March 28th, 2021 at 6:33pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
Let’s catch up on the latest batch of financial terms from recent free agent deals:
Colts CB Xavier Rhodes: One-year, $4.77MM. $3.75MM fully guaranteed salary, $1.02MM in per game active roster bonuses. $1.75MM in additional playing time, interception, and Pro Bowl incentives, via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). This was originally reported as a one-year, $6.5MM pact, but it looks like that’ll only be the case if he hits those incentives.
Titans CB Kevin Johnson: One-year, $2.25MM. $2MM guaranteed, with a $1MM salary and $1MM signing bonus. $250K in per game active roster bonuses, via Wilson on Twitter. We didn’t have any word on compensation initially, and it turns out Tennessee got the former first-rounder for a pretty reasonable price.
Vikings RB Ameer Abdullah: One-year, $990K. Non-guaranteed. Via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Twitter. Terms of the deal weren’t previously reported, but the Vikings got the former second-rounder back for a non-guaranteed vet minimum contract.
Dolphins LB Elandon Roberts: One-year, $1.995MM. $1.345MM salary, $650K signing bonus, plus $750K in incentives available, via Field Yates of ESPN on Twitter. We also didn’t have any terms for Roberts, and he ended up getting some decent money to return to Miami.
Falcons CB Fabian Moreau: One-year, $1.127MM. $987.5K guaranteed. $137.5K signing bonus, $990K salary ($850K guaranteed), via Wilson on Twitter. Finishing things up with one more cornerback we were missing terms on. Moreau, a part-time starter for Washington the past few years, got just above the minimum, although it’s almost entirely guaranteed at least.
The Vikings have agreed to a new deal with Ameer Abdullah (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter). Terms of the deal are not yet known,
Abdullah had lots of hype coming out of Nebraska in 2015. The Lions’ second-round pick was reasonably productive as a rookie, averaging 4.2 yards per carry plus added 25 catches for 183 yards. His follow-up season was mostly lost to injury and he was unable to reassert himself in 2017, as he averaged just 3.3 yards per tote. In 2018, he found his way to the rival Vikings as a backup RB.
Abdullah, 28 in June, has only seen 31 carries across two-years-and-change in Minnesota. Still, he’s suited up for every possible game across the last two years with much of his time spent on special teams. He also serves as the Vikes’ main kick returner with a career average of 26.4 yards per attempt. This year, he may see more time behind Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison now that Mike Boone is out of the picture.
The Vikings re-signed running back Ameer Abdullah, according to a team announcement. Abdullah himself indicated it is a one-year pact, as Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets. Abdullah didn’t see any carries during his Minnesota tenure last year, but the Vikings are curious to see what he can do moving forward.
The Vikings claimed Abdullah, a 2015 second-round pick, off waivers from the Lions in November. He appeared in seven games and returned ten kicks for an average of 25.8 yards per try.
Coming out of Nebraska, Abdullah had a good deal of hype around him. He was reasonably productive as a rookie, averaging 4.2 yards per carry out of the Lions’ backfield, and added 25 catches for 183 yards. His follow-up season was mostly lost to injury and he was unable to reassert himself in 2017, as he averaged just 3.3 yards per tote.
Abdullah will work to secure a spot on the Vikings’ depth chart behind standout Dalvin Cook.
The Vikings claimed former Lions running back Ameer Abdullah off waivers, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The move gives the former second-round pick a shot at a fresh start and even an opportunity for revenge when the Vikings face the Lions in Week 16.
Abdullah entered the league with tons of hype in 2015, but injuries prevented him from doing much of anything after his rookie season. With the Lions this year, Abdullah was mostly inactive behind rookie star Kerryon Johnson, LeGarrette Blount, and pass-catching specialist Theo Riddick.
Technically speaking, Abdullah ranks no higher than third on the Vikings’ depth chart behind Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray, but Cook’s hamstring issues could reappear at any time. Cook looked strong in Week 9 as he rattled off a 70-yard run, but one wrong step could jeopardize his season. The Vikings also have UDFAs Michael Boone and Roc Thomas on the 53-man roster, but one of those players will probably be forced out to make room for the Nebraska product.
