Our latest edition of “value in the NFL” looks at veteran NFL players (not currently in a rookie contract) who produced well in 2013 that are set to earn a minimal amount of cash in the 2014 season. In essence, these veterans are underpaid, and in many cases could be candidates for extensions in the coming years.
Tom Brady (QB, NE) – $2,000,000
Alright so this is somewhat jaded, as Brady cashed in $31M in 2013 per his restructured/extension bonus, but in terms of 2014 cash, paying $2 million for a sure-bet Top 10 quarterback is a steal. Brady was 6th in passing yards in 2013 (4,343) to go with 25 TD, 11 INTS, and an 87.3 rating. His $2M base salary for 2014 ranks 25th among quarterbacks.
Jamaal Charles (RB, KC) – $3,900,000
Charles was third in 2013 with 1,287 rushing yards to go with a league high 12 touchdowns. His $3.9 million in 2014 cash pales in comparison to Adrian Peterson ($12M) and LeSean McCoy ($8.15M). His $2.65M base salary for 2014 ranks 14th among running backs.
Reggie Bush (RB, DET) – $3,500,000
Bush’s addition to the Lions’ offense opened both the short passing game and the running game. With 1,512 total yards add 7 TDs in an injury-riddled 2013, he’s well worth his $4M per year average in Detroit. Bush held the 11th most rushing yards in the NFL in 2013. His $3.5M base salary for 2014 ranks 8th among running backs.
Jordy Nelson (WR, GB) – $3,500,000
Aaron Rodgers favorite target is set to enter a contract year in Green Bay, though it’s 100% likely that he’ll put pen to a new extension in the coming months. For now though he’s one of the most underpaid players in all of football, thanks in large part to the 4 year $12.6 million contract he signed (for some reason) in 2011. Nelson was 10th with 1,314 receiving yards, finding the end zone 8 times in 2013. His $3.05M base salary for 2014 ranks 28th among wide receivers.
Delanie Walker (TE, TEN) – $3,100,000
Walker quietly put together a solid season in Tennessee, sporting 60 grabs for 571 yards and 6 touchdowns. He’s signed through 2016 with the Titans, and his $3 million base salary for 2014 ranks 16th among tight ends.
Joe Staley (LT, SF) – $3,400,000
Colin Kaepernick’s blind-side protector had an excellent campaign in 2013. The 29-year-old started all 16 games, giving up 14 hurries, 2 quarterback hits, and just 4 quarterback sacks in nearly 960 snaps. He’s signed through 2017 with the 49ers, and will cost just $21.65M over the next 4 seasons. His $2.7M base salary for 2014 ranks 21st among left tackles.
Stephen Tulloch (ILB, DET) – $3,750,000
The 29-year-old linebacker found himself in 135 tackles in 2013, tied for 8th most among NFL defensemen. Throw in 3.5 sacks and an interception and it’s obvious Tulloch is underpaid. His $3.75M base salary for 2014 ranks 22nd among inside linebackers.
John Abraham (OLB, ARI) – $3,000,000
The 35-year-old former Atlanta Falcon signed a 2 year deal in late July of 2013 to join the Cardinals. He didn’t miss a beat in Arizona, totaling 37 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, and 1 forced safety. His $3 million base salary for 2014 ranks 29th among outside linebackers, and 230th in the NFL.
Leodis McKelvin (CB, BUF) – $3,150,000
McKelvin signed a 4 year $17 million contract to stay in Buffalo prior to the start of the 2013 season, and he responded with his best season to date. His 64 tackles tied for 8th among cornerbacks, to go along with 1 INT, 13 deflections, and 2 scored TDs. More impressively, only 46.1% of the passes thrown at McKelvin were completed in 2013 – 3rd best. His $2.1M base salary for 2014 ranks 28th among cornerbacks.
Barry Church (S, DAL) – $1,500,000
The former undrafted free agent out of Toledo signed a 4 year extension with the Cowboys in 2012, and his production has increased each year since. In 2013 Church led all DBs with 135 combined tackles, to go along with 7 deflections, 1 INT, and 3 forced fumbles. His $1.5 million base salary for 2014 ranks 25th among safeties, and his $2 million cap figure ranks 27th.