Nick Vigil is joining the Vikings. NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reports (via Twitter) that the free agent linebacker is signing with Minnesota. It will be a one-year deal that includes $1MM in guaranteed money. Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets that the deal is worth $1.75MM, and that total could increase to as much as $2.3MM.
The 2016 third-round pick out of Utah State spent the first four seasons of his career with the Bengals, including a 2019 campaign where he started 16 games and compiled a career-high 111 tackles. Vigil had to settle for a one-year deal with the Chargers last offseason, and he also had to settle into more of a backup role with his new team. The 27-year-old ultimately started only two of his 15 games in 2020, finishing with 50 tackles and a pair of sacks.
In Minnesota, Vigil will be reunited with senior defensive assistant PaulGuenther; the veteran coach was the Bengals defensive coordinator during Vigil’s first two seasons in the NFL. This is the second notable linebacker move the Vikings have made today; the team also made major adjustments to Anthony Barr‘s contract.
March 28th, 2020 at 6:47pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
A few more recent contract figures to pass along:
Devin Funchess, WR (Packers): One year, $2.5MM. The $2.5MM is a far cry from the one-year, $10MM deal he got from the Colts last offseason. He got a $1MM signing bonus, $1.2MM base salary, and an extra couple hundred thousand in workout and roster bonuses. He has another $3.75MM in incentives available (via Tom Pelissero of NFL Network).
Vonn Bell, S (Bengals): Three years, $18MM. Bell got a $3MM signing bonus, with a $3MM base salary in 2020 and $1MM reporting bonus. He has base salaries of $4.1MM and $6.1MM in 2021 and 2022 respectively, with $400K in roster and workout bonuses in each of those years (via Albert Breer of SI.com).
Nick Vigil, LB (Chargers): One year, $2.4MM. Vigil had to settle for a prove-it deal despite starting 16 games for the Bengals last year. He got a $500K signing bonus, $1.9MM base salary, and can earn an additional $600K in playing-time incentives.
The Chargers have agreed to sign free agent LB Nick Vigil, per NFL Insider Adam Caplan (via Twitter). Ben Baby of ESPN.com tweets that it’s a one-year deal. Vigil was selected by the Bengals in the third round of the 2016 draft and spent the first four years of his career with Cincinnati.
The Utah State turned in a productive platform year in 2019, starting in all 16 games and recording 111 tackles while playing virtually all of the Bengals’ defensive snaps. Advanced metrics were not overly fond of his work, ranking him as the 42nd-best linebacker out of 58 players who played in at least half of his team’s snaps.
But Vigil will not turn 27 until August, and a short-term pact on a fairly young ‘backer with plenty of starting experience and tackling ability makes sense for the Chargers. Indeed, the division-rival Raiders were said to be interested in Vigil before filling their LB needs elsewhere.
Everyone has known for a while now that when Patrick Mahomes signs his first contract extension, it’s going to involve some eye-popping numbers. The Chiefs are expected to pursue an extension sometime after the draft, and there has been a lot of chatter about Mahomes becoming the first player to eclipse $40MM in annual salary. While he wouldn’t get into specifics about negotiations, Mahomes made it clear in a recent interview with Terez Paylor of Yahoo Sports that he’s in Kansas City for the long haul. “I want to make sure I do it the smart way and do it the right way, and so I don’t know exactly which way that is, yet. I know that my people and the Chiefs’ people will talk about it, and will do it at the right time and for the betterment for the team. But I’m excited to be a Kansas City Chief for a very long time, and I know that’s going to be handled the right way because of the people the Kansas City Chiefs have in their organization,” he explained.
There has been some speculation the Chiefs will try to get him on somewhat of a team-friendly deal in order to spread their cap resources around, similarly to what the Patriots have done with Tom Brady. Mahomes is going to get paid big-time either way, but he did seem to indicate that keeping their core together is a priority for him. “Whichever way possible, we’re going to do it and we’re gonna try to keep as many people on this team as we possibly can that won the Super Bowl this year so we can run it back again next year,” he said.
