Athletes are paid a ton of money. We can generally assume on the whole that they're generally overpaid.
But then there are some who are—by the numbers—massively underpaid, believe it or not. And surely, this kind of information regularly proves valuable to the agents who are negotiating (or re-negotiating) these athletes' contracts after a breakout season.
ESPN The Magazine recently did the world a favor, and surveyed a wide pool of players, teams, and leagues to figure out where these lines are drawn. They worked out a number they call a "Surplus Value," which is their value based on their play, subtracted from the base amount they're paid based on their respective leagues' salary bases and caps.
Needless to say, the results are fairly interesting:
- Seattle Seahawks corner (and epic shittalker) Richard Sherman is actually the most undervalued player in the NFL. Last season, he made $511,000, but according to the research done by ESPN, his statistical value in terms of play was worth $19.8M to Seattle.
- The most overvalued player in baseball? Not, shockingly, A-Rod. That honor goes to Johan Santana. The most undervalued players are Mike Trout and Buster Posey.
- The Oakland A's are still the most Moneyballed-out team, getting the most bang for their buck.
- Lebron James? Valued to the tune of $15.2M. James Harden was valued at $15M more than his base salary.
- The most overvalued players in the NBA based on their play last season? Brandon Roy followed by Gilbert Arenas.
And of course, here is a chart mapping the decline in value of A-Rod, because it's always fun to see a multi-millionaires true worthlessness in line-graph form:
Mag: What's your best trash-talk?
Sherman: I like to tell people they have hands like feet when they drop an easy pass. And after a guy drops a pass, that's the best time to put a little bug in his head.
And that's the kind of thing you can't place a dollar value on.