Recently Danny Heifetz of The Ringer took a look which veterans provided the most bang for the buck on each team in the NFC. The definition of a vet in this exercise is any player that is no longer playing under a rookie contract, so a player like Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff would not be considered a vet even though he is entering his fourth season.
When it came to the Rams, Heifetz correctly selected WR Robert Woods, who is currently flourishing under a five-year, $34m deal:
Woods started his career in Buffalo, which had perhaps the worst-designed pass offense in football. He signed with the Rams in free agency in 2017 and found himself working in Sean McVay’s system, which is perhaps the best offense in football. Woods has subsequently flourished. He had 1,219 receiving yards last year, the 13th most in football and more than teammate Brandin Cooks, who makes more than twice as much per year. Many of the players who had more receiving yards than Woods last year are either among the league’s highest-paid players (DeAndre Hopkins, Antonio Brown, Adam Thielen) or will soon be joining them (Michael Thomas, Julio Jones). Woods is locked up through 2021 at half of their annual salaries.
Woods will play under team options this season, in 2020, and in 2021. Barring a catastrophe, you can bet they’ll keep him around. No knock on fellow Rams wideouts Cooks or Cooper Kupp who are both outstanding, but Woods is quite possibly the Rams’ most reliable and versatile target.
Other candidates that deserve consideration include right tackle Rob Havenstein who signed a four-year, $32.5m extension in 2018. Last season, Havenstein was Pro Football Focus’ top ranked run-blocking tackle and big part of the Rams’ offensive success.
Another vet that provides value is cornerback Aqib Talib. Talib’s deal was signed during his tenure with the Denver Broncos, but this season Talib will only be due to earn $8m which is the 28th-highest salary among NFL corners in 2019. The Rams’ defense was noticeably better when Talib was on the field last season.
S Eric Weddle should provide good value at safety after signing a two-year deal for just more than $11.5m. Weddle is expected to provide a ton of leadership as a field general for the Rams defense this season and will be the 18th-highest paid safety in the league in 2019.
Another guy worth mentioning, and please refrain for laughing, is backup quarterback Blake Bortles who is playing for a mere $1m this season. For all the Bortles jokes that have been floated in the past, the guy is nice insurance policy at an extremely favorable rate. Just look around the league at what some other backups are set to make this season:
Chase Daniel, Chicago Bears $6m
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins $5.5m
Chad Henne, Kansas City Chiefs $4.1m
Drew Stanton, Cleveland Browns $3,765,625m
Bortles is a steal.
What do you think? Who’s your pick for the most underpaid vet on the roster this season?
Who is the most underpaid Rams veteran?
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