 31-year old defensive lineman that signed a contract this off-season is William Hayes of the Los Angeles Rams. Hayes signed a three-year, $17.5 million deal with the Rams, with $10 million guaranteed. Hayes was likely signed to replace his former teammate Chris Long. Like the aforementioned Williams, Hayes too has only recorded one sack on the season. With the exception of All-Pro, Aaron Donald, the Rams defense has struggled to get to the quarterback this season. In fact, Donald is responsible for a third of the Rams sacks as a team. Hayes had been relatively consistent over the past four seasons, recording anywhere from four to seven sacks a season. One reason Hayes’ production may be down is an ankle injury which caused him to miss two games this season. Hayes too might be on the tail end of his career, but the Rams are surely hoping to squeeze some production out of him through the rest of his contract.

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
Adrian Clayborn Falcons $4,250,000 13 408 63% 19 20 8 40% 5 12 2 1
Olivier Vernon Giants $17,000,000 3 548 91% 22 29 6 21% 2 18 4 2
Jason Pierre-Paul Giants $10,000,000 5 575 96% 23 33 3 9% 2 18 2 3
Fletcher Cox Eagles $17,100,000 2 397 77% 17 24 6 25% 4 10 3 4
Derek Wolfe Broncos $9,175,000 7 448 68% 21 30 3 10% 5 10 0 5
Dwight Freeney Falcons $2,000,000 25 217 34% 6 9 4 44% 3 10 0 6
Muhammad Wilkerson Jets $17,200,000 1 474 82% 20 29 7 24% 3 5 3 7
Charles Johnson Panthers $3,000,000 17 343 65% 11 15 0 0% 2 14 0 8
Malik Jackson Jaguars $14,250,000 4 348 63% 11 13 3 23% 2 10 1 9
Andre Branch Dolphins $2,750,000 19 322 58% 9 19 1 5% 3 10 2 10
Chris Long Patriots $2,375,000 24 392 71% 13 21 4 19% 1 10 1 11
Vinny Curry Eagles $9,250,000 6 224 43% 7 11 2 18% 1 12 1 12
Mario Williams Dolphins $8,500,000 8 328 59% 8 10 4 40% 1 7 3 13
Jason Jones Dolphins $1,535,000 29 298 53% 11 19 2 11% 3 4 0 14
William Hayes Rams $5,833,333 10 206 37% 13 18 3 17% 1 6 3 15
Jared Crick Broncos $2,000,000 25 535 82% 13 24 4 17% 2 0 1 16
Eugene Sims Rams $3,333,333 16 238 43% 9 13 4 31% 2 0 3 17
Benson Mayowa Cowboys $2,750,000 19 202 40% 4 8 3 38% 2 0 1 18
Derrick Shelby Falcons $4,500,000 12 246 38% 6 8 2 25% 0 5 2 19
Cedric Thornton Cowboys $4,250,000 13 171 34% 7 15 3 20% 2 0 2 20
Tyrunn Walker Lions $1,600,000 28 229 39% 10 18 3 17% 0 3 3 21
Stephen Paea Browns $1,900,000 27 177 28% 5 10 0 0% 0 5 0 22
Rob Ninkovich Patriots $2,500,000 22 188 34% 5 11 0 0% 0 4 0 23
Ziggy Hood Redskins $935,000 33 349 65% 6 13 1 8% 1 0 0 24
Mitch Unrein Bears $1,130,000 31 288 52% 7 16 0 0% 0 3 0 25
Robert Ayers Jr. Buccaneers $6,500,000 9 213 38% 5 7 1 14% 1 0 0 26
Jarvis Jenkins Jets $3,000,000 17 120 21% 7 9 0 0% 0 3 0 27
Tank Carradine 49ers $2,650,000 21 148 25% 5 10 1 10% 0 0 0 28
Ricardo Mathews Steelers $760,000 35 126 24% 2 5 1 20% 0 0 0 29
Quinton Dial 49ers $4,000,667 15 314 52% 16 25 0 0% 0 0 0 30
Billy Winn Broncos $760,000 35 193 29% 6 12 0 0% 0 0 1 31
Wallace Gilberry Lions $1,250,000 30 125 21% 3 5 0 0% 0 0 0 32
Tony Jerod-Eddie 49ers $1,000,000 32 58 10% 1 1 0 0% 0 0 0 33
Justin Trattou Vikings $810,000 34 5 1% 0 0 0 0% 0 0 0 34
Kendall Reyes Redskins $2,500,000 22 0 0% 5 7 0 0% 0 0 0 35
Aldon Smith Raiders $5,750,000 11 0 0% 0 0 0 0% 0 0 0 35