Kenyan Drake

Status Of All 15 Tagged Players Prior to July 15 Extension Deadline

The clock is ticking for tagged players to sign extensions with their teams, per the league calendar.

July 15: At 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for any club that designated a Franchise Player to sign such player to a multiyear contract or extension. After this date, the player may sign only a one-year contract with his prior club for the 2020 season, and such contract cannot be extended until after the club’s last regular season game.

With less than nine days remaining until the deadline, let’s take a look at where each of the 15 tagged players stand.

Already Signed Tag

*Received transition tag (vs. franchise tag)

Haven’t Signed Tag, Won’t Hold Out

Haven’t Signed Tag, Threatening Hold Out

Cardinals Discussing Deals With DeAndre Hopkins, Kenyan Drake

Although DeAndre Hopkins and Kenyan Drake are in different contractual situations, both players are on the Cardinals’ agenda this offseason. More developments on this front emerged Wednesday.

Cards GM Steve Keim said he has engaged in discussions with the agents for both of the team’s recently acquired skill-position players. This follows a report that indicated he had spoken directly with Hopkins about his contract, which runs through 2022.

Both those guys are guys we’d like to have long-term,” Keim said, via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com. “Again, if it makes our organization better and the opportunity arises, we will certainly do that. I’ve had communication with both their agents. We’ll continue to pound away. The draft is the most important part right now, but we will continue to have ongoing talks with both of those players’ agents.”

Drake signed his $8.5MM transition tender last month and now has a firm grip on the Cardinals’ starting running back job after the Hopkins trade included David Johnson. The Cardinals just freed themselves from what became an albatross contract, with Johnson struggling to deliver on the $13MM-per-year deal he signed in 2018.

Bill O’Brien confirmed Hopkins wanted a raise. While Nuk’s deal topped every other receiver’s when he signed it in 2017, the $16.2MM-AAV pact is now barely inside the top 10 among receivers. Teams rarely commit to new contracts for players signed for three more seasons, but the Cardinals trading for Hopkins may make this a special circumstance. With Larry Fitzgerald on a year-to-year track, Hopkins now profiles as Arizona’s No. 1 long-term target. The three-time All-Pro will surely pursue a deal that approaches Julio Jones‘ $22MM-AAV accord.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals RB Kenyan Drake Signs Tender Offer

Kenyan Drake is officially heading back to Arizona. The running back has signed his tender offer, per sports agency SportsTrust Advisors on Twitter.

We learned earlier this week that the Cardinals were slapping Drake with the transition tag. That move will ultimately cost the team around $8.5MM next season.

Of course, a whole lot has changed in Arizona since that news came out. The front office traded Drake’s competition, David Johnson, to the Texans, acquiring wideout DeAndre Hopkins in the deal. As a result, Drake will be a major contributor on one of the NFL’s up-and-coming offenses.

The team’s commitment to Drake isn’t a huge surprise following his 2019 performance. Following three-plus underwhelming seasons in Miami, the running back was dealt to Arizona midseason for a conditional sixth-rounder. The 26-year-old proceeded to have the best eight-game stretch of his career to finish out the campaign. Drake ran for 643 yards on 123 carries (good for a 5.2-yard average), adding eight touchdowns along the way. He also hauled in 28 receptions for 171 yards.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Use Transition Tag On Kenyan Drake

With less than an hour before the franchise-transition tag deadline, we have our first transition tag of this year’s cycle. The Cardinals will use the transition tag on Kenyan Drake, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

The NFL released its tag numbers, and the Cardinals will make by far the lowest payment of the teams that used them this year. The Drake transition tag will cost just $8.5MM. Arizona still has David Johnson on its roster on a $13MM-AAV deal. While Drake loomed as a possible tag candidate, the Cards are set to devote extensive funds to their running back spot.

While the Cardinals are the first team to deploy a transition tag this year, 12 others used their franchise tags. This will keep the former Dolphins starter off the market, but Drake can sign offer sheets with other teams. The Cardinals would not any compensation if they fail to match an offer another team submits to Drake.

