2016 New Contract Tracker: Wide Receivers

As in any year, many Wide Receivers signed deals this off-season. Whether it’s a big-name or middle-class player singing a big contract, or an average player inking an average deal, not everyone has been playing to the value for which they signed. That can go two ways. Some players have over-performed while others have under-performed. Let’s see how some have been doing through the first three weeks.



Marvin Jones showed plenty of potential in his time in Cincinnati. However he also missed a lot of time due to an Achilles injury. The Lions were persuaded enough to give him a 5-year, $40M deal. Their hope was that he would help Golden Tate pick up the slack for Calvin Johnson following his retirement. So far, Jones has actually played to the level of a tier-one Wide Receiver. These are his stats compared to other top receivers in the league:

Marvin JonesLions29184082136
TY HiltonColts34182941144
AJ GreenBengals32222951133
Demaryius ThomasBroncos2015238196

Jones isn’t far from the top in terms of targets and receptions. Furthermore, he’s had much more production through yards and touchdowns then the rest of the receivers. By his snap count, you can also see that he’s used as much as a tier-one Wide Receiver. Here are some comparable efficiency stats:

NameTeamSnaps/TargetSnaps/ReceptionYards/SnapCatch RateYards/TargetYards/Reception
Marvin JonesLions4.
TY HiltonColts4.
AJ GreenBengals4.
Demaryius ThomasBroncos4.86.42.575.0%11.915.9

You can see that he’s been just as effective, and even more in some cases, than Hilton, Green, and Thomas. However, by comparing their contracts Jones didn’t get payed like a tier-one Wide Receiver.

Marvin JonesLions5$40,000,000$8,000,000
TY HiltonColts5$65,000,000$13,000,000
AJ GreenBengals4$60,000,000$15,000,000
Demaryius ThomasBroncos5$70,000,000$14,000,000

Hilton, Green, and Thomas all signed their contracts in 2015. Jones signed his a year later for the same length as almost all of them, although he fell well short in total value and average per year.

Emmanuel Sanders is another player who has gotten less for what he’s done for his team. He signed a big contract extension in the off-season, but it’s less than the Demaryius Thomas deal, the Broncos number one guy.

NameTeamAge at SigningAPY
Emmanuel SandersBroncos29$11,000,000
Demaryius ThomasBroncos28$14,000,000

Well, at least Thomas is supposed to be the number-one guy. Sanders signed his extension one year of age later than Thomas, however he isn’t being payed like the team’s top receiver. Here’s how Sanders’ stats compare to Thomas’ so far this season:

Demaryius ThomasBroncos2015238196
Emmanuel SandersBroncos29172052105

First of all, Sanders has been given more snaps than Thomas. Moreover, he’s been targeted more often and has delivered on those opportunities. Clearly the Broncos have been playing Sanders like he’s their number-one receiver, even though he’s getting $3M less than Thomas



Mohammed Sanu was signed by the Falcons to be the second option after Julio Jones. Through three games, and with Jones’ restrictive injuries, he hasn’t been a big enough factor. Here’s how his contract compares to other number-two receivers who have recently signed new contracts:

Mohammed SanuFalcons$6,500,000
Mike WallaceRavens$5,750,000
Travis BenjaminChargers$6,000,000

All three of these guys were payed to be a number-two receiver. Sanu even got payed more than the others. Statistically, however, Sanu has been playing like a third-option.

Mohammed SanuFalcons1711130182
Marqise LeeJaguars1812141093
Anquan BoldinLions16111052126
Victor CruzGiants15111951121

Sanu’s numbers of targets and receptions are practically identical to Lee’s, Boldin’s, and Cruz’s, who are all the number-three receivers on their respective teams. Sanu is a little lower on snaps because he exited last week’s game at the half. However he would be on par with them had he been healthy. Sanu even produced on the bottom half of the group in terms of yards.