Quarterback Sack Costs For the Broncos (and the League) in 2011

In the final installment of the starting Salaries series, I present the cost of a Quarterback Sack for the Denver Broncos as well as the rest of the league. I will attempt to show the 3 main pass rushing threats for each team last year, or at least the three players who accumulated the most in their Sack attack. Then we will look at what percentage of their teams Sacks they contributed and finally what was the price tag for a Sack for each team. This will help us understand how the Salaries for Pass Rushers have escalated and who got the best value for their buck. The values may be skewed a little because of the players out performing their rookie contracts, but to me, that makes a statement on the talent evaluators in each teams Scouting staff.

I will break it down for you in order to understand the chart. The teams are listed by their Sack total for 2011 from most to the least. The three main Sack contributors for each team are next with their contributions in parentheses. After that is the percentage of their team's Total Sacks (%of SKS), the total Salaries of those three contributors in 2011(2011 Cost in Millions) and what each Sack from those three players cost their team (Value in Thousands). Then I ranked each team according to the cost per Sack, from the lowest to the highest, their projected 2012 expense (at present time) and any Free Agents they must deal with.

Team SK Top 3 Sack men (2011 Sacks) % of SKs 2011 Cost Value Rank 2012 Cost Notes
Philadelphia Eagles 50 Jason Babin (18),Trent Cole (11),Cullen Jenkins (5.5) 69 8.77 254K 12 19.34
Minnesota Vikings 50 Jared Allen (22),Brian Robison (8),Kevin Williams (5) 70 15.67 448K 24 15.65
New York Giants 48 Jason Pierre-Paul (16.5),Osi Umentiora (9),Justin Tuck (5) 63.5 7.05 93K 2 8
Baltimore Ravens 48 Terrell Suggs (14), Pernell McPhee (6), Paul Kruger (5.5) 53.1 4.425 174K 10 6.01
Cincinnati Bengals 45 Geno Atkins (7.5),Jonathan Fanene (6.5),Michael Johnson (6) 44.4 2.085 105K 3 1.055 Jonathan Fanene: UFA
Houston Texans 44 Connor Barwin (11.5),Antonio Smith (6.5),Brooks Reed (6) 54.5 6.25 261K 13 7.24
Dallas Cowboys 42 DeMarcus Ware (19.5),Anthony Spencer (6),Jason Hatcher (4.5) 71.4 8.4 280K 14 6.5 Anthony Spencer: UFA
Arizona Cardinals 42 Calais Campbell (8),Sam Acho (7),Daryl Washington (5) 47.6 6.25 313K 17 0.955 Calais Campbell:UFA
San Francisco 49ers 42 Aldon Smith (14),Justin Smith (7.5),Ahmad Brooks (7) 67.8 9.79 344K 21 9.4 Ahmad Brooks: UFA
Washington Redskins 41 Brian Orakpo (9),Ryan Kerrigan (7.5),Stephen Bowen (6) 54.8 3.85 171K 7 4.44
Detroit Lions 41 Cliff Avril (11),Kyle Vanden Bosch (8),Lawrence Jackson (4.5) 57.3 7.82 333K 20 5.92 Cliff Avril: UFA
Miami Dolphins 41 Cameron Wake (8.5),Jason Taylor (7),Jared Odrick (6) 52.4 1.98 922K 30 1.13 Jason Taylor (retiring)
Denver Broncos 41 Von Miller (11.5),Elvis Dumervil (9.5),D.J. Williams (5) 63.4 24.15 929K 31 24.25
New England Patriots 40 Mark Anderson (10),Andre Carter (10),Rob Ninkovich (6.5) 66.2 3.08 116K 4 0 All 3 are UFA's
St. Louis Rams 39 Chris Long (13),James Hall (6),Robert Quinn (5) 61.5 4.96 207K 11 6.11
Oakland Raiders 39 Tommy Kelly (7.5),Kamerion Wimbley (7),Richard Seymour (6) 52.5 25.5 1.25M 32 24.5
Pittsburgh Steelers 35 James Harrison (9),LaMarr Woodley (9),Jason Worilds (3) 60 2.75 131K 5 9.2
New York Jets 35 Aaron Maybin (6),David Harris (5),Bart Scott (4.5) 44.3 6.42 414K 23 15.5 Aaron Maybin: RFA
Seattle Seahawks 33 Chris Clemons (11),Leroy Hill (4),Alan Branch (3) 54.5 5.48 305K 16 6 Leroy Hill: UFA
New Orleans Saints 33 Roman Harper (7.5),Will Smith (6.5),Junior Galette (4.5) 56.1 8.3 448K 25 14.61
Chicago Bears 33 Julius Peppers (11),Henry Melton (7),Israel Idonije (5) 69.7 13.38 582K 27 9.46 Israel Idonije: UFA
Atlanta Falcons 33 John Abraham (9.5),Sean Weatherspoon (4),Ray Edwards (3.5) 51.5 11.4 671K 28 6.73 John Abraham: UFA
Cleveland Browns 32 Jabaal Sheard (8.5),Ahtyba Rubin (5),Phil Taylor (4) 54.7 3 171K 8 6.84
San Diego Chargers 32 Antwan Barnes (11),Cam Thomas (4),Shaun Phillips (3.5) 57.8 5.9 319K 18 6.49
Carolina Panthers 31 Charles Johnson (9),Greg Hardy and Thomas Keiser (4) 54.8 4.78 281K 15 5.7
Jacksonville Jaguars 31 Jeremy Mincey (8),Daryl Smith and Matt Roth (3.5) 48.4 7.2 480K 26 4.7 Jeremy Mincey No $ for 2011, UFA in 2012. Matt Roth:UFA
Green Bay Packers 29 Clay Matthews (6),Desmond Bishop (5),Erik Walden (3) 48.3 2.4 171K 9 3.63 Erik Walden: UFA
Buffalo Bills 29 Marcell Dareus (5.5),Chris Kelsay (5),Nick Barnett (3) 46.5 4.37 324K 19 8.3
Indianapolis Colts 29 Robert Mathis (9.5),Dwight Freeney (8.5),Jamaal Anderson (3) 72.4 14.58 410K 22 14.03 Robert Mathis, Jamaal Anderson: UFAs
Kansas City Chiefs 29 Tamba Hali (12),Justin Houston (5.5),Wallace Gilberry (2.5) 68.9 14.53 727K 29 12.69 Wallace Gilberry: UFA
Tennessee Titans 28 Karl Klug (7),Dave Ball (4),Jason Jones (3) 50 2.23 159K 6 0.465 Dave Ball, Jason Jones: UFAs
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23 Adrian Clayborn (7.5),Michael Bennett (4),Brian Price (3) 63 1.26 87K 1 1.24 Michael Bennett: RFA

