Andrew Van Ginkel

NFC North Notes: Bears, Vikings, Reader

Coleman Shelton started every Rams game at center last season, and the former UDFA logged a few starts there during the 2022 season. The Bears gave Shelton only a one-year, $3MM deal, however. Already rostering guards Teven Jenkins and Nate Davis, the Bears may view Shelton as a backup. This is because Chicago acquired Ryan Bates from Buffalo. Given a Bears RFA offer sheet in 2022, Bates remains attached to that contract (four years, $17MM). He looks more likely to be the favorite for Bears center duties than Shelton,’s Courtney Cronin notes.

Bates, 27, does not have a notable history at center. At Penn State, he primarily played left tackle. The Bills used him primarily at guard, with Mitch Morse previously entrenched at center. Despite Buffalo matching the 2022 Chicago offer sheet, the team added two new guards — Connor McGovern, O’Cyrus Torrence — in 2023. Bates did not start a game for the Bills last season, but the ex-UDFA looks set to have a good shot at taking over at center for the Bears.

Here is the latest from the NFC North:

  • The Bears’ four-year, $76MM Jaylon Johnson extension features an out in 2026. The deal calls for $10.6MM of Johnson’s $15.1MM 2026 base salary to be guaranteed for injury, but no skill guarantees are in place beyond 2025. KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson notes $7.6MM of Johnson’s 2026 base will shift to a full guarantee if the Pro Bowl cornerback is on the roster by that date. With no true guarantees on this deal post-2025, the Bears could get out with just $5MM in dead money (in the event of a post-June 1 cut) in 2026.
  • The Vikings have been active in using void years under GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. This practice cost the team when Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Tomlinson departed, but it is turning to cap space-saving measure heavily this year as well. Minnesota included four void years in Sam Darnold, Aaron Jones and Andrew Van Ginkel‘s deals, with three void years used to spread out the three-year, $22.5MM Blake Cashman contract’s cap hits. While this will create some dead money if these players are not re-signed before their contracts officially expire, the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling observes it created some cap space in the event the Vikes need to carry a bigger 2024 cap number for Justin Jefferson, who has been on the extension radar for two years. That said, Jefferson’s 2024 cap figure is already at $19.7MM on the fifth-year option.
  • Looking elsewhere on the Vikings’ payroll, their Jonathan Greenard deal (four years, $76MM) features $42MM in total guarantees. The contract includes $4MM guaranteed for 2026, per Goessling. Though, that money is classified as injury guarantees, providing the Vikes — like the Bears with Johnson — some flexibility down the road on a $19MM-AAV contract.
  • Rounding up some Minnesota contract matters, Goessling adds Shaquill Griffin‘s one-year contract is worth $4.55MM and features $3.99MM fully guaranteed. The Vikings are giving Jonathan Bullard a one-year, $2.25MM deal to stay, per Goessling, who adds Dan Feeney‘s contract to come over from the Bears is worth $1.8MM. Jonah Williams, the defensive lineman, signed a one-year, $1.5MM deal that includes $350K guaranteed, Goessling offers. Jihad Ward‘s one-year accord is worth $1.8MM and includes $1MM guaranteed, The Athletic’s Dan Duggan tweets.
  • Initially labeled as being worth up to $27.25MM, D.J. Reader‘s Lions pact contains $22MM in base value. The Lions are only guaranteeing the veteran nose tackle $7.4MM at signing, per OverTheCap. Coming off his second quad tear in four years, Reader would receive a $4MM roster bonus on Day 3 of the 2025 league year. That date will certainly be pivotal for his Detroit future.
  • Arrested on a fourth-degree DWI charge in December, Vikings OC Wes Phillips pleaded guilty to a lesser charge recently. The third-year Minnesota OC pleaded guilty to a careless driving charge, Fox 9’s Jeff Wald notes. Phillips, 45, agreed to pay a $378 fine and will serve eight hours of community service.

Rams Pursued Andrew Van Ginkel; Ernest Jones On Extension Radar

Aaron Donald‘s retirement creates major questions for a Rams team that has benefited from one of the NFL’s all-time greats for 10 years. Donald boosted the capabilities of other Rams pass rushers, with Kobie Turner and Byron Young the latest beneficiaries.

In addition to its unfillable hole in the Donald spot, the Rams could still use help in the pass-rushing department. The team was in on hybrid performer Andrew Van Ginkel early in free agency,’s Adam Caplan notes, but the ex-Dolphins linebacker signed with the Vikings on a two-year, $20MM deal.