The Vikings own the 12th best record in the NFL, meaning more than half of the league passed on the opportunity to add Abdullah. Still, it’s a low-risk move for Minnesota since Abdullah’s contract will expire at the end of the season.
November 6th, 2018 at 6:54pm CST by Dallas Robinson
The Lions finally cut ties with running back Ameer Abdullah earlier today, ending a three-plus-year run that included numerous rumors of trades that never came to fruition. Abdullah hasn’t accrued four NFL seasons, so he’ll hit the waiver wire (and would have done so anyway given that every NFL player who is cut after the trade deadline goes on waivers).
Abdullah hasn’t had much pro success since entering the league as a second-round pick in 2015. He’s topped 150 carries just twice, failing to top 4.2 yards per carry in either of those seasons. This year, Detroit has stopped using Abdullah altogether, as he’s only appeared in three games and made one rushing attempt. But for clubs in need of running back/returner help, Abdullah could make for a worthwhile add, especially given that he’s only due ~$413K for the remainder of the 2018 campaign.
So what teams could be interested in making a waiver claim on Abdullah? Let’s run through the options:
New England Patriots
The Patriots are always on the hunt for interesting players, but Abdullah may have made more sense for New England a few weeks ago when fellow running back Sony Michel initially went down with injury. James White has filled in admirably, but Abdullah could have given the Pats another option in their backfield. However, Michel is now likely to return for New England’s Sunday night contest against the Titans (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com), so there may not be room for another runner on the Patriots’ roster. Abdullah’s prowess on kick and punt returns would also be nullified in New England, as the Patriots already boast arguably the league’s best returner in Cordarrelle Patterson.
After reportedly being in the hunt to acquire a running back via trade at the deadline, the Eagles instead opted to pursue wide receiver help by picking up pass-catcher Golden Tate from the Lions. But the Philadelphia roster could still use another runner after losing Jay Ajayi for the season, so Abdullah could be a candidate to land with the Eagles. If the Eagles did claim Abdullah, however, they’d likely be forced to waive promising undrafted free agent Josh Adams, something I’m not sure they’d consider doing in order to make room for Abdullah.
The Steelers are all set at running back with James Conner, and if Le’Veon Bell returns before his deadline next week, Abdullah clearly won’t be in consideration for Pittsburgh. But the Steelers have dangerously little depth behind Conner, as the club has only journeyman Stevan Ridley and rookie Jaylen Samuels behind its workhorse. Abdullah could add another dimension to the Steelers’ backfield in the event Conner went down, and — in the more immediate future — give Pittsburgh a boost on kick returns, where they currently rank 31st in Football Outsiders’ special teams metrics.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
While the Buccaneers are barely on the fringes of contention (just a six percent chance to earn a postseason berth, per FiveThirtyEight.com), they need to do something about their running game. Deploying a combination of Peyton Barber, Jacquizz Rodgers, and rookie Ronald Jones (who is now injured), Tampa Bay ranks 24th in rushing DVOA, 29th in yards per carry, and 30th in yards per game. Given the success of their Air Raid passing offense, the Buccaneers don’t necessarily need to be effective running the ball, but adding Abdullah couldn’t hurt.
There’s no hiding the fact that Dion Lewis is no the Titans’ No. 1 running back. As Adam Levitan of Fantasy Labs pointed out on Twitter today, Lewis’ snap count has increased from 32 to 45 to 59 over the past three games, while Henry has seen his snap count dwindle from 12 to 24 to 14 over the same stretch. Chris Mortensen of ESPN even reported earlier this week that Tennessee attempted to trade Henry prior to last week’s deadline but couldn’t find a taker. It seems unlikely the Titans will simply cut Henry, but if they do, they’ll need another back on their roster, and Abdullah could fit the bill.
