Mike Hughes

NFL’s Fifth-Year Option Salaries For 2021

The NFL’s 2021 salary cap has been set at $182.5MM, marking the league’s first reduction in a decade. With that, the league has also ironed out the value of this year’s fifth-round option for 2018 first-round picks.

Here’s the full rundown, via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter):

1. Baker Mayfield, Browns, QB — $18.858MM (playing time)

2. Saquon Barkley, Giants, RB — $7.217MM (1x Pro Bowl)

3. Sam Darnold, Jets, QB — $18.858MM (playing time)

4. Denzel Ward, Browns, CB — $13.294MM (1x Pro Bowl)

5. Bradley Chubb, Broncos, LB — $12.716MM (1x Pro Bowl)

6. Quenton Nelson, Colts, G — $13.754MM (2x Pro Bowl)

7. Josh Allen, Bills, QB — $23.106MM (1x Pro Bowl)

8. Roquan Smith, Bears, LB — $9.735MM (playing time)

9. Mike McGlinchey, 49ers, OT — $10.88MM (playing time)

10. Josh Rosen, Cardinals, QB*

11. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers, S (drafted by Dolphins) — $10.612MM (2x Pro Bowl)

12. Vita Vea, Buccaneers, DT — $7.638MM

13. Daron Payne, Washington, DT — $8.529MM (playing time)

14. Marcus Davenport, Saints, DE — $9.553MM

15. Kolton Miller, Raiders, OT — $10.88MM (playing time)

16. Tremaine Edmunds, Bills, LB — $12.716MM (1x Pro Bowl)

17. Derwin James, Chargers, S — $9.052MM (1x Pro Bowl)

18. Jaire Alexander, Packers, CB — $13.294MM (1x Pro Bowl)

19. Leighton Vander Esch, Cowboys, LB — $9.145MM

20. Frank Ragnow, Lions, C — $12.657MM (1x Pro Bowl)

21. Billy Price, Bengals, C — $10.413MM

22. Rashaan Evans, Titans, LB — $9.735MM (playing time)

23. Isaiah Wynn, Patriots, OT — $10.413MM

24. D.J. Moore, Panthers, WR — $11.116MM (playing time)

25. Hayden Hurst, Falcons, TE (Drafted by Ravens) — $5.428MM

26. Calvin Ridley, Falcons, WR — $11.116MM (playing time)

27. Rashaad Penny, Seahawks, RB — $4.523MM

28., Steelers, S Terrell Edmunds — $6.753MM (playing time)

29. Taven Bryan, Jaguars, DT — $7.638MM

30. Mike Hughes, Vikings, CB — $12.643MM

31. Sony Michel, Patriots, RB — $4.523MM

32. Lamar Jackson, Ravens, QB — $23.106MM (1x Pro Bowl)

* Rosen was released from his original contract and, therefore, is not option-eligible 

As a refresher, the fifth-year option year is now fully guaranteed. In the past, it was guaranteed for injury only. The values are also dependent on certain performance metrics:

  • Two-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternate Pro Bowlers) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag.
  • One-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag.
  • Players who achieve any of the following will get the average of the 3rd-20th highest salaries at their position:
    • 75%+ snaps in two of their first three seasons
    • 75%+ average across all three seasons
    • 50%+ in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will get the average of the 3rd-25th top salaries at their position.

Vikings Place CB Mike Hughes On IR

The Vikings will enter their Aaron Rodgers rematch decimated at cornerback. They placed Mike Hughes on IR Friday, and ESPN.com’s Courtney Cronin reports the neck injury Hughes sustained in Week 6 has the rest of his season in doubt.

Neck trouble would be an automatic concern regardless of circumstances, but Hughes has a history with neck issues. He landed on IR before Minnesota’s playoff slate last season, and a belated report indicated the former first-round pick suffered broken vertebra in his neck. Hughes recovered in time for this season, but Friday’s report is certainly troubling for his NFL future.

Hughes has not been able to stay healthy as a pro. An ACL tear ended his 2018 rookie season after six games. He played 14 last season but has missed time this year. With 2018 first-round picks being the first to have fully guaranteed fifth-year options, it now appears a certainty the Vikings will pass on Hughes’ come May.

The Vikings did, however, make Hughes a key piece of their cornerback puzzle this offseason. They let Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander defect to the Bengals, doing so after cutting former No. 1 corner Xavier Rhodes. Minnesota drafted corners Jeff Gladney and Cameron Dantzler in Rounds 1 and 3, respectively, this year.

Dantzler, however, resides on the Vikings’ reserve/COVID-19 list. He will miss Sunday’s Packers tilt, leaving Gladney as the only healthy corner from the Vikes’ regular rotation. Holton Hill is also out with a foot injury.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings Promote S George Iloka

George Iloka is on track to see game action for the first time since the 2018 season finale. The Vikings promoted the veteran safety from their practice squad.

Minnesota added Iloka late this summer, doing so after hosting him twice. Iloka brings extensive experience for a practice squad player, joining a few players in that regard in this historically unusual season, and will resume his career with the team for which he last played. Iloka played 16 games for the 2018 Vikings but was out of football last season.