The Rams have not added an edge player in free agency, and they were not believed to be aiming to spend too much to fill the post opposite Young. The team had hoped Van Ginkel’s market would come down a bit, per The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue (subscription required), but it did not. Van Ginkel received $10MM guaranteed at signing from the Vikings, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling. Another $3MM shifts from an injury guarantee to a full guarantee on Day 3 of the 2025 league year, giving Minnesota some options with the ex-Miami defender.

Vic Fangio used Van Ginkel in more of a pass-rushing role down the stretch last season, a campaign that featured Jaelan Phillips sustain a torn Achilles during the Dolphins’ Black Friday game. Reuniting with Brian Flores in the Twin Cities, Van Ginkel has shown pass-rushing chops in the past; prior to his six-sack 2023, he accumulated 20 QB hits and nine tackles for loss in Flores’ 2021 Miami finale.

It is difficult to know what to expect from the Rams’ pass rush. Donald raised this operation’s floor to a degree it landed the likes of Leonard Floyd, Von Miller and Dante Fowler big paydays. Over the past two years, the team invested little — beyond the third-round Young pick — on the edge; the team did attempt to keep Miller and then saw Carolina turn down a two-first-rounder offer (17 months before taking a second and a fifth from the Giants) for Brian Burns. But the Rams, who spent to address guard last week, have work to do here moving forward.

Elsewhere on defense, the Rams have begun extension talks with linebacker Ernest Jones, per Rodrigue, who classifies these talks as preliminary. A two-year starter, Jones has become one of the Rams’ top defenders. Coming off a 145-tackle, 4.5-sack season, the former third-round pick is going into a contract year.

Los Angeles released Bobby Wagner last year and previously let standout Cory Littleton collect his second contract elsewhere. Pro Football Focus ranked Jones 13th among linebackers last season, when the South Carolina alum broke through with 14 tackles for loss. With Donald retiring, Matthew Stafford going into his age-36 season and Cooper Kupp turning 31 this year, the Rams may be more open to extensions with players at lower-priority positions. They have some time to hammer out a Jones deal, as Rodrigue adds the sides are not in a rush.

Based on how the Rams spent their money last week, a Steve Avila-to-center plan appeared in place. Indeed, Rodrigue confirms the 2023 second-round pick is slated to slide to center. The Rams re-signed Kevin Dotson on a $16MM-per-year deal and gave Jonah Jackson a $17MM-AAV pact. Considering Avila was the team’s highest draft choice since Jared Goff, it seemed highly unlikely L.A. would demote him ahead of his second season.

TCU deployed Avila at center during his 2021 junior season; he also saw time there as a sophomore. After going into recent training camps with position battles up front, the Rams appear to have their starting five — Alaric Jackson, Jonah Jackson, Avila, Dotson, Rob Havenstein — up front. Attached to a recently reworked deal, Joe Noteboom is set to provide swing depth.

Vikings To Sign LB Andrew Van Ginkel

On a day already featuring one major defensive investment, the Vikings will make another. Linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel has agreed to a two-year deal worth $20MM. The pact includes $14MM guaranteed, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.

After re-signing with the Dolphins on a one-year deal last offseason, Van Ginkel proceeded to have one of the best seasons of his career in 2023. The linebacker finished this past season with a career-high six sacks while also compiling some of his best numbers in TFL (eight) and QB hits (19).

Pro Football Focus was especially fond of the player’s performance. Listed as an edge rusher, Van Ginkel was ranked seventh among 112 qualifying players at his position. This included a top-four positional grade for his coverage skills and a top-seven positional grade for his pass-rush ability.

The former fifth-round pick had spent his entire career with the Dolphins, and considering his breakout, there was optimism that he’d stick around Miami. While both sides were reportedly interested in a new deal, it seems like the Vikings swooped in with an offer that the free agent couldn’t refuse.

The Vikings have been busy adding to their pass-rushing corps today. In addition to Van Ginkel, the team also added edge rusher Jonathan Greenard on a sizable four-year, $76MM deal. The two signings likely mean that Danielle Hunter will be heading elsewhere after spending nearly a decade in Minnesota.

Dolphins, Andrew Van Ginkel Have Mutual Interest In New Deal

After re-signing with the Dolphins on a one-year deal last offseason, linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel proceeded to have one of the best seasons of his career. While the five-year veteran will surely test free agency in pursuit of a pay raise, there’s still a chance he sticks in Miami.

