Desmond King

Restructure Details: Brockers, Butker, Clark

Here’s a roundup of a few recent contract restructures:

  • Michael Brockers, DT (Lions): Detroit converted $4MM of Brockers’ 2022 base salary into a signing bonus, which opened up $2MM of cap room, as Field Yates of tweets. Brockers signed a three-year, $24MM deal with the Lions in March 2021, and he appeared in 16 games (all starts) in his first year in the Motor City. However, he recorded just one sack and earned an abysmal 40.6 overall grade from Pro Football Focus.
  • Harrison Butker, K (Chiefs): Butker injured his ankle in Kansas City’s Week 1 win over the Cardinals and missed the club’s Week 2 victory over the Chargers as a result. According to Yates, Butker agreed to convert $2.19MM of his 2022 base salary into a signing bonus, thereby giving KC an additional $1.46MM of cap room (Twitter link). Butker is signed through 2024 and is the league’s 10th-highest-paid kicker by measure of AAV.
  • Chuck Clark, S (Ravens): There are no specifics on this one, though Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic tweets that Baltimore gave Clark a bit of a raise this year and also added some incentives to his deal. The Ravens doled out a big-ticket free agent contract to safety Marcus Williams in March and selected Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton in the first round of the draft, and Clark subsequently requested a trade. However, it eventually became clear that Clark would continue to play a prominent role on the defense in 2022, and in the team’s Week 1 victory over the Jets, the Virginia Tech product played in all 84 defensive snaps and tallied eight tackles and a forced fumble while continuing to wear the green dot. He is under club control through 2023 and was slated to earn $1.25MM in base pay this year. Per Zrebiec, this transaction represents a show of appreciation for how Clark handled himself this offseason.
  • Desmond King, DB (Texans): The Texans have converted $911K of King’s 2022 salary into a signing bonus, thereby creating $455K of cap space (Twitter link via Yates). King re-signed with Houston this offseason after appearing in 16 games (12 starts) for the club in 2021 and posting 93 tackles to go along with three interceptions. His two-year contract is worth $7MM.

Texans To Re-Sign DB Desmond King

Desmond King is returning to Houston. The defensive back is re-signing with the Texans, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter).

King will be signing a two-year deal worth $7MM, per Schefter. The deal contains $3.5MM in guaranteed money.

The defensive back spent the first four seasons of his career with the Chargers, including a 2018 campaign where he earned a Pro Bowl and All-Pro nod as a cornerback and returner. However, he found himself in and out of the lineup during the 2019 season, and he was ultimately traded to the Titans midway through the 2020 season.

Tennessee let him walk at the end of the year, and King ultimately landed a one-year deal with Houston. He ended up starting a career-high 12 games for the Texans, compiling 93 tackles, six passes defended, and three interceptions.

Malcolm Butler Visiting Texans

After spending all of the 2021 campaign away from football, Malcolm Butler is taking a step towards a comeback today. Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson reports that the veteran corner is visiting the Texans. 

[RELATED: Malcom Butler Released, Considering Comeback]

The 32-year-old stepped away from the Cardinals just before the start of the campaign, citing personal reasons. That seemed to mark an abrupt end to a career which includes a Pro Bowl and two Super Bowls – one of which, of course, is most remembered for the game-winning interception he was responsible for.

After four seasons with the Patriots, including three as a starter, the former UDFA joined the Titans. His third and final campaign in Nashville, 2020, was his most productive; Butler racked up 100 tackles, four interceptions and 14 pass breakups. To save cap space and get out of another two years on his contract, however, the team released him last March.

Given his age and pedigree, Butler could add at least a useful, experienced piece to a Houston secondary which ranked 23rd against the pass in 2021. On that point, Wilson further reports that the Texans are “working to retain” fellow veteran CB Desmond King. The pending free agent signed a one-year deal last offseason, and played well enough (despite shifting to the outside, as opposed to his more natural slot position) to warrant a new deal.

The Texans are also working out free agent corner Isaac Yiadom, according to ESPN’s Field Yates (Twitter link). The 26-year-old has spent four seasons in the NFL, most recently in Green Bay where he almost exclusively played on special teams.

Texans Unlikely To Trade WR Brandin Cooks

Houston wide receiver Brandin Cooks is no stranger to trade rumors, having been dealt three times in his career. The 1-6 Texans are obvious trade deadline sellers, and Cooks — a high-end talent who is only under club control through the 2022 season — has naturally drawn interest from other clubs.

Those clubs may have been buoyed in their pursuit by the fact that Cooks took to Twitter to voice his displeasure when Houston traded good friend Mark Ingram earlier this week. However, Ian Rapoport of says the Texans are unlikely to trade Cooks. Rookie GM Nick Caserio reportedly sees Cooks as a foundational talent that he can build around, and it sounds as if he would demand a hefty return if he were to trade his WR1.

Cooks’ $12.5MM base salary for 2022 is reasonable for a player of his caliber, which explains both why Caserio wants to keep him around and why he is piquing the interest of contending teams hoping to acquire him. Despite catching passes from struggling rookie Davis Mills for most of the year, Cooks has tallied 45 receptions for 502 yards and a score.

