Prior to the start of the 2017 season, the Los Angeles Rams signed Ryan Groy to a two-year offer sheet worth $5 million. The Buffalo Bills decided to match that offer, retaining the services of the man who had adequately replaced starting center Eric Wood for 7 games the year prior.
Although Groy was a reserve, the price seemed like a good one, considering that Wood was coming off of a major leg injury, and the team’s starting left guard, Richie Incognito, was 34 years old. When starting right guard John Miller struggled early on in the campaign, however, the coaching staff chose veteran Vlad Ducasse as the new right guard, skipping over the team’s higher-compensated reserve in Groy.
Coming in at number three on our list of the worst salary cap values of 2017 is a high-priced insurance policy who was never needed during the season.
2017 Cap Hit (per Spotrac): $2.5 million (1.61% of 2017 Cap)
2017 Cap Hit Rank by Position: 38th among guards
2017 Vital Stats: 16 games, 1 start (as a 6th o-lineman; he played only 5.04% of the team’s offensive snaps)
Groy totaled 53 offensive snaps in 2017. That’s an average of $47,169.81 per snap taken on the season. Granted, it isn’t his fault that the coaching staff decided that Ducasse was a better option at right guard than he was, but the fact remains that the Bills did not receive much return on their investment in Groy last season.
The last bit of that sentence should be emphasized, however, as Groy’s contract likely was never about last year. The team re-signed him due to his quality of play, and given the fact that two of the team’s three starting interior offensive linemen were on the wrong side of 30 coming into the 2017 season, it made sense to plan for those two players to leave. The team may not have anticipated losing both Wood and Incognito in the same offseason, but now they have set themselves up where they may actually squeeze positive salary cap value out of Groy in 2018 while on the exact same contract.
In any case, Groy’s lost season in 2017 where he was a high-priced, unused insurance policy was not a good value for the team in the short-term.