Jayron Kearse

Contract Details: Brees, Mariota, Apple

Let’s take a closer look at the details of a few recently-signed free agent contracts:

AFC

  • Marcus Mariota, QB (Raiders): Two years, $17.6MM $7.5MM guaranteed. $2.4MM in incentives available in 2020 (60% snaps). $1.5MM in playtime and win incentives. $10MM in similar incentives available in 2021. $2MM in playoff/Super Bowl wins each year. $12MM 2021 salary escalator (Twitter link via Mike Garafolo of NFL.com).
  • Eli Apple, QB (Raiders): One year, $6MM. Fully guaranteed. $500K available via incentives (Twitter link via Garafolo.
  • Pierre Desir, CB (Jets): One year, ~$3.75MM. Max value of $5.5MM via incentives (Twitter link via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News).
  • Chad Henne, QB (Chiefs): Two years, $3.25MM. $2MM guaranteed. Max value of $7.25MM (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com).
  • Nelson Agholor, WR (Raiders): One year, veteran salary benefit. $887K guaranteed. $137K signing bonus (Twitter link via Pelissero).

NFC

  • Drew Brees, QB (Saints): Four years, $100MM. $25MM guaranteed. Void years used in 2022-23. Brees receives no-trade clause and no franchise/transition tag can be used after 2021 (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle).
  • Jalen Mills, DB (Eagles): One, $4MM. Up to $1MM available via incentives (Twitter link via Adam Caplan of SiriusXM NFL Radio).
  • Thomas Davis, LB (Redskins): One year, $3.5MM. $250K available via incentives (Twitter link via Pelissero).
  • Shon Coleman, T (49ers): One year, $2.2MM. $1.37MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Miles Killebrew, S (Lions): One year, $2MM. $1.137MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Jayron Kearse, S (Lions): One year, $2MM. Up to $1.25MM available via incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Pharoh Cooper, WR (Panthers): One year, $1.21MM. $300K signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).

Lions To Sign S Jayron Kearse

Early this morning, the Lions agreed to sign former Vikings safety Jayron Kearse to a one-year, $2.75MM deal, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Kearse will be a part of the Lions’ new-look secondary, one that must figure out how to contain the pass without the services of Darius Slay.

[RELATED: Lions Trade Darius Slay To Eagles]

Late last week, Kearse took to social media to announce that he did not want to come back to the Vikings this season. He got his wish. Unfortunately for him, he might not be able to suit up for his new team when the season begins in September – a DWI arrest may result in discipline from the NFL. And, per the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement, he could see a longer ban and a steeper fine.

The Lions have moved fast to remake their defense this week, adding safety Duron Harmon, linebacker Jamie Collins, cornerback Desmond Trufant, and defensive tackles Nick Williams and Danny Shelton. Among those leaving Detroit: Slay, linebacker Devon Kennard, and DTs Damon Harrison, A’Shawn Robinson, and Mike Daniels.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC North Notes: Harris, Kwiatkoski, Kearse, Kilgo

The Vikings secondary was one of the most inconsistent parts of their defense last season, but safety Anthony Harris remained a star amidst an inconsistent supporting cast. While Harris is set to become a free agent, Minnesota fans should be happy to know that he has a positive view of the Vikings. In an interview on Sirius XM, Harris stated, “I love the organization.”

Here are a few more notes from the NFC North:

  • The Bears organization has seen linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski progress into a legitimate contributor since he was selected in the 4th round of the 2016 draft. However, Dan Pompei of The Athletic, reports that after signing fellow linebacker Danny Trevathan to a three-year extension, Chicago appears prepared to let Kwiatkoski leave the organization via free agency.
  • Vikings impending free-agent defensive back Jayron Kearse took to Twitter on Friday and said he does not want to return to the team. A pair of Vikings fans were engaging in common social media speculation about the various ways Minnesota could approach the offseason. When one argued that they thought Jayron wanted to stay in the twin cities, Kearse jumped in and said, “No jayron doesn’t want to come back.”
  • Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports Lions nose tackle Darius Kilgo will soon be cleared to return to action from the quadriceps injury that cost him all of last season. Pelissero further notes that Detroit has no intention of resigning Kilgo, but it’s obviously ideal for Kilgo to be back to health before entering the open market. Of course, teams would likely want to see Kilgo workout in person, but the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak could make teams more tentative to give Kilgo any guarantee if they are unable to see him in person.

