Throughout the season, Pro Football Focus provides a different look at every NFL player, trying to find ways to objectively quantify the performance of every player on every play in every game. Now, during the offseason, they have taken those grades, and calculated how much a player should have been paid, based on their in game performances. Finally, they compared that number to how much they actually were paid for the season, listing the top ten undervalued and bottom ten overpaid players for each team.
For the Miami Dolphins, there really is not much surprise to the list. Looking at the top five best values for the Dolphins, PFF lists:
- Cameron Wake, Defensive End: 2012 Cap Hit: $2.1M; 2012 Performance Based Value (PBV): $15.1M; Difference: +$13M
- Reshad Jones, Safety: 2012 Cap Hit: $585K; 2012 PBV: $8.7M; Difference: +$8.1M
- Ryan Tannehill, Quarterback: 2012 Cap Hit: $2.3M; 2012 PBV: $9.5M; Difference: +$7.2M
- Brian Hartline, Wide Receiver: 2012 Cap Hit: $1.4M; 2012 PBV: $4.3M; Difference: +$2.9M
- Chris Clemons, Safety: 2012 Cap Hit: $1.4M; 2012 PBV: $4M; Difference: +$2.7M
The first one is obvious. Wake is a dominant pass rusher, and could be making the top of the line defensive and money (Kansas City Chiefs' Tyson Jackson, $14.7M). The fact that the Dolphins had him for just $2.1 million last year is incredible value.
Reshad Jones is another name that should not be a surprise on the list. Jones had a breakout season last year, the third year of his fifth round draft pick rookie contract. He outperformed his contract, there's no denying that. His salary does nearly double for this season, his final one on that rookie deal, but, if he performs like he did in 2012 during the 2013 season, Jones could see his 2014 salary jump way up.
Tannehill being on the list does not surprise me, but maybe being the third best value on the team, and having a value difference of over $7 million maybe does. Tannehill had a solid year, with a few spectacular moments. It was a season good enough to raise hopes about the direction of the team. About Tannehill, PFF wrote, "It wasn't a perfect year for Tannehill, but our 13th-ranked quarterback on the year provided a spark at the position that bodes well for years to come."
The fourth and fifth best values for the Dolphins were about equal. Hartline and Clemons both had solid years, Hartline racking up his first career 1,000 yard season while Clemons started all 16 games for the first time in his career, totaling 95 tackles, beating his career best total by nearly 40 tackles. Both players' performances were in the $2.7-2.9 million value difference, which seems about right for them.
The overvalued side for the Dolphins does not have a lot of surprises either, with some of the bigger named (and salaried) players taking the top spots.
- Jake Long, Tackle: 2012 Cap Hit: $12.8M; 2012 Performance Based Value (PBV): $1.2M; Difference: -$4.3M
- Karlos Dansby, Linebacker: 2012 Cap Hit: $11.3K; 2012 PBV: $7M; Difference: -$4.3M
- Reggie Bush, Running Back: 2012 Cap Hit: $6M; 2012 PBV: $1.7M; Difference: -$4.3M
- Tony McDaniel, Defesnive Tackle: 2012 Cap Hit: $4.2M; 2012 PBV: $825K; Difference: -$3.3M
- Matt Moore, Quarterback: 2012 Cap Hit: $3.8M; 2012 PBV: $700K; Difference: -$3.1M
Just about every Miami fan would have picked Jake Long as the most overpaid player on the team last year. Long did not play like the elite left tackle the Dolphins drafted first overall in 2008, and finished the year on injured reserve, the second straight season that has happened. The team seems content to let Long leave this offseason rather than pay him money at a level approaching that of Joe Thomas and the other top level tackles in the league, because Long has not played at that level as of late.
Dansby probably should not be much of a surprise. He is entering the second to last year on the contract the Dolphins gave him when he was the elite linebacker hitting free agency and trying to get out of Arizona. The interesting thing in Dansby's contract is that his salary cap number for 2013 actually drops down to $8.5 million, which brings him a lot closer to his PFF performance value. It's in 2014 when he jumps up to $11.5 million that the Dolphins will have to make a decision.
Bush missed the 1,000 yard mark this year after hitting it in 2011, though he came close (986 yards). His cap number jumped from $3.75 million in 2011 to $6.0 million in 2012, but the Dolphins and Bush never seemed on the same page. The team ran Bush a lot (227 carries), but they did not do a good job of utilizing him in the passing game, where they could have gotten him into space and let him work. The Dolphins and Bush want to work out a deal to keep him in Miami, but the team clearly wants it to be at their price, and Bush wants to be paid like a starting, and star, running back.
McDaniel and Moore have the same problem when it comes to their PBV - lack of playing time. Not that that's a bad thing, especially for Moore, but it does hurt them in PFF's value estimations. McDaniel is slated to be a free agent this year, but will likely be back in Miami. His 2013 contract will be interesting, though, because in 2011 he mad just $1.8 million before the 2012 cap number of $4.2 million. Will the Dolphins get a deal to bring back the reserve defensive tackle that pays him somewhere in between those two numbers?
Moore's value, meanwhile, is higher than what PFF can quantify. The veteran backup to Tannehill, Moore was an important part of the transition of the Miami rookie into the NFL. Moore was the consummate professional throughout the season, obviously wanting to be an NFL starting quarterback, but accepting his role, being ready in case he was needed (like in Week 8 against the New York Jets), and helping Tannehill as much as he can. Expect Moore to be gone this year, as he looks for a starting role somewhere else in the league, but if the Dolphins can re-sign him, even if it is to something more than what Tannehill is making, they probably should.
PFF finished their breakdown of the Dolphins by totaling the team's value differential. Miami came out easily on the plus side, with a value of +$6.1 million. Of that number, PFF wrote:
"The Dolphins are in credit, thanks in large part to the Cameron Wake savings that cancelled out how much went to waste on a disappointing year for Jake Long. Not bad work for a team heading in the right direction."
What do you think of their rankings? Make sure you check out the entire list, all 10 undervalued and overvalued players for Miami, over on PFF's site.
[Hat tip to ct1361.]