Week 5: QB Valuations

I’ve been working on some different valuation metrics for players and wanted to post one for quarterbacks. The basis for this is how to re-assign market values based on a few factors. What I used to evaluate the players were four categories. Adjusted yards more or less measures the overall output of the player (this included rushing), adjusted yards per attempt to see how efficient those yards were, snaps to measure how much playtime the player has, and finally wins and losses.

What I did was look at a few years worth of data at the position to come up with a weighted dollar value to assign a number for each category. With wins I am not talking about the dreaded “QB wins” stuff that comes into play. Its just that in general, strong play in a win should be far more valuable than numbers in a loss. These wins and losses would be used for each player not just QBs when I move onto posting for other positions. My feeling is that when teams assemble a team that are looking to assemble a playoff team which would mean they feel their roster and what they pay them should be equal to 10.5 or 11 wins. If you win more than that you have exceeded expectations. Less than that and there should be some penalty. Also based on the current QB market and general playtime over the last few years, the value of a player who barely sees the field should be worth about $750,000. So for all those players who didn’t do much Id just throw that as their worth.

The Big Five

Alex Smith- $33.3 Million

This is a huge number and one that will come down, but after 5 weeks he is on track for a 16-0 season which helps bump his value. In terms of offensive output he is second only to Tom Brady and in terms of his per attempt numbers he is second to only Sam Bradford, who has only played a handful of snaps. With an APY of $17 million a year, Smith is brining tremendous value over contract, and in a class normally reserved for high performing young players. Smith may or may not be the QB of the Chiefs next season, but he is putting up an MVP year and while not as flashy is every bit as good as or better than Matt Ryan was last season.

Tom Brady- $27.2 Million

Brady is on pace to have a record breaking type of season, which is pretty amazing when you consider his age. He is putting up the most yards of anyone and is incredibly efficient in doing so. The only reason for the gap between he and Smith is the wins. The Patriots as a team at the moment are simply not in the same class as the Chiefs. They have 3 wins and very easily could be at 2 wins. Once they get things straightened out and start trending towards 12 or 13 wins there is a good chance he will be at the top.

Aaron Rodgers- $24.1 Million

Rodgers had that awesome game winning drive last week and is making a case to be considered the best passer of all time with the way he plays the position. Rodgers is putting up monster number, just not on the same pace as Brady right now. He has been far more efficient the last two weeks where he was asked to throw less and if that continues that will only drive his value further. I would expect his win pace to remain pretty steady.

Carson Wentz- $23.9 Million

Wentz has had a terrific sophomore campaign. He already had over 1,300 yards and just 3 interceptions while helping the Eagles to a 4-1 start. From a statistical standpoint he has been very close to Rodgers thus far, but I would put one little asterisk by this.  The asterisk is that his top production, by far, came in last weeks game vs the Cardinals and that may skew things a bit since we are just 5 games in. He is outperforming his contract by over $17 million, which makes him the best value in the NFL. When you look at the ages of the other players in the top 5, the NFL needs players like Wentz to make this leap permanently.

Drew Brees- $21.6 Million

While Brees’ overall numbers are down from his norms, his norms are so high that even a fall means top of the NFL. Brees has played mistake free football through four games and continues to be highly effective. I didn’t take sacks into account, but he is probably better than anyone at avoiding pressure and getting the ball out of his hand. Had I used that my guess is he would be 3rd in the league in value. Brees is one of the most intriguing free agents this year.

The Bottom Five

DeShone Kizer- $6.3 Million

Kizer had no business starting this year and was benched once his coach realized they were not going to beat the Jets with him at the helm.  The team is winless. Kizer has just 3 touchdowns to 9 interceptions. His efficiency is atrocious as the team has produced about 48% less than average yards when the ball was in his hands. Don’t let the $6.3M fool you- this is just the fact that QBs are expensive and just starting is worth a few million. Why the Browns started Kizer at a position where confidence can get wrecked early and ruin a career is a mystery nobody can answer.

Mike Glennon- $7.5 Million

Everybody saw this coming a mile away except apparently the Bears who signed Glennon to a $15 million contract this year. They sobered up before the draft when they realized that drafting a QB made far more sense and they made the switch after just four games. There wasn’t much Glennon did well. He didn’t throw for a lot of yards. He didn’t move the chains. He didn’t throw a crazy number of interceptions, but those that he did throw had come in bad spots. He was basically your typical bad journeyman QB, except he was paid to be far more than that.

Joe Flacco- $8.7 Million

For a long time the contract of Flacco has been a pretty big joke, but he has hit new lows this year. In terms of adjusted yards he is last in the NFL among players with 100 snaps. Its not like he is making those most of those few yards either as he has had chances, he simply doesn’t produce. The only thing separating he and Glennon is that Flacco is on a winning team with a shot at the playoffs while Glennon’s Bears are cellar dwellars. Flacco is currently the second worst value in the NFL, and the worst healthy player. Ravens need a major turnaround.

Jay Cutler- $10 Million

Cutler looks pretty disinterested in playing football this year, but I’m not sure if that is really any different than the way he looked the last few seasons. About the only positive for Cutler is that he hasn’t been a turnover machine and that his team is miraculously 2-2. Cutler only makes $10 million so in that respect the Dolphins are getting what they were paying for, except they signed Cutler thinking they were getting a $20 million arm on the cheap. He may not make it to the halfway point as starter if his offense doesn’t improve.

Derek Carr- $10.1 Million

It has been a tremendously disappointing year for Carr, who signed a $25 million contract extension this offseason. After 5 weeks he is the worst value among players with 100 snaps. His yards are down and the team is not catching others by surprise the way they did last year and right now they do not look like a team that will be an upper echelon team this year. On the bright side for the Raiders part of Carr’s numbers here are because he has been hurt and missed last weeks game. If he is healthy and returns soon he should increase his standings in a few weeks, though he has has a major uphill battle to reach the $20M+ mark.