Vikings Place Mackensie Alexander On IR

Mackensie Alexander‘s season is over. On Friday, the Vikings placed the cornerback on injured reserve, ruling him out the rest of the postseason. 

Alexander was already ruled out for Saturday’s divisional round game against the 49ers after undergoing arthroscopic surgery for a lateral meniscus tear. They got past the Saints without him, but he’ll be badly missed this week as they push to reach the NFC title game.

The Vikings’ remaining group of active cornerbacks – Trae WaynesXavier Rhodes, and Holton Hill – will be tasked with holding down the fort yet again as they face the Niners’ potent offense. They’ll be joined by CB Nate Meadors, who was called up to the 53-man roster to take Alexander’s place.

If the Vikings lose to the Niners, that could mark the end of Alexander’s career in purple. The cornerback is scheduled to reach free agency in March.

The Vikings will also be without safety Jayron Kearse, who has been ruled out for this week. On the other side of the ball, the Vikings are keeping their fingers crossed for Adam Thielen and his stitched ankle.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

League Notes: Burfict, Goodell, Kearse, Rivers

In an exclusive interview with Vic Tafur of The Athletic (subscription required), controversial Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict laid into the league and did not seem to leave any thought unspoken. Burfict, who is currently serving a suspension that began after Week 4 and spans to the end of the season, was adamant that his behavior does not compare to Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, who was recently suspended indefinitely after swinging a helmet at Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph.

Burfict also detailed the suspension process, including the appeal meeting he had with league executives. The former Bengals linebacker claims the league had already decided on the suspension prior to the meeting and had no interest in hearing his side of the story. On top of some colorful language used at the expense of multiple execs, the piece offers an interesting view into Burfict’s place in the Raiders locker room.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Vikings safety Jayron Kearse may not be in Minnesota for much longer given the tone of his tweets today. This morning Kearse tweeted out that he was “excited” for his future, but when a fan replied asking if the Vikings will be a part of his future, Kearse replied “No.” Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press noted the back and fourth and added that Kearse did not answer him on Friday when Tomasson asked if he would start in tomorrow’s game against the Broncos given Anthony Harris‘ injury. Tomasson speculates that Andrew Sendejo could instead be the starting safety.
  • Longtime Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers‘ contract expires at the end of this season and set to turn 38 in December, it would not be a shock for the veteran to declare this his last professional season. However, Rivers remains noncommittal on his future, according to Eric D. Williams of ESPN. Rivers still has a desire to play in the Chargers new stadium when it opens in 2020, but wants to take some time after the season ends to evaluate where he is physically and mentally before making any final determination.

NFC North Notes: Pineiro, Cousins, Vikings

The Bears‘ kicking woes continued Sunday when Eddy Pineiro missed a 41-yard field goal attempt as time expired in a 17-16 loss to the Chargers. Matt Nagy is not publicly wavering from Pineiro, though, according to Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic. Nagy said, “We love Eddy. We’ve got all the faith in the world in him.” Chicago, of course, has struggled to replace kicker Robbie Gould since the team let him go in 2015. Last postseason, the Bears were eliminated after then-kicker Cody Parkey missed a 43-yard field goal in a 16-15 loss to the Eagles. Nagy did not shy away from making the team’s kicker situation a front-and-center issue throughout the offseason. However, the second-year Chicago coach is sticking with Pineiro going forward.

