Kendall Wright

Latest On Terrance Williams Situation

The bizarre twist in the Terrance Williams car-crash saga involved Kendall Wright after the Cowboys wide receiver said the new Vikings pass-catcher was, in fact, the driver of the vehicle at the time of the accident.

Williams and Wright were teammates at Baylor together and had spent time together earlier on the night of the accident. But both Williams’ attorney, Chip Lewis, and Vikings GM Rick Spielman deny it was Wright who was behind the wheel.

I have spoken directly with Kendall and his agent and both have assured me there is no truth to the matter,” Spielman said, via Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Police arrested Williams, whose statement indicated he was the driver of the vehicle, for leaving the scene of an accident and for public intoxication. Williams told police he’d gotten a call from Wright informing him of the Lamborghini crash, but police were suspicious of this claim since Williams subsequently admitted his phone was still in the car at that point. Williams’ public statement of the events of that sequence did not include Wright.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Cowboys WR Terrance Williams

The recent incident involving Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Williams continues to get more and more bizarre as the story unfolds. First, Williams was arrested this past Saturday and charged with public intoxication and leaving the scene of an accident. What’s undisputed is that Williams’ Lamborghini crashed and he was detained while riding an electric scooter near the scene.

Williams then released a statement the day after accepting responsibility for the accident, saying that a car slammed on its brakes in front of him and he swerved to avoid it, but denied he was intoxicated. A wrinkle was thrown into the case when police released a video this morning of Williams the night of the accident contradicting his initial public account. Williams is shown telling officers that it wasn’t him who was driving the car that night, and that it was actually his friend and fellow wide receiver Kendall Wright of the Vikings.

The officers didn’t buy Williams’ claim that he wasn’t even in the car that night, as his phone was inside the vehicle. They arrested him, but the details about Wright’s alleged involvement stayed under wraps until today.

Williams’ lawyer then clarified earlier today once the video blew up online that Wright was not involved after all (Twitter link via Dallas Morning News’ Brandon George). Vikings general manager Rick Spielman then followed up and said the Vikings were standing by Wright and that Wright and his agent both assured him there was no truth to Williams’ accusation (Twitter link via ESPN’s Courtney Cronin).

Williams was already in a good amount of trouble, but his puzzling and now apparently false explanation that it was Wright who crashed his car could make matters even worse. He could be looking at a possible suspension from the league.

Working as the Cowboys’ number two receiver the past few years, Williams was theoretically in line for an increased workload after the release of Dez Bryant. The Cowboys signed Allen Hurns in free agency, but Williams was thought to have the inside track at being the team’s number one receiving option. It’s unclear if this arrest or possible suspension will change the Cowboys’ plans.

Last season, Williams caught 53 passes for 568 yards. He caught zero touchdowns for the first time in his career. Whatever happens, it’s a headache that the Cowboys absolutely don’t need in the midst of an already tumultuous offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Browns, Janis, Wright

Here’s a look at the details of some recent free agent deals:

  • The Browns got former Packers wide receiver Jeff Janis on a one-year, $1.25MM deal with no guaranteed money, Tom Silverstein of the Journal Sentinel tweets. He’ll have to make the 53-man roster to earn any cash, but the deal does include a $100K workout bonus. If he sticks, the contract will call for a $1.25MM cap number.
  • Wide receiver Kendall Wright’s deal with the Vikings is worth $1MM with $400K guaranteed, Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune tweets. The pack includes an $800K base salary, $100K signing bonus, and a $100K workout bonus.
  • Tight end Bucky Hodges’ contract with the Jets is a two-year deal worth $1.075MM, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com tweets. The pact includes a $25K roster bonus if he is on the 53-man roster in Week 1.

Vikings To Sign WR Kendall Wright

The Vikings are signing wide receiver Kendall Wright, sources tell Mike Garafolo and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). Wright visited with Minnesota earlier this week and a deal quickly materialized. 

[RELATED: Vikings Re-Sign CB/PR Marcus Sherels]

Wright had 59 catches for 614 yards and a touchdown with the Bears last year. Now, he’ll join up with their divisional rival as one of Kirk Cousins‘ receiving targets.

