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, 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.
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|
|Robert Ayers Jr.||Buccaneers||$6,500,000||9||213||38%||5||7||1||14%||1||0||0||26|