The Redskins don’t need anyone to usurp Adrian Peterson, but they could use another pass-catching back given that Chris Thompson just can’t seem to stay healthy. Thompson, who’s managed to play a full 16-games slate just once during his six-year career, has been dealing with rib and knee injuries all season, and missed Sunday’s contest against the Saints. If Washington doesn’t think it can rely on Thompson to stay on the field, Abdullah could make for an advisable addition.
So what do you think? Will one of these teams — or a club not listed here — claim Abdullah? Or will he pass through waivers and become a free agent? Vote below, and leave your thoughts in the comment section! (Link for app users).
Abdullah entered the league with lots of hype as a second-round pick in 2015, but injuries prevented him from doing much of anything after his rookie season. This year, Abdullah has been mostly inactive behind rookie star Kerryon Johnson, LeGarrette Blount, and pass-catching specialist Theo Riddick. Rapoport notes that the Lions had trade talks about the Nebraska product before the deadline, but the team was unable to find a deal. Now, he’ll have an opportunity to start fresh somewhere else.
Ellington spent most of the 2018 season on Houston’s injured reserve as he dealt with a hamstring injury, but the 27-year-old was recently cleared by doctors to play. While it was once assumed that the Texans would activate the receiver, their acquisition of Demaryius Thomas (and quick recovery of KekeCoutee) changed things. Ellington ultimately got released off of IR late last month.
The 2014 fourth-round pick signed with Houston back in 2017, and finished that campaign with 29 receptions for 330 yards and two touchdowns. He was underwhelming through Houston’s first three games in 2018, as he only hauled in eight receptions for 92 yards and one score. But, Ellington can contribute on special teams for Detroit and could carve out a role for himself at receiver in the wake of the Golden Tate trade.
Paxton Lynch joins the likes of Ameer Abdullah, Breshad Perriman, Stephone Anthony and Mike Gillislee on a roster bubble, per ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter), and the Broncos may choose to cut ties with their disappointing 2016 first-rounder. Lynch would prefer to stay in Denver, Mike Klis of 9News tweets, despite his rocky tenure there to date. A fresh start might be best for the former Memphis prodigy, but the Broncos may elect to keep him as their No. 3 quarterback. Chad Kelly‘s performance in Denver’s Thursday-night finale could determine Lynch’s fate, with Troy Renck of Denver7 writing that a strong showing from the 2017 seventh-rounder may convince the Broncos he’s ready to be Case Keenum‘s regular-season backup rather than forcing the Broncos to acquire a veteran to serve in that role. That would seemingly free up a roster spot for Lynch as the third-stringer. It would cost the Broncos $4.9MM to cut Lynch. They already absorbed a $5.5MM dead-money hit upon releasing Menelik Watson.
Here’s the latest from the AFC West, shifting to another quarterback battle.
The Chargers are likely to keep just two quarterbacks, which makes sense given Philip Rivers‘ historic durability. Los Angeles’ starter has taken first-string snaps in every game since succeeding Drew Brees in 2006. As a result, Yates adds that either Cardale Jones or Geno Smith is a cut candidate. The Bolts, though, aren’t certain which one will be given his walking papers. Smith is a vested veteran and would head into free agency if released, while Jones would be subject to waivers. Neither is attached to a contract worth more than $1MM.
Su’a Cravens will make his Broncos debut Thursday night after missing most of August due to a knee injury, Renck notes. The former Redskins safety/linebacker has a clearer path to the Broncos’ roster, despite missing most of training camp, due to Jamal Carter‘s season-ending injury.
Although he returned a punt for a touchdown in the preseason, Isaiah McKenzie probably won’t make the Broncos, per Polumbus. The diminutive return man has fumbled several kicks in his short Broncos stay, losing another one during preseason play. Lindsay and the recent addition of Adam Jones look to have forced the second-year player off the roster.
The Raiders will likely waive DeAndre Washington and allow recent camp pickup Chris Warren to take his place, Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com notes. Washington recently underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and is an IR candidate, per Gutierrez, who has the Raiders keeping four running backs — Marshawn Lynch, Doug Martin, Jalen Richard and Warren. Washington and Richard served as backups for Lynch and Latavius Murray the past two years. Washington averaged 5.4 yards per carry as a rookie but struggled last season (2.7 YPC).
