Biggest Bargain Contracts From All 32 NFL Teams in 2014
Top Bargain From All 32 NFL Teams in 2014
It’s hard to find a good bargain anywhere these days, and that’s especially true in the NFL where dollar amounts on contracts continue to skyrocket. Players are getting paid more than ever before with new records seemingly set on a yearly basis for what a player at a certain position is paid.
Just look at Joe Flacco from last offseason receiving his gargantuan deal following the Baltimore Ravens hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. Sometimes it’s more about when a player performs at his best rather than consistency, and that was certainly proven true again this year with several guys showing out in contract years. This offseason we will likely see guys like Aqib Talib, Brian Orakpo, Hakeem Nicks and Greg Hardy cash in on lucrative long-term deals that may never pan out if they ultimately leave their current teams and try to adapt to new surroundings.
But there were still many productive players taking the field each and every week at a fraction of the cost of their similarly effective counterparts. Many of the guys getting paid low dollar amounts are in the early years of their rookie contracts which are collectively bargained now to be untouchable until after three years of service in the league. This allows teams to save some serious cash on potential extensions until these ultra-effective players have proven their worth over a longer period of time.
Fortunately each team still has a true bargain on its roster worth boasting about looking ahead to the 2014 season (all figures against the 2014 salary cap come via Spotrac). Without further ado, here are the biggest steals from all 32 teams in the NFL.
Arizona Cardinals -- Tyrann Mathieu, CB
2014 Cap Hit: $713,281
Honey Badger provided a spark for the Arizona Cardinals in his rookie season. Though it was cut short with a torn ACL, Tyrann Mathieu’s debut season was outstanding with 68 combined tackles, a forced fumble, two interceptions and nine passes defended. Honey Badger don’t care about money.
Atlanta Falcons -- Robert Alford, CB
2014 Cap Hit: $773,045
The Atlanta Falcons were short on positives in 2013, but Robert Alford provided some reason for optimism. In a defense that was porous to say the least, Alford was a bright spot as a rookie with 40 combined tackles, one forced fumble, two interceptions and seven passes defended.
Baltimore Ravens -- Marlon Brown, WR
2014 Cap Hit: $496,666
Anquan Boldin’s departure left a big hole for the Baltimore Ravens, but Marlon Brown did his best to help fill it. The rookie piled up 49 catches for 524 yards with seven touchdowns while providing a nice complement to Torrey Smith on the outside.
Buffalo Bills -- Kiko Alonso, LB
2014 Cap Hit: $977,364
This is the type of pick GMs dream of in terms of impact. Kiko Alonso was amazing for the Buffalo Bills with 159 combined tackles, a forced fumble, four interceptions and five passes defended. There’s no doubt he will only get better as time moves along in this Buffalo defense.
Carolina Panthers -- Kawann Short, DT
2014 Cap Hit: $1,052,317
As a rookie, Kawann Short helped give the Carolina Panthers one of the best defensive lines in the game this past season. His 30 combined tackles with a forced fumble and 1.5 sacks don’t tell the whole tale as he made an impact that goes beyond numbers.
Chicago Bears -- Alshon Jeffery, WR
2014 Cap Hit: $1,240,317
The flavor of the year (if you will) was Alshon Jeffery, and he was worthy of the attention. His 89 catches for 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns with the Chicago Bears have many thinking the sky’s the limit for this young man.
Cincinnati Bengals -- Vontaze Burfict, LB
2014 Cap Hit: $570,333
Leading the league in tackles is crazy if you’re well paid, but Vontaze Burfict did it making a pittance compared to some linebackers. The Cincinnati Bengals have a gem in this young man as he already has nearly 300 career tackles in just two seasons.
Cleveland Browns -- Edwin Baker, RB
2014 Cap Hit: $495,000
This may be a prisoner of the moment selection, but Edwin Baker’s production in the final three weeks of the season for the Cleveland Browns was awesome. He had 43 rushing attempts for 171 yards and two touchdowns to go along with eight catches for 57 yards. Trent Richardson who?
Dallas Cowboys -- Terrance Williams, WR
2014 Cap Hit: $684,868
As a third-round pick not a lot was expected in year one from Terrance Williams, but he bucked those expectations quickly. 44 catches for 736 yards and five touchdowns gives the Dallas Cowboys someone to pair with Dez Bryant on the outside.
Denver Broncos -- Danny Trevathan, LB
2014 Cap Hit: $596,018
A linebacker from Kentucky putting up massive numbers for the Denver Broncos isn’t a new thing given Wesley Woodyard’s success, but Danny Trevathan took it to a whole new level. He started every game and tallied 129 combined tackles, two sacks, three forced fumbles and three interceptions. Talk about making an impact.
Detroit Lions -- Larry Warford, OG
2014 Cap Hit: $714,250
It’s hard to truly quantify the value of a guard, but many around the league believe Larry Warford should have earned a spot in the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2013. There’s no doubt a Pro Bowl guard at that kind of price tag is absolute thievery for the Detroit Lions.
Green Bay Packers -- David Bakhtiari, OT
2014 Cap Hit: $608,850
A starting left tackle at anything under a million bucks is absurd, but David Bakhtiari has youth on his side as a rookie last year and experience from starting all 16 games at one of the toughest positions the league has to offer in year one. There’s no doubt the Green Bay Packers should treasure this bargain while they still can.
Houston Texans -- D.J. Swearinger, S
2014 Cap Hit: $793,477
There wasn’t much for the Houston Texans to be happy about in 2013, but rookie D.J. Swearinger was the lone exception. He had 71 combined tackles with a forced fumble and an interception with a low price tags into 2014 as well. Who was that Ed Reed guy?
