2016 New Contract Tracker: Pass Rushing Linemen

On a weekly basis, I will be evaluating defensive ends 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 will be taking a look at players on two surprisingly, undefeated teams.

Fletcher Cox

The attention in Philadelphia is on rookie QB Carson Wentz and rightfully so. However, the Eagles defense quietly leads the league in points against at 9.0 points per game. Fletcher Cox has been an integral part of this success. While the Eagles may not have expected such immediate results from Wentz, the same cannot be said of Fletcher Cox. Cox signed a 6 year, $102.6M deal with the Eagles in the offseason. That type of contract signifies the expectation and confidence the Eagles have in Cox to lead the defense. Through three games, Cox has 11 total tackles, 3 sacks and 4 QB hurries. Cox had a stellar game against the Steelers, recording 2 sacks and a forced fumble. While much of the spotlight has been attributed to Carson Wentz, Cox and the Eagles defense have proved paramount in leading the Eagles to a 3-0 record and first place in the NFC East.

Chris Long

Continuing with the theme of undefeated teams with young QB’s, we move on to the New England Patriots and defensive end Chris Long. Long signed a 1 year, $2.375M deal with the Patriots in the offseason. In many ways, Long’s signing with the Patriots exemplifies a typical Belichick move. A low risk, high reward deal with a veteran player many have started to not believe in. Long has been on the field for 71% of the defensive snaps in New England, a figure that is right in line with his counterpart Jabaal Sheard. 29% of Long’s tackles have been for a loss and he has 1 sack and 3 QB hurries through three games. It will be interesting to see how Long’s production changes with the reinstatement of Rob Ninkovich after week 4, but for now, Long seems to be experiencing a somewhat of a career revival with New England.

Here are the current stats for the newly contracted rushers as tabulated by Sportingcharts.com.

Player Team APY % Def Snaps Solo Tackle Tot Tackle TFL TFL % Sacks Hurries Stuffs
Jason Pierre-Paul Giants $10,000,000 98% 11 15 2 13% 1 7 0
Fletcher Cox Eagles $17,100,000 74% 9 11 2 18% 3 4 0
Muhammad Wilkerson Jets $17,200,000 97% 10 13 4 31% 2 1 2
Olivier Vernon Giants $17,000,000 94% 5 7 2 29% 1 4 1
Chris Long Patriots $2,375,000 71% 5 7 2 29% 1 3 0
Mario Williams Dolphins $8,500,000 66% 3 4 2 50% 1 3 1
Malik Jackson Jaguars $14,250,000 65% 3 4 1 25% 1 4 0
Derek Wolfe Broncos $9,175,000 71% 9 10 1 10% 2 2 0
Charles Johnson Panthers $3,000,000 66% 6 6 0 0% 0 5 0
Jason Jones Lions $1,535,000 63% 4 8 1 13% 2 2 0
Andre Branch Dolphins $2,750,000 50% 1 6 1 17% 1 3 0
William Hayes Rams $5,833,333 46% 6 11 2 18% 1 2 2
Adrian Clayborn Falcons $4,250,000 53% 4 4 1 25% 0 3 1
Jared Crick Broncos $2,000,000 77% 3 5 1 20% 0 2 1
Stephen Paea Browns $1,900,000 30% 1 1 0 0% 0 3 0
Benson Mayowa Cowboys $2,750,000 57% 1 2 1 50% 1 0 0
Derrick Shelby Falcons $4,500,000 57% 3 4 0 0% 0 2 0
Wallace Gilberry Lions $1,250,000 49% 3 4 0 0% 0 2 0
Vinny Curry Eagles $9,250,000 45% 2 2 0 0% 0 2 0
Robert Ayers Jr. Buccaneers $6,500,000 44% 4 4 1 25% 1 0 0
Dwight Freeney Falcons $2,000,000 40% 2 2 1 50% 1 0 0
Mitch Unrein Bears $1,130,000 56% 0 4 0 0% 0 1 0
Cedric Thornton Cowboys $4,250,000 31% 4 7 1 14% 0 0 1
Ziggy Hood Redskins $935,000 63% 2 5 0 0% 0 0 0
Jarvis Jenkins Jets $3,000,000 24% 3 3 0 0% 0 1 0
Quinton Dial 49ers $4,000,667 52% 3 9 0 0% 0 0 0
Tank Carradine 49ers $2,650,000 37% 1 4 0 0% 0 0 0
Tyrunn Walker Lions $1,600,000 37% 4 8 0 0% 0 0 0
Eugene Sims Rams $3,333,333 28% 3 4 0 0% 0 0 0
Billy Winn Broncos $760,000 25% 2 2 0 0% 0 0 0
Ricardo Mathews Steelers $760,000 21% 0 1 0 0% 0 0 0
Kendall Reyes Redskins $2,500,000 9% 1 2 0 0% 0 0 0
Tony Jerod-Eddie 49ers $1,000,000 3% 0 0 0 0% 0 0 0
Justin Trattou Vikings $810,000 1% 0 0 0 0% 0 0 0
Rob Ninkovich Patriots $2,500,000 0% 0 0 0 0% 0 0 0
Aldon Smith Raiders $5,750,000 0% 0 0 0 0% 0 0