PFF had an excellent article on the Rams yesterday talking about player value. Considering the near stagnant salary cap and the fact that the Rams are right under it, it becomes much more interesting read to see who is pulling their weight and who isn't. If you look deeper, however, you'll see there are a bunch of interesting observations to be made...
You wouldn't expect Gibson to be the most undervalued player on the team, would you? It's tough to fathom, given that he's always been decent in his production but never excellent. His performance based value is 4.1 million dollars (he only made 1 million), which is probably just around what he would make in free agency.
Behind him were Greg Zuerlein, with a value of 3.5 million against his actual salary of 400k and William Hayes with a performance value of 3.1 million vs. his real salary of 900k. Not too shabby for a sixth rounder and an unheralded free agent.
Free Agents of 2012
One thing that stood out to me was that all of the 'big' free agent signings from last year: Cortland Finnegan, Kendall Langford and Scott Wells were overvalued. In fact, those three combined for a value of $3 million last year. How much did the Rams pay? $13.5 million. Not very impressive.
If you squint down the list of the top ten undervalued players, you'll notice something else. Brandon Gibson. Danny Amendola. William Hayes. Bradley Fletcher. Quintin Mikell (yes, he was undervalued). Matthew Mulligan.
All of them could be on another team next year due to cuts, or because the Rams don't have the money to bring them back. That's right- nearly all of the players on the undervalued list could be leaving the team.
About the whole 'NFL Draft'
Snead killed it last year. Sure, given the new CBA it's going to be tough to find a rookie who is overvalued, but still. Zuerlein, Trumaine Johnson, Chris Givens and Michael Brockers all made it onto the undervalued list. Given that all four of them are starters (well, in Trumaine's case, nearly), it looks even better.
If that doesn't make you even more excited for April, I don't know what can.
Sam Bradford and Chris Long
Let me first talk about Sam Bradford. Bradford is on the overvalued list thanks to the old CBA, but there is something to say about him not even coming close to earning his contract (his performance deserved less than half of what he was payed). Say what you want about his supporting cast, but no team is going to wait for a quarterback making that kind of money when they rank statistically in the bottom third of the league (by PFF's metrics). Bradford was dealt a shitty hand, for sure, but that excuse isn't going to turn any doubters into believers when he is sucking down a sixth of the team's total salary.
Chris Long on the other hand, was the most overvalued player on the team. That's because he's so terrible at defending the run. This isn't something new, but it brings to light just how important it is for William Hayes to return (top ten player against the run) and the Rams linebackers to do a good job.