Of course, most of the trade chatter surrounding the Texans has been focused upon QB Deshaun Watson, but we learned earlier today that Watson is not expected to be dealt prior to Tuesday’s deadline. However, LB Zach Cunningham is on the trading block, and other veterans like QB Tyrod Taylor, RB Phillip Lindsay, LB Christian Kirksey, and CB Desmond King could also be on the move.

Speaking of King, the former First-Team All-Pro was scratched from today’s game against the Rams for disciplinary reasons, as Aaron Wilson of SportsTalk 790 tweets. King reportedly had an unexcused absence from a team activity, and like Cooks, he may be unhappy with the current state of the Texans. Unlike Cooks, he might get a chance to suit up for a contender this year.

Deshaun Watson Would Not Be Placed On Exempt List If Traded

Multiple teams are still interested in trading for Texans QB Deshaun Watson, as Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports (video link). Critically, Rapoport says Watson would not be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list if he were to be dealt.

Of course, Watson has no interest in playing for the Texans, and the Texans have no interest in trying to force their best trade asset to suit up. So he has effectively been on paid leave all season, but we have heard all along that if another club were to trade for the three-time Pro Bowler, the league could step in and park him on the exempt list until his legal situation is resolved, thereby making a trade difficult to consummate.

Rapoport, citing the provision of the NFL’s personal conduct policy that states that a player can be placed on the exempt list if he has been charged with a felony or violent crime, says Watson — who has not been criminally charged at this point — should be eligible to play for any team that acquires him. And, RapSheet hears that a deal is expected to be completed prior to the November 2 deadline.

A recent report indicated that the Panthers and Eagles were no longer involved in the Watson sweepstakes and that the Dolphins were the only team left standing. However, Rapoport says the Dolphins are not alone in their pursuit, and that in addition to Carolina, Philadelphia, and the Broncos, there are other clubs sniffing around.

That report could have been leaked by the Texans in an effort to get Miami to increase its offer. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that no team has been as motivated as the Dolphins to get a deal done, and Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reports that the Texans have told another club that they have to beat Miami’s offer (via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald on Twitter). Plus, it’s unclear if Watson will waive his no-trade clause for any team other than the Dolphins.

In addition to Watson, there are other Texans players that could be on the move in the next week or so. La Canfora hears that LT Laremy Tunsil could have been a trade candidate if he had not suffered a serious thumb injury earlier this month, and other players that GM Nick Caserio might seek to trade include QB Tyrod Taylor, RB Phillip Lindsay, LB Christian Kirksey, and CB Desmond King.

Texans To Sign Desmond King

The Texans continue to make low-risk, high-upside signings for their defense. This time Houston has agreed to terms on a deal with cornerback Desmond King, Adam Schefter of tweets.

Per Schefter, it’s a one-year pact worth $3.5MM. A fifth-round pick of the Chargers in 2017, King quickly made a name for himself in Los Angeles. He started four games in a rookie and played in all 16, racking up 76 tackles, four sacks, five passes defended, and a 90-yard interception return touchdown.

In 2018 he entered the season as the Chargers’ slot cornerback, and had 62 tackles, ten passes defended, and three interceptions. He earned a first-team All-Pro nod for his work. He also took over punt return duties for the Chargers in 2018, and was a second-team All-Pro as a returner.

Despite being a dual All-Pro it wasn’t long before he fell out of favor with the coaching staff, and butted heads with Anthony Lynn. After seeing his playing time reduced in the secondary he griped on social media, and was traded to the Titans last November. 

King is still only 26, and has obviously had a lot of success in the past. On a pretty cheap deal, the signing makes a lot of sense for a rebuilding Texans defense.

Chargers Trade Desmond King To Titans

The Chargers have agreed to send Desmond King to the Titans, as Adam Schefter of tweets. Los Angeles is getting a sixth-round pick back in exchange for the cornerback/return specialist. 

King, 26 in December, was a healthy scratch for Sunday’s game against the Broncos. Now, we know that the Bolts were safeguarding against injury in order to trade him before the deadline. There was speculation that the Cardinals would trade for him, giving them a potential Patrick Peterson replacement for 2021. Instead, the Titans have emerged with the former All-Pro returner.

A fifth-round pick in 2017, King broke out in 2018 with 62 tackles, three interceptions, a defensive TD, and ten passes defensed. So far this year, he hasn’t made the same kind of impact. At 2-5, the Chargers have opted to move on from him and recoup some value for ’21 and beyond.

Los Angeles has a ton of talent in their secondary, which made King more expendable. The Iowa product grew unhappy with his decreased role, and was vocal about it on social media.

It’s a nice low-risk move for the Titans as well, as they desperately needed help in their secondary. Young cornerbacks Adoree’ Jackson and Kristian Fulton are both hurt and unavailable at the moment, and Mike Vrabel’s defense has been getting torched.

They’re currently giving up the sixth-most passing yards per game, although that’s not all on the secondary as they’ve been unable to get much of a pass-rush going either. It wouldn’t be at all surprising if the Titans made another move on defense before tomorrow’s deadline, either for an edge rusher or another cornerback.

