The NFL has released the early results for the Pro Bowl. While the Pro Bowl is often just a popularity contest and sometimes over-represented by successful teams with very passionate fanbases, I thought it would be a fun exercise to see where the current vote leaders rank in terms of salary. For this I’ll just look at offense and defense and Im also eliminating the Fullback position simply because I don’t rank players in that role right now.
Estimated APY Rank
The first thing that jumped out to me is that only one player is actually the highest paid at his position- Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions. In my contract database I have 14 non-QB’s whose contracts average $10 million or more a year. Only Johnson is on the current squad. Four players rank in the top 5 and six rank top 10. The Guard positions and Tight End positions see the least spending, though I tend to think if Rob Gronkowski had been healthy he would have been in the top two at the position.
Overall the median rank was 12 and median salary $5.9 million. The averages jump up to 28, primarily because of the Thomas numbers while the average APY moves to just under $7.3 million, pumped up by the Manning/Brees/Johnson numbers.
Estimated APY Rank
Like the offense, only one player on defense is the highest paid at his position, Mario Williams of the Buffalo Bills. Four players rank in the top 5 and five in the top 10 of their respective positions. There is also a great deal of rookie contract representation here as well with 7 players playing under their rookie contracts, further illustrating the importance of drafting well. My estimated have 23 defensive players earning $10 million plus a year. Just 3 of them are at the front of the pack of the voting. I’m not sure that’s an indication of money well spent.
For defense the median rank was 18.5 and the median salary a touch above $4.1 million. Please note that the ranks for JJ Watt is as a 34 Defensive End not a 43 Defensive End. The averages are 28 and $5.7 million.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.