Wright will join Adam ThielenStefon Diggs, and former first-round pick Laquon Treadwell on the wide receiver depth chart. With Michael Floyd out of the picture, Wright will have an opportunity to get involved in the passing game, though he may not match the 91 targets he saw in 2017. The Vikings also have Stacy ColeyCayleb Jones and Brandon Zylstra at wide receiver.

The veteran also met with the Chiefs during free agency, but it’s not clear if he received an offer or how high their level of interest was.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kendall Wright To Visit With Vikings

The Vikings hosted free-agent wide receiver Kendall Wright for a visit, according to ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter). The former Titans and Bears wideout has also visited with the Chiefs this offseason.

Wright, 28, spent last season with the Bears and hauled in 59 catches for 614 yards and a touchdown. We had Wright ranked as our No. 15 wide receiver available in free agency this offseason. Of the players on the list, he’s ranked as the third-best still available, behind Jordan Matthews and Brice Butler.

The Bears signed Wright to a one-year, $4MM deal last offseason and his stat line in his one year in Chicago was his best since 2014 with the Titans when he had 715 yards receiving and six touchdown catches. The Bears had already added Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel in free agency this offseason. Wright spent the first five years of his career in Tennessee after being taken with the 20th overall pick of the 2011 draft.

Wright would provide another weapon for newly-signed quarterback Kirk Cousins to go with the likes of Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs and former first-round pick Laquon Treadwell. Minnesota indicated earlier this offseason that it would not be re-signing wide receiver Michael Floyd. Behind Treadwell, the Vikings also have Stacy Coley, Cayleb Jones and Brandon Zylstra at wide receiver.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs Meet With WR Kendall Wright

Wide receiver Kendall Wright will visit with the Chiefs on Thursday, Adam Caplan of SiriusXM tweets. Wright spent last season with the Bears. 

Wright could help the Chiefs replace slot receiver Albert Wilson, who departed in free agency to sign a three-year, $24MM deal with the Dolphins. Wilson is three years Wright’s junior and may have more potential, but Wright is coming off of a stronger season, at least, in terms of stats. Wright caught 59 passes for 614 yards and one touchdown, giving him his strongest stat line since 2014.

We ranked Wright as the 15th best available wide receiver heading into free agency, but his market has been slow to develop. Now that the bigger names are off of the board, Wright may find a home.

The Chiefs lost Wilson, but they upgraded their WR group by signing Sammy Watkins to a hefty multi-year deal. They’ll also return with Tyreek Hill, who racked up nearly 1,200 receiving yards in 2017 en route to a second Pro Bowl appearance.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2018 NFL Free Agents By Position: Offense

NFL free agency will get underway on Wednesday, March 14th, and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. The frenzy is right around the corner and it’s time for us to break down the outlook for each position. We’ll start today on offense, before getting to defense and special teams later this week.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. The rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts that each player is expected to land in free agency, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account. Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents are not listed here since they are unlikely to actually reach the open market. The same goes for players who have been franchise tagged or transition tagged.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some guys than you are, so we encourage you to make your voice heard in our comments section to let us know which free agents we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2018:

Quarterback:

  1. Kirk Cousins
  2. Drew Brees
  3. Case Keenum
  4. A.J. McCarron
  5. Sam Bradford
  6. Teddy Bridgewater
  7. Colin Kaepernick
  8. Josh McCown
  9. Mike Glennon
  10. Drew Stanton
  11. Jay Cutler
  12. Chase Daniel
  13. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  14. Brock Osweiler
  15. Tom Savage

There were many difficult calls when putting this list together, but ranking Kirk Cousins as the No. 1 QB available was not among them. Cousins is the best quarterback to reach free agency in recent history and he’ll become the highest-paid player of all-time – at least, for some period of time – in mid-March. Who will make history with Cousins? That’s anyone’s guess right now. The Browns have more cap room than any other team, but a recent report from Adam Schefter of ESPN.com listed the Broncos, Cardinals, Jets, and Vikings as the final suitors for Cousins. Of those four, the Jets have the most money to work with, but they’re concerned about the Vikings winning out and Cousins’ desire to win could point him in another direction. If the Broncos and Cardinals want in on the Cousins sweepstakes, they’ll have to get creative with the books.

