Benardrick McKinney

Texans LB Benardrick McKinney Done For Season

Benardrick McKinney‘s season has come to an end. Mark Berman of Fox 26 reports (via Twitter) that the Texans linebacker has to undergo shoulder surgery and is done for the year. The team is expected to place McKinney on injured reserve.

It’s uncertain when McKinney initially suffered the injury, but the ailment sidelined him for this past weekend’s win over the Jaguars. Through the first four games of the season, the 27-year-old had compiled 37 tackles and one pass defended. He had also played at least 80-percent of his team’s defensive snaps through those four contests.

The 2015 second-round pick has spent his entire career in Houston, including a 2016 campaign where he earned a second-team All-Pro nod after compiling 129 tackles and five sacks. After inking a five-year, $50MM extension with Houston in 2018, he garnered his first and only Pro Bowl appearance.

It’s never easy losing a player of McKinney’s caliber, but the team does have some solid depth at linebacker. Tyrell Adams earned the start in McKinney’s stead this past weekend, and he responded by compiling a career-high 13 tackles.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

This Date In Transactions History: Texans Sign Benardrick McKinney To Extension

Today marks the two-year anniversary of Benardrick McKinney‘s five-year, $50MM extension with the Texans. If you forgot to get the inside linebacker a gift, that’s alright. He probably doesn’t need much in the way of gadgets and home furnishings.

[RELATED: Make-Or-Break Year: Texans CB Gareon Conley]

McKinney, a 2015 second-round pick out of Mississippi State, emerged as one of the Texans’ top defenders in his sophomore NFL season. He was solid as a rookie, but as a second-team All-Pro nod in 2016, he finished out with 129 tackles, five sacks, and a forced fumble, ensuring that he would see a sizable pay bump in the offseason. His 2017 stat sheet wasn’t quite as gaudy – 95 tackles and three sacks – but he was still impressive and placed as Pro Football Focus’ No. 24 ranked linebacker in the NFL.

Because he was a second-round pick, the Texans didn’t have the fifth-year option as a safety net. McKinney was now set to enter his walk year and potentially send his sticker price through the roof. It was the right time for both parties to come to the table. McKinney was 25 and wanted the security of a multi-year deal. The Texans were happy to oblige. The deal also gave them a clearer picture of their budget as they considered an extension for Jadeveon Clowney (though they ultimately couldn’t make it work).

McKinney didn’t disappoint on his new deal, racking up 100+ tackles in each of the next two seasons. He also continued his strong work against the run. Along with partner Zach Cunningham, the Texans ILB duo was among the league’s best at stuffing RBs last year. On the flipside, they offered Swiss cheese defense in coverage. McKinney has vowed to do better, however, while delivering more of the same solid ground work.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Notes: Colts, Hoyer, Texans, Bucs

Before the Colts released Brian Hoyer last week, they discussed trading the veteran quarterback to the Patriots, the club that ultimately signed Hoyer once he was cut, as Stephen Holder of The Athletic writes. The conversations seemed to be at least somewhat serious in nature, as Holder reports trade compensation was discussed, but a deal never came together. Had New England acquired Hoyer, it would have been responsible for the rest of the three-year, $12MM contract Hoyer signed with Indianapolis in 2019. Instead, the Patriots inked Hoyer to a one-year, $1.05MM pact that includes up to $2MM in available incentives.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two South divisions:

  • The Texans have been widely panned for the trade which sent wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona and running back David Johnson to Houston, and the terms of Johnson’s contract aren’t going to make matters improve. Johnson, whose 2020 base salary of $10.2MM is already guaranteed, saw $2.1MM of his 2021 salary become fully guaranteed last Friday, tweets Mike Garafolo of The veteran back is scheduled to count for more than $11MM on the Texans’ salary cap in 2020 before that figure drops to $9MM in 2021.
  • In other Texans contract news, linebacker Benardrick McKinney‘s $6MM base salary for 2020 is now fully guaranteed, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). McKinney, who inked a five-year, $50MM extension with Houston in 2018, previously had this year’s base salary guaranteed for injury only. The inside linebacker market has exploded since McKinney signed that pact, as his $10MM annual salary now ranks just 12th at the position.
  • After making the biggest move in franchise history by signing Tom Brady to a free agent deal, the Buccaneers still have work to do in the upcoming draft. Tampa Bay still wants to find a pass-catching running back to work alongside Ronald Jones, while right tackle is also an an area that could be addressed, as Greg Auman of The Athletic writes. The Bucs did sign former Colts offensive lineman Joe Haeg as an option on the right side, but the 27-year-old has only started six total games in the past two seasons.

