Vikings sign Adam Thielen to extension. Thielen has been one of the best stories in the NFL the past few seasons, and he cashed in with a major extension that’ll pay him $64MM over four years. It can be worth up to $73MM and includes $35MM in guaranteed money. An undrafted free agent back in 2013, Thielen barely played his first few seasons in the league. He’s since become one of the best receivers in the league, with back to back seasons with at least 1,276 receiving yards. Thielen still had two years remaining on his previous deal, so he’ll be under Minnesota’s control for the next six seasons.
No suspension for Reuben Foster. The Redskins finally caught a break, as the league announced there would be no suspension for linebacker Reuben Foster. Foster was cut by the 49ers after being arrested for his latest domestic violence incident, and claimed by Washington. Charges were ultimately dropped, and the league’s investigation concluded he didn’t do anything wrong. If Foster can stay healthy and stay out of trouble, the former first round pick will provide a big boost for the Redskins’ defense next season.
Giants extend Sterling Shepard. Thielen wasn’t the only receiver to get a new deal this week. The Giants locked up Shepard with a four-year extension worth $41MM. Shepard is coming off a career year where he had 66 receptions for 872 yards and four touchdowns, but the sum he got was still a bit larger than most people were expecting. There was some talk that the Giants considered trading Shepard, but they ultimately decided to make him the focal point of their passing game with Odell Beckham Jr. no longer in the picture. New York will be counting on Shepard to do a lot more next season.
Patriots re-sign Stephen Gostkowski. Gostkowski and the Patriots had a bit of a stalemate, as the longtime New England kicker was a free agent for a lot longer than most expected. But the two sides finally got on the same page, agreeing to a new two-year deal. Soon after, word came out that Gostkowski was getting $8.5MM over the two years. Gostkowski has been one of the league’s more reliable kickers for a while now, but the Pats played hardball with him. He apparently drew some interest from the 49ers, but ultimately ended up back home.
Panthers sign Chris Hogan. Hogan didn’t land the deal he likely imagined he would’ve a year or two ago. He ended up signing with Carolina, getting just $2MM for a one-year pact. The former Patriots standout has struggled with injuries and inconsistency the past couple of seasons, but is still very talented. He could prove to be a nice pickup for a Panthers team that had a very young receiving corp. In 2016, Hogan led the league with 17.9 yards per reception, and he has plenty of big game experience. Free agency had mostly died down by this point, and Hogan was one of the biggest names left available.