- New research from PlayUSA finds the players who give more bang for their buck.
- Salary to performance ratio finds Dallas Cowboys’ QB Dak Prescott to be the most cost-effective QB, with a cost of $28,902 per touchdown.
- Survey finds Tom Brady to be the most ‘overvalued’ player in the league, according to fans.
The astronomical salaries of sports stars across the world is constantly under the scrutiny of fans and the media, and none more so than the National Football League (NFL). The income that sports like these gather means that their players are inevitably paid huge sums for their service, but is this reflected by their performance?
PlayUSA have compared the key stats for every NFL player with their wages to find the most cost-effective players. From the amount Eli Manning is paid per touchdown pass to the price of every sack DeMarcus Lawrence makes for the Cowboys, this interactive tool shows it all. Our research has also compiled each teams statistics to determine how well the most and least frugal teams perform.
In our survey, Aaron Rodgers and Eli Manning were top when asked who the ‘unsung’ heroes of the league were, but who were last season’s most cost-efficient QBs?
- Cost-Effective Cowboys – Dak Prescott threw for an impressive 22 touchdowns in an otherwise unimpressive season for the Cowboys. His low salary gave him a score of $28,902 per touchdown.
- Unsung Rodgers? With a salary exceeding $20 million, Packers’ Aaron Rodgers isn’t as undervalued as fans think, costing over $1.2 million per touchdown.
This season, Odell Beckham has become the highest paid wide-receiver, but in an injury-plagued season for Beckham, which receiver gave teams the most value?
- Runaway Robby – New York Jets receiver Robby Anderson’s 7 touchdowns at a cost of $77,619 per score makes him the most cost-effective wide-receiver in the league.
- High score Hopkins – No player got close to the Texans’ scorecard in 2017, but with a salary of $18 million, his cost-to-performance ranks worse than his peers.
- Frivolous Falcons – Often considered as the best wide-receiver in the league, Julio Jones made more yards than any player, but made a mere 3 touchdowns at a cost of $4.6 million per score.
Fans often regard the likes of Rob Gronkowski and Greg Olsen as the league’s best tight-ends, but who offers the best return on investment?
- Cash-cow Kroft – Bengals tight-end Tyler Kroft made 7 touchdowns from 42 of his receptions last season, and with a modest salary he ranks as the most cost-effective TE.
- Million Dollar Man – Jimmy Graham’s 10 touchdowns last year for the Seahawks gave him a cost-per-score ratio of $1 million.
For the league’s running backs, we’ve compared salary to both touchdowns and yards per game to find the most economical throughout the league.
- The Saint of New Orleans – With an impressive 13 touchdowns and 45.5 yards on average per game, Alvin Kamara comes out as the most cost efficient RB in the league.
- The Price of Ivory – With only 2 touchdowns all year, Jaguars’ Chris Ivory ranks as the least cost-effective with a value of nearly $3 million.
Defense will almost always be considered as the true unsung heroes of the sport, but who’s cheap salary and high performance has gone under the radar?
- Big Tackling Burgess – Cleveland Browns Linebackers James Burgess cost his team less than any other, with a cost-per-tackle score of $10,568 for the season.
- Tackling Teammates – Fellow Browns’ star Chris Kirksey made a mammoth 86 tackles last season, but his $5 million salary means he’s not as cost-effective as his colleague.
Defensive Backs (Safety/Cornerbacks)
Much of the work of the defensive backs goes unseen, but without them many teams would be at a loss. These are the players that do their utmost to earn their keep:
- Top scorer across the board – Kevin Byard of the Tennessee Titans outperforms everyone in the strong safety rankings, with the most interceptions (8) and the lowest cost per action score. $105,354.
- Leading the Charge – Los Angeles Chargers free-safety Tre Boston made 56 tackles and 5 interceptions last year, making him one of the most cost-effective defensive players in the ranks.
Defensive ends and tackles are typically some of the biggest and strongest men in the sport, but who among them pulls their weight in terms of performance.
- Sack City – Jaguars defensive-end Yannick Ngakoue made 12 sacks and 24 tackles putting him in one of the top spots for return on investment in the defensive line.
- Defensive Dallas – Cowboy’s defensive tackle David Irving brings home a comparatively low salary of $470,000, completing 7 sacks, 13 tackles and 1 forced fumble in the regular season.
If any aspect of the game is truly overlooked, it’s the special teams. These positions can often win games, but at what cost?
- Bolting in Baltimore – Ravens Kick-return Alex Collins averages 27.4 yards on every return which, when compared against his salary, comes at the price of $18,549 per average yard.
- The Kansas Kicker – Harrison Butker boasts a strong field goal % with 38 made out of 42 and ranks as the most cost-effective kicker in our ranks.
The study found that 81% of fans believe that better performance warrants better pay, and while some teams seem to be stepping up to the mark, others are lagging behind. You can find how your favourite team or player score in the interactive tool here.