During an appearance on The Joe Rose Show, agent Drew Rosenhaus said there’s mutual interest in Van Ginkel returning to Miami (via Daniel Oyefusi of the Miami Herald). However, the agent also cautioned that his client will be “coveted by several other teams,” so there’s no guarantee that the linebacker will return to the Dolphins.

“He’ll be very well sought-after,” Rosenhaus said (via David Furones of the South Florida Sun Sentinel). “Whether or not he remains with the Dolphins, there’s mutual interest, but obviously it’s going to come down to, I’m sure, the start of free agency and what the market looks like and how the Dolphins are going to compete with other clubs.”

The former fifth-round pick has spent his entire career with the Dolphins, rotating between the bench and the starting lineup. After showing some pass-rush prowess early in his career, Van Ginkel seemed to put it all together in 2023. He finished this past season with a career-high six sacks while also compiling some of his best numbers in TFL (eight) and QB hits (19).

Pro Football Focus was especially fond of the player’s performance. Listed as an edge rusher, Van Ginkel was ranked seventh among 112 qualifying players at his position. This included a top-four positional grade for his coverage skills and a top-seven positional grade for his pass-rush ability.

The Dolphins have already started clearing out some of their pass-rush depth, as the team cut Emmanuel Ogbah last week. With Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb both questionable for the start of next season, the organization could be especially committed to retaining some continuity in Van Ginkel.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/9/24

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves:

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Signed to one-year extension: T Devin Cochran

Miami Dolphins

Dealing with a gutted edge-rushing corps, the Dolphins signed three veterans on Tuesday. They added Justin Houston, Bruce Irvin and Malik Reed. These three join Emmanuel Ogbah and Melvin Ingram as notable edge rushers healthy for the AFC’s No. 6 seed.

Dolphins’ Jerome Baker, Andrew Van Ginkel Likely Done For Season

Already down Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb for the season, the Dolphins continue to run into brutal injury luck on their front seven. Injuries to Jerome Baker and Andrew Van Ginkel on Sunday night appear likely to be season-enders.

Just activated from IR ahead of Week 18, Baker sustained a wrist injury for which he has already undergone surgery. The sixth-year linebacker is out for the Chiefs matchup and likely the rest of the playoffs, according to’s Cameron Wolfe. Van Ginkel, who has played a key role since Phillips’ injury, is also likely done for the season due to the foot injury that forced him out of Sunday’s night’s game.

In addition to these adjustments DC Vic Fangio will need to make, Mike McDaniel said the team is not expected to have Xavien Howard back against the Chiefs. Additionally, backup edge rusher Cameron Goode suffered a torn patellar tendon in the loss to the Bills and will miss the season, McDaniel said.

In the event Miami’s defensive personnel turns this into a shootout — a less common occurrence with this Chiefs edition compared to previous Patrick Mahomes-piloted teams — McDaniel said (via Wolfe) Jaylen Waddle and Raheem Mostert are looking more likely to return to action Saturday night. Waddle has missed the past two games with a high ankle sprain, while Mostert — the NFL’s touchdown leader, with 21 — missed Weeks 17 and 18 with knee and ankle trouble.

Still, Fangio’s troops are depleted to a point the defense will look quite different even from the shorthanded crew that took the field against the Bills. Goode’s injury left the Dolphins with Emmanuel Ogbah and Melvin Ingram on the edge. Fangio had benched the former early this season, and the Dolphins only re-signed the latter in December. The team used Ingram as a practice squad elevation in Week 18, doing so not long after cutting Jason Pierre-Paul. It would be interesting if the Dolphins reached out to JPP in this emergency circumstance. Miami still has quality personnel inside, in Christian Wilkins and Zach Sieler, but its OLB setup has been gutted.

Van Ginkel has been effective as both a rotational rusher and a starter this season, notching a career-high six sacks along with 19 QB hits. He also posted a pick-six against the Commanders. Baker battled back from an MCL sprain; the Dolphins had used their final IR activation on their middle linebacker last week. A seventh-round pick, Goode played only 76 defensive snaps this season.

Extensions For OLB Andrew Van Ginkel, RG Robert Hunt On Dolphins’ Radar

Much of the Dolphins’ success this season has been attributed to a roster featuring a number of high-profile players. Less heralded contributors have played a role as well, though, and a few of them could have new contracts in place down the road.

