Kendall Fuller

2019 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $2MM in 2019. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2019 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

Bears: RB Jordan Howard, LB Nick Kwiatkoski

Bengals: LB Nick Vigil

Broncos: G Connor McGovern, S Will Parks, S Justin Simmons

Browns: S Derrick Kindred, LB Joe Schobert

Buccaneers: G Caleb Benenoch, DE Carl Nassib, CB Ryan Smith

Chargers: LB Jatavis Brown

Chiefs: CB Kendall Fuller, WR Tyreek Hill, S Eric Murray, WR Demarcus Robinson

Colts: QB Jacoby Brissett, T Joe Haeg

Cowboys: CB Anthony Brown, DT Maliek Collins, QB Dak Prescott

Dolphins: RB Kenyan Drake

Eagles: CB Jalen Mills, T Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Falcons: LB De’Vondre Campbell, TE Austin Hooper, G Wes Schweitzer

Jaguars: DE Yannick Ngakoue

Jets: LB Jordan Jenkins, CB Rashard Robinson, T Brandon Shell

Lions: C Graham Glasgow

Packers: LB Kyler Fackrell, DE Dean Lowry, LB Blake Martinez, LB Antonio Morrison

Patriots: G Joe Thuney, LB Elandon Roberts

Rams: G Austin Blythe, TE Tyler Higbee

Ravens: DE Matt Judon, OL Alex Lewis, CB Tavon Young

Saints: DT David Onyemata

Steelers: DT Javon Hargrave

Texans: DT D.J. Reader

Titans: S Kevin Byard, WR Tajae Sharpe was essential in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. 

Chiefs CB Kendall Fuller Unlikely To Miss Time

Although Chiefs cornerback Kendall Fuller underwent surgery for a fractured wrist, he’s not expected to miss much — if any — game action. Kansas City head coach Andy Reid says Fuller’s injury is a “short-term thing,” and indicated Fuller has a “good chance” to play against the Seahawks on Sunday night, as Brooke Pryor of the Kansas City Star tweets.

The Chiefs are still the heavy favorites to secure both the AFC West and the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC playoffs, but neither outcome is assured. Kansas City still controls its own destiny — if it defeats Seattle and Oakland to close out the season, KC will win the AFC West. However, if the Chiefs drop one of their games and the Chargers win out, Los Angeles will take the division and the No. 1 seed.

Fuller, whom the Chiefs acquired along with a third-round pick in exchange for quarterback Alex Smith, is arguably Kansas City’s best cornerback (although contract year Steven Nelson is giving him a run for his money). While the Chiefs’ defense hasn’t been great overall, that’s largely reflective of their struggles against the run. Fuller & Co. rank 15th in pass defense DVOA, while Kansas City is last in rush defense DVOA.

The 23-year-old Fuller has played nearly every defensive snap (98.4%) for the Chiefs this season, so the club will certainly be affected if he’s forced to miss even a single contest. Pro Football Focus has been a fan of Fuller’s 2018 work, grading him as the league’s 30 cornerback among 116 qualifiers. If Fuller can’t go on Sunday, Kansas City would likely move nickel corner Orlando Scandrick into the starting lineup.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs’ Kendall Fuller To Have Wrist Surgery

Chiefs cornerback Kendall Fuller is believed to have a fractured wrist that will require surgery, Ian Rapoport of tweets. There’s no word on Fuller’s timetable for recovery, but it’s likely that he will miss the final two games of the regular season and his availability for the playoffs is very much in question. 

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Fuller valiantly played through the pain in Thursday night’s loss to the Chargers, but he’ll have to miss at least a couple of games after going under the knife. It’s a bad blow to a pass defense that already ranks dead last in the league.

Even with Fuller on the field, and help from Eric Berry in the first half, the Chiefs’ secondary was less than stellar on Thursday. Fuller personally picked up two penalty flags at inopportune times: a five-yard holding penalty in the second quarter and a defensive pass interference call in the end zone with seconds left in the game. After each penalty, the Chargers scores.