As you can see, the Minnesota Vikings and the Philadelphia Eagles led the league in Sacking the Quarterback as a team in 2011. The Eagles got a better value since they only spent $254K per Sack, while the Vikes shelled out $448K. However, I believe that since they achieved 70% of that statistic with 3 players, that cost is worth it. Obviously each team will be different in placing a priority on the Sack statistic and the money allotted to that. The Green Bay Packers for instance, rely on a greater part of their Defensive personnel to contain and pressure the Quarterback, forcing a mistake by being patient and disciplined rather than forcing the issue with all out blitzes per se. Teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts and and the Denver Broncos balance their Pass rush with "Book ends," a pass rush specialist on each side of the line. Pittsburgh does it with Outside Linebackers James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley. The Colts have Defensive Ends Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney and the Broncos use one of each, OLB Von Miller and DE Elvis Dumervil to wreak havoc on opposing Quarterbacks.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers spent the least amount per Sack in 2011 at $87K. However, they also produced the least amount of Sacks. Is their ownership a Miser? Perhaps. perhaps not. They had 3 players on their rookie contracts producing their pressure and in their defense (no pun intended), Gerald McCoy will be back after a stay on the Injured Reserve List in 2011. I didn't include his salary in the 2012 projection.

The Denver Broncos outspent all but the Raiders for each Sack produced in 2011 at $929K per Sack. Their expense in 2012 rises very minimal, but the Denver Front Office has to be concerned with the production return on that investment. Sure, you could blame it on injuries. Elvis Dumervil was struggling with a shoulder injury in the early part of the season and finally returned to 100% a little past the halfway mark. Von Miller broke a thumb and lost one source of leverage, making him less effective. That is reason enough for me to think the Broncos 2011 Sack total of 41 will increase.

There are greater depths that can be derived from this list and maybe one of you will journey down that path to solve the questions of, which player was paid the highest per Sack and which team got the best value for an individual Pass Rusher? Another interesting question would be the correlation of Sacks to Wins and if that was that big of a factor?

I will leave that for you to ponder and discover if it leads you on that adventure.


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