Kenny Vaccaro

Kenny Vaccaro Retires From NFL

Kenny Vaccaro is calling it a career. On Wednesday, the longtime NFL safety announced that he is stepping away from the game to focus on a new e-sports venture (Twitter link via’s Ian Rapoport).

This isn’t a reflex decision for me; it’s something I’ve thought about for a long time,” Vaccaro said. “I’ve been a gamer for even longer than I’ve played football, and I’ve always thought of myself as a gamer first. So this is the realization of a long-term dream for me…Life doesn’t end just because you put down the helmet. You can reinvent yourself.”

Vaccaro, a 2013 first-round pick, spent his first five years with the Saints and started in 67 of his 68 regular season games. After that, he found himself in a severely depressed market for veteran safeties. But, after settling for a cheap one-year deal with the Titans in 2018, he parlayed a strong season into a four-year, $26MM extension.

The veteran made 42 for the Titans before his release earlier this year. In 2020, his last NFL campaign, he finished out with 62 stops, one sack, and five passes defensed. The advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus — which have never been especially fond of his work — gave him a 58.8 overall grade, slotting him just 68th out of 84 qualified safeties.

After 110 career games, multiple postseason trips, and over $28MM in career earnings, Vaccaro is now set to enter the e-sports arena.

Titans To Release Kenny Vaccaro

The Titans are moving on from Kenny Vaccaro