Steve Keim said the Cards will not release Johnson, with a release not doing anything to help the team in the way of cap savings. It would tag Arizona with $16MM-plus in dead money. Drake supplanted Johnson as the Cards’ starter last season and was the more effective back down the stretch.

More than two years younger than Johnson, Drake, 26, averaged 5.2 yards per carry with the Cardinals after the team traded for him last season. The Dolphins used him as a part-time starter in 2018, with Frank Gore playing a major role in Miami’s backfield that season. Drake, though, profiles as a potentially strong backfield investment. He has only logged 456 carries in his career and and has totaled 822 receiving yards in the past two years.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC West Rumors: Drake, Olsen, Rams

This running back market could feature Derrick Henry and Melvin Gordon, but given how most of the high-end running back contracts of recent years have not helped teams, the prices for the free agent backs might be team-friendly.

Nevertheless, Kenyan Drake is hoping to parlay his Cardinals work into a lucrative deal. The former Dolphins starter-turned-trade chip is expected to target $8-$10MM per year, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. That would come in south of the Ezekiel ElliottTodd GurleyLe’Veon BellDavid Johnson top tier but north of the rest of the field. Drake is a candidate to stay in Arizona, however, despite Johnson’s presence.

The Cardinals want to re-sign their recent trade acquisition, and the prospect of a franchise tag has surfaced. That $10MM-plus figure entering the equation would be a serious boon for Drake’s value.

Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • ESPN’s Brady Henderson has details on Greg Olsen‘s one-year, $7MM deal with the Seahawks (Twitter link). The veteran tight end will earn a $3.75MM signing bonus with a $1.75MM base salary, leading to $5.5MM in guaranteed money. Olsen also has an extra $1.5MM in per-game roster bonuses.
  • The Rams will be without offensive guard Joseph Noteboom and center Brian Allen until the start of training camp, according to Rich Hammond of The Athletic. The fact that the team won’t have a pair of starters for much of the offseason program could influence the front office’s decision to retain impending free agent Austin Blythe and potential trade candidate Rob Havenstein.
  • We learned earlier today that despite having around only $13MM in cap space, the 49ers are motivated to keep Arik Armstead in the fold.

Ben Levine contributed to this post.

Cardinals GM Steve Keim On Drake, Fitzgerald, Offseason

It was somewhat surprising when the Cardinals traded for Kenyan Drake in advance of this year’s deadline, given that Arizona was clearly not going to make a postseason run and given that Drake is eligible for unrestricted free agency in March. But GM Steve Keim saw something he liked in the former Dolphins RB and wanted to secure exclusive negotiating rights with him.

Drake has not disappointed, averaging 4.8 yards-per-carry in his six games in Arizona to go along with five scores and 22 receptions for 130 yards. Keim touched on Drake’s future with the team and several other key issues facing the Cardinals this offseason, including Larry Fitzgerald‘s future, in an interview with Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com.

On the Drake trade:

“The mindset of going into the trade, it wasn’t done because we had two backs that were injured and was sort of a stop-gap situation. If that was a the case, my mindset was I would’ve signed a guy off the street. We truly thought this was the type of player Kenyan Drake was. That’s why we made trade and hope this was the kind of success he would have.”

On his hopes of re-signing Drake, and when he might try to do it:

“As far as waiting until after the season (to re-sign Drake), that’s not necessarily the thing either. I would certainly love to have Kenyan Drake back. I think he fits in this offense and he really has given us a spark in many ways.”

On Fitzgerald’s future (for Fitzgerald’s thoughts, see here):

“We would love to have him back. We all know what he brings to the organization. But the one thing you want to do with a player like him is give him the respect he deserves. Allow him to make that decision on his own. But I will say this. This is maybe the most fun I’ve seen him have in the last four years. He’s playing at a high level. I know he likes [head coach] Kliff [Kingsbury] and I know he likes this offense. Doesn’t hurt to have a guy (in quarterback Kyler Murray) who can spin it to him like this too.”