The Vikings are off to a brutal start, having been unable to compete with the Packers and Colts. Their defense ranks 20th in DVOA. Minnesota lost several starters from recent years — Trae Waynes, Xavier Rhodes, Mackensie Alexander, Linval Joseph, Everson Griffen — and is also down cornerbacks Mike Hughes and Cameron Dantzler for its Week 3 game against Tennessee. Danielle Hunter also remains on IR, with Anthony Barr out for the season. Iloka will return to a defense featuring few familiar faces.

The team, however, still employs top-tier safety tandem Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris. Iloka adds 99 games’ (and 79 starts’) worth of experience to the Vikings’ safety group. He has played under Mike Zimmer in four his seven seasons, doing so with the Bengals and Vikings.

To help out at corner, the Vikings are also promoting Mark Fields.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings CB Mike Hughes Suffered Broken Vertebra In Neck

Mike Hughes‘ 2020 season ended with him being placed on the injured reserve with a neck injury. We now have more details, as Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune reports that the Vikings cornerback suffered a broken vertebra in his neck.

Fortunately, it sounds like the 23-year-old will return to full health, as head coach Mike Zimmer told reporters that Hughes is “going to be fine.” Further, Zimmer hinted that the 2018 first-rounder (along with Holton Hill and Kris Boyd) could lead the team’s cornerbacks corps in 2020.

“Hughes and Hill and Boyd, they have the ability to do it,” Zimmer said. “Like, during the season I gave them an assignment that I wanted them to do every single day and they did it. That tells me that they want to do it. I think that’s half the battle.”

Minnesota may have to rely on these youngsters next season. As Goessling notes, cornerbacks Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander (along with safety Anthony Harris) are set to hit free agency. Further, cornerback Xavier Rhodes could find himself as a cap casualty.

Hughes was limited to only six games as a rookie thanks to a torn ACL, but he returned to appear in 14 games (three starts) in 2019. During his sophomore campaign, the defensive back compiled 45 tackles, nine passes defended, one interception, and two forced fumbles.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings Place Mike Hughes On IR

The Vikings will head into the playoffs without the services of Mike Hughes. On Friday, the Vikes placed the cornerback on injured reserve with a neck injury.

Hughes, a 2018 first-round pick, figured to see an increased role against the Saints in the Wild Card round as Mackensie Alexander nurses a knee injury. Now, the Vikings are without both corners for the big game on Sunday.

Hughes played in 14 games (three starts) in 2019, logging one interception, two forced fumbles, and 43 total tackles. The Vikings already had their work cut out for them with Michael Thomas & Co., but things are looking extra bleak for them at this moment.

To fill in at cornerback, the Vikings re-signed old friend Marcus Sherels. Sherels, a Minnesota native, spent nine straight seasons with the Vikings. From 2011-18, Sherels returned 231 punts for 2,447 yards (10.6 average) and five touchdowns, setting franchise records in all three categories.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 12/23/19

Passing along some notable names from today’s workout circuit:

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Seattle Seahawks

Jaguars Reach 53-Man Limit

The Jaguars got down to 53. Here’s how:

Waived or released:

OL Ka’John Armstrong
WR Tyre Brady
TE Donnie Ernsberger
CB Tae Hayes
WR Quadree Henderson
RB Elijah Hood
DL Mike Hughes
DL Lyndon Johnson
TE Charles Jones
WR Raphael Leonard
WR Tre McBride
QB Alex McGough
CB Quenton Meeks
TE Carson Meier
S Joshua Moon
CB Picasso Nelson
S C.J. Reavis
CB Saivion Smith
OL Bunchy Stallings
LB Connor Strachan
DL Kalani Vakameilalo
WR Michael Walker
CB Brandon Watson
DL Andrew Williams
TE Ethan Wolf

Waived/injured:

OL Donnell Greene
RB Devante Mays
OL KC McDermott
OL Leonard Wester

Placed on IR:

OL Ben Ijalana
WR Terrelle Pryor

NFI:
LB Jake Ryan

NFC Notes: Cowboys, Packers, Reed, Hughes

Cowboys Pro Bowl cornerback Byron Jones participated in his first practice of the offseason today after being activated from the physically unable to perform list. While the 26-year-old will be a welcome addition to the secondary, head coach Jason Garrett said the team will bring Jones along slowly.

“He’s going to slowly get back into it and just kind of see where he is,” Garrett said (via ESPN’s Todd Archer). “He’s been working really well on the side. It’s time for him to get going again, so he’ll be out there for part of practice.”

