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Will Smith and Charles Grant: A Statistical and Financial Comparison

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A quarter of the way through the season and there is one thing I'm sure all Saints fans can agree on thus far and it's definitely not Reggie Bush's running style. I'm talking about the return of Charles Grant and Will Smith, baby!

Okay, so they didn't really go anywhere, but there was a time when big play production seemed non-existent from these two defensive ends; certainly not as much as fans had expected given the big paychecks they'd been earning. But things seemed to have turned around this season as both players are currently on pace for career years in sack totals. 

Let's take a look at how this year so far is stacking up for Will and Charles compared to the last two seasons. While we're at it, why not check out how much their production has equaled in terms of dollar value. 

 

Will Smith

Year Games Tackles Solo Assist Sacks Total Salary Cost per Sack Cost per Tackle
2009 4 13 8 5 3.0 $9.5 Million* $791,666** $182,692**
2008+ 16 61 43 18 3.0 $12.95 Million $4.3 Million $212,295
2007 16 66 47 19 7.0 $695,000 $99,285 $10,530


Charles Grant

Year Games Tackles Solo Assist  Sacks Total Salary Cost per Sack Cost per Tackle
2009 4 10 9 1 4.0 $5.7 Million* $356,250** $142,000**
2008 8 33 27 6 3.0 $9.35 Million $3.1 Million $283,333
2007+ 14 48 39 9 2.5 $12.8 Million $5.1 Million $266,666
Projected based on contract trends.
** Based on quarterly performance and projected for season assuming 16 games played.
+ First year of new contract


From a strictly financial standpoint, Charles Grant and Will Smith are both on pace to be more cost effective this season than in recent years past. Good news there. In fact, as far as sacks are concerned they have already surpassed previous years cost effectiveness in just four games. Even more good news, it appears Smith and Grant have signed front-loaded contracts so we can expect their total salaries to continue to decrease over the next couple of years. 

The money doesn't tell the whole story, however. From a statistical perspective, while they're doing a much better job of putting opposing quarterbacks into the ground this season, Smith and Grant are curiously lagging in the overall tackle department. They seemed to have pulled the ol' switcharoo. Both players have already tied or bested either of their previous two seasons sack totals; anything extra is just a bonus now. But Charles and Will need to pick up the pace if they want to even come close to total tackle production of years past. 

So here are your questions to debate:

  • Why the seeming resurgence in sack production from Charles Grant and Will Smith? Is it coaching? Something mental?
  • Why does it appear overall production is being sacrificed for sacks? Is it Gregg Williams' aggressive all-or-nothing blitzing philosophy? Or are previous years figures skewed because of Gary Gibbs' bend-but-inevitably-break-anyway containment scheme? 
  • Do you think Smith and Grant will actually stay on this pace and get close to these projected totals?