Derek Wolfe has made it clear for months he would like to return to the Broncos, but the eight-year veteran does not want to take a pay cut to do so, Mike Klis of 9News notes. Both Wolfe and Shelby Harris are free agents, and Klis adds the Broncos will not bring back both players. It will be an either/or setup, or the Broncos will let both walk and essentially remake their defensive line. Both were starters over the past three seasons. Wolfe has been a Denver starter since his 2012 rookie slate and joins Chris Harris in being first-stringers from the team’s Super Bowl champion defense set to hit the market. Shelby Harris, 28, joined the Broncos in 2017, after being out of football in 2016, and will be in demand on the market. The Broncos met with Wolfe’s agent at the Combine.
Denver extended Wolfe, now 29, on a four-year, $36.75MM deal in January 2016. With John Elway indicating defensive line doubles as this free agent class’ deepest position, it is certainly possible the team moves on from Wolfe rather than give him a third contract — north of that $9MM-per-year rate — as he enters his 30s.
Here is the latest from around the league:
- Vikings tight end David Morgan missed all of last season because of a knee injury, and Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press notes his contract will toll to 2020. Morgan’s contract was set to expire after the 2019 season, making him a first-time free agent this year. But after spending last season on Minnesota’s PUP list, Morgan will again be tethered to the Vikings this year. The rate will depend on the CBA. If the players reject the owners’ proposal, Morgan will make $735K again. If the CBA is ratified this week, Morgan’s salary would spike to $825K. A sixth-round pick in 2016, Morgan has 16 receptions for 135 yards and a touchdown in his three seasons with the Vikings.
- One of the XFL’s top players has drawn interest from the Seahawks. Seattle scouts were on hand at Saturday’s Seattle Dragons-Houston Roughnecks game, with Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk noting they were looking into Roughnecks quarterback Phillip Walker. The former NFL practice squad passer has Houston as the XFL’s lone unbeaten, at 5-0. His last NFL connection came in a Buccaneers workout in September 2019. Walker, 24, bounced on and off the Colts’ practice squad in 2018. The Seahawks used Geno Smith as Russell Wilson‘s backup last year; he is now a free agent. XFLers cannot sign NFL deals until the XFL season ends in April.
- Speaking of the XFL, their kickoff setup has drawn some notable praise. Packers president Mark Murphy is a fan of the league’s kickoffs and its post-touchdown format, Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com tweets. The XFL placing 10 members of the kickoff and kick-return teams five yards across from each other naturally stands to reduce high-speed collisions the NFL has sought to minimize for years. The XFL replaced extra-point kicks with one-, two- or three-point conversions — from the 2-, 5- and 10-yard lines — in its second go-round.
The season is over for Vikings tight end David Morgan. On Friday, the club announced he will undergo season-ending surgery on his injured knee.
Morgan started the year on the PUP list and was hoping to debut sometime midseason. Unfortunately, he did not heal up on time.
Morgan, 26, appeared in 26 games for the Vikings between 2017 and 2018 with 15 grabs, 131 yards, and one touchdown in that window. The Vikings will move forward with Kyle Rudolph, Irv Smith Jr. and Tyler Conklin as their TEs.
For Morgan, it does erase a key season. This was a contract year for the former sixth-round pick. He will be set for unrestricted free agency in 2020 and will not enter that mix with much momentum.
The Vikings have trimmed their roster down to 53 players. Notably, the team waived kicker/punter Kaare Vedvik, who they just traded a fifth-round pick for a few weeks ago. They also sent packing quarterback Kyle Sloter, who has starred in the preseason the past couple of years and earned a lot of fans. Finally, the team cut their losses with first-round bust Laquon Treadwell. Minnesota drafted the former Ole Miss receiver 23rd overall back in 2016, and he never topped 200 yards with the team.
Here’s the full list of moves:
DE Ade Aruna (Injured)
WR Jeff Badet
LB Reshard Cliett
WR Davion Davis
RB De’Angelo Henderson
CB Craig James
DE Stacy Keely
C John Keenoy
CB Nate Meadors
DE Karter Schult
QB Kyle Sloter
CB Duke Thomas
P/K Kaare Vedvik
S Isaiah Wharton (Injured)
Placed on Reserve/PUP:
TE David Morgan
Placed on Reserve/NFI:
49ers head coach Chip Kelly provided an update Thursday on quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has been sidelined lately with a sore right shoulder.
Here’s more frm the NFC:
- Giants kicker Josh Brown was arrested in May 2015 on a fourth-degree misdemeanor charge as a result of an incident with his now-former wife, but the NFL didn’t discipline him until Wednesday. When asked what took so long to punish Brown, who received a one-game suspension, vice president of communications Brian McCarthy told James Kratch of NJ.com, “It was a comprehensive investigation with multiple interviews, analyzing a tremendous amount of documents. Also, the player appealed.” Given that Brown appealed, it’s no surprise that he doesn’t agree with the punishment (via Kratch). Brown’s reasoning is that the state of Washington, where the dispute occurred, dropped the charge against him five days after his arrest. “While I’m not OK with the decision, I have to respect it,” he conceded.
