We are far enough into the NFL season to really judge a player’s performance. Which NFL players give the most bang for their teams’ buck?
This season, Dak Prescott is proving to give the Cowboys one of the best quarterback situations in the NFL moving forward. Whatever happens, the Cowboys are clearly comfortable with life after Romo now that Prescott has proved his worth. What makes Prescott even more valuable is that he is still on his rookie contract.
Having a quarterback, the most valuable position in the NFL, making money that takes up a tiny portion of the salary cap can give the team an extended period of time to overspend on free-agent talent in order to fill out the roster around them. It brings up a great debate; who currently has the most valuable contracts in the NFL? We will break down the top ten bargains in the NFL based on the value they provide to their team compared to the cap hit against them this season.
10. Antonio Brown
In 2012, Brown signed a five-year, $41.9 million deal. To put that into perspective, Tavon Austin signed a four-year, $42 million deal this offseason. In 2015, it was joked about how the Browns paid Dwayne Bowe $1.8 million per catch. In 2015, Brown was paid roughly $52,000 per catch.
Antonio Brown was on such a bargain of a deal that the Steelers took $4 million from his 2017 contract and pushed it into his 2016 salary. Even with the bump in pay, Brown ranks ninth among wide receiver cap hits this season. He is behind players such as Jeremy Maclin and Vincent Jackson, and in the same neighborhood as T.Y. Holton and Michael Crabtree.
Pretty much the only thing these receivers have in common with Brown is how much money they make. Over the past three seasons, it is tough to argue any wide receiver being more valuable or talented in the NFL. Through seven games this season, he is averaging seven catches per game and has five touchdowns.
The Steelers used the talent of Brown to create a juggernaut on offense. They also used the savings of not paying him like a top receiver to get themselves out of salary cap hell. The team had a lot of backloaded contracts and just last year was relieved of the dead money to LaMarr Woodley. This year they were able to swallow a $15 million cap hit to Lawrence Timmons while maintaining good standing with the cap. These are the things that signing Brown to a bargain of a deal can bring, and the Steelers will most likely pay him well next season to thank him.