Here’s more from the AFC West:
Speaking of the Chiefs, they made a couple of assistant coaching moves today. Quarterbacks coach Mike Kafka has been given the additional title of passing game coordinator, and the team hired Andy Hill as a special teams assistant. The Eagles were interested in Kafka for their offensive coordinator vacancy, but Kansas City was ultimately able to retain him. All the way back in October we heard that Kafka was well-respected in the league and considered by some to be a future head coach. The former backup quarterback is the latest in a long line of Andy Reid assistants to get buzz.
The Broncos have a crowded backfield, but it’s about to get a little thinner. Both Devontae Booker and Theo Riddick will be allowed to walk in free agency, sources told Mike Klis of Denver 9 News (Twitter link). Booker was drafted by Denver in the fourth-round back in 2016, and had an up and down career with the team. He was the team’s starter for some of his rookie season, and he often played a big role on passing downs. At the same time, he was often relegated to the bench for extended stretches. 27 now, it’ll be interesting to see how his market develops. Riddick is another passing-downs specialist who signed with Denver this past summer after a productive six-year run with the Lions. He ended up missing the entire season with a shoulder injury, although Klis notes that he is healthy now and has been medically cleared. He’s 28 now, and will likely have a tough time finding much guaranteed money coming off the injury.
The Raiders are believed to be interested in signing linebacker Nick Vigil, sources told Adam Caplan of Sirius XM NFL Radio and Insidethebirds.com. Vigil, an impending free agent, spent the first four years of his career with the Bengals. He started all 16 games for Cincy this past season, racking up 111 tackles and five passes defended. Vigil will likely be seeking a decent-sized contract, and he should have a relatively strong market. Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther coached Vigil in Cincinnati, so there’s a lot of familiarity between the two sides.
January 13th, 2019 at 1:42pm CST by Dallas Robinson
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:
October 15th, 2018 at 12:06pm CST by Dallas Robinson
Bengals linebacker Nick Vigil suffered a sprained MCL against the Steelers on Sunday and will be sidelined for roughly a month, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).
Vigil, a third-round pick in 2016, started 11 games for the Bengals in 2017 before ankle and back injuries landed him on injured reserve. His most recent health issue doesn’t figure to shelve him for the season, but it does sound like Cincinnati will be without one its starters for the next four weeks, during which the club will face the Chiefs, Buccaneers, and Saints with a bye mixed in during Week 9.
With Vigil out, the Bengals deployed backup Vincent Rey in his place against Pittsburgh. Rey figures to see the bulk of playing time with Vigil on the mend, and the 118-game veteran boasts plenty of experience on fill-in duty. Other linebackers such as Jordan Evans, Hardy Nickerson, and rookie Malik Jefferson (who has thus far played only special teams) could see more snaps alongside starters Vontaze Burfict and Preston Brown.
Vigil had been in the midst of his best season as a pro, as Pro Football Focus currently ranks him as the NFL’s 22nd-best linebacker. In six games, Vigil had managed 51 tackles plus two passes defensed.
The old adage that defense wins championships may or may not be true, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a title-winning team that didn’t build heavily through the draft. Rookie classes, naturally, are evaluated on the perceived upside of the NFL newcomers, but which rookies are ready to contribute right out of the gate? And, how do they fit in with their new team schematically?
To help us forecast the immediate future of these NFL neophytes, we enlisted the help of draft guru Dave-Te Thomas who has served as a scouting personnel consultant to NFL teams for multiple decades.
Today, we continue PFR’s Impact Rookie series with his insight on the Cincinnati Bengals’ draft class:
The Bengals are soon to reap the benefits from another solid draft, as the first four selections in 2016 all appear to be of starting quality. Their cache from the 2015 draft saw all ten of those selections play for the team last year. They were so impressed with one of their late round finds, that the team let go several key pieces in their secondary to bring fresh legs into the fold. Now, all seven of their draft picks in 2016 have the same opportunity as the previous draft class to claim roster spots.
The Bengals let Leon Hall walk in order to keep Adam Jones, as the right cornerback signed a three-year deal that keeps him in the fold until 2019. The team will make a strong effort to keep Dre Kirkpatrick around as the left cornerback, but he is a free agent after the season and might be in line for a big deal if he can improve upon his 2015 performance.
