Bengals edge rusher Trey Hendrickson owns a four-year, $60 million contract. Does that fully reflect the value he creates? (Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PLAYER CONTRACTS PLAYERS & TEAM EARNINGS

Is Trey Hendrickson’s Contract Undervalued?

Comparing the Bengals Pro Bowl defensive end’s salary and contract details to his rivals around the NFL to determine if Trey Hendrickson is underpaid — and by how much.

The Cincinnati Bengals weren’t supposed to be here — at least not this early. The AFC North champs are well ahead of schedule thanks in large part to an offense driven by LSU Tigers phenoms Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase, but you don’t make it to the doorstep of the Super Bowl without a stout defense.

That defense consists of one Pro Bowler. One who poses an existential-level threat coming off the edge. And his name is Trey Hendrickson.

The man is a legit menace. But do the Florida Atlantic pass-rusher’s salary and overall contract value faithfully reflect the significance of his contributions on an NFL field?

Let’s crunch the numbers and figure this out.

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Trey Hendrickson Salary & Contract Details

All dollar figures via Spotrac.

Age: 27
Contract length: 4 years
Total value: $60,000,000
Average annual value (AAV): $15,000,000
2021 salary: $19,976,471
Free agency: 2025; potential out this offseason

Where Does Trey Hendrickson’s Salary Rank Among Edge Rushers?

Highest-paid EDGE by 2021 $

1. TJ Watt (PIT): $36.59M
2. Leonard Williams (NYG): $26M
3. Myles Garrett (CLE): $21.68M
t-4. Shaq Barrett (TB): $20M
t-4. Matt Judon (NE): $20M
6. Trey Hendrickson (CIN): $19.98M
7. Frank Clark (KC): $19M
8. Bud Dupree (TEN): $17.91M
9. Khalil Mack (CHI): $17.25M
10. DeMarcus Lawrence (DAL): $17M

Highest-paid EDGE by AAV

1. TJ Watt (PIT): $28M
2. Joey Bosa (LAC): $27M
3. Myles Garrett (CLE): $25M
4. Khalil Mack (CHI): $23.5M
t-5. Leonard Williams (NYG): $21M
t-5. DeMarcus Lawrence (DAL): $21M
7. Frank Clark (KC): $20.8M
8. Fred Warner (SF): $19.05M
9. Von Miller (LAR): $19.02M
10. Trey Flowers (DET): $18M

t-19. Dante Fowler Jr. (ATL): $15M
t-19. Carl Lawson (NYJ): $15M
t-19. Trey Hendrickson (CIN): $15M

Year-by-year details of Trey Hendrickson’s four-year, $60 million contract with the Bengals (via Spotrac)

Trey Hendrickson’s 2021 Regular Season Stats & Accolades

Tackles for loss: 12 (No. 24 in NFL)
Sacks: 14 (No. 5 in NFL)
QB knockdowns: 14 (No. 8 in NFL)
QB hits: 27 (No. 8 in NFL)
QB pressures: 45 (No. 6 in NFL)
Turnovers caused by QB pressures: 5 (Tied for No. 1 in NFL)
Forced fumbles: 3 (t-14th in NFL)

2021 Pro Bowl selection

11 straight games with at least half a sack

How Much Did Trey Hendrickson Make Per Sack This Season?

In the 2021 regular season, the Bengals edge man registered 14 sacks and earned $19.98 million on a contract with a $15 million average annual value. That’s good for $1,426,890.79 per sack by 2021 salary and $1,071,428.57 per sack by AAV.

By comparison, 2021’s highest-paid edge rusher — Pittsburgh’s TJ Watt — notched a record-tying 22.5 sacks up against a $36.59 million salary and a $28 million AAV. That’s $1,626,222.22 per sack by salary and $1,244,444.44 per sack by AAV.

The NFL’s highest-earning edge rusher by AAV still alive in the 2021 NFL postseason as of this writing, Frank Clark of the Kansas City Chiefs, notched 4.5 sacks at an average annual value of $20.8 million, or $4,622,222.22 per sack.

How Much Did Trey Hendrickson Make Per QB Pressure This Season?

Hendrickson pressured quarterbacks 45 times in the regular season. That amounts to $443,921.58 per pressure by 2021 salary and $333,333.333 per pressure by AAV.

TJ Watt racked up 52 pressures, tied with Myles Garrett for the best mark in the NFL. That’s $703,653.85 per pressure by salary and $538,461.54 per pressure by AAV.

Frank Clark had 29 QB pressures, or $717,241.38 per pressure by AAV.

Is Trey Hendrickson Underpaid?

Your topline takeaway? All-world superstar TJ Watt tied Michael Strahan’s NFL single-season sacks record, but Hendrickson still produced more monetary value on a per-sack basis by both salary and contract AAV.

Does this mean that TJ Watt is overpaid, or that Hendrickson suddenly deserves to make similar money? No, Watt is awesome and he’s earned his bag. But with Hendrickson No. 6 in 2021 salary but barely cracking the top 20 among NFL edge rushers in AAV, let’s go ahead and assert that he deserves to be in the neighborhood of the top five in both. Let’s call it an even $20 million for each figure, which would mean:

  • An hypothetical 2021 salary bump from $19,976,471 to $20,000,000, an increase of 0.12%
  • A contract AAV bump from $15,000,000 to $20,000,000, an increase of 33.33%

The final verdict: He might be the very best pressure guy in the league right now, so there’s a strong argument for Trey Hendrickson being at least modestly underpaid based on his production on the field.

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