AFC Rumors: Mack, McKinney, Big Ben

The Raiders are far later in the game with Khalil Mack than they were when they signed Derek Carr to a then-record-breaking extension, with Mack on the verge of his fifth season compared to Carr being midway through the offseason prior to his fourth. Reggie McKenzie addressed the All-Pro defensive end’s status. The seventh-year Raiders GM does not anticipate Mack reporting to camp without an extension, one that’s shown no progress and featured zero dialogue between Mack and Jon Gruden.

Khalil is my guy. … It’s unfortunate that we have to go through this. But his camp decided to do it this way … and Khalil is not the first guy to hold out,” McKenzie said, via Vic Tafur of The Athletic (subscription required). “But we’ll get through this. But there is nothing really to report. He is going to hold out until he gets an extension, and that’s where we are.”

Mack’s already accrued sufficient years for free agency, unlike Aaron Donald. But the two are linked together because of similar pursuits: those of a contract that would raise the bar for defensive players. McKenzie insists the Rams’ impasse has nothing to do with the Raiders. Though, one of these players agreeing to terms would undoubtedly make matters easier for the other team’s negotiations.

No, our waiting game is just with Khalil. Our focus … I will be honest, we are not even thinking about Aaron Donald,” he said. “Aaron Donald could sign tomorrow, and we’re only focused on Khalil. … Setting the market, all that, that is not the case at all.”

Here’s the AFC latest:

  • One difference Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk observes between Mack and Donald: rumors aren’t circulating about the Rams’ wherewithal to construct a Donald contract. However, some are wondering if the Raiders can give Mack the kind of guarantee he’s seeking, Florio notes. Mack will be requiring his guarantees be north of Von Miller‘s $70MM ($42MM guaranteed at signing), and Mark Davis‘ franchise is on the lower end of the cash spectrum among NFL teams. Mack is due $13.8MM this season. A prospective franchise tag in 2019 would bump that to around $20MM. Florio suggests, if this is truly the case (and if it was, that would certainly qualify as a crisis), then the Raiders should consider trading their superstar defender to a team that can afford to pay him.
  • Benardrick McKinney‘s five-year Texans extension is worth a bit more than originally reported. It’s a $51.1MM deal rather than a $50MM accord, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports. The inside linebacker received just a $3.75MM signing bonus, with Wilson adding a $5.25MM 2018 roster bonus came McKinney’s way as well. Overall, $21MM is guaranteed in this deal. Wilson notes McKinney will make $6MM in 2019 base salary; that figure is guaranteed. His $6MM base in 2020 is guaranteed for injury but becomes fully guaranteed if he’s still on the roster by the fifth day of ’20 league year. McKinney’s cap figures are as follows: $7.7MM (2018), $7.5MM (’19), $7.5MM (’20), $8.5MM (’21), $10.25MM (’22), $10.25MM (’23).
  • Ben Roethlisberger is down approximately 15 pounds at Steelers camp, with Mark Kaboly of The Athletic noting the 15th-year quarterback weighs 250. Big Ben hinted at retirement following the 2016 season but reaffirmed his commitment to the Steelers after last season concluded. He’s now hinted at being interested in signing another Pittsburgh extension, with negotiations likely set for 2019 (his contract year).

Texans Extend LB Benardrick McKinney

Benardrick McKinney is about to be a whole lot richer. Mark Berman of Fox26 in Houston reports (via Twitter) that the Texans have signed the linebacker to a five-year, $50MM deal ($21MM guaranteed). The 25-year-old’s contract was set to expire at the end of the 2018 campaign.

“Bernardrick plays a key role in our defense and has been highly productive, but more importantly he is a core player who has developed into a team leader within our program,” said general manager Brian Gaine (via“We are excited to have him a part of our long term future here at the Texans.”