Drew Brees is included here, but by his own admission, he’ll be re-signing with the Saints rather than testing the open waters of free agency. Unless the Saints lowball their franchise QB, it’s hard to see him leaving New Orleans.

Case Keenum put together a tremendous season for the Vikings, but he doesn’t have a history of success beyond 2017. There will be plenty of interest in Keenum, but only after QB-needy teams strike out on Cousins. The incumbent Vikings could re-sign Keenum, but right now, it seems like they are intent on exploring the Cousins waters first.

There isn’t a ton of footage on A.J. McCarron, which made his placement on this list awfully tricky. We know this much: McCarron did well in place of Dalton in the home stretch of the 2015 season and his former offensive coordinator Hue Jackson was salivating at the chance of landing him before the Browns bungled the trade with the Bengals. McCarron’s relative youth is a plus (he won’t turn 28 until September) and his lack of experience can be looked at as a positive. Unlike some of the other names on this list, he hasn’t run up his NFL odometer.

What will NFL teams make of Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford this offseason? Not long ago, both seemed like quality starting options. However, there are serious injury questions about both players and any team signing them will either look to backstop them with another decent option or ask them to come onboard as a QB2. With that in mind, one has to wonder if Bradford would consider retirement if asked to hold the clipboard for another signal caller. Bradford has earned upwards of $110MM over the years in the NFL, so it’s safe to say that he has enough money in the bank to call it quits if he wants. For now, he’s intent on playing.

Colin Kaepernick‘s placement on this list is sure to draw some strong reactions from his fans and detractors alike. Looking purely at his football ability, there’s no question that he belongs on someone’s roster. At minimum, Kaepernick profiles as a high-end backup, even after a year out of the game.

Quarterbacks coaches have long believed that Mike Glennon is capable of great things, due in part to his height. At 6’7″, he can see over any defensive line, but he hasn’t done much on the field to prove that he is a quality Week 1 starting option. Josh McCown, who is a decade his senior, edges him here for his surprisingly strong performance in 2017 at the helm of a weak Jets offense.

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Extra Points: Kap, Wilfork, Titans, CBA

Speaking Thursday, commissioner Roger Goodell rejected the notion that NFL owners are blackballing free agent quarterback and political activist Colin Kaepernick, noting (via ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez) that teams “all want to get better. And if they see an opportunity to get better as a football team, they’re going to do it. They’re going to do whatever it takes to make their football team better. So, those are football decisions. They’re made all the time. I believe that if a football team feels that Colin Kaepernick, or any other player, is going to improve that team, they’re going to do it.” While one wouldn’t expect Goodell to publicly throw owners under the bus, Kaepernick is likely, at minimum, an NFL-caliber backup. Yet, after throwing 16 touchdowns against four interceptions and finishing second among QBs in rushing yards in 2016 (468, with a 6.8 YPC), the longtime 49er hasn’t garnered much interest this offseason.

