Let's face it: Everyone loves a bargain. Maybe it's a 2-for-1 happy hour or a great deal on that new flat-screen TV. Or maybe, in the eyes of an NFL executive, it's that player who produced big numbers without drawing a big paycheck.
The folks at Pro Football Focus.com, who crunch numbers as well as anyone, have reviewed every team for the players they perceived as the best bargains and biggest rip-offs (or 'overvalued' players) of the 2012 season.
This is not to say these were the best and/or worst players on the team; everything in this discussion is framed by the cost, i.e. the salary cap hit in 2012 and the contribution the player made to the team, which PFF morphs into something called the Performanced Based Value.
According to PFF, here are the Ravens biggest bargains of 2012:
1. Paul Kruger (Cap hit: $870,000; PFF's Performance Based Value: $7.5M)
Kruger led the Ravens with nine sacks, and according to Pro Football Focus, he finished 2012 with the highest Pass Rushing Productivity score of all 3-4 outside linebackers after registering 55 quarterback disruptions on 359 pass rushing snaps. Note: He'll never make this list next season; he is about to land a big free agency payday, and it's not likely to be in Baltimore.
2. Ray Rice (Cap hit: $5M; Performance Based Value: $9.1M)
Hey diddle, diddle: Rice is the No. 7-ranked running back according to PFF, "thanks in large part to his excellent work in the passing game. Highlighted by that fourth-down reception against the Chargers, his ability in space remains his greatest strength."
3. Justin Tucker (Cap hit: $390,000; Performance Based Value: $4M)
"The beauty of selecting a kicker," PFF's Khaled Elsayed writes, "is they won’t cost very much, and if they prove productive you’re guaranteed excellent value. That’s how it worked out for the Ravens with Tucker."
And the Ravens' most overvalued players?
1. Terrell Suggs (Cap hit: $11M; Performance Based Value: $925,000)
Suggs gets a lot of credit for battling back from his Achilles injury, and has a Super Bowl ring to show for it. But PFF says, "that doesn’t, however, mean he represented good value for money. No, while Suggs deserves credit for clearly playing at less than 100 percent, he wasn’t worth the $11.5m cap hit. ... We’d look for him to bounce back when healthy next year."
2. Ed Reed (Cap hit: $8.5M; Performance Based Value: $2M)
PFF gives Reed the 17th-highest coverage grade among safeties, and saddles him with 'subpar run defense' and 15 missed tackles.
3. Haloti Ngata (Cap hit: $10.4M; Performance Based Value: $3.9M)
"The consistency which makes a season great was missing, with his midseason form being particularly disappointing," Elsayed writes. Pro Football Focus, which pretty much ranks everyone in everything, tabs Ngata 21st in run stop percentage.