Thursday, February 17, 2011
Seymour's deal highlights his production
By Jason Vida
If reports are correct, the Oakland Raiders will make Richard Seymour the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL. The 2010 Pro Bowler has been credited with bringing leadership to a young, talented defense that has made strides in the two seasons since Seymour's arrival. The Raiders finished 11th in the league in yards allowed last season -- their best ranking since 2006 -- as the team completed its first non-losing season in eight years.
But Seymour's production has waned during his time in Oakland. Even at his best, Seymour -- who plays both defensive tackle and defensive end -- has never had the impact of a player like Julius Peppers, from whom Seymour is set to take the title of NFL's richest defender. His 9.5 sacks the past two seasons are tied for 57th in the NFL, behind less-celebrated (and less-expensive) players like Juqua Parker and Raheem Brock.
Even when Seymour does get to the quarterback, he lacks the ability to force a turnover. Seymour's 48.5 career sacks rank 38th in the league since his rookie season in 2001.
Each player with more sacks than Seymour has forced a minimum of six fumbles. Seymour has forced just four.
Seymour is an every-down player as opposed to a pass-rushing specialist. Still, he’s yet to transform the Raiders' rush defense into one of the NFL's elite. Since 2009, only the Buffalo Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have allowed more rushing yards per game than the Raiders (144.6). Oakland has surrendered 4.5 yards per carry over the past two seasons, 28th in the NFL.
Seymour may not even be the best member of Oakland’s defensive line. Tommy Kelly, who lines up alongside Seymour at defensive tackle, recorded more tackles (60 to 48) and sacks (7 to 5.5) than Seymour last season. Kelly signed a seven-year, $50.5 million contract with the Raiders three years ago, a deal with an average annual value less than half of what Seymour is scheduled to earn over the next two years.