Keim said he will look to upgrade the Cardinals’ O-line this offseason, though he thinks the team’s high sack total is partly due to Murray’s style of play:

“I think Kyler would be the first to tell you there have been quite a few sacks given up that are on him. There has been times when I thought our offensive line has given him the type of protection he’s needed.”

On Murray himself:

“[T]here is no doubt in my mind we hit it through the roof. It’s one thing to be ultra-talented, but the guys who are the great ones, just when everybody thinks they have worked hard and done enough, those guys go above and beyond. There are up late night watching film, trying to find little tells that people don’t see. Just so the speed of the game slows down.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins To Trade Kenyan Drake To Cardinals

The Cardinals have reached agreement on a trade to acquire Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. In the deal, the Dolphins will acquire a conditional sixth-round pick in 2020 that can become a fifth-rounder. 

Drake will help to reinforce a Cardinals RB group that badly needs the support. Star David Johnson is expected to miss this week’s game due to an ankle injury and Chase Edmonds, a key fill-in, suffered a hamstring injury of his own over the weekend. Drake now figures to see significant work against the 49ers on Thursday night.

Drake gives the Cardinals a clear boost in the near term, but he does not necessarily give them a building block for 2020 and beyond. He’ll be a free agent after the season, so they’ll have some work to do if Drake impresses in the second half of the season. For the here and now: the Cardinals seem to believe in their roster and like their chances of climbing out of a 3-4-1 hole.

The Dolphins, meanwhile, seem to be keeping their eyes on the prize – a top draft pick in 2020. With no hope of contending this year, they’ve bolstered their draft capital and unloaded a player who was unlikely to suit up again in Miami.

Drake did not travel with the Dolphins for tonight’s game against the Steelers, a move that foretold a Drake deal. The Lions and Titans were linked to Drake, but the Cardinals seem to have wanted him more.

Miami’s bottom-tier offensive line has struggled this season, and Drake is averaging a career-low 3.7 yards per carry. However, the former third-round pick posted 4.8- and 4.5-yard YPC averages in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Drake, 25, has not rushed for 50 yards in a game this season, but he surpassed 1,000 yards from scrimmage in a part-time role last year and has just 333 career carries under his belt.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Drake, Eagles, Giants, Winston

The Lions were dealt a tough blow when they lost Kerryon Johnson to a knee injury, and they’re apparently planning on replacing him with outside help. Detroit has been “aggressively scouring the running back market” for potential trades, according to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Kenyan Drake is expected to be dealt by Miami in the next day or so, and we’ve already heard the Lions were interested. Robinson points out that Dolphins coach Brian Flores has a longstanding relationship with Lions coach Matt Patricia, which could help facilitate a deal. While the Lions need a running back and Drake is on the move, don’t necessarily bank on him landing in Detroit. It “didn’t sound like the Lions were close to anything on the trade front,” after speaking with a source, tweets Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • There are a few teams looking for offensive tackle help, most openly the Browns. We’ve hear Eagles backup Halapoulivaati Vaitai could be an option, and Robinson tweets that he continues to hear that Vaitai is the “most available” tackle on the market. He also notes that Vaitai had “several teams” interested in him during the preseason. Vaitai started 16 games between 2016 and 2017 and is entering the final year of his contract, so it makes sense why Philly would try and get something for him.
  • Conversely, teams might have a harder time prying Nate Solder away. We’ve heard the Browns are interested in the Giants’ left tackle, but Robinson notes in the same tweet that he’ll be a “tougher get” since the Giants are “reticent” to shakeup Daniel Jones‘ offensive line too much. The former Patriot hasn’t lived up to his massive contract, but it looks like New York will hang onto him through the end of the season.
  • Marcus Mariota has already been benched by the Titans, and it sounds like his 2015 draft-classmate Jameis Winston is going to be able to avoid a similar fate. Winston had another turnover-plagued game during the Buccaneers’ Week 8 loss, but Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times writes that the Bucs’ plan is to give Winston the rest of the season to make his case. Working in Winston’s favor is that unlike Mariota, he doesn’t have an experienced backup like Ryan Tannehill breathing down his neck. Winston’s current backup, Ryan Griffin, has never taken a regular season snap.
  • The Texans lost starting running back Lamar Miller to a torn ACL right before the start of the season, and ended up trading for running back Carlos Hyde. Although many thought Houston would be actively looking for running back help after Miller went down it was apparently the Chiefs who initiated the Hyde trade, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. The Chiefs inked Hyde to a one-year, $2.8MM deal back in March, but clearly regretted it and didn’t want him on the team any longer. They landed offensive tackle Martinas Rankin in return.

