Jayron Kearse

Cowboys To Sign S Jayron Kearse

The Cowboys held auditions for safeties today, and it sounds like at least one of the auditionees will be joining the team. Josina Anderson reports (via Twitter) that the team will be signing safety Jayron Kearse to a one-year deal.

Kearse signed a one-year, $2.75MM deal with the Lions last offseason and proceeded to have a career year. He was suspended for the first three games of the 2020 campaign for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, but he ultimately finished the year with a career-high 59 tackles in 11 games (seven starts). He was waived by the Lions late in the season and spent the rest of the season on the Ravens practice squad.

Malik Hooker and Damontae Kazee were also among the safeties who were visiting the Cowboys today, and Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News tweets that the Kearse signing doesn’t preclude the team from adding another player at the position. In fact, Gehlken adds that the Cowboys are “engaged in contract negotiations” with Kazee’s camp, but the sides haven’t agreed on a deal.

The Cowboys have been busy revamping their safeties corps. The team is set to add Keanu Neal, adding the veteran to a core that includes 2020 starter Donovan Wilson.

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Cowboys Hosting S Jayron Kearse

Malik Hooker and Damontae Kazee won’t be the only two safeties visiting the Cowboys. ESPN’s Todd Archer reports (via Twitter) that Dallas will also be hosting defensive back Jayron Kearse. Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News tweets that the auditions will take place tomorrow.

The 2016 seventh-round pick had spent the first four seasons of his career with the Vikings, missing only a pair of regular season games over that span. He ultimately started five of his 62 games for the organization, compiling 79 tackles, 0.5 sacks, eight passes defended, and one interception.

Kearse signed a one-year, $2.75MM deal with the Lions last offseason. He was later suspended for the first three games of the 2020 campaign for violating the substance-abuse policy, and he ultimately saw time in 11 games (seven starts) for his new squad, compiling a career-high 59 tackles. He was waived by the Lions late in the season and spent the rest of the season on the Ravens practice squad.

Now, the 27-year-old will have an opportunity to catch on with the Cowboys. Watkins notes that the Cowboys interest in Kearse, Hooker, and Kazee (along with the signing of Keanu Neal) doesn’t mean the team is done with Donovan Wilson, who started 10 games for the Cowboys last season. Rather, the team’s just looking to improve their defensive backs corps.

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Ravens Expected To Sign S Jayron Kearse

A Jayron Kearse Baltimore visit is expected to produce a deal. The Ravens are on track to add the former Vikings and Lions safety to their practice squad, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets.

Kearse visited the Ravens on Wednesday, trekking to Maryland shortly after an abbreviated Detroit stay. The Lions waived Kearse for violating team rules, according to the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett. Said violations included leaving the Lions’ team hotel without permission and being late for bed check (Twitter link).

This has been a bumpy year for Kearse, who spent four seasons in Minnesota. An October DUI arrest led to a three-game suspension to start this season. The Lions quickly put him to work, using him as a starter in seven games this season. The former seventh-round pick made 59 tackles and forced a fumble with Detroit. He worked mostly as a depth piece with the Vikings, starting five games in four seasons.

The post-Earl Thomas Ravens have used Chuck Clark and DeShon Elliott as their primary safety starters this season. Kearse would qualify as depth ahead of a potential postseason run.

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Lions Cut S Jayron Kearse

The Lions are playing out the string after their embarrassing 47-7 loss to the Buccaneers last week, and now they’re making a notable move with just one game left to play. Detroit has cut veteran safety Jayron Kearse, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets.

Since we’re this late in the season Kearse will be going on waivers with 31 teams getting a chance to claim him. It’s interesting since Kearse had been playing a large role on defense recently, starting each of their last seven games before missing the Tampa game with an injury. Kearse was drafted by the Vikings in the seventh-round back in 2016, and spent the first four years of his career in Minnesota.

He became a special teams standout with the Vikings, and also a team captain. He signed a one-year, $2.75MM deal with Detroit back in March. He was suspended for the first three games of 2020 due to a substance abuse violation, but began playing a sizable role on defense right away that soon progressed to a near-every down role.

He’ll finish his stint with the Lions with 58 tackles, two passes defended, and a forced fumble in 11 games and seven starts. His most productive year in Minnesota was last season when he finished with six passes defended and an interception while making three starts. It’s possible that a contender with a banged up secondary takes a flyer on him for the postseason.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 10/1/20

Here are Thursday’s minor moves:

Buffalo Bills

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Kansas City Chiefs

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

  • Placed on reserve/suspended list (with a six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s PED policy): TE Chase Harrell

NFL Suspends Lions S Jayron Kearse

Jayron Kearse will begin his post-Vikings career a bit late. The NFL handed the fifth-year safety a three-game suspension Friday.

This ban stems from Kearse’s October 2019 DUI arrest. The new CBA includes harsher penalties for such incidents, with three games now the DUI baseline. The Lions signed Kearse to a one-year, $2MM deal in March.

One of several Vikings cogs to leave the team in March, Kearse played in 62 of a possible 64 regular-season games with Minnesota since 2016. He started five of those contests and played 270 defensive snaps last season, when he also continued his work as one of the Vikes’ top special-teamers.

The Lions have seen some turnover at safety recently. They traded Quandre Diggs last season and traded for longtime Patriots cog Duron Harmon this year. Kearse, however, has a better chance of upward mobility in Detroit than he did playing behind Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris in Minnesota. He will have to wait for a chance to potentially see first-string action, however.

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.

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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.

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