The Aaron Donald saga may finally be nearing a conclusion. Rams GM Les Snead indicated earlier this week that team and player were progressing towards a new deal, and head coach Sean McVay echoed those sentiments last night. Per Vincent Bonsignore of The Athletic (Twitter link), McVay said, “there’s increased dialogue. There’s more…we feel positive about the direction that these things are going. I think there’s a level of urgency that’s being displayed from us.” That probably sounds like music to the ears of Rams fans, who have legitimate championship dreams this season.
Now let’s take a quick look at a few more notes from the NFC:
Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com tweets that Giants quarterback Kyle Lauletta is getting reps with the second team today, which is the first time Dunleavy can recall that happening. 2017 third-rounder Davis Webb was said to have a big lead on Lauletta for Big Blue’s backup job coming out of minicamp, but this could be a sign that Lauletta, a 2018 fourth-round pick, is closing the gap. Webb, of course, was selected by New York’s prior regime, while Lauletta has the benefit of being chosen by the team’s new crop of decision-makers.
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (via Twitter) that Cardinals LB Jeremy Cash sustained a knee injury during last night’s preseason game that is believed to be season-ending. That is a tough blow for the Duke product, who has bounced around a few different teams since entering the league but who had a real chance of cracking Arizona’s 53-man roster this season. The Cardinals claimed him off waivers in March.
Good news for 49ers fans, as right guard Joshua Garnett has returned to practice after missing two weeks to deal with his right knee issue, per Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group (via Twitter). Matt Barrows of The Athletic tweets that Garnett’s primary competitor for San Francisco’s right guard job, Jonathan Cooper,is also on hand, so perhaps the competition can finally begin in earnest. This comes just a week after a report that the 49ers were growing increasingly concerned about Garnett’s knee problems.
Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press offers his take on the prospects of a few different Lions after the team’s first preseason game several nights ago. He says it is only a matter of time before rookie Kerryon Johnson becomes Detroit’s starting tailback, though Ameer Abdullahalso looked good and was the first man up on kick and punt returns. Birkett adds that Jake Rudock‘s rough night, combined with Matt Cassel‘s ties to head coach Matt Patricia, have increased Cassel’s chances of opening the season as the club’s backup QB.
Twentyman thinks the three on the bubble will be fighting it out for just one spot on the team. As of now he seems to think that Abdullah has the edge. The team can save $1MM in cap space by cutting Abdullah. Abdullah has been a disappointment since entering the league with a lot of hype as a second round pick back in 2015. Entering the final year of his rookie deal, even if he does make the roster this fall, 2018 should be his last season in Detroit. Washington and Zenner have both been hanging around the bottom of the Lions’ roster the past couple of years, and it looks like it could be the end of the road for them.
Here’s more from the league’s northern divisions:
The Browns are very high on rookie Denzel Ward, reports Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland. The number four overall pick in this year’s draft, Ward has drawn rave reviews from defensive coordinator Gregg Williams this spring. “He is one of the best press guys that I have seen” Williams said, adding that Ward “passed with flying colors” during offseason workouts. It sounds like Ward could start right away and that he could help solve the Browns’ long-lasting issues at cornerback.
The Packers battle between Tramon Williams and rookie Josh Jackson for a starting cornerback spot will be one of the most interesting competitions to keep an eye on, writes Nick Shook of NFL.com. Shook points out that Williams is 35, and that the Packers might be eager to usher in a “new era” at cornerback with Jackson. Williams could hang on as a starter for one final year, but it won’t be long until the Packers’ younger cornerbacks take over.
Golden Tate isn’t concerned with his contract, he told Sirius XM NFL Radio (Twitter link). Tate said he wasn’t worried about heading into the final year of his deal, and doesn’t appear to be pressuring the Lions for a new one. He did say teams shouldn’t hold his age against him, because he hasn’t “shown any decline.”