Dec. 2, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars guard Uche Nwaneri (77) waits for the snap during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Buffalo beats Jacksonville 34 to 18. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

How Many Bad Contracts do the Jaguars Carry?


Oct 21, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis (89) carries the ball against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Jaguars in overtime 26-23. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

A recent article by Bill Barnwell on Grantland went over the compilation of an “All-Bad Contracts” team. Before David Caldwell showed up, the Jaguars had plenty of candidates due to Gene Smith’s penchant for overpaying middle-of-the-road veterans (i.e. Dawan Landry, Laurent Robinson…). Unfortunately the Jacksonville Jaguars still made two appearances on the infamous list with guard Uche Nwaneri and tight end Marcedes Lewis.

Barnwell uses certain categories to explain how the bad contract came to be. He claims Gene Smith overreacted and “paid for the outlier” after Lewis had a breakout season in 2010. He also just flat-out asks “Who is Uche Nwaneri?”

It’s entirely too popular to bash on Marcedes Lewis and it has to stop. Lewis (13.9) was rated as the 4th best tight end in 2012 according to Pro Football Focus behind only Rob Gronkowski (21.2), Dwayne Allen (19.1) and Jason Witten (19.0). In fact Lewis was on par with Gronkowski in all the ratings (pass block, run block, and penalties) except for pass/receiving, which can almost completely be attributed to the horrific play at quarterback and right tackle.

Moreover, Marcedes Lewis has only the sixth highest cap hit at tight end in the NFL. Zach Miller has a whopping $11 million cap hit compared to Lewis’ $5.75 million in 2013. A player like Jermichael Finley was less effective with significantly more targets and doesn’t contribute in the blocking game anywhere the level Lewis does.

Ranking

Player

2013 Cap Hit

1

Zach Miller

$11,000,000

2

Jermichael Finley

$8,750,000

3

Vernon Davis

$8,739,917

4

Heath Miller

$7,958,500

5

Antonio Gates

$6,862,500

6

Owen Daniels

$5,750,000

6

Marcedes Lewis

$5,750,000

I don’t have a problem with Barnwell calling out Uche’s contract, but his reasoning could be more fleshed out. Uche has always been a much better run blocker than a pass blocker, but he’s paid like a premium guard. Uche is serviceable, but his 2013 cap hit ($5.895 million) is one of the highest in the league for a guard and too much for where PFF ranks him (35th best guard).

One player who probably should have been considered for the list over Marcedes is middle linebacker Paul Posluszny. For a non-premium position (MLB in a 4-3 scheme), Posluszny’s cap hit of $8.5 million (8th highest for any linebacker in 2013) is way too high.

- Daniel Lago

Yell at me on Twitter @dlago89

*Sources: Spotrac.com, ProFootballFocus.com

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Tags: Jacksonville Jaguars Marcedes Lewis Uche Nwaneri