Elsewhere around the sport…

  • As was the case a month ago, free agent nose tackle Vince Wilfork is unsure whether he’ll attempt to continue his career in 2017 or retire. “Mentally, I’m where I’ve been all this while, I’m 50-50,” Wilfork told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Friday. Wilfork added that he’s not going to rush into a decision, and he shot down the idea that his retirement talk is a ploy to avoid training camp and the preseason. “Camp now is like ‘Camp Cupcake.’ You’re only in pads for 10 days,” he said. “I mean, it’s so different now, so anybody that thinks I’m missing because I want to miss training camp or preseason, man, that is baloney.” Wilfork, a 13-year veteran who spent his first 11 seasons in New England and the previous two in Houston, is coming off the 12th straight campaign in which he started in all of his appearances. The 35-year-old took part in 15 of the Texans’ regular-season games in 2016 and picked up 21 tackles.
  • Bears wide receiver Kendall Wright swiped at his previous employer, the Titans, earlier this week, implying to Kevin Fishbain of Pro Football Weekly that they’ll rue letting him go. On why Tennessee reduced his playing time last season, including making him a Week 17 healthy scratch, Wright said: “That’s a question I can’t [answer]. Ask them. They’’ll feel it after this year.” The onetime 94-catch man (2013) hauled in a career-worst 29 receptions in 2016, but Wright believes he “probably was the best receiver on the Titans roster last year.” After, in Wright’s words, only “playing like 10 plays a game” last season, the sixth-year man is now part of a Chicago receiving corps that includes two other notable veteran newcomers in Victor Cruz and Markus Wheaton, 2016 breakout Cameron Meredith and injury-challenged 2015 first-rounder Kevin White.
  • Talks on a new collective bargaining agreement haven’t begun because the players have yet to give NFLPA boss DeMaurice Smith permission to negotiate with the league, reports Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). That’s not ideal for the league because it prevents it from hammering out new television and media deals, suggests Cole. The current CBA runs through 2020.

Contract Details: Taylor, Cook, Willson

The latest contract details from around the NFL:

  • Tyrod Taylor, QB (Bills): Taylor earns an additional $500K if the Bills make it to the divisional round of the playoffs in 2017, which becomes $1MM if they advance to the AFC Championship, and $2MM if they advance to the Super Bowl. The same package of incentives applies to 2018 (via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk).
  • Jared Cook, TE (Raiders): Two years, $10.6MM, $1.6MM in incentives (effectively a one-year $5.3MM deal with $800K in incentives) (Twitter link via Ben Volin of The Boston Globe).
  • Luke Willson, TE (Seahawks): One year, $1.8MM, $1MM in incentives (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle).
  • Kayvon Webster, CB (Rams): Two years, $7.75MM. Salaries of $2.75MM (guaranteed), $3MM. $1MM 2017 roster bonus guaranteed, $500K 2018 roster bonus guaranteed. (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Sean Spence, LB (Colts): One year, $2.5MM. $750K signing bonus. $500K in incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Kendall Wright, WR (Bears): One year, $2MM. $250K signing bonus. $2MM in incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).

Bears Sign Kendall Wright

Kendall Wright will attempt to re-establish his value in a new locale in 2017. The former first-round Titans pick will join the Bears on a one-year deal worth up to $4MM, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). The team confirmed the move (via Twitter).

Kendall Wright (Vertical)

Wright will join Markus Wheaton in trekking to Chicago from the AFC on what will be a revamped Bears receiving corps, one that lost Alshon Jeffery.

After being marginalized in what became a run-based attack in Tennessee, Wright knew he would not be back for a sixth Titans season shortly after his fifth concluded. He was a healthy scratch in Tennessee’s regular-season finale and did not surpass 500 receiving yards in either of his final two Titans slates.

But the 27-year-old Wright, who’s played much of his career in the slot, has a 1,000-plus-yard receiving season to his credit. He finished the 2013 campaign with 94 receptions, 1,079 yards and two touchdowns. He added six touchdowns in 2014, a season that featured 715 yards for Wright, but one that doubled as his last as the Titans’ clear-cut No. 1 wide receiver. After going for more than 2,300 yards in his first three seasons with Jake Locker as the primary distributor, Wright totaled just 824 in his last two Titans seasons.

Wright likely had a backer in a high-ranking place on the Bears’ coaching staff, with former Titans OC Dowell Loggains now the Chicago OC. Loggains was Tennessee’s OC from 2012-13.

With the signing, the Bears are expected to release Eddie Royal, as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes. Royal, who will turn 31 in May, has one year remaining on his contract, but the $5MM that he is due in 2017 contains no guarantees, so Chicago can clear the full $5MM from its salary cap by cutting him. Per Biggs, Royal’s contract will likely be terminated when he can pass a physical after undergoing surgery in late December to repair a turf toe issue.