Back in 2012, Reggie Wayne endeared himself to Colts fans forever by eschewing other offers and opting to re-sign with the Colts despite the departure of Peyton Manning and a complete rebuild.
Wayne was a crucial part of the transition, and he gave the Colts very high-level play until a torn ACL in 2013. The Colts gave Wayne a three-year, $17.5 million deal in 2012 with $7.5 million guaranteed, and Wayne greatly outperformed that contract.
In fact, according to Number Fire, Wayne was one of the highest performers above his contract of any player since 2011. The first, by a wide margin, was Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, but Wayne came in fourth on the list. Here's the top ten of players who outproduced their contract the most:
Next, we must take a look at pure, unadulterated value. This is how truly valuable each player was for his team. The table below shows our first measure of this: which 10 free agents have generated the most Total NEP in free agent contracts signed since 2011?
YEARS PLAYER TEAM TOTAL NEP 2012-2016 Peyton Manning DEN 577.48 2012-2016 Vincent Jackson TB 382.9 2012-2016 Pierre Garçon WAS 328.83 2012-2014 Reggie Wayne IND 223.01 2014-2016 Emmanuel Sanders DEN 221.1 2013-2016 Delanie Walker TEN 213.2 2011-2013 James Jones GB 204.02 2014-2018 Eric Decker NYJ 195.03 2011-2014 Darren Sproles NO 171.36 2014-2018 Golden Tate DET 171.15
It's pretty impressive for Wayne to be on this list of players who most outperformed their contracts since 2011, especially considering the fact that he didn't even play in 2015. Without a doubt, though, it's a very well-deserved mention for Wayne among this group, as he certainly produced far more value than anyone could have expected for his contract.
In 2012, Wayne was the central piece to the Colts' passing game, hauling in 106 passes for 1,355 yards and five touchdowns while averaging 12.8 yards per reception and making the Pro Bowl. That season featured the now famous game against the Green Bay Packers in which Wayne, wearing orange gloves in honor of his friend and coach Chuck Pagano, led the Colts to victory with the best performance of his career. In 2013, Wayne was again off to a good start when, six games into the year, he suffered a torn ACL. His 2014 season was plagued by injuries as well, and the Colts decided not to re-sign him after that.
Wayne's value to the Colts as they transitioned to the Andrew Luck era is hard to quantify, but it's nice to see a list give Wayne some credit for outperforming his contract - something that I think almost everyone would agree he certainly did.