The NFL’s Best and Worst Values on Defense: Week 2

As a new feature I thought that every Tuesday or Wednesday during the season I’ll take a look back at the prior weeks games and pick out the best and worst values each week. To gauge values we’ll be looking at a players salary cap charge for the week and comparing that to Pro Football Focus’ grade for a player. I’ll alternate each week between offense and defense, with offense in week 1 and then turning our attention to defense in week 2. Feel free to leave any feedback in the comments or by email.

Defensive End

Best Value: Mike Daniels ($645.1K cap charge; +5.1 PFF grade)- Daniels had a terrific all around game against the Jets on Sunday racking up 4 pressures, 1 sack, and 4 tackles for stops. The Packers desperately needed a performance like this to settle the game down and eventually take over for the win.

Worst Value: Mario Williams ($18.8M cap charge; -2.5 PFF grade)- Despite the blowout win by the Bills, their star defensive end did not grade out that well, despite the fact that he notched a QB sack on the day. With this type of salary cap charge almost any negative grade will make him the worst value of the week.

Defensive Tackle

Best Value: Aaron Donald ($1.9M Cap charge; +4.1 PFF grade)- A strong performance from the young Donald who put together a strong effort in both phases of the game, notching a sack as a rusher and 2.5 tackles against the run. It would be nice to see a little more playing time but his prime competition this week for the distinction was Henry Melton who was not a huge snap player either.

Worst Value: Linval Joseph ($6.6M Cap charge; -3.5 PFF grade)- This was a close decision between Joseph and Ahtyba Rubin of the Browns who was slightly better but earns slightly more, but Rubin’s grade hinged more on penalties than performance and Ill always weight performance higher. Joseph has the 7th highest cap hit at the position in 2014 and ranked dead last this week, basically doing nothing as his team was steamrolled by the Patriots.

Outside Linebacker

Best Value: Chandler Jones ($2.2M Cap charge; +8.1 PFF grade)- Just a dominant performance by Jones, with 5 pressures, 2 sacks, and 5 stops on defense plus a special teams play that is not even included in his grade. This is one of those career performances that you make sure to keep the tape of.

Worst Value: Kroy Biermann ($4.1M Cap charge, -3.6 PFF grade)- Just a bad day overall for Biermann who graded negatively in all four categories that PFF looks at when grading a player. The pass rush was non-existent and only half of his tackles were considered wins for the defense. He also gave up a catch. A player who must improve.


Inside Linebacker

Best Value: Demario Davis ($764.5K Cap charge, +2.2 PFF grade)- Davis had a terrific game against the Green Bay Packers where he did a little of everything. Davis was solid against the run, posting 4 tackles for the Jets, decent in coverage, and was used in packages that saw him take down Aaron Rodgers one time on the day.

Worst Value: Paul Posluszny ($9.5M Cap charge, -4.3 PFF grade)- Longtime readers of my site know that I feel strongly that Posluszny is one of the worst value players in the NFL, and for this week the tape backs that up. Poslusnzy rated second worst at the position, missing three tackles and giving up 50 receiving yards. His cap figure is 3rd highest in the NFL.


Best Value: Bene Benwikere ($469.8K Cap charge; +2.2 PFF grade)- There were two other strong contenders for this award- David Amerson of the Redskins and Sterling Moore of the Cowboys. I could easily see making a case for Amerson who had the strongest coverage grade, but the ultra low cost of Benwikere gave him the advantage. Benwikere only allowed 20% of his targets to catch a pass and it was essentially an at the line pass. He also was credited with a pressure on the day.

Worst Value: Jerraud Powers ($4.8M Cap charge; -5.2 PFF grade)- A pretty awful day for Powers as there was pretty much no other option for this distinction. Powers gave up 5 receptions for 80 yards and it would have been far worse if Victor Cruz could hold onto the football when it hits him in his hands. Powers had a great first week so hopefully for the Cardinals this will be an aberration.



Tashaun Gipson ($570.5 Cap charge; +4.6 PFF grade)- The Browns had a great day against the Saints on Sunday and Gipson had the best day among safeties. PFF credited Gipson with 4 tackles, 2 stops, an interception, and just 4 yards in coverage. You wont have many days better than that especially from a player on one of the lowest priced contracts in the NFL.

Michael Griffin ($8M Cap charge; -2.4 PFF grade)- It was a bad day for some big priced safeties, but none gave worse value than Griffin, who rated 3rd worst overall despite the 5th highest cap charge at the position. Griffin missed 4 tackles against the run, one of the prime reasons the Cowboys chewed up so many yards on the ground.