The Chiefs will move forward with Steven Nelson starting on one side. To replace Fuller, they’ll draw from a group that includes Orlando ScandrickCharvarius Ward, and Tremon Smith.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs To Acquire CB Kendall Fuller

The Chiefs will receive cornerback Kendall Fuller from the Redskins as part of the Alex Smith trade, according to Field Yates of (Twitter link). Kansas City is also acquiring a 2018 third-round pick from Washington.Kendall Fuller (Vertical)

The Redskins’ decision to part with Fuller in exchange for Smith is fairly surprising given that Fuller is still only 22 years old and performed like one the NFL’s best cornerbacks in 2017. Fuller played two-thirds of Washington’s defensive snaps a season ago and graded as the league’s No. 6 cornerback, per Pro Football Focus. Football Outsiders was also a fan of Fuller’s work, as the former third-round pick ranked second in success rate and eighth in yards per pass allowed.

Fuller’s contract situation is also appealing, as he still has two years left on his rookie deal. While the Redskins have agreed to a four-year, $94MM extension with Smith, Fuller will earn less than $1.5MM from 2018-19. That’s incredibly important for the Chiefs, who were projected to be nearly $10MM over the cap when the 2018 league year began in mid-March.

Now that he’s in Kansas City, Fuller figures to step immediately into the club’s starting lineup opposite fellow cornerback Marcus Peters. The Chiefs ranked just 23rd in pass defense DVOA in 2017, but they now have the opportunity to revamp their secondary, as Terrance Mitchell, Kenneth Acker, and Phillip Gaines are all scheduled to hit free agency in roughly six weeks. Veteran Darrelle Revis is technically under contract for 2018, but he’ll be released before his $10MM guarantee kicks in on March 14.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Cowboys’ Jaylon Smith

The Cowboys and Jaylon Smith have received some good news. The linebacker’s damaged nerve is regenerating, according to Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter). He has a long way to go, but he can now lift is foot and is getting back muscle control.Jaylon Smith (vertical)

Earlier this offseason, word was that Smith’s nerve would not be coming back to life and that he would be forced to play football with drop foot. The plan was for the Notre Dame product to play the season with a brace that would stabilize his leg, making him the first NFL player to ever attempt to take the field with the condition. However, the latest developments are a positive sign for Smith and may allow him to play at 100% – or something close to it.

Over the weekend, word emerged that Smith could be ready in time for team OTAs. This could be wishful/premature thinking, but there’s certainly reason for hope now in Dallas.

In his final season at Notre Dame, Smith compiled 115 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble. Prior to his unfortunate injury, Smith was widely projected as a top 10 pick in the 2016 draft. Instead, he fell to the Cowboys in the second round. If he’s able to make a recovery, Dallas’ risk could pay major dividends in 2017.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins Sign Third-Round Pick Kendall Fuller

The Redskins have signed third-round cornerbackKendall Fuller, as Master Tesfatsion of The Washington Post tweets. With Fuller signed, the Redskins have now inked every member of their 2016 draft class. Kendall Fuller (vertical)

Heading into the draft, some teams had concerns over Fuller’s injured knee, but a medical re-check in April yielded positive results. Fuller, the fourth member of his family to play at Virginia Tech, went pro in lieu of playing out his senior season. If Fuller did not have injury concerns attached to him, it’s conceivable that he could have gone somewhere in the second-round.

Here’s the full rundown of the Redskins’ 2016 draft class:

Washington Redskins

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Rumors: Draft, CBs, Jason Jones

Landing a cornerback – and perhaps more than one – is the Dolphins’ top priority in this year’s draft, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a lock to take one with the No. 13 pick, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

According to Jackson, if Miami opts for the best player available in the first round, and that player is a non-cornerback, there’s a belief the team could still land a quality CB at No. 42 and/or No. 73. Jackson mentions Miami’s Artie Burns, Baylor’s Xavien Howard, and Virginia Tech’s Kendall Fuller as a few potential targets.