Here is the full list of players with at least 100 snaps this year.

NameTeamContract APYCurrent ValueDifference
Alex SmithChiefs$17,000,000$33,327,565$16,327,565
Tom BradyPatriots$20,500,000$27,186,476$6,686,476
Aaron RodgersPackers$22,000,000$24,115,162$2,115,162
Carson WentzEagles$6,669,085$23,941,093$17,272,008
Drew BreesSaints$24,250,000$21,587,920($2,662,080)
Cam NewtonPanthers$20,760,000$20,669,538($90,462)
Kirk CousinsRedskins$23,943,600$20,111,495($3,832,105)
Jameis WinstonBuccaneers$6,337,819$19,747,139$13,409,320
Jared GoffRams$6,984,418$19,169,900$12,185,482
Matt RyanFalcons$20,750,000$18,919,732($1,830,268)
Russell WilsonSeahawks$21,900,000$18,434,560($3,465,440)
Deshaun WatsonTexans$3,463,621$18,000,029$14,536,408
Carson PalmerCardinals$21,000,000$17,884,413($3,115,587)
Dak PrescottCowboys$680,848$17,557,019$16,876,171
Matthew StaffordLions$27,000,000$17,451,438($9,548,562)
Trevor SiemianBroncos$583,196$17,302,011$16,718,815
Philip RiversChargers$20,812,500$15,183,941($5,628,559)
Tyrod TaylorBills$15,250,000$14,185,988($1,064,012)
Case KeenumVikings$2,000,000$13,940,209$11,940,209
Eli ManningGiants$21,000,000$13,923,719($7,076,281)
Andy DaltonBengals$16,000,000$13,873,378($2,126,622)
Ben RoethlisbergerSteelers$21,850,000$13,794,449($8,055,551)
Jacoby BrissettColts$852,708$13,220,257$12,367,549
Josh McCownJets$6,000,000$13,103,580$7,103,580
Blake BortlesJaguars$5,163,701$12,340,036$7,176,335
Brian Hoyer49ers$6,000,000$11,800,719$5,800,719
Marcus MariotaTitans$6,053,494$11,019,902$4,966,408
Derek CarrRaiders$25,005,000$10,126,832($14,878,168)
Jay CutlerDolphins$10,000,000$10,039,698$39,698
Joe FlaccoRavens$22,133,333$8,727,617($13,405,716)
Mike GlennonBears$15,000,000$7,524,168($7,475,832)
DeShone KizerBrowns$1,237,103$6,285,122$5,048,019
  • McGeorge

    The obvious solution is to sign … Case Keenum.

    Good thing Carr “left money on the table” or it would be worse.
    >>”That was really important to me. Not to just take every single dime that we could. I hope that that’s known.

  • Ken Stauder

    None of these guys are getting paid these numbers this year so how does using an average mean anything.
    Great chart but use this years numbers, otherwise your report is deceiving.

    • a57se

      It is only deceiving to folks who don’t take the time to understand the point as you clearly showed by figuring it out.

      • McGeorge

        How is it deceiving?
        The APY is an average, while true cap hit varies year by year.
        The problem with using this years cap hit is there is future bonus money to apply and if a QB is cut then it impacts next year.
        I think using the APY is ok.
        For QBs who will play out their full contract then it is somewhat off each year.

    • McGeorge

      Ken,
      Is your concern that the actual 2017 salary may be different from the APY?
      It’s easier to use the APY, than making assumptions.
      For example: Bradys cap hit this year is 14MM. If he’s cut after the season, then 14MM hits the books.
      Not all these guys will play their full contract amount, some will get cut.
      If you don’t use APY, you have to make estimates of what will happen in the future.

      I think APY is a reasonable estimate.

    • Thats hard to do because salaries in the NFL fluctuate so much and the cap side is easily manipulated. There is a way you can use that to determine a surplus value for a specific year. For example for a Brees or in the past a Romo where the squad goes all in by lowering the cap charges of the QB and expects a major benefit that year. By using an average salary, which isnt perfect either, you at least get an idea of the actual value being assigned by teams to the position. Realistically the best way to do it for each position is to determine the expected value of the contract (which for a Glennon is the 1 year guarantee, guys like Osweiler would have been a 2 year deal, guys like Eli are 3 year numbers, Rodgers would be the full contract) but thats a ton of work to do for every position

  • a57se

    So according to this, Kizer is worth MORE than the Jets are paying McCown?
    SO much for Cleveland and Moneyball…

    • McGeorge

      QBs get paid a lot, even bad ones.
      Kizers terrible numbers equate to the numbers of a lowly paid starter (who is terrible).
      Those lowly paid starters who play that badly are no longer starters after the season.

      Overall its an interesting chart, though there are some outliers.

  • Werner

    So, unless you are either on your Rookie Contract or a Golden Ager playing on Discount, it is almost impossible to generate surplus value at the QB Position. Even Brees, Newton and Ryan (haven’t they all been MVP at least once ?) are not living up to their contract value. And the Golden QB Class of 2004 (Manning, Roethlisberger and Rivers) is almost 21′ in the Red. And let’s not even discuss that A. Luck is burning close to 20′ in Rehab. Reasonably, this would dictate a major impairment of contract values, but instead the next set of contracts will basically require to play like A. Smith on a full season just to break even.

    • I think because the teams all pay such a premium for even mediocre QBs its very hard to create a real surplus. The stats arent that much different. The efficiency with which they play is different but again they pay so much for everyone that it doesnt really knock every one down enough. Wins are something to consider, but again the spread in the league isnt huge. Its just an inefficient market.