Sunday’s snow game in Buffalo may end up costing Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri a significant amount of money, as Mike Wells of ESPN.com writes. Vinatieri has a clause in his contract that calls for him to earn a $500K bonus for converting 90% of his field goal attempts this season. After missing two field goals in a near blizzard against the Bills, Vinatieri’s field goal percentage now sits at just 88%, down from 95.6% entering Week 15. As Wells details, Vinatieri will need to hit at least five-of-five attempts during Indianapolis’ remaining three games in order to hit 90% again and reach his incentive threshold. Vinatieri, 44, is earning $2.75MM in base salary this year, and will become a free agent next spring.
Here’s more from the NFL’s two South divisions:
- Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota is still dealing with hamstring, leg, and ankle issues and could require surgery following the season, a source tells Paul Kuharsky of PaulKuharsky.com. Mariota, who missed the tail end of the 2016 campaign after breaking his fibula, suffered a hamstring injury earlier this year, and the combination of those leg ailments are now affecting the Tennessee signal-caller. His recent performance is evidence of the problem, as Mariota hasn’t topped 200 yards passing in any of the Titans’ last three contests (while throwing for only two touchdowns against four interceptions). Tennessee still looks like a solid bet for a postseason berth — 81% per FiveThirtyEight — but the club could be held back by a hampered Mariota.
- Although he initially feared he suffered a torn biceps in Week 14, Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy wants to play out the rest of the season, reports Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. McCoy has torn his biceps two other times during his NFL career, but he believes he’ll be able to play through the pain this time around. The Buccaneers are evidently willing to let him do so in what has become a lost campaign, as the club made a transaction on Tuesday without putting McCoy on injured reserve. Despite Tampa Bay’s problems on defense, McCoy has been as stout as ever, as he grades as the league’s No. 5 interior defender, per Pro Football Focus.
- Defensive end Alex Okafor would like to re-sign with the Saints following a 2017 season that was shortened by injury, as he explains to Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com. Okafor, 26, inked one of the better one-year deals of the season, a $2MM pact that will allow him to hit free agency again in 2018. Before going down with a torn Achilles, Okafor had more than lived up to his contract, excelling against the run while also managing 4.5 sacks. He’d been a key contributor as New Orleans’ defense surprisingly improved from its awful 2016 standing.
- The Colts should use their three remaining games to assess their young talent, argues Wells in a separate column. Now sitting with a 3-10 record, Indianapolis clearly isn’t in the playoff hunt, so the club can begin to see what kind of talent resides on the back end of its roster. One player who could conceivably see more time down the stretch is running back Marlon Mack, especially given that 34-year-old Frank Gore is coming off a 36-carry effort in Buffalo (and will now play on a short week).