Here’s more on the Dolphins from Jackson, including several notes on their possible draft plans:

  • If running back Ezekiel Elliott or linebacker Myles Jack slip to No. 13, the Dolphins would have interest in both players. The team recently sent a contingent to Los Angeles for a private workout with UCLA’s Jack.
  • Some Dolphins scouting and front office people are resistant to the idea of drafting Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III if he’s on the board at No. 13, since the team would prefer a big, physical cornerback.
  • Miami is intrigued by Houston’s William Jackson III and Ohio State’s Eli Apple, but they may not be great value at No. 13, so trading down might be a consideration. Dolphins VP Mike Tannenbaum said today that there have been preliminary conversations about the No. 13 pick, tweets James Walker of
  • The Dolphins have discussed the possibility of taking one of the top offensive tackles in the first round and moving him to guard – at least temporarily – but that seems to be an unlikely outcome.
  • On special teams, the Dolphins are keeping an eye out for help in the return game and potential competition for kicker Andrew Franks. Special teams coach Darren Rizzi has privately worked out multiple kicker prospects, including Nick Rose of Texas and Daniel Sobolewski of Albright.
  • The Dolphins continue to have conversations with free agent defensive end Jason Jones, and there’s mutual interest between the two sides in working something out.

AFC Draft Updates: Ravens, Lynch, Texans

The final visit for Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch will take place in Baltimore, according to agent Leigh Steinberg, who tweets that Lynch will meet with the Ravens on Wednesday. Holding the No. 6 overall pick, the Ravens seem like an improbable first-round suitor for Lynch, so perhaps the team is just doing its due diligence in case it trades down in the first round or Lynch slips to round two.

Here are more draft updates from out of the AFC:

  • The Texans hosted Louisiana Tech quarterback Jeff Driskel for a visit this week, and are also hosting Eastern Michigan running back Darius Jackson today, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Houston fortified its offensive backfield by signing Brock Osweiler and Lamar Miller in free agency, but could still be eyeing additional depth.
  • We heard yesterday that Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller had a Monday visit with the Jets and a Wednesday visit in Carolina this week. Aaron Wilson fills in the gap in Fuller’s schedule, tweeting that the young corner is meeting today with the Titans.
  • The schedule for Oklahoma State defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah includes a pre-draft visit with the Chargers this Wednesday, writes Aaron Wilson in a piece for the Chronicle. Wilson reported yesterday that Ogbah was also visiting Carolina and Atlanta this week, though he doesn’t include the Panthers in his list of Ogbah’s visits in his latest piece.
  • Texas A&M cornerback Brandon Williams has been busy during the pre-draft visit, making five visits and taking part in 14 private workouts, according to Aaron Wilson, who tweets that Williams is meeting with the Steelers today. Utah running back Devontae Booker and Michigan safety Jarrod Wilson are also in Pittsburgh to visit the Steelers, Wilson adds (via Twitter).

Draft Updates: Jack, J. Smith, Reed, Elliott

Linebackers Myles Jack and Jaylon Smith are two of the biggest wild cards in this year’s draft, as both players have the talent to be top-five picks, but the health concerns to take them entirely off some teams’ boards.

Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News (Twitter link) spoke to one source who calls Jack a “time bomb,” suggesting that his knee issues may limit him to just a few good seasons, if that. One source – possibly the same one – also tells Bowen that Smith’s re-check showed a “drop-foot problem, caused by nerve damage,” adding that his prognosis hasn’t improved since the combine.

Not every team will agree with that source’s assessment of Jack and Smith – some teams are said to be encouraged by Jack’s latest medicals – but many other clubs will likely view those prospects the same way, meaning there’s a chance that both players, particularly Smith, could slip a little further than expected on draft day next week.

