Arden Key

Contract Details: Howard, Trubisky, Key, Jones

Here are some details on deals recently reached around the NFL:

  • Xavien Howard, CB (Dolphins): Five-year, $90MM. The contract, according to Mike Florio of NBC Sports, has a guaranteed amount of $36.3MM consisting of a $17.12MM signing bonus and the next two seasons of base salary worth just $1.04MM in 2022 and jumping to $18.15MM in 2023. On the third league day of the 2024 season, $4MM of the 2024 base salary (worth $15.4MM) becomes guaranteed. Howard will receive roster bonuses of $3MM on the second league day of each of the 2024, 2025, and 2026 seasons. He also will receive an additional $1MM for each Pro Bowl and 1st-Team All-Pro selection and $100,000 per year as a workout bonus. Howard had three years remaining on his deal before signing his extension. It’s extremely rare for a team to draw up a new deal with that much time remaining, but Miami’s willingness to keep Howard happy is a testament to how important he is to the franchise.
  • Mitchell Trubisky, QB (Steelers): Two-year, $14.29MM. The contract, according to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, has a signing bonus of $5.25MM set to apply evenly over both years of the deal. Trubisky’s base salary in 2022 is only $1.04MM and jumps up to $8MM in 2023. The deal holds a potential $8.5MM in incentives. $4MM of play-time incentives each year should be easily reached if Trubisky wins the starting job and stays healthy. The remaining $500,000 would be earned in $250,000 increments if Trubisky makes the Pro Bowl in either year.
  • Arden Key, DE (Jaguars): One-year, $4MM. The contract, according to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network, has a guaranteed amount of $3MM consisting of the signing bonus and base salary, each worth $1.5MM. The remaining $1MM comes in the form of a $500,000 roster bonus and a $500,000 workout bonus. Key will receive a per game active bonus of $29,411 for a potential season total of $500,000. Wilson also reports that Key can earn up to $3MM of additional money in sack and Pro Bowl incentives.
  • Ronald Jones, RB (Chiefs): One-year, $1.5MM. The contract, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic, consists of a $250,000 signing bonus and a $1.25MM base salary. The deal was originally reported as “up to $5MM”, but Auman clarifies that any money past the listed $1.5MM would consist of incentives.

Jaguars Sign Arden Key

On Wednesday, the Jaguars announced the signing of Arden Key. The defensive end will receive a one-year deal that could be worth up to $7MM (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo).

Key has always been viewed as an elite talent, dating back to his college days. Once considered a first-round prospect, Key fell to the Raiders in the third round of the 2018 draft. He didn’t shine with his original team, but he seemed to put it all together with the 49ers in his platform year. After notching 6.5 sacks and 17 quarterback hits, his career year led to a strong free agent market.

The Lions, Ravens, and Chiefs all looked into Key, but the Jaguars seem to have come away with the winning bid. The Niners, meanwhile, will be leaning more on Kerry Hyder for quarterback pressure.

The Jaguars could still look to add more pass rushers in the draft, but Key figures to be an important part of the edge rotation no matter what. It’s a huge step up for Key, who looked to be trending in the wrong direction as recently as 2020. In that year with the Raiders, Key played on roughly 40% of the defensive snaps but couldn’t manage a single sack.

It’s worth noting that another strong season could position Key for a much larger payday next year, especially since he won’t turn 26 until May.

Chiefs To Meet With DE Arden Key

Former Raiders and 49ers defensive end Arden Key has generated extensive interest this offseason. He is set to make the Chiefs his latest visit, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

The Chiefs and Key will huddle up Friday. Kansas City has a need opposite Frank Clark, who has not lived up to expectations since the Chiefs’ 2019 trade, and the team might face the prospect of its top defensive end being suspended in connection with his two gun-related arrests last year.

[RELATED: Chiefs, Clark Agree On Reworked Deal]

Once a first-round prospect, Key fell to Round 3 in 2018 and did not produce consistently for the Raiders. With the 49ers, however, the LSU product delivered an interesting contract year. He finished with 6.5 sacks and 17 quarterback hits — far and away career-high marks — and that has led to offseason interest. The Lions, Ravens and Jaguars have met with Key since free agency opened last week. The 49ers brought back Kerry Hyder, who played a similar role to Key for their 2020 team, providing an indication Key will soon commit to another team.

Kansas City traded for Melvin Ingram and saw the ex-Charger Pro Bowler do well to stabilize its pass rush, allowing the team to end its misbegotten Chris Jones-at-defensive end experiment. Ingram’s supplementary impact aside, the Chiefs still ranked 29th in sacks last season. Ingram is a free agent. Given Clark’s inconsistency and potential availability issues, the team certainly needs help on the edge.