The 2015 second-round pick out of Mississippi State has emerged as one of the Texans’ top defenders over the past two seasons. Following a solid rookie campaign in 2015, McKinney earned a second-team All-Pro nod in 2016 after compiling 129 tackles, five sacks, and one forced fumble.

This past season, the linebacker finished with 95 tackles and three sacks, with Pro Football Focus ranking him 24th among qualifying linebackers. For 2018, he’ll presumably start alongside Jadeveon Clowney, Zach Cunningham, and Whitney Mercilus.

While signing McKinney was surely a priority for the organization, the Texans are still trying to ink at least one of his teammates to a long-term deal. We heard back in April that a long-term deal with Clowney was inevitable but not imminent.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: McKinney, Raiders, Bills

Texans 2015 second-round pick Benardrick McKinney came into his own during his second NFL season. After starting 11 of his 14 games as a rookie, McKinney started all 16 games last season, compiling 129 tackles, five sacks, and one forced fumble. While the 24-year-old is naturally overshadowed by teammates J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney, one AFC college scouting director suggested he’d build his entire defense around McKinney.

“I’d be very comfortable starting my defense with McKinney as my first pick,” the scout told Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “He’s an absolute stud. He’s so big and strong, but, at the same time, he runs so well. If you could redo the draft, he’d be a first-rounder, easily. The Texans really hit on this guy. He’s special.”

McKinney inked a four-year, $5.35MM contract (with $3.26MM guaranteed) after getting drafted, and he’ll surely see a raise when he reaches free agency in 2019.

Let’s check out some other notes from around the league…

  • There were reports earlier this week that the Raiders don’t have the cap room to extend defensive end Khalil Mack until next offseason. However, Mike Florio of questions those claims. The writer cites the NFLPA’s website, which lists the organization’s current cap room at $32.8MM. Even if that number reflected the team’s financial situation before the Derek Carr and Gabe Jackson extensions, Florio is still convinced that the team could have easily fit all three extensions. In the event that it wasn’t financially feasible, the writer notes that the Raiders could simply restructure the contracts for Kelechi Osemele and Bruce Irvin, which would have presumably opened enough space. As a result, Florio doesn’t believe it’s an issue of whether the Raiders can sign Mack right now; rather, Florio believes the issue revolves around whether the organization wants to extend Mack at all.
  • It’s been more than a decade since the Bills have had a “difference-making tight end,” writes Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News. The organization did little to improve the unit during the draft or free agency, meaning the team will have to rely on former restricted free agent Charles Clay. The team inked the 28-year-old to a contract prior to the 2015 season, and he’s averaged 54 receptions for 540 yards and three touchdowns during his two years in Buffalo. Clay counts for $9MM against the cap, which presumably dissuaded the front office from pursuing reinforcement at the position. As a result, Carucci says the team will have to “get by with what they have.”
  • According to Alex Marvez of The Sporting News, the NFLPA has warned players “about the possibility of a financial scam.” The Player’s Association issued an alert on Friday regarding a trio of “tax advisory firms” that were operated by a Chicago-based resident. One NFL player was reportedly charged $500K for the man’s services, and the NFLPA also found a list of fraud claims against the individual that date back to the 1980s.

AFC Notes: Bills, Jets, Texans

On the heels of finishing with the second-fewest sacks (21) in the NFL last season, the Bills spent the 19th overall pick on ex-Clemson edge rusher Shaq Lawson. Unfortunately, Lawson underwent right shoulder surgery after the draft and will be out until October, leaving the Bills without any real pass-rushing upgrades entering the season (plus, Mario Williams is gone). To fill Lawson’s void, the Bills could turn to IK Enemkpali, according to Joe Buscaglia of WKBW. Although the former Jet is known more for breaking quarterback Geno Smith‘s jaw with a punch last summer than anything he has accomplished on the field, Enemkpali impressed head coach Rex Ryan during spring workouts and garnered some first-team reps, per Buscaglia. As a result, the rush-needy Bills could platoon Enempkali and Manny Lawson at linebacker – using the latter on rushing downs – Buscaglia writes.