Here’s more from around the NFC North:

  • Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has not been consistent during his time in Minnesota, despite stringing together some strong weeks to help his team to a 6-2 record. Cousins signed a fully guaranteed, three-year, $84MM contract in March 2018. Now that Cousins is exactly halfway through his contract, Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune examines what to make of Cousins’ tenure in Minnesota and whether the team will look at extending him.
  • Five misdemeanor charges surfaced for Vikings safety Jayron Kearse, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets. Among them: operating a vehicle while intoxicated, carrying a pistol while intoxicated and carrying a gun without a permit. Kearse was arrested Sunday. Considering Kearse has been mostly a backup in his Vikings career and is playing on an expiring contract, this may not bode well for his status with the team going forward.
  • The Packers were interested in Jets wideout Robby Anderson, but the fourth-year player — like most of Tuesday’s trade candidates — will stay put.

Vikings’ Jayron Kearse Arrested

Vikings safety Jayron Kearse was arrested this morning on suspicion of DUI and possession of a firearm without a permit, as Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter). He is being held without bail for the firearm charge.

Kearse, a fourth-year player out of Clemson, was selected by the Vikings in the seventh round of the 2016 draft. He has appeared in 55 regular season games in his career, starting just four of them. But he has become a consistent part of the team’s DB rotation, having appeared in over a quarter of Minnesota’s defensive snaps this year, and he has been a regular special teams contributor since his rookie campaign.

Cronin passes along the team’s statement on the matter (Twitter link): “We are aware of Jayron’s arrest and are gathering additional information at this time.”

Kearse has compiled 55 tackles, four passes defensed, and a half-sack in his career.

Vikings Notes: Rudolph, Cutting, Badet, Kearse

The Vikings made a splash last week in the draft, when they took Alabama tight end Irv Smith Jr. 50th overall. Smith was considered by many to be the third best tight end in the draft behind the Iowa standouts, and the Vikings are hoping he can turn into a consistent third option behind Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen in the future. But the move could have more immediate implications for one current member of the team, tight end Kyle Rudolph. The selection “appeared to foreshadow that Rudolph’s days in Minnesota could be numbered,” writes Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com.

Additionally, sources told Cronin that the Vikings “fielded interest” before and during the draft about a potential trade for Rudolph. We heard in March that the Vikings had asked Rudolph to take a pay cut, but his representatives then pushed back forcefully on that and denied the report. His reps also said at the time that the team had told them Rudolph would be on the roster in 2019, but that’s looking like far from a sure thing now. Last month Albert Breer of SI.com speculated that the Patriots could be interested in adding Rudolph. With New England looking thin at tight end after Rob Gronkowski’s retirement, it wouldn’t be a shocker.

Here’s more from Minnesota:

  • New Vikings long snapper Austin Cutting, a seventh round pick of the team, will report to rookie minicamp but has signed an “injury protection agreement” instead of his rookie contract, according to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link). Cutting is an Air Force product, and he’s not signing “out of respect to letting the Air Force eventually give a final decision of if he can play in 2019,” Tomasson writes. Cutting could possibly have to leave the team for two years to fulfill his service requirements, but we won’t know for sure for a little while longer.
  • Receiver Jeff Badet spent last season on the Vikings’ practice squad, and he signed a reserve/futures deal with the team after the season ended. But he almost didn’t end up back with the Vikings, as he was courted by the Jets, according to Tomasson. Minnesota ended up giving the Oklahoma product a $75K bonus to stick around, which swayed him. Badet, an undrafted rookie last year, became the second player to almost defect to the Jets before coming home after Anthony Barr‘s heavily publicized free agency ordeal.
  • The Vikings are looking to convert safety Jayron Kearse to a weakside linebacker this offseason, sources told Tomasson. Kearse was taken by the Vikes in the seventh round back in 2016. A Clemson product, Kearse played linebacker in high school before being switched to safety in college. Kearse played around 20 percent of the Vikings’ defensive snaps last season and was a key player on special teams, so he’s got a significant role. It’ll be interesting to see how his transition turns out.

