Based on what players did in 2012 alone compared to the amount of money they counted against the salary cap, the super-awesome guys at Pro Football Focus ranked all 32 NFL teams based on the amount of value they got out of their rosters this past season.
And unsurprisingly, the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers led the way, with four playoff teams joining them in the top five. Here's what PFF wrote about San Fran's value situation:
They had seven key players that were undervalued by over $5 million, with an additional eight that were over $1 million. When you compare that to just six players who were overvalued by a million or more, you have a franchise that is doing something very right.
That's gotta be exciting for Niners fans, but it also means that a lot of big contracts are going to have to be handed out in offseasons to come, especially if the team keeps making Super Bowl runs.
The only team in the top nine that failed to make the playoffs? The Dallas Cowboys, who were hammered by injuries throughout the 2012 season. That goes to show how good Dallas can be if its players stay healthy. PFF concluded that "the Cowboys are actually doing a decent job of getting the most out of their players," which you'd never expect if you heard how frustrated their spoiled fans have become.
Interestingly, the Super Bowl champion Ravens actually ranked last among 2012 playoff teams, earning a performance-based value total of minus-$5.3 million. According to PFF, "unconvincing regular season performances" played a role there.
And then there's the Jaguars, who were so bad in this field that they must be thanking heaven Gene Smith is gone.
The Jaguars had a terrible ratio of six players undervalued by at least $1 million compared to 16 who were overvalued by a million or more. Of the 163 players that our Performance Based Value system marked as worth $5.4 million dollars or more in 2012, not one of them played for the Jaguars.
Shad Khan, David Caldwell and Gus Bradley have a lot of work to do.