- Could the Vikings keep four tight ends? It’s a possibility as sixth-round rookie David Morgan continues to prove that he can do more than block, Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press writes. “He’s got good hands,” head coach Mike Zimmer said, adding that he doesn’t have reservations about keeping four TEs. “He runs good routes, he gets open, he’s got a little sliver to him. That part I didn’t know about.” At tight end, starter Kyle Rudolph, MyCole Pruitt, and Rhett Ellison (expected to be taken off PUP for opener) are considered locks to make the team. If the Vikings do keep four tight ends, that might be a bad sign for All-Pro fullback Zach Line because Ellison could fill his role.
- Cortland Finnegan’s deal with the Saints calls for him to earn a $985K base salary with a $50K signing bonus and a $650K cap hit (minimum salary benefit), Nick Underhill of The Advocate tweets.
- It’s a safe assumption that the Cowboys will convert some of Travis Frederick‘s $14.221MM base salary for 2017 into signing bonus money for cap purposes, Joel Corry of CBSSports.com tweets.
- In case you missed it, PFR reviewed the Packers’ offseason Thursday.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
The Vikings have been the most active team so far when it comes to locking up their draft picks. After officially announcing the signing of German wideout Moritz Boehringer earlier this week, the team has now reached agreements with four other draftees, including second-round cornerback Mackensie Alexander, writes Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
In addition to Alexander, the Vikings have agreed to terms with sixth-round tight end David Morgan, seventh-round linebacker Stephen Weatherly, and seventh-round safety Jayron Kearse. All four players are expected to formally sign their rookie contracts on Thursday. Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News first reported word of Morgan’s agreement (via Twitter), while Tomasson had the rest.
Contract negotiations with rookie draftees are easy than they used to be, since the total value of a rookie contract, along with the signing bonus, is essentially predetermined by where a player is drafted. For the Vikings, Alexander will get a signing bonus worth about $1.4MM on his four-year contract. Morgan, Weatherly, and Kearse are in line for bonuses of about $135K, $81K, and $64K, respectively, per Over the Cap.
With five members of their eight-man draft class having agreed to terms, the Vikes will just have to get first-round wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, fourth-round offensive lineman Willie Beavers, and fifth-round linebacker Kentrell Brothers under contract. That’s expected to happen very soon.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Minutes after trading an original Dolphins pick back to the Dolphins, the Vikings used the selection they just received — No. 196 — to move up to No. 188 courtesy of the Eagles.
Minnesota, which held the No. 186 pick before trading it to Miami, drafted tight end David Morgan from Texas-San Antonio with the choice two spots later. Philadelphia received No. 240 in exchange for allowing the Vikings to move back into the 180s.
After the whirlwind of transactions, the Vikings add a tight end to a depth chart that could use another prospect, particularly now that the offense features a careful quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater that’s leaned on tight ends early in his career.
Starter Kyle Rudolph has been a decent option for the Vikings after signing a five-year, $36.5MM extension in 2014, but he’s not a dynamic receiver with which that price correlates. The former Notre Dame standout managed to stay healthy last season and established a new career high with 495 air yards. Behind Rudolph, the Vikings’ second-round pick in 2011, Minnesota houses Rhett Ellison and MyCole Pruitt. Ellison’s contract expires after 2016.
The Eagles will work out Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch and it’s not just for kicks, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Despite having Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel under contract, Rapoport says they’re serious about Lynch and they’re taking owner Jeffrey Lurie on each trip.
While we wait to see if the Eagles’ QB situation could get even weirder, here’s a look at some more draft news from the NFC:
- Boston College linebacker Steven Daniels worked out for the Eagles on Wednesday, according to Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net (for WalterFootball.com). Daniels has also auditioned for New Orleans.
- Coach Jay Gruden says he wants Washington to draft a developmental quarterback, as Tarik El-Bashir of CSNMidAtlantic.com writes. “You have your starter. You got your quality backup. And you’ve got to have [another] one in the [quarterback meeting] room—whether it’s your third on the active roster or a practice squad guy—that you can develop,” Gruden said last week. Of course, Kirk Cousins will be the team’s starter with Colt McCoy as his primary understudy. However, Gruden would like to add a young QB who can be groomed without an immediate timeline.
- The Buccaneers worked out UTSA tight end David Morgan on Tuesday, according to Jenna Laine of Sports Talk 1040 (on Twitter). Morgan also worked out for Philadelphia recently.
- The Falcons were at Stanford on Wednesday to work out tight end Austin Hooper and linebacker Blake Martinez, according to Tony Pauline for Walter Football. On Tuesday, Atlanta coaches were at Washington State to scope out Washington State offensive lineman Joseph Dahl, receiver Dominique Williams, and defensive lineman Destiny Vaeao.