Ravens Meeting With Arden Key

The Arden Key tour continues. On Wednesday, the free agent defensive end will meet with the Ravens (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo). 

[RELATED: Ravens To Meet With R. Green]

Key, a 2018 third-round pick of the Raiders, spent three seasons with his original team, starting in ten of his 37 games. He fell out of favor over time, however, and wound up getting released last year Yannick Ngakoue and Quinton Jefferson made their way to Las Vegas.

Key stayed local, moving on to the 49ers on a one-year deal. The change of scenery served him well as he recorded a career-high 6.5 sacks, plus 22 stops, five tackles for loss, and one pass defensed while playing in all 17 games.

The Niners used Key as a supporting piece, but other teams may consider giving him a chance at the starting lineup, depending on how the rest of the offseason goes. In addition to the Ravens, the Jaguars and Lions have also checked in with Key — they likely see him as a supplement to their incoming rookie class, which will likely feature some big-name DEs.

The Ravens are also meeting with Rasheem Green today, a Seahawks free agent who is also coming off of a strong platform year.

Latest On DE Arden Key

After a breakout year in San Francisco, defensive end Arden Key is generating a market for himself. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reports that he is visiting with the Jaguars today, having already done so with the Lions (Twitter link). 

Key was a third round pick of the Raiders in 2018. He played three seasons in Oakland/Vegas, starting 10 of 37 games. He played only in a rotational role after his rookie campaign, however, and totalled 49 tackles and three sacks. After the team brought in more established names like Yannick Ngakoue and Quinton Jefferson along the front seven, however, he was cut last offseason.

The LSU product signed with the 49ers less than one week later, and enjoyed the best season of his career in San Francisco. While he was still only used in a rotational capacity, playing just 35% of the team’s defensive snaps, his stated goal of improving as a pass-rusher was realized. He registered 6.5 sacks and another five tackles for loss, which has earned him outside interest.

The Lions’ defensive front is headed by the likes of Michael Brockers and recent draftees Levi Onwuzurike and Alim McNeill. On the edges, they have Romeo Okwara and Charles Harris, each of whom are under contract for one more season. That holds true for Dawuane Smoot of the Jaguars as well, who also have Josh Allen and K’Lavon Chaisson in their edge-rushing corps.

While both the Jaguars and Lions could add more pass rushers with the top two picks in this year’s draft, Key would represent a solid depth addition to either team. Garafolo adds that there may be other teams meeting with him, so his final destination may not be known for a little while longer.

Raiders Notes: Ruggs, Key, Joyner

The Raiders will kick off their regular season on Monday Night Football against the Ravens tomorrow. In the meantime, let’s round up a few recent items on the Silver-and-Black:

  • The 2020 wide receiver draft class was absolutely loaded, and plenty of pundits believed Jerry Jeudy was the cream of the crop. Although no WR had been selected by the time the Raiders were on the board with the No. 12 overall pick, Las Vegas ultimately chose Henry Ruggs over Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb. As Vic Tafur of The Athletic writes, there were Jeudy supporters in the Raiders’ war room, but head coach Jon Gruden wanted his own version of Tyreek Hill, and he saw Ruggs as a player who fit that bill.
  • The Raiders selected DE Arden Key, who was once believed to be a first-round talent, in the third round of the 2018 draft. But the LSU product posted just three sacks in three seasons, and Vegas deemed him surplus to requirements in April. He was quickly scooped up by the 49ers, and he did not mince words when asked about his time with the Raiders. “To be honest, I wanted to get out of there,” Key said (via Jacob Hutchinson of KNBR.com). “I been wanting to get out of there. I wasn’t surprised. I was more happy than surprised. I wish it happened a little earlier but, hey, I got what I wanted and I’m good.” Key went on to say that the Raiders’ defensive scheme was a poor fit for him, and while he did not explicitly say so, it seems he is happy to be away from Gruden.
  • Count Lamarcus Joyner as another ex-Raider who is happy to be away from the club. The Raiders deployed Joyner — who primarily played safety with the Rams before signing a big-money free agent contract with Vegas — as a nickelback over the past several seasons, and he struggled in that role. The Raiders released him in March, and he signed with the Jets 10 days later. Gang Green will deploy him as single-high safety, and he is pleased with how things turned out. “I’m pretty sure the whole world knows that (I’m happy to be away from the Raiders),” he said. “I made that known. I’m so happy it’s over and I’m here with coach [Robert] Saleh right now” (via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com). Joyner was clear that he didn’t have an issue with Gruden personally.

