The 2013 NFL season provided so much excitement for fans across the country. The big game is over, the confetti has rained down, and the champions have been crowned. Each team featured some of the best players the league has to offer. All their hard work brought them to football’s biggest stage and helped make our nation’s most beloved game a memorable one.
Both the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks fielded players who were completely underpaid for the quality of work they produced this season. In fact, some of the biggest names in the game brought in less than a million dollars in 2013. Listed here are some of the best players for each team that make way less than they are actually worth. All these players are starters and brought a great deal of value to the teams’ Super Bowl run.
Now that the season is over, it can be assured many of these players will receive compensation in the form of new contracts during the offseason. Some of these guys are unsung heroes, some are superstars. No matter what, these guys are all key pieces to the NFL’s two best teams. Without any further ado, here are the rankings for the Broncos’ and Seahawks’ most underpaid players.
10 Michael Robinson - Salary: $326,470
One unfortunate side effects of living in an era dominated by individual player statistics is that we tend to forget about key pieces of a championship-calibre team. Seahawks’ fullback Michael Robinson is one of the best in the business. Fullbacks do not get many chances to touch the ball, but they are an extremely important aspect of any running game. Robinson was the guy who blew open many holes for Marshawn Lynch this season. Lynch ran for 1257 yards and 12 touchdowns. Robinson, who was paid only $326,470 this season, was a huge reason this was able to happen. Robinson is the lowest-paid starter on either team appearing in the big game.
9 Trindon Holliday - Salary: $480,000
In big games like the Super Bowl, field position is everything. Nobody was better at ensuring good field position this season than Broncos’ kick returner Trindon Holliday. Throughout the 2013 season, Holliday racked up over 1000 return yards. He also brought two kicks back for touchdowns. For all his contributions on special teams, he was only paid $480,000. The general public may not be as appreciative of returners, punters, or kickers; but ask any coach in the game and they will always remind you how important it is to be dominant in the field position game.
8 Byron Maxwell - Salary: $583,363
The Legion of Boom has four members, believe it or not. With all the talk about Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, and Earl Thomas; cornerback Byron Maxwell is often forgotten. With Sherman on the other side of the field, opposing quarterbacks tend to throw Maxwell’s way more often than not. Earning $583,363 in 2013, Maxwell is the lowest-paid member of the Seahawks’ secondary. With 28 tackles, 13 pass deflections and four interceptions, he is worth way more. Any team would be lucky to have a cornerback capable of that type of production.
7 Malik Jackson - Salary: $533,403
That's ok Malik, You'll get 'em next time. A major question going into the Super Bowl was can the Broncos stop Seattle’s running game. The front four played very well during the second half of the season. Malik Jackson, who plays defensive end opposite of the star Shaun Phillips, is a major threat at all times. Jackson’s six sacks, four pass deflections, and one forced fumble are pretty good numbers for a person who is considered to be one of the weaker links on the defensive line. However, his most impressive stat is his 42 tackles. This shows he does not miss tackles in the run game and has the ability to break through the offensive line. For his efforts, Malik Jackson was only compensated with $533,403.
6 Golden Tate - Salary: $880,000
Golden Tate was the Seahawks' most dominant wide receiver in 2013. His 64 receptions and 898 yards were both team highs. Despite this, Tate was only paid $880,000. To put this in perspective, Percy Harvin, who only had one catch all regular season, made close to five million dollars. To be fair, though, Harvin had a monstrous performance against the Broncos, returning a Broncos kick for a TD in the first play of the second half. While Harvin was ultimately worth every penny he was paid, Tate will definitely be a “Golden” candidate to move up a pay grade this offseason. He'll be able to afford a couple new pairs of Google Glasses.
5 Bobby Wagner - Salary: $979,045
The middle linebacker is considered to be the quarterback of the defense. He is the one who gets all the plays sent in from the coaches and calls the defensive audibles. For the best defense in the league, that player was Bobby Wagner. He was paid $979,045 for his Pro Bowl year. Wagner finished the season with a team high 120 tackles, five sacks, six pass deflections, two interceptions, and a fumble recovery. The focus may always be on the Seahawks’ amazing secondary, but the team’s middle linebacker is also one of the best in the business.
4 Julius Thomas - Salary: $651,000
The 2013 season was one of the best in NFL history for tight ends. Broncos’ rookie, Julius Thomas, was easily one of the top five most dominant during the season. The fourth round pick out of Portland College caught 65 passes for 788 yards and 12 touchdowns. He caught Peyton Manning’s first and record-breaking 51st touchdown passes of the season. However, due to his low draft position Thomas was only paid $651,000 for his stellar rookie campaign. Although he bombed in the big game, this TE has time to learn and merits a reward for performing as well as he did this season.
3 Danny Trevathan - Salary: 506,018
Intercepted and going back to the house; touchdown! Wait, did he just drop the ball? Unfortunately, this is what Broncos’ rookie outside linebacker, Danny Trevathan, is remembered for. That one play from the first week of the season has been replayed countless times. However, Trevathan was a completely dominant player all season long. Trevathan recorded a team high 128 tackles and led the Broncos with four forced fumbles. He also had two sacks and three interceptions during the regular season. Since he was originally pinned as Von Miller’s backup, he only made $506,018. Trevathan took over the starting role when Miller was suspended at the beginning of the season and he never looked back. Even when the former Pro Bowler rejoined the lineup, Trevathan was still starting on the opposite side of the field. This young linebacker has a promising career ahead of him and there should be no doubt we will hear his name a lot in the future.
2 Richard Sherman - Salary: $600,606
Whether or not Richard Sherman is the “best corner in the game”, he is definitely the most underpaid. The emotional leader of the Seahawks’ defense was only paid $600,606 in 2013. He led the NFL with eight interceptions this season. He also led the Seahawks with 16 pass deflections. He has 20 interceptions in his first two years in the NFL. To put that in perspective, the great Deion Sanders had 53 throughout his entire career. Like him or not, he may arguably be the best cornerback in the game.
1 Russell Wilson - Salary: $681,085
Russell Wilson, the face of the Seattle Seahawks’ franchise, only made $681,085 in 2013. This is way too low for any NFL starting quarterback. His Super Bowl opponent’s gunslinger, Peyton Manning, made $17,000,000 for his 2013 season. The young quarterback made the Pro Bowl in both of his first two seasons. In 2013, he threw for 3357 yards, 26 touchdowns, and posted a quarterback rating of 101.2. He also rushed for 539 yards, which was the third most by a quarterback this season. This kid will be something special in the NFL for many years to come. After the season he has had, and a dominant Super Bowl performance against a seasoned veteran like Manning, this kid will be in line for a Flacconian raise in the not-too-distant future.