Notes on a couple other AFC linebackers:

  • The Jets are counting on second-year man Lorenzo Mauldin to evolve into a more complete linebacker this season, writes Brian Costello of the New York. The 2015 third-round pick emerged as a pass-rushing threat in racking up four sacks while playing just 24 percent of the Jets’ defensive snaps as a rookie. On the negative side, the team has concerns about Mauldin’s abilities in coverage and against the run, according to Costello, who nonetheless adds that the 23-year-old is the favorite to start on the weak side for Gang Green.
  • Similarly, the Texans “expect a lot from” sophomore inside linebacker Benardrick McKinney, LBs coach Mike Vrabel told the Houston Chronicle. McKinney, whom the Texans want to use more in pass-rushing and coverage situations, has drawn praise from head coach Bill O’Brien this offseason. “I would say one guy on defense that I haven’t been asked a lot about that I think has really improved during the offseason and was improving at the end of last year is Benardrick McKinney,” said O’Brien. The 43rd pick in last year’s draft, McKinney started in 11 of 14 appearances as a rookie, picked up 63 tackles and a sack, and ranked an outstanding 17th among 97 qualifying linebackers at Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
  • In case you missed it, the chances of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady avoiding a four-game suspension this year don’t look good.

Texans Sign Entire Draft Class

The Texans have locked up their entire 2015 draft class in one fell swoop, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, who reports (via Twitter) that the club has signed all seven of its draftees. That includes first-round cornerback Kevin Johnson and second-round linebacker Benardrick McKinney.

According to Over The Cap’s draft pool figures, Johnson will be in line for a four-year contract worth more than $10MM, including a signing bonus of about $5.569MM. His deal will include a fifth-year option for 2019 as well. As for McKinney, he’ll earn $5.345MM over his four-year rookie deal, including a $2.147MM signing bonus.

Other Texans players who are now under contract with the team include third-round receiver Jaelen Strong, fifth-round wideout Keith Mumphery, sixth-round outside linebacker Reshard Cliett, sixth-round defensive tackle Christian Covington, and seventh-round running back Kenny Hilliard.

As our draft pick signings tracker shows, Houston is the third team to finish signing its 2015 draft class. The Dolphins and Vikings have also reached agreements with all their draftees.

AFC Notes: Steelers, Ravens, Chargers

Before drafting Mississippi cornerback Senquez Golson with the 56th overall pick, the Steelers tried to move up and take Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams, tweets Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh-Tribune Review. The Steelers were unable to pull it off, however, and Williams ended up going 55th to the AFC North rival Ravens, who traded up to get ahead of Pittsburgh. Not surprisingly, that displeased the Steelers, according to Kaboly.

While the Steelers may not have been happy to see their division rivals land Williams, Jason La Canfora of (Twitter link) doesn’t think they were going to take the tight end themselves in that spot — according to La Canfora, Pittsburgh was “locked in” on Golson at No. 56.

Here are a few more draft-related leftovers from day two, from around the AFC…

  • Speaking of the Ravens, they’re eyeing some of the draft’s remaining cornerbacks, per Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter).
  • The Chargers had discussions with multiple teams about moving down in the second round, but they decided to stay put because they wanted Miami linebacker Denzel Perryman, Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets. The Bolts took Perryman 48th overall.
  • Broncos general manager John Elway didn’t consider taking a quarterback in the third round, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post. The Broncos instead used the 92nd overall pick on Ohio State tight end Jeff Heuerman.
  • Discussing the teams’ day two draft picks, Texans GM Rick Smith said linebacker Benardrick McKinney was the highest-rated player on the club’s board when the second round began, and added that Jaelen Strong‘s injured wrist was medically cleared by the Texans’ staff prior to the draft (Twitter links via Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle).
  • Josh Cribbs became expendable for the Colts when the team drafted Phillip Dorsett in the first round, and Indianapolis released Cribbs earlier today. According to GM Ryan Grigson, the club wanted to give the veteran returner a chance to find “greener pastures,” tweets Mike Chappell of RTV6.

Texans Acquire 43rd Pick From Browns

The Texans have swung a deal with the Browns, moving up to the 43rd overall pick, tweets Ian Rapoport of Houston will also receive a seventh-rounder from Cleveland (the 229th pick), while the Browns will get a second-, fourth-, and sixth-rounder (the 51st, 116th and 195th selections), reports Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).

With the 43rd pick, the Texans chose Mississippi State linebacker Benardrick McKinney.