Chargers Shopping Desmond King

The Chargers are shopping former All-Pro defensive back and punt returner Desmond King, according to sources who spoke with’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Multiple teams have inquired on King, setting the stage for a possible trade between now and the Tuesday afternoon deadline.

King, 26 in December, was a healthy scratch for Sunday’s game against the Broncos, fueling speculation that he could be on the move. The former fifth-round pick earned First-Team All-Pro honors in 2018 after notching 62 stops, three interceptions (including one pick-six), and ten passes defensed. This year, he hasn’t made the same kind of impact for the Chargers’ secondary, despite the opportunity created by injuries to Derwin James and others.

King would represent an intriguing and affordable pickup for contenders. Some have speculated that the Cardinals could make a move for him, giving them another key piece in the secondary for this year and a quality cornerback beyond 2020. Arizona may part ways with Patrick Peterson after this season, so King would give them a quality safety net who could also contribute on special teams.

After Sunday’s 31-30 loss to the Broncos, the Chargers find themselves in the AFC West cellar at 2-5.

Chargers Not Pursuing Earl Thomas

Despite carrying one of the league’s most talented secondaries to training camp, the Chargers are in familiar trouble. Derwin Jamesknee issue will cost him games at the start of a season for the second straight year.

The Bolts have four All-Pros in their secondary but are missing their highest-ceiling talent for the foreseeable future. They are not interested in the All-Pro safety currently in free agency. Anthony Lynn said Monday the team is not planning to pursue Earl Thomas, per The Athletic’s Daniel Popper (on Twitter).

Even without James, Los Angeles’ secondary includes Casey Hayward, Desmond King and free agency addition Chris Harris. King, a 2018 All-Pro cornerback who saw action at safety in college, has been working as a second-string safety in camp. The Bolts also have 2019 second-round pick Nasir Adderley and 2019 substitute starter Rayshawn Jenkins. They drafted Alohi Gilman in this year’s sixth round. It appears Los Angeles will stick with its in-house options to replace James.

The Ravens released Thomas earlier this month. Joining Harris on the 2010s’ All-Decade team, Thomas certainly carries top-flight ability. Even entering his age-31 season, the three-time All-Pro is one of the game’s top safeties. But he suddenly carries some baggage. Teams are clearly doing homework on the former Legion of Boom centerpiece, but as of Monday, his market has not seen much momentum.

West Rumors: Chargers, Cardinals, Armstead

In signing Chris Harris, the Chargers now employ three first-team All-Pros (Harris, Derwin James, Desmond King) and a second-team All-Pro (Casey Hayward) in their secondary. Harris resided as the NFL’s slot kingpin for many years, but the injury-depleted Broncos used him almost exclusively on the outside last season. The four-time Pro Bowler confirmed Tuesday the Chargers informed him he will be their primary slot defender, per Daniel Popper of The Athletic (on Twitter). For most of his Broncos career, Harris played outside in base sets and inside in sub-packages.

Harris’ Los Angeles arrival puts King in an interesting position. King has become a high-end slot player for the Bolts, earning All-Pro recognition for the role in 2018. Harris said (video link via Pro Football Focus; h/t Chargers Legion) earlier this offseason the Chargers planned to move King to safety, where he played at Iowa. The contract-year defender being a full-time safety would allow the Bolts to start their four All-Pro defensive backs, but Anthony Lynn has yet to indicate how the team’s new secondary will look.

Here is the latest from the West divisions:

  • On the subject of defensive alignments, the 49ers are not expected to make Arik Armstead a full-time defensive tackle despite trading DeForest Buckner and seeing fellow Super Bowl D-tackle starter Sheldon Day join him in Indianapolis. Armstead is expected to remain a base-downs defensive end and inside pass rusher, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Armstead has shown the ability to be an outside and inside pass rusher, leading the 49ers with 10 sacks last season.
  • Kliff Kingsbury‘s offense did not feature too much from the tight end position last season, though the Cardinals did extend Maxx Williams. Neither he nor Charles Clay reached 250 receiving yards in 2019. The Cardinals, however, are eyeing tight ends in this coming draft class, Josh Weinfuss of tweets. They had planned to bring in some for pre-draft workouts, but the NFL nixed those early in the process. This draft class is not viewed to be especially deep at tight end, however.
  • The Cardinals also are interested in Utah running back Zack Moss, according to Weinfuss (on Twitter). Moss already went through a FaceTime conversation with Cardinals running backs coach James Saxon, per Weinfuss. Moss ended the 2019 season as the Pac-12’s offensive player of the year, totaling 1,804 yards from scrimmage and 17 touchdowns as a senior.
  • Arizona’s Marcus Gilbert contract is not quite as lucrative as initially advertised. While it is worth up to $3.75MM, the veteran right tackle’s deal will be for the veteran minimum ($1.05MM, in Gilbert’s case), Howard Balzer of writes. The longtime Steelers starter will see just $150K guaranteed. Gilbert missed all of last season with an injury, one that severely limited him on the open market.
  • The Broncos are guaranteeing Jeremiah Attaochu $500K, per the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson (on Twitter). That includes $250K of his $1MM base salary. Attaochu will be expected to be a backup to Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.