HBO’s “Hard Knocks” series is a pre-season favorite and introduces a whole new batch of fans to one lucky - or unlucky - franchise ever year.
This year, it was the Cleveland Browns. There were many strong personalities on display during the training camp documentary, and one which stood out for being a little more muted yet significant, was defensive end Carl Nassib.
As soon as he was waived by the Browns in early September, many fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers scrambled to social media to voice their support of bringing him to the Bucs.
And bring him to the Bucs they did. Jason Licht swooped in and added the former third round selection to the team, and head coach Dirk Koetter commented about how much they liked Nassib coming out of Penn State.
From there, he only got better. By the time the season came to an end, Nassib had gone from being waved by Cleveland to starting seven of the last eight games of 2018 and nine games total.
He didn’t cost much, comparatively, but given how much he showed up for the Bucs this past season I wanted to dive into his numbers a bit more.
2018 CAP EXPENSE: $773k
TEAM RANKING: 36th
NFL RANKING: 1,000+
POSITION RANKING: 88th
Just to clarify. 1,000 NFL players cost more against the cap in 2018 than Carl Nassib did. One. Thousand.
So, it’s fair to say there was really almost no chance he’d be considered a rip-off for the Bucs when they claimed him for their own roster.
It also puts Nassib in the bargain category simply because he was able to start so many games in his first season for Tampa Bay after being in Cleveland for most of the pre-season.
But just how much of a bargain was he? Let’s see if we can settle on his value compared to his pay.
Nassib was active for all but one game in 2018. The only game he missed was the season finale against the Atlanta Falcons.
As a unit, Tampa Bay’s defensive line didn’t quite live up to the hype. Nassib was obviously a late addition. But injuries to Mitch Unrein and Vita Vea derailed the group effort before it ever got going.
Further injuries to Beau Allen and Vinny Curry didn’t help. And even Jason Pierre-Paul and Gerald McCoy battled their fair share of wear and tear throughout the year.
There were plenty of weeks in 2018 where JPP wouldn’t even practice most or all of the week, just so he could stay healthy enough to play.
Still, despite all of this, the Buccaneers defensive line got their first double-digit sack season by a player since 2005, and raised their team sacks from worst in the league in 2017 (22) to 19th in 2018 (38).
Of those 38, Nassib was credited with 6.5, second most on the team behind JPP. His two forced fumbles in 2018 were tied for the most on the team with linebacker Kwon Alexander, and his 29 tackles were second along the defensive line.
When you combine his sack total with his tackles for loss, Nassib brought ball-carriers down behind the line of scrimmage 18.5 times, again second-most on the team.
Combining sacks with hits on the quarterback, Nassib punished opposing passers 20.5 times in 2018. This placed him third on the team behind JPP and McCoy for laying hits on quarterbacks.
He definitely held his own.
How did Nassib - the 88th highest paid defensive end - stack up against other edge defenders in the league?
His sack total ranked 38th in the league. When you consider there are two starting edge defenders on every team, this puts him at the top half of DE2 territory.
Pro Football Focus credited Nassib with 27 quarterback pressures in 2018, placing him 67th.
Again, according to PFF, when opposing teams ran to Nassib’s side of the line he contributed to stopping them at or behind the line of scrimmage 6.6% of the time. This ranks him 68th among edge defenders.
Fair to say he played above his 88th ranked cap hit. But by how much?
Well, for league stats we considered here he averaged a finish of 58th in the league. The 58th most expensive defensive end was Taco Charlton of the Dallas Cowboys who carried a $2.279M cap hit in 2018.
Looking at his team stats, he finished second in most categories. The second highest defensive end in cap hit for Tampa Bay this past year was Vinny Curry who carried $6.5M on the payroll.
Average these two out, and you get $4.39M. Nassib cost the Bucs $773k, or $3.617M less than the value he provided the team.
In a just world, Nassib would have gotten a nice bonus check at the end of the year.
VERDICT: BUCS GOT A HUGE BARGAIN
As is the case when you have an impact player your team acquired off waivers, his value to the team heavily outweighed his impact on the cap.
Nassib didn't quite earn what his value says he should have comparatively, but he did alright for himself cash-wise in 2018. And he’ll have the opportunity to add value to his climbing status with a solid 2019 campaign as well.
Nassib is under contract and is scheduled to make $868k next season.
How did the Bucs do with Carl Nassib’s salary in 2018?
This poll is closed
They got robbed!
Paid exactly what they should have.
They got a nice price on Nassib.
Nassib was a huge bargain!
All NFL players are overpaid. Even Nassib.