In a breakdown of potential extension candidates, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald identifies edge rusher Andrew Van Ginkel and right guard Robert Hunt as names to watch. Both players are set to reach free agency in the spring, with the former having inked a one-year deal this past March to remain in Miami and the latter playing out the final season of his rookie contract.

Van Ginkel signed for $2.65MM to stay in South Beach, but he will be in line for a raise on his next deal. The 28-year-old has fit in well in defensive coordinator Vic Fangio‘s scheme, and it has him on track to put up career-best numbers. While logging a defensive snap share of 62% this year, Van Ginkel has posted 35 tackles, 10 quarterback hits and four sacks. His personal best in the latter department is 5.5, so a new mark should be established soon.

Pass rush efficiency has been a contributing factor in Van Ginkel’s impressive 89.8 PFF grade, by far the highest of his career. The former fifth-rounder has been credited with 22 QB pressures, making him an integral part of a Dolphins edge contingent led by Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Phillips. The latter two have term remaining on their contracts, so it will be interesting to see how willing Miami is to make a lucrative investment in Van Ginkel during the offseason.

Hunt, 27, has thrived since being moved from tackle to guard following his rookie season. The former second-rounder played over 1,000 snaps in 2021 and ’22, and he has delivered a strong showing in pass protection along with his usual consistent performances in the run game this year. Hunt has earned a top-10 PFF grade (73.4) amongst guards in 2023, in part due to allowing just one sack and four pressures in eight games so far.

The Louisiana alum is thus a logical candidate for a multi-year deal in the near future. Miami has faced a number of questions and injuries along the offensive line, so securing a full-time starter at any spot for the long term would be a welcomed development. Miami has a number of important financial decisions to make over the coming months, however, and both quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and defensive tackle Christian Wilkins are in need of new pacts for 2024. Contract talks for that pair will not take place until after the season.

As Jackson notes, nothing is imminent for either Van Ginkel or Hunt. Given their high level of play to date, however, it would come as little surprise if an agreement were to be reached with at least one of them before the start of the 2024 campaign. The Dolphins are currently projected to be over the cap ahead of the new league year in March, so their financial plan will be worth watching closely over the coming months.

Latest On Emmanuel Ogbah’s Future With The Dolphins

It sounds like Emmanuel Ogbah‘s stint with the Dolphins will end after the 2023 campaign. As Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes, the organization is expected to release the edge rusher following the season.

The Dolphins are eyeing a cap crunch next offseason, and they’ll need to make some difficult decisions up and down their roster. Fortunately for the front office, moving on from Ogbah’s untenable cap hold is one of the easier decision to make.

The veteran is currently attached to a $17.8MM cap hit in 2024, and the Dolphins would be left with only $2MM in dead cap if they let him go. Ogbah inked a four-year, $65MM extension with the Dolphins during the 2022 offseason.

The former Browns second-round pick had two productive seasons to begin his Miami tenure, collecting 18 sacks between the 2020 and 2021 campaign. His 2022 season was limited to only nine games thanks to a triceps issue, but he wasn’t very productive before suffering the season-ending injury, compiling just one sack. He’s seen time in all four games this season but has been limited to only 27 percent of his team’s defensive snaps.

With Andrew Van Ginkel also set to hit free agency, the Dolphins are eyeing a 2024 edge corps that consists of former first-round pick Jaelan Phillips and veteran Bradley Chubb. After trading a first-round pick to Denver for Chubb, the Dolphins inked the star edge rusher to an $110MM extension. However, the Pro Bowler hasn’t lived up to his deal during his time in Miami, with Chubb collecting only 3.5 sacks in 12 games with the organization. As Jackson notes, the Dolphins would have a tough time moving off Chubb’s contract thanks in part to his fully-guaranteed $19.75MM base salary.

Dolphins Sign LB Alexander Johnson

Coaching ex-Bronco defenders Bradley Chubb and Malik Reed once again, Vic Fangio will reunite with another of his former Denver cogs. Alexander Johnson signed with the Dolphins on Thursday.

Like Chubb and Reed, Johnson, 31, was a regular throughout Fangio’s Denver stay. Fangio’s arrival soon led to a regular role for Johnson, who played alongside Josey Jewell for three seasons in Denver. A 2021 pectoral injury, however, stalled the off-ball linebacker’s momentum.