Meanwhile, offensive guard Zack Martin and offensive tackle Tyron Smith are not expected to practice this week, but the duo should be good to go for the regular season opener. The same goes for wideout Amari Cooper, who has been dealing with a heel injury.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFC…

  • Packers starting linebacker Oren Burks isn’t expected to miss an extended amount of time due to a pec injury, reports NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). The 24-year-old won’t require surgery and should be back this season, and there’s even optimism that he’ll be able to avoid the injured reserve. The 2018 third-rounder had 23 tackles during his rookie campaign.
  • Redskins coach Jay Gruden said he expects tight end Jordan Reed to be available for the season opener at Philadelphia (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s John Keim). Reed entered the concussion protocol after a hit in Thursday’s preseason win at Atlanta. “We’re quite confident that Jordan will be fine,” Gruden said. That’s good news for a team whose passing game revolves largely around Reed.
  • The Vikings have removed cornerback Mike Hughes from the PUP list, according to a team announcement. That’s big news for Minnesota, especially with supporting cornerback Holton Hill suspended for the first half of the season. The 2018 first-round pick appeared in six games (two starts) before tearing his ACL in October. He ultimately finished his rookie campaign having compiled 22 tackles, three passes defended, a pick-six, and a forced fumble.
  • The Cowboys worked out a pair of tight ends today in Tyrone Swoopes and Zach Conque, according to Calvin Watkins of the Dallas News (via Twitter). Swoopes spent the first two seasons of his career in Seattle, appearing in two games. The 24-year-old was let go by the team earlier this month. Conque, 25, has had stints with the Texans, Jets, Jaguars, and Colts since 2017. While the team’s depth chart at tight end is pretty much set, both Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz have dealt with recent injuries.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Vikings Work Out Morris Claiborne

The Vikings worked out Morris Claiborne on Friday, sources tell Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). Claiborne could provide the team with additional depth during a slightly rocky time for the secondary. 

Rising sophomore Mike Hughes, who suffered a torn ACL in 2018, opened up camp on the PUP list, leaving the team thin at cornerback. Furthermore, Holton Hill has been suspended for eight games (substance abuse and PEDs), so the Vikings are doing their due diligence.

Claiborne, 29, spent the past two seasons with the Jets and has played on one-year deals for the past three seasons. He hasn’t really excelled since his 2016 season with the Cowboys, when he graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 12 ranked corner in a limited sample of seven games. Last year, Claiborne graded out as just the No. 75 CB in the NFL out of 112 qualified players, per PFF.

The Vikings also kicked the tires on veteran Orlando Scandrick this week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: XFL, Giants, Vikings

The AAF may have imploded in spectacular fashion, but that doesn’t mean people are done taking cracks at spring football leagues. Vince McMahon’s XFL is gearing up to start play early next year, and they’ve already made some big hires. They’re now moving on to filling out the rosters, and some recognizable names are resurfacing. We heard a couple days ago that Landry Jones, Aaron Ripkowski, and Christine Michael would be auditioning, and now we have even more names to report. Trevone Boykin, Lance Dunbar, Kony Ealy, and Ahmad Dixon were at a showcase yesterday as well as a handful of other ex-NFLers, per Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link).

According to a tweet from Optimum Scouting’s Erik Galko, former Seahawks receiver Kasen Williams will also be among those trying out. Finally, a tweet posted by the XFL Houston account shows that NFL veterans Will Hill and Robert Meachem also participated in a camp. Meachem is 34 and last played in the NFL with the Saints back in 2014, so this would be quite the comeback. While the XFL will still be facing an uphill battle, they do appear to be in better position than the AAF. McMahon seems fully invested in the league, and the TV deal the league has is far superior. It’ll be interesting to see how it pans out.

Here’s more from around the football universe:

  • Speaking of the XFL, one of their big hires was when they named Daryl “Moose” Johnston the director of player personnel for their Dallas franchise. Johnston was the GM of the AAF’s San Antonio Commanders, so he has experience in this type of league. Most players in the AAF and XFL were looking to get back to the NFL, and it’s no different for coaches and execs. Johnston wants to be an NFL GM one day, per Machota. Johnston spent all 11 years of his pro career with the Cowboys as a fullback, winning three Super Bowls with the team. He made the Pro Bowl twice and has done a lot of broadcasting work for FOX since retiring.
  • Evan Engram missed the Giants’ recent minicamp, which raised some eyebrows. But thankfully he’s not dealing with anything serious, as Engram said today at Landon Collins‘ charity softball game that the Giants were just being “cautious” by holding him out, per Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com (Twitter link). He also writes there’s “nothing lingering from last season.” Engram had a breakout rookie season in 2017, but took a step back last year while dealing with injuries. Hamstring and knee injuries limited Engram to just 11 games last year, but he finished strong down the stretch. In each of his last four games he finished with at least 75 yards, so he should be poised for a bounce back 2019 campaign.
  • 2018 first round pick Mike Hughes got off to a solid start last year. The Vikings cornerback had a pick-six in the first game of his career, but his rookie season ended in devastating fashion. The UCF product had his season ended by a torn ACL after just six games, and has been rehabbing ever since. Things appear to be going well, but the team is being cautious with him. To that end, Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer recently said that he wouldn’t get any practice in until training camp at the earliest, per Andrew Kramer of the Star Tribune. We heard recently the Vikings were listening to trade offers for both Trae Waynes and Xavier Rhodes, which would seem to indicate they’re optimistic about Hughes’ recovery.