The Inaugural NFL Trade Value Rankings, Part 2
September 2, 2012Eastern Indiana Sports
If you missed Part 1 of my first-ever attempt at an NFL Trade Value Column, click here. Here's Part 2. PS: Check the footnotes for Bill Simmons's "director's commentary" on my selections.
Group VI: The Undervalued Defensive Stalwarts
37. NaVorro Bowman
Bowman went from backup to All-Pro in one season, arguably outplaying Patrick Willis while making just under $500,000. Playing alongside Willis helps, of course, but the Niners' run defense didn't miss a beat while Willis was sidelined with a hamstring injury last season. Bowman was basically the defensive equivalent of Victor Cruz last season, just without the dance routines after huge plays. If he were on offense, who knows? Maybe he'd turn into Flynt Flossy after touchdowns. Maybe he's more of a Yung Humma guy. No shame in that.
36. Lardarius Webb
Webb doesn't exactly have the first name of a speedy cornerback, you know? It fits him like the name Trackstar Barnwell would fit me. He's a phenomenal player, though, who was starting for Baltimore as a rookie before tearing his ACL. After being targeted by opponents during the 2010 season, Webb healed up and turned into a shutdown corner last year. The Ravens gave him a six-year deal worth $52.74 million that only guarantees him $20 million, which is chump change for a guy who hasn't even hit his peak yet.
35. Brandon Flowers
The Chiefs look like geniuses for locking up their star cornerback early, considering inferior players like Finnegan and Brandon Carr got bigger deals in free agency. It would also be nice if Justin Timberlake played him in a crazy dream sequence from a Richard Kelly movie.
34. Joe Haden
The scary thing is that Haden, at 23, might be better than either Webb or Flowers. Judging cornerback play is an inexact science, but Haden's reputation is right there alongside that caliber of player. His big rookie contract guaranteed him $26 million off the bat, so he's not exactly a bargain; he's also likely to be subject to a four-game Adderall suspension this season. But Haden just submitted an age-23 season that was better than Darrelle Revis's age-23 season … and Revis broke out as a superstar the following year.