NFC North Notes: Vikings, Long, Bears

The Vikings outbid multiple suitors to sign Kyle Sloter to their practice squad, and the move ended up seeing the former college wide receiver promoted to the active roster in advance of Week 2. In addition to the Broncos, the Vikings presented a better offer than the Redskins or Bills in order to land Sloter, Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com reports. A wide receiver at Southern Miss before a transfer to Division I-FCS Northern Colorado put him loosely on the quarterback radar come UDFA signing time, Sloter played extensively for the Broncos during the preseason. John Elway hoped the Broncos could pass him through waivers to Denver’s practice squad, but the GM preferred more experience to start the season. This led to the Broncos’ decision to reunite with Brock Osweiler for the time being.

Sloter’s active-roster contract won’t pay him much more than his practice squad agreement, since the latter deal is on the higher end of such accords, and the pact is nonguaranteed, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. He did not receive a signing bonus.

Despite the insurance addition, Sam Bradford is still expected to start against the Steelers. Case Keenum resides as his backup. Here’s more from the NFC North.

  • The Bears will be without Pro Bowl guard Kyle Long for a second straight game to start the season. The team announced Long did not travel to Tampa Bay for the Bears’ Week 2 game. Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune notes (on Twitter) the Bears are hoping Long returns in Week 3. Long has not played since November of last season. A right ankle injury ended Long’s season, and the subsequent recovery process has now reached the 10-month mark. Prior to Long’s ankle injury, he’d missed one game out of a possible 56. Tom Compton started at left guard last week against the Falcons.
  • Michael Floyd‘s activation after a four-game suspension could make for an interesting roster decision, with Tomasson noting (Twitter link) the Vikings would prefer to keep wideout Rodney Adams on the roster. A rookie fifth-round pick out of South Florida would seemingly be vying with a player of a similar profile to stay on the roster after Floyd returns. Seventh-round rookie Stacy Coley, out of Miami, serves as Minnesota’s other other newcomer wideout. Coley, though, played in Minnesota’s Week 1 game while Adams was a healthy scratch. Jarius Wright and 2016 first-rounder Laquon Treadwell are the second-stringers.
  • The Vikings’ preference for Jayron Kearse and Anthony Harris led to Antone Exum being the odd man out when it came time to clear a spot for Sloter, Tomasson tweets.
  • Second-round Lions pick Teez Tabor is making progress, but the former Florida cornerback might not be in line to see much action for a while.
  • A 15-game starter for the Packers last season, Ladarius Gunter is now employed by another team. The Panthers claimed the third-year UDFA on waivers.

Vikings Reach Deals With Four Draft Picks

The Vikings have been the most active team so far when it comes to locking up their draft picks. After officially announcing the signing of German wideout Moritz Boehringer earlier this week, the team has now reached agreements with four other draftees, including second-round cornerback Mackensie Alexander, writes Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.Mackensie Alexander (Vertical)

In addition to Alexander, the Vikings have agreed to terms with sixth-round tight end David Morgan, seventh-round linebacker Stephen Weatherly, and seventh-round safety Jayron Kearse. All four players are expected to formally sign their rookie contracts on Thursday. Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News first reported word of Morgan’s agreement (via Twitter), while Tomasson had the rest.

Contract negotiations with rookie draftees are easy than they used to be, since the total value of a rookie contract, along with the signing bonus, is essentially predetermined by where a player is drafted. For the Vikings, Alexander will get a signing bonus worth about $1.4MM on his four-year contract. Morgan, Weatherly, and Kearse are in line for bonuses of about $135K, $81K, and $64K, respectively, per Over the Cap.

With five members of their eight-man draft class having agreed to terms, the Vikes will just have to get first-round wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, fourth-round offensive lineman Willie Beavers, and fifth-round linebacker Kentrell Brothers under contract. That’s expected to happen very soon.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.