Here are several more draft updates from around the league:

  • At least three more teams are getting a first-hand look at Alabama defensive tackle Jarran Reed this week, per Ian Rapoport of, who tweets that Reed will visit the Jets on Monday, the Chargers on Tuesday, and the Texans on Wednesday.
  • Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott will have his previously-announced visit with the Bears this Wednesday, tweets Ian Rapoport.
  • The Lions are hosting Clemson cornerback Mackensie Alexander for a visit today, tweets Rand Getlin of the NFL Network. Jeremy Fowler of notes (via Twitter) that Detroit is actively exploring the defensive back market in this year’s draft more than most other teams.
  • Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller, who received positive reports following his medical re-check last week, is visiting the Jets today and will meet with the Panthers on Wednesday, per Rand Getlin (Twitter link).
  • Middle Tennessee State defensive back Kevin Byard, who has already visited seven teams, will visit four more this week. According to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post, Byard is making trips to visit the Ravens, Jaguars, Buccaneers, and Panthers.
  • Boston College linebacker Steven Daniels is visiting Washington this week, and has previously worked out for the Browns and Colts, among other teams, tweets Tony Pauline of

Draft Notes: AFC North, NFC South

Let’s take a look at some notes from around the AFC North and NFC South as the draft draws ever closer:

  • The Browns were expected to take a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick even after signing Robert Griffn III, and Mary Kay Cabot of believes that the Rams’ leapfrogging Cleveland to take the No. 1 overall selection should not change that. Regardless of whether Los Angeles selects Jared Goff or Carson Wentz, Cabot believes the Browns should simply take whichever player is still on the board, as both have franchise quarterback potential.
  • The Steelers have not drafted a cornerback in the first round since 1997, and as Mark Kaboly of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review observes, no team has gone longer without drafting a first-round CB; indeed, half the league picked a corner in the first round during the past five years alone. But with a shaky secondary and as many as six corners with first-round potential in this year’s draft class–all of whose pro days were attended by the Steelers–2016 could be the year that Pittsburgh finally breaks that streak, injecting some much-needed talent in its defensive backfield in the process.
  • Another AFC North club is on the lookout for cornerback help, and as Clifton Brown of writes, the fact that Virginia Tech corner Kendall Fuller had a positive medical recheck on his injured right knee is great news for the Ravens. Baltimore assistant GM Eric DeCosta believes there will be a run on corners between the 25th and 40th overall picks, and a healthy Fuller projects to be drafted in that range. If the Ravens do not draft Jalen Ramsey or Vernon Hargreaves III with their No. 6 overall selection, they will certainly be in the market for a CB with the No. 36 overall choice.
  • Joe Person of The Charlotte Observer attempts to decipher what the Panthers‘ offseason moves say about their draft intentions, noting that while GM Dave Gettleman checked a number of boxes this offseason, he did not address all of his team’s needs. For instance, although Charles Johnson will return on a team-friendly one-year deal, Person believes 2016 will be Johnson’s last season in Charlotte, which means that a young, disruptive pass rusher like Clemson’s Kevin Dodd might be a good selection for the club with its 30th overall pick. And, since Carolina did not bring back Roman Harper and may be a little reluctant to hand a starting safety job to Tre Boston, the team may elect to nab a safety like Vonn Bell or Jayron Kearse on Day 2 of the draft. Given that there is little cornerback depth behind Josh Norman–who may also be playing his last year in Charlotte–a corner might also be a high-round target for the club.
  • Taking a page out of the Rams’ and Cardinals’ playbooks, the Falcons are searching for safety-linebacker hybrids that are strong against the run but who can also cover running backs and tackle in the open field, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. To that end, Atlanta has visited and/or had private workouts with players like Su’a Cravens, Keanu Neal, and Deion Jones, whose physical tools are similar to those of Los Angeles’ Mark Barron and Arizona’s Deone Bucannon.
  • The Buccaneers need to improve their pass rush, and they addressed that need to some degree in free agency by signing defensive end Robert Ayers. But as Tampa Bay GM Jason Licht observes, Malik Jackson and Sylvester Williams proved last year that an interior defensive lineman is often just as valuable to jump-starting a team’s flagging pass rush unit (article via Rick Stroud of The Tampa Bay Times). As such, an interior lineman like Louisville’s Sheldon Rankins and Mississippi’s Robert Nkemdiche may be just as intriguing to Licht as ends like Eastern Kentucky’s Noah Spence and Oklahoma State’s Emmanuel Ogbah.