Dolphins Nearing Kenyan Drake Trade

The Dolphins are making progress on a trade involving RB Kenyan Drake, as Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network tweets. Drake will not travel with the team to Pittsburgh for Monday’s game against the Steelers, which is another sign that a trade is imminent. Indeed, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald says the Dolphins expect to trade Drake before Tuesday’s deadline (Twitter link).

We heard several days ago that the Lions and Titans, among other clubs, have expressed interest in Drake. Miami is said to be looking for at least a fourth-round pick in exchange for the Alabama product, but earlier reports indicated that the best offer the Fins had received to date was a conditional sixth-rounder. But the fact that trade talks are progressing suggests that at least one team is getting closer to meeting Miami’s asking price.

Miami’s bottom-tier offensive line has struggled this season, and Drake is averaging a career-low 3.7 yards per carry. However, the former third-round pick posted 4.8- and 4.5-yard YPC averages in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Drake, 25, has not rushed for 50 yards in a game this season, but he surpassed 1,000 yards from scrimmage in a part-time role last year and has just 333 career carries under his belt. He is in the last year of his rookie contract.

In addition to Drake, clubs in need of a running back could also turn to the Seahawks’ Rashaad Penny or the Chargers’ Melvin Gordon.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions, Titans Interested In Kenyan Drake

Days away from the trade deadline, interest in Kenyan Drake has picked up. The Lions and Titans are two known suitors for the Dolphins’ contract-year running back, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. “Several” teams have shown interest, however.

But Miami has not seen a strong offer yet, with Jackson adding the team wants at least a fourth-round pick for Drake. The best known proposal the Dolphins have received was a conditional sixth-round selection, per Jackson, with another team offering an undisclosed late 2021 choice.

The Dolphins received a fourth-rounder for Jay Ajayi before the 2017 deadline, but Drake’s value has undoubtedly plummeted because of the latest Dolphin edition’s status. Miami’s bottom-tier offensive line has struggled this season, and Drake is averaging a career-low 3.7 yards per carry. The former third-round pick posted 4.8- and 4.5-yard averages in 2017 and ’18, respectively. Drake, 25, has not rushed for 50 yards in a game this season, but he surpassed 1,000 yards from scrimmage in a part-time role last year and has just 333 carries under his belt.

Detroit jumps out as a potential destination. Having lost Kerryon Johnson to another injury, the Lions are down to sixth-round rookie Ty Johnson as their starter. Not out of contention, Detroit has Johnson, passing-down back J.D. McKissic and ex-Packers and Giants backups Tra Carson and Paul Perkins, respectively. This would make sense for Drake, and the Dolphins may be willing to gamble on a better offer coming early next week.

The Titans boast a stronger backfield, with Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis in the second year of their partnership. It’s less clear where Drake would fit in with Tennessee, which has Henry in a contract year as well. Both of those backs are healthy, set to play alongside ex-Dolphins starter Ryan Tannehill on Sunday.

Extension talks having stalled, and the Dolphins being in full-scale rebuilding mode, led to Drake becoming available. He is not especially interested in a long-term Dolphins pact, per Jackson. It still appears likely Miami will move him before Tuesday afternoon’s deadline. The Dolphins have used Mark Walton more often this season, and banking on a late-round compensatory pick may not be realistic for a team that is expected to be active on the 2020 free agent market.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.