Last week, I wrote an article about the five most overpaid players on the Green Bay Packers roster. I will now turn that around and take a look at the five most underpaid players on the roster.
The majority of these guys are young and ascending players who have not been paid yet, but there are a couple of guys who are past their rookie deals. Also, a couple of these players might not be on this list for much longer, as they are candidates to receive extensions in the near future.
1. Aaron Rodgers
Cap Hit: $17.9 million
Yes, Rodgers is the highest paid player in the NFL. However, that doesn’t mean he isn’t underpaid. Rodgers showed just how valuable he is to the Packers when he missed seven games with a broken collarbone. The Packers went 2-4-1 in those games, and it easily could have been worse. The two wins and the tie required huge comebacks by Matt Flynn. There is simply no substitute for Rodgers. They are a contender for the Super Bowl every season with him, and without him they are a 4-12 type team. He makes everybody on the offense better and has to carry a defense that has been among the worst in the NFL since winning Super Bowl XLV.
2. Jordy Nelson
Cap Hit: $4.38 million
Nelson’s deal is the best value contract that Ted Thompson has ever given out. Thompson gave Nelson a three-year, $13 million extension during the middle of the 2011 season. It was perfect timing right before Nelson was on the cusp of greatness, and he has been nothing but productive since then. Nelson finished the 2011 season with 68 catches, 1,263 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns. He was remarkably consistent last season despite the different quarterbacks. He had 85 catches for 1,314 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns, and who knows how much better those numbers would be if Rodgers played the whole season. Nelson has become known for his amazing sideline catches and catches in traffic. He should be in line for another extension soon.
3. Randall Cobb
Cap Hit: $1.21 million
Cobb looked to be on his way to another huge season last year before a fractured tibia on Oct. 13 put him out until Week 17. He made up for that in that game when he caught a historic 48-yard touchdown to win the NFC North. Cobb had a 80 catch and eight touchdown season in 2011 when he established himself as one of Rodgers’ favorite targets. The Packers can line him up all over the field since he is so versatile. Cobb is a mismatch nightmare in the slot, and at still only 23 years old has his best years ahead of him. Like Nelson, he is another candidate to receive an extension very soon.
4. Eddie Lacy
Cap Hit: $771,003
The 2013 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year completely turned around the Packers run game and finally made opposing defenses respect the run. Lacy ran for 1,178 yards and 11 touchdown in his rookie season. He did this despite a hurt ankle towards the end of the season and facing stacked boxes for seven games without Rodgers. Lacy was a beast running through tacklers while displaying very good patience to find the correct holes to hit and explode through them. Also, he displayed a good amount of elusiveness for a man of his size. Lots of defenders wanted no part in tackling him last season. A combination of Lacy and Rodgers will be scary for years to come.
5. Mike Daniels
Cap Hit: $645,146
Daniels was a fourth round pick out of Iowa in 2012 and had a breakout year in his second NFL season. He had 6.5 sacks last year, which is a big number for a 3-4 defensive lineman. Although, Daniels really received most of his snaps in the nickel defense. The next step for him will be to become a better run defender so that he can be an every down player. Coming into the draft Daniels’ size was supposed to be an issue, but he has used it to his advantage by playing with great leverage. He started to receive more attention with double teams towards the end of the season, and they did not faze him. Nobody else other than Daniels made plays in the front seven when Clay Matthews was out.——————