Who Are the NFL's Most Grossly Overpaid, Underpaid Players?By Tyson Langland Jul 1, 2014 Jordy NelsonJeffrey Phelps/Associated Press From an economic standpoint, every player in the NFL is worth what someone is willing to pay him. That doesn't mean particular players' performances live up to what their respective teams are willing to pay them, however.On the flip side, there are players who are worth more than their going rate. And oftentimes, underpaid players are never properly compensated for their underappreciated skill sets. So with the start of training camp less than a month away, let's take a look at the NFL's most grossly overpaid and underpaid players heading into the 2014 season. For the purposes of this discussion and due to the ramifications of the collective bargaining agreement, we will ignore the players who are currently playing on their rookie contracts. Obviously, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is grossly underpaid at his position, but due to the collective bargaining agreement, he can't do anything about it.Unless otherwise noted, all contract numbers are provided via Spotrac, and all statistics come from Pro Football Focus (subscription required).Overpaid: Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants Bill Kostroun/Associated Press Average Salary: $16.25 million When the New York Giants inked Eli Manning to a six-year, $97.5 million contract extension in the summer of 2009, the three-time Pro Bowler was one year removed from his first Super Bowl victory and was playing at an unprecedented level. The bad news is Manning is no longer playing at an unprecedented level, and the Giants have failed to make the playoffs in each of the past two seasons.According to Pro Football Focus, Manning amassed a minus-4.5 overall grade on 1,002 snaps in 2013. Based on PFF’s passing metric, his minus-4.5 was the 30th-best grade at his position.Manning’s lowly rating positioned him behind signal-callers like Jake Locker, Kellen Clemens and Matt Flynn. It’s hard to believe a two-time Super Bowl champion has fallen that far, but the numbers he tallied last season were atrocious. In 551 pass attempts, Manning tossed 27 interceptions, recorded a quarterback rating of 69.4 and completed 57.5 percent of his passes. New York is hoping Manning can rebound in 2014, but it looks like his better days are now behind him.Underpaid: Terrance Knighton, DT, Denver Broncos Doug Pensinger/Getty Images Average Salary: $2 million At the start of the 2013 season, Denver Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton proved his less than impressive season in 2012 was nothing more than a down year. Why? Because from Week 1 through Week 8, Knighton turned in five positively graded games, two sacks, four quarterback hits, 11 quarterback hurries and nine defensive stops, per Pro Football Focus. This, in turn, meant he was on pace for 10 positively graded games, four quarterback sacks, eight quarterback hits, 22 quarterback hurries and 18 defensive stops. For a player who was primarily known as a run-stuffer, one would have to believe the Broncos would have been incredibly happy with those types of numbers. Fortunately for Denver, Knighton exceeded expectations and ended his fifth NFL season (playoffs included) with five sacks, six quarterback hits, 27 quarterback hurries and 30 defensive stops. Considering Knighton’s late-season push, it’s evident he played a huge role in helping the Broncos reach the Super Bowl. At 27 years of age, the third-round pick out of Temple will have no problem garnering a larger contract once he hits the open market at the end of the 2014 season.Overpaid: Mike Wallace, WR, Miami Dolphins USA TODAY Sports Average Salary: $12 million With the help of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, wide receiver Mike Wallace made the most of his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers. In four seasons (2009-12), the 195-pound speedster caught 235 passes, scored 32 touchdowns and registered two 1,000-yard seasons.Numbers like that don’t just fall out of the sky, which meant he was the most coveted free-agent wide receiver prior to the 2013 season. In an effort to improve their passing game, the Miami Dolphins signed Wallace to a five-year, $60 million deal. For a one-trick pony, $12 million a year seemed like a lot of money. Yet, it was clear that former Miami general manager Jeff Ireland was desperate for a true No. 1 receiver.The only problem was that Wallace wasn’t a true No. 1 receiver. His route tree was limited. He wasn’t a skilled pass-catcher over the middle of the field. And he dropped way too many passes.Coincidentally enough, the three downfalls mentioned above showed up in his game last year. Despite tallying 930 yards receiving, Wallace was PFF’s 78th-best wideout. He also dropped 11 passes and averaged a measly 1.44 yards per route run. Obviously, the Dolphins' problems on offense run deeper than Wallace, yet one has to wonder if Miami has buyer’s remorse when it comes to the 27-year-old wide receiver out of Mississippi.Underpaid: Demar Dotson, OT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Chris O'Meara/Associated Press Average Salary: $1.5 million In recent years, teams around the NFL have started to realize that right tackles are just as valuable as left tackles. For a case in point, take a look at some of the big-money contracts that have been handed out to right tackles as of late. Prior to the 2013 season, San Francisco 49ers right tackle Anthony Davis signed a $33.2 million extension. During that same time frame, former Detroit Lions right tackle Gosder Cherilus signed a five-year, $35 million contract with the Indianapolis Colts. However, that's not to say every deserving right tackle has struck it rich. In fact, one of the most deserving right tackles in the game is severely underpaid. Per PFF, Tampa Bay Buccaneers right tackle Demar Dotson was the 14th-best offensive tackle in the league last year. In 16 games, the undrafted free agent made a name for himself as he only surrendered five sacks and two quarterback hits. Additionally, Dotson created huge rush lanes for Tampa Bay’s run game. When the Buccaneers rushed the ball off his back side, they averaged 4.3 yards per carry. Even though Dotson is under contract through the 2016 season, don’t expect his low salary to last much longer. The Buccaneers front office will do everything in its power to redo his deal before it expires because the team knows sound offensive line play is hard to find. For the rest of the list... link
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