In an analysis for ESPN Insider subscribers, Football Outsiders managing editor Bill Barnwell broke down the bingers and the penny-pinchers by position to answer a few questions.
Do owners that spend more at a given spot actually see a return on their investment, though? And do the relative cheapskates breeze through, saving money without sacrificing performance? It depends on the position.
Not surprisingly, Barnwell's piece shows the Buffalo Bills spent the least at quarterback last year, while the Miami Dolphins splurged the most on the offensive line and the New York Jets paid the most at linebacker.
The Dolphins committed 33 percent of their payroll ($41.65 million) on their offensive line, with left tackle Jake Long the biggest reason. They also forked over big bucks for free agents Justin Smiley and Jake Grove. No other team spent more than $27.7 million. The Dolphins spent more than four times as much as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Jets sank $30.5 million at linebacker, both inside and outside. They signed free agent Bart Scott last year and Calvin Pace the offseason before. Flop-so-far Vernon Gholston also factors into the sum. But, overall, the money was well-spent. The Jets finished No. 1 in several major defensive categories last year.