[RELATED: Dolphins Meet With CB Bryce Callahan]

Coming into the NFL at 26 due to an off-field issue, Johnson played in just one game as a rookie in 2018. Early in the 2019 season, Fangio inserted the Tennessee alum into the starting lineup to spark the Broncos’ run defense. Pro Football Focus graded Johnson as that season’s third-best off-ball ‘backer. In 2020, Johnson totaled a career-high 124 tackles. Between those two years, Johnson forced four fumbles.

Prior to his October 2021 pectoral tear, Johnson received a second-round RFA tender to stay in Denver. However, this injury and having turned 30 just before his first free agency bid effectively scuttled Johnson’s market. The Seahawks signed the former UDFA late last year but only used him in one game. The Dolphins will provide a late-summer opportunity. Teams must finalize their 53-man rosters by 3pm CT on Tuesday; they can begin assembling their practice squads the following day. Clubs can keep up to six vested veterans on their 16-man taxi squad.

The Dolphins signed David Long to play alongside Jerome Baker at linebacker. Duke Riley and Andrew Van Ginkel are likely locked into backup jobs, per the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson. Channing Tindall, a third-rounder last year, has not enjoyed a quality training camp, per Jackson, though it is unlikely the Dolphins give up on him after two offseasons. Though, Tindall only played nine defensive snaps last year.

In addition to the Johnson signing, the team waived linebacker Mike Rose and waived safety Myles Dorn with an injury designation Thursday.

AFC East Notes: Allen, Van Ginkel, Patriots

This offseason has already seen two mega-deals signed at the quarterback position, and more are expected to follow. The Bills already have their signal-caller on the books, with Josh Allen having signed a six-year, $258MM deal in 2021.

[RELATED: Each Team’s Largest QB Investment]

That deal came not long after the Chiefs inked Patrick Mahomes to his 10-year, $450MM extension, and it represented a measuring stick for talks surrounding Allen and the Bills. To no surprise, the Mahomes deal was a topic of conversation with the Buffalo star due for his own extension.

“He and I talked a little bit about the pros and cons of that [Mahomes] deal and just some broad strokes of it,” Bills GM Brandon Beane said of Allen, via ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry. “And we talked about Tom Brady and the championships he won, and so that’s where it gets tough, because, yes, you want to be fairly compensated and it’s not good for the team to get you on some deal that’s not fair to you… Josh was very adamant about — ‘I’ll work with my people and yes I want to be recognized — there’s a respect thing — but I also [want] to win and I want to be able to keep player X, player Y.”

With Allen on the books through 2028, the Bills’ window for contention should remain open for many years to come. As is the case with his peers, though, Allen’s cap hits are scheduled to become burdensome later on in the deal, ranging between $41.5MM and $56.5MM starting in 2024. It will be interesting to monitor how the team is able to retain other key players once their quarterback begins taking up such a sizeable portion of their available funds.

Here are some other notes from around the AFC East:

  • The Bills exited this year’s draft with two new defenders, but none along the defensive front. That was not the plan, however, as noted by The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia (subscription required). Buffalo wanted to add a defensive tackle on either Day 2 or Day 3, given the uncertainty at the position beyond the coming season. Former first-rounder Ed Oliver is entering his walk year, as is fellow starter DaQuan Jones. Adding a rookie to develop behind those two (and potentially replace one of them next year) would have given the team more flexibility, but adding at the position will instead increasingly become a priority in 2024.
  • The Dolphins‘ defense faces increased expectations this season given the team’s recent additions on the field and the sidelines. One incumbent member of the unit who could be in line for a rebound in playing time is linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel. The veteran was convinced to remain in South Beach by new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, as detailed by Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Van Ginkel, 27, was set to depart in free agency after seeing his defensive snap share drop from 71% in 2021 to 29% last season. Instead, the former fifth-round pick re-signed on a one-year deal in anticipation of being used in a hybrid role which will see him used both on the inside and outside. A strong season under Fangio will have Van Ginkel well-positioned in free agency next year.
  • The Patriots were hit with the loss of some OTA time last week after they were found to have violated the league’s rules on time spent in meetings, but not on-field work. As a result, the league’s fine handed down to Bill Belichick was $50K instead of the maximum $100K, per ESPN’s Mike Reiss. The NFL also elected not to fine the organization, likely in large part because the Patriots cooperated in full with the investigation. From the players’ perspective, the most important element of the discipline is the fact that they will not be allowed to work out at the team’s facility during the days in which the violation is served.