Indianapolis Colts -- T.Y. Hilton, WR
2014 Cap Hit: $706,850
82 catches for 1,083 yards and five touchdowns usually doesn’t come cheap, but T.Y. Hilton is an exception to that. Heck, he even chipped in 327 yards on 17 grabs in the postseason for the Indianapolis Colts. Talk about working overtime.
Jacksonville Jaguars -- Ace Sanders, WR
2014 Cap Hit: $615,362
Finding a bargain on one of the league’s cheapest teams should be easy, right? Well, Ace Sanders certainly made it seem that way with his value as a punt returner in addition to his 51 catches for 484 yards and a touchdown as a receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Kansas City Chiefs -- Knile Davis, RB
2014 Cap Hit: $646,504
It’s hard to believe the all-purpose numbers Knile Davis put up as a rookie for the Kansas City Chiefs. His 70 carries for 242 yards yielded four touchdowns while he added 11 catches for 75 yards through the air. Perhaps his biggest impact was on kickoff returns where he had 10 for 321 yards including an electrifying 108-yard touchdown.
Miami Dolphins -- Olivier Vernon, DE
2014 Cap Hit: $759,520
The Miami Dolphins went out and spent a boatload of money last year, but don’t they know the best things in football are cheap? Olivier Vernon certainly tried to prove that with his 57 combined tackles and astounding 11.5 sacks on the year.
Minnesota Vikings -- Cordarrelle Patterson, WR
2014 Cap Hit: $1,641,148
This is the highest dollar amount on this list, but Cordarrelle Patterson is worth every penny to the Minnesota Vikings. His 45 catches for 469 yards and four touchdowns were nice, but 1,393 yards on 43 kickoff returns and two return touchdowns are even more impressive.
New England Patriots -- Aaron Dobson, WR
2014 Cap Hit: $779,175
37 catches for 519 yards and four touchdowns won’t knock your socks off, but considering the expected roster turnover at wide receiver in 2014 for the New England Patriots, Aaron Dobson is about to up the ante next season.
New Orleans Saints -- Kenny Stills, WR
2014 Cap Hit: $543,613
You can’t teach 4.3 speed. Kenny Stills brought that to the New Orleans Saints where Drew Brees found him 32 times for 641 yards and five touchdowns. That price tag makes him quite a bargain going into 2014.
New York Giants -- Rueben Randle, WR
2014 Cap Hit: $897,799
The New York Giants are lucky to have Rueben Randle on the roster with Hakeem Nicks’ imminent departure. Randle’s 41 catches for 611 yards and six scores are bound to see an increase in 2014 as well.
New York Jets -- Geno Smith, QB
2014 Cap Hit: $1,140,819
I know, I know. Calling a turnover machine under center a bargain is crazy, but what other team has a starting quarterback who took the team 7-9 in year one making a shade over a million bucks? The New York Jets should be thankful for the bargain formally known as Geno Smith.
Oakland Raiders -- Rod Streater, WR
2014 Cap Hit: $573,333
Pretty much everyone actually playing for the Oakland Raiders is a steal; too bad the same can’t be said for the guys they’re still paying not to play for them. Rod Streater is the best deal of the bunch with 60 catches for 888 and four touchdowns.
Philadelphia Eagles -- Nick Foles, QB
2014 Cap Hit: $770,880
Was there ever any doubt for the Philadelphia Eagles? Nick Foles got everyone excited about his potential with a staggering 27 touchdowns to just two interceptions, and he’s poised to build on that at a ridiculous low price in 2014.
Pittsburgh Steelers -- Le'Veon Bell, RB
2014 Cap Hit: $936,500
The Pittsburgh Steelers are in salary cap purgatory, but don’t blame Le’Veon Bell. The running back put up 860 yards rushing and 399 yards receiving with eight touchdowns, and that was even while missing three games as a rookie.
San Francisco 49ers -- Kendall Hunter, RB
2014 Cap Hit: $754,805
Kendall Hunter is the perfect complement to Frank Gore in the San Francisco 49ers’ backfield, and he may soon take over an even larger role as Gore gets up there in age. His 78 rushes for 358 yards and three touchdowns still make him a bargain looking ahead to 2014.
Seattle Seahawks -- Russell Wilson, QB
2014 Cap Hit: $817,302
It may not always be pretty, but Russell Wilson gets wins for the Seattle Seahawks. He’s got 27 of them in just two years in the league (including playoffs) heading into Super Bowl XLVIII. Try finding that kind of production anywhere else for his price tag.
St. Louis Rams -- Zac Stacy, RB
2014 Cap Hit: $539,125
There’s no question Zac Stacy was one of the biggest steals in 2013 as a fifth-round rookie. His cap hit in 2014 is just as favorable, and he will actually enter the year as the starter in the St. Louis Rams' backfield. After 250 carries for 973 yards and seven touchdowns a year ago in only 12 starts, imagine what he’ll do in a 16-game schedule.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Lavonte David, LB
2014 Cap Hit: $946,836
144 combined tackles with two forced fumbles and five interceptions really speaks for itself. Lavonte David is one of the best outside linebackers in the league entering his third season, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are stealing with his contract.
Tennessee Titans -- Justin Hunter, WR
2014 Cap Hit: $1,232,761
He only had 18 catches as a rookie, but the 354 yards gained and four touchdowns made each one of them meaningful. Justin Hunter is going to be a fixture for the Tennessee Titans at receiver with a very reasonable sticker price in 2014.
Washington Redskins -- Jordan Reed, TE
2014 Cap Hit: $642,278
A rookie year at tight end with 45 catches for 499 yards and three touchdowns is awfully impressive considering how dysfunctional the Washington Redskins were offensively. Throw in the fact that he only played in nine games in 2013, and Jordan Reed’s value is only further underscored.