In 2015, the Bengals covered their potential loss of Andre Smith by drafting two tackles. This year, the Bengals tapped William Jackson III as insurance against Kirkpatrick’s possible departure. If Kirkpatrick goes, then Jackson and 2014 first-round pick Darqueze Dennard will be counted upon to lead the secondary in 2017 and beyond.
Jackson was considered a “lockdown corner” for the Houston Cougars after he appeared in thirteen games and finished second in the American Athletic Conference with ten pass breakups in 2014. He also picked off two passes and tallied 37 tackles. Last season, the All-American led the nation and set a Houston single-season record with 23 pass deflections. He also led the nation in passes defended with 28, finishing 20th with five interceptions. He concluded his career ranked third on the UH career passes broken up chart with 40, despite only playing three seasons.
Some other “good news” numbers include Jackson recording six turnovers and coming up with 22 third-down stops. On the “bad news” scale, while he defended so many passes, it could be due to quarterbacks constantly throwing into his area. The Cougar was targeted 93 times in 2016, allowing 41 receptions (44.09%) for 460 yards, an average of 11.22 yards per grab, with receivers totaling seven big plays (20 yards or longer) and twenty first downs vs. the defender, reaching the end zone three times. In run support, he made just five tackles.
Jackson is certainly not going to impress you with being a great physical presence on the field, but he does demonstrate excellent speed (4.37 in the 40-yard dash) and jump- ball timing. He is very consistent in being “getting into the face” of a receiver. He opens his hips well when asked to handle switch-offs on deep patterns and moves well in space, but he certainly lacks any sort of punch and physicality when required to deliver press coverage (recorded ten reps in the 225-pound bench press drill). His leaping ability helps him get to most balls though and he always seems to get his hands on the pigskin, even when he isn’t in great position.
Jackson fails to sink his hips low enough or explode into his hits when asked to wrap and tackle in run support. Still, as a pass defender, his timing is impeccable, evident by his nation-leading 28 passes defended that included five interceptions in 2015.
Second Round – Tyler Boyd, WR (Pittsburgh, No. 55 overall)
If not for the “double whammy” losses in the secondary, perhaps the Bengals would have used their first round selection to take a wide receiver. All signs pointed to Cincinnati going that route, especially after they lost valuable A.J. Green wingman Marvin Jones in free agency. Jones accounted for 65 receptions, including thirteen for twenty yards or longer, but scored just four times. The team also saw Mohamed Sanu bolt out the door into the free agent market, but felt they could afford to lose a player that failed to score last year and averaged 9.9 yards on 33 grabs. The problem is, take those two away from the equation, along with Green’s performance, and the rest of the wide receiver unit accounted for three catches and 74 yards last season.
Cincinnati had an effective, yet ho-hum passing attack that ranked No. 15 in the nation with an average of 245.2 yards per game, but Andy Dalton kept mistakes to a minimum, as only three teams in the league threw more interceptions than the Bengals (nine). If a receiver was their first round target, the war room had to let out a few “growls” as they saw three receivers go back-to-back-to-back right in front of them before selecting Jackson instead with the 24th choice. The Texans took the speedy William Fuller out of Notre Dame at No. 21, followed by the Redskins snatching up Josh Doctson at No. 22. Then, the Vikings decided to take a physical pass catcher in Laquon Treadwell at No. 23 rather than the safety that they needed.
Perhaps it is fitting that for a team looking for a tough as nails receiver, they found one in a Steel City, where the Pitt’s Tyler Boyd had not only rewritten all the school career receiving records by Larry Fitzgerald, but has often been compared to that city’s other “favorite son,” Hines Ward. Boyd was the best receiver that the ACC featured during the last two seasons, even though he did not exactly set the field ablaze, as most of his receptions were under ten yards. Perhaps his average yards gained after the catch was the result of overuse in 2015. Boyd was suspended for the season opener, but still pulled in 91 passes for a 10.2-yard average and six scores. But he also had 40 carries for an 8.7 yard average, returned eight punts and averaged 23.4 yards on eleven kickoff returns.
Boyd has a knack for catching waist-high passes without breaking stride. He does a good job of tracking the ball downfield and can haul in over-the- shoulder catches with ease. He times his jumps fairly well and shows above-average body control in the air, extending his arms properly to snatch the ball out of the air when going up for jump balls. He explodes off the line and has the second gear to run past cornerbacks when he doesn’t get slowed down at the line of scrimmage.