49ers, DE Arden Key Agree To Deal

The 49ers have added depth pieces on offense and defense Wednesday afternoon. Shortly after San Francisco’s Wayne Gallman agreement surfaced, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets the team agreed to terms with Arden Key.

Like Gallman, Key visited the 49ers this week. Formerly an Oakland Raiders third-round draft choice, the three-year defensive end contributor will head back to the Bay Area on a one-year deal.

Las Vegas waived Key last week, doing so after adding former San Francisco defensive end Solomon Thomas in free agency. The 49ers lost Thomas and Kerry Hyder, who signed with the Seahawks, and injuries significantly affected their defensive end group last season. Both Nick Bosa and Dee Ford missed most of the season. Key may be in position to see frequent time, depending on how the 49ers proceed in the draft.

While Key went in the 2018 third round, he was viewed as a possible first-round pick at one point. The LSU product registered 11 sacks as a sophomore in 2016. While he has not produced much as a pro (three sacks in three seasons), Key did post 11 quarterback hits last season as a Raider reserve. Next season will be Key’s age-25 campaign.

49ers To Meet With DE Arden Key

Less than a week after the Raiders released Arden Key, the young defensive end secured a meeting in a familiar locale. The 49ers are hosting Key on a visit Tuesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

The former Bay Area resident lasted just one season in Las Vegas. The Raiders waived the ex-third-round pick last week, with fellow third-year D-lineman Maurice Hurst receiving the boot as well. The 49ers have lost multiple D-ends this offseason, with the Raiders signing Solomon Thomas and Kerry Hyder defecting to the Seahawks.

The 49ers still have Dee Ford on their roster, but he and Nick Bosa are coming off major injuries. Ford’s status is less certain, creating a need for edge depth alongside Bosa and Arik Armstead. Dion Jordan, a San Francisco contributor last season, is a free agent.

Key played three seasons with the Raiders, who nabbed the LSU product after he unexpectedly fell into Round 3. The Raiders used Key as a 10-game starter as a rookie but relegated him to backup duty over the past two seasons. For his career, Key has just three sacks in 37 games. He did register 11 QB hits in 2020, however, and will only be 25 come Week 1.

Raiders Cut Arden Key, Maurice Hurst

The Raiders are making some big cuts on their defensive line. Las Vegas has waived defensive end Arden Key and defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

The Raiders have already added free agents like Yannick Ngakoue and Quinton Jefferson this offseason, making these guys more expendable. Both Key and Hurst were drafted by the Raiders in 2018, Key in the third-round and Hurst in the fifth. Hurst was initially viewed as a much better prospect, and potentially a first-rounder, until a heart condition was discovered just before the combine.

That heart issue was initially feared to be career-threatening, but fortunately Hurst was able to be cleared to play. He fell to 140th overall though, costing him a lot of money in the process. In the end, neither player made it to the end of their rookie deals.

Key started 10 games as a rookie but was used as a rotational player this past year. Despite playing around 40 percent of the defensive snaps, he finished with no sacks. The LSU product was the 87th pick in 2018 and is still only 24, so he should get scooped up before too long.

Hurst, who will turn 26 next month, was fairly productive his first two years in the league. From 2018-19, he had 7.5 sacks, six passes defended, an interception, and a couple of fumble recoveries. He was limited to 11 games this past year, finishing with 27 tackles, a half sack, and one pass defended.

Seven Raiders Defenders To Come Off Reserve/COVID-19 List

While the Raiders practiced without several defenders this week, they are at least on track to have those players in uniform Sunday night against the Chiefs.

After continuing to test negative for COVID-19, seven Raider defenders will come off the team’s coronavirus list Saturday, Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com tweets. Johnathan Abram, Johnathan Hankins, Arden Key, Maliek Collins, cornerback Isaiah Johnson and defensive lineman Kendal Vickers will be activated Saturday. David Irving is set to come off Las Vegas’ practice squad COVID-19 list, per Gutierrez.

The Raiders placed these seven players on their reserve/COVID list earlier this week, preventing each from practicing. They joined Lamarcus Joyner in that regard; the Raiders activated Joyner on Friday. This octet profiled as close contacts of Clelin Ferrell, who tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this week. Abram, Hankins, Key, Collins, Johnson and Vickers will be eligible to play against the Chiefs if their most recent COVID tests come back negative Sunday morning. Irving must be activated off the Raiders’ practice squad to suit up in Week 11.

Unlike Week 7’s Raiders-Buccaneers game — which was moved out of the Sunday-night window after Las Vegas’ first-string offensive line did not practice all week because of Trent Brown‘s positive COVID test — the NFL did not switch this week’s Raiders-Chiefs rematch out of the Sunday-night time slot.