I was kicking around an idea to do during the Buffalo Bills bye week, however I got a little tied up at my other job that pays my bills, so I decided to take some time and do this in the shortest amount of time we have to relax, between KC and Miami. Obviously this list will reflect the past 9 games of the season where the Bills have posted a 5-4 record. What I am going to focus on here is completely opinion based on what we are hit on with Cap Number versus what we are getting on the field. I have broken this down into 3 categories for the top 20 Cap Numbers on the team; yellow (great value), blue (tweener), red (not so great value).
Marcell Dareus – $6,493,232
For whatever reason, Dareus always had unreasonable expectations placed on him. It never made sense to me because I have always seen him as a dominant DT in the game, despite fans labeling him a bust and some even saying we should cut him based on off-field issues over this past off-season. Since drafted in 2011, Dareus has 28.5 sacks, with 10 this season and 3 against the Chiefs he now has the most sacks of any DT since he was drafted (1 ahead of Geno Atkins at 27.5). This man needs to be paid whatever he wants. As it stands now, he is our greatest value on the team.
Jerry Hughes – $3,995,000
Labeled a bust because he was taken in the first round by the Colts and played incorrectly before being traded, Jerry Hughes has put up monster numbers since coming to Buffalo. Missing the Pro Bowl last season, Hughes accrued 10 sacks. There was talk that perhaps he was purely benefiting from Pettine’s system last year, but he put those myths to rest this season accruing 7.5 sacks and playing as a well rounded DE against the run (a knock on him last season). This man needs to be paid. Second best value on the team.
Sammy Watkins – $3,624,655
Can we just extend him now? There’s nothing to say that you don’t already know. He’s good.
Brandon Spikes – $3,250,000
He was close to making the “tweener” list, but at the end of the day Spikes has been as advertised and if you don’t see the value in that, look at our run defense this year compared to last year.
Dan Carpenter – $1,250,000
He made a 58 yard field goal to beat the Lions. Oh and he’s really, really good. He’s only the 11th highest paid kicker in the NFL this season, therefore, a great value.
Mario Williams – $18,800,000
Mario Williams is the best football player on this team. There’s not any question in my mind. This is circumstantial based on that huge cap hit. Everyone else on the defense benefits from how great of a player he is. If he can change the outcome of 2 games down the stretch (I’m looking at Denver and Green Bay), he will be a great value at this number.
Leodis McKelvin – $4,575,000
I’m not going to even talk about the most recent fumbled punt. I have always said that I am against keeping your starting players out to field punts, but that’s besides the point. The point with Leodis is which Leodis is going to show up? He has games where he looks the part of the first round pick veteran corner back that, in my opinion, was the comeback player of the year last year. But this season he has been abused. Statistically he is having a good season, 4 INT and 1 FF, but he needs to up his game. Key word to Leodis is consistency. Right now he has none.
Aaron Williams – $4,231,209
Being the highest paid safety on the team is what puts him here. There is no doubt that if Aaron Williams was playing this way last season, we would have never signed him to the big contract. Nagging injuries and change of system probably put him on this list, but it doesn’t change the fact that he has a lot of big missed tackles and a bunch of glaring over pursuits that cost the Bills big plays. Need more consistency from your starting safety, especially with your front 7 playing so well.
Kyle Orton – $4,000,000
How much can you expect from your backup quarterback? He is consistent, reliable for the most part and has put up numbers we haven’t seen in Buffalo in a long time. He has won us some games with his arm. The fact is that Kyle Orton has the 16th highest base salary of any QB in the league this season. In 2014 he is making $100,182 more than Andrew Luck.
Manny Lawson – $3,100,000
If Manny Lawson was in Mike Pettine’s system, this would be a good salary for him. The fact is that we took him out of what he does best and he really doesn’t seem to fit on this team anymore. His value was in his versatility and ability to shift from OLB to DE, however he hasn’t shown much of anything this season. Again, purely circumstantial.
Keith Rivers – $1,850,000
This one’s tough. What did we really expect out of him? With the injury to Kiko Alonso, I’m not sure we will ever be able to answer that question. The fact of the matter is that he isn’t seeing the field close to what we need him to be seeing, as he is being played out of the lineup by Nigel Bradham and Preston Brown.
Scott Chandler – $1,900,000
Scott Chandler is a frustrating football player at times. He does all he is asked of as a tight end. He blocks better than people give him credit, he catches a lot of footballs (but drops what feels likeall of the important ones). At the end of the day he is what this team needs. He comes up with some big plays (4th and 20 vs MIN) and makes some mistakes (I know you didn’t make Bryce fumble but just grab the damn ball!). Under 2 million in a world where there seems to be no average TE in the league, I’m okay with that.
Erik Pears – $3,450,000, Kraig Urbik – $3,375,000
I’m coupling these two together for one reason. I believe we attempted to replace both of these men in the 2014 draft, both men made the team and as of right now, they are our starting guards. They are the 18th and 20th highest paid guards in the league, respectively. They are about right where you would expect them to be, which is why I can’t call them a bad value, even though they feel like it.