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Contextualizing the Quinton Jefferson contract: Was it fair value?

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, Field Yates of ESPN reported the contract announced between the New York Jets and defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson was for 1 year and up to 4.25 million. Of the 4.25 million in potential pay, 2.75 million is guaranteed, albeit with the cap hit spread out using void years.

The deal was met by mixed reviews by Jets fans, as most deals are. In an attempt to ascertain the degree to which the deal was good, bad, or ugly for the Jets, I will dive into Quinton’s ProFootballFocus (PFF) grades as well as the contract values of other players who play his position.

2022 PFF grades (rank in parentheses)

  • Overall score: 47.3 (109th of 127 ranked players)
  • Rush defense score: 39.0 (112th)
  • Pass rush score: 55.6 (98th)
  • Coverage score: 66.5 (24th)

Contract values within position (interior defensive line)

Quinton Jefferson received a 1 year deal for 3.5 million dollars in base for average annual value (AAV) of 3.5 million dollars. Other active players who have received between 2.5 and 4.5 million dollars on their AAV with contract lengths of 2 years or less according to over the cap are shown below along with their overall PFF grade.

My Takeaways

According to PFF, Quinton Jefferson was a consistently below average interior defensive lineman. In line with that, his contract mostly seems to align with other players that are pretty bad, but also has quite a few players that are significantly better (at least according to PFF).

With that said, PFF grades are only one potential metric that we can use to evaluate a player. For example, PFF though that Jefferson was rather bad at rushing the passer ranking him 98th in pass rushing productivity within his position, while other metrics painted a more favorable picture.

Overall, the contract is so low that it’s tough to call it an overpay regardless of the outcome. If PFF’s grades are an accurate predictor of Jefferson’s 2023 performance then we probably won’t think much of Jefferson. On the other hand, if other metrics related to pass rushing wind up being more accurate then we’ll probably view this as a major steal.

For me, that’s a gamble worth taking. What do you think?