The former Pitt wide-out is not a sudden mover (1.63 in the 10-yard dash), but shows good change of direction, body control and the ability to adjust on the move, thanks to above average hand/eye coordination. He is the type of player who can fool a scouting analysis, as he normally outplays his ability. He lacks explosion, but runs with a long, fluid stride and has the change-of- direction agility to become a threat with the ball in his hands. He won’t win a track meet, but his stride generates decent quickness that compensates for a lack of blazing speed. He is a physical athlete with good strength for this position and is a very dangerous producer turning the corner on reverses out of the backfield.
Route running is what Boyd does best. He is a savvy performer with the lateral agility to take slants or crosses and generate separation, especially when he sinks his hips. He has a much better lateral burst working in the short area, but can get caught from behind. He does a nice job of sticking his feet in the ground and dropping his weight to get in and out of his cuts, but can’t be considered a special open field runner. He runs good routes and looks polished, as he can leverage, plant and cut, but could stand to improve his separation burst.
Folks in Cincinnati, you are going to fall in love with this kid, but bring a fire extinguisher to the game – as he plays under that old adage – like his hair is on fire. The coaches also know they might have gotten the steal of the draft and the best part about his game is, he can play anywhere in the second level. The signing of Cleveland castoff Karlos Dansby to replace 2015 starter Emmanuel Lamur might be a one-and-done deal in 2016. First, the former Brown is more suited for the inside, and might face a challenge from Vincent Rey for strong-side outside duties.
Middle linebacker Rey Maualuga has had an up-and-down career, but he’s on the books for two more years at $5MM per, leaving Rey and Nick Vigil to battle for playing time when the former USC star needs a breather. At least, that is the current game plan. When you see that their other starter, Vontaze Burfict is one step closer to getting the commissioner to come down on him for his dirty play tactics, it is wise to have a versatile player like Vigil ready to step into any situation.
Vigil has above average agility, body control and balance. He shows very good explosion (4.62 in the 40-yard dash) and acceleration, quick feet and fluid change of direction skills. He is very flexible, displaying ease of movement working his way down the line. He has excellent field instincts and despite playing in three different defensive schemes during his time at Utah State, he quickly absorbed each playbook. He is capable of making all the calls and adjustments up front and is very aware of each of his teammates’ assignments.
Needless to say and evident by his college numbers, Vigil is an aggressive tackler who uses his lower body strength to drive through ball carriers. He will face up, drag down and wrap up in pursuit. He won’t punish his opponent due to a lack of playing strength, but is very effective making tackles that the ball carrier will not slip off of. He shows very good body control in the move and takes good angles to seal off the corners. With his high amount of tackles behind the line of scrimmage, he is a verified “hammer” type that will simply explode and punish the ball carrier.
Lightning may have struck the Bengals twice at the nose guard position. Back in 2010, a stout interior defender was not regarded as highly by general managers as their scouts. As luck would have it, the Bengals took a chance in the fourth round that year and found Geno Atkins. Now, six years later, they might have found the player who could replace Domata Peko at nose tackle, perhaps as early as next year. If Billings proves to be starter material in training camp, the front office might be comfortable with letting Peko go elsewhere after this season.
Peko is unsigned past 2017, drawing in $4.5MM, but he’s north of age-40 and has played for a decade. Atkins still has four years left on a five-year, $53MM deal, so he is expected to keep up his frenzied sack pace from 2015. But, behind those two, Billings sees a great opportunity for playing time.
For a player of his size, Billings shows an incredible burst and quickness off the snap. Not only is he sudden in his movements, but he is also fluid. He displays excellent balance and body control working down the line and is a constant disruptive force with the suddenness he generates getting off the ball to penetrate. His speed allows him to make lots of tackles on the move, but he was really misused in the Baylor system, as they relied upon him more to use his strength to overpower and take on double teams often rather than utilize his explosive initial step to pressure the pocket and impact the action in the backfield.
Dave-Te Thomas owns and operates The NFL Draft Report, a service providing insight to league scouting departments for over 40 years. All year round, you can read Thomas’ in-depth reviews of both blue chip prospects and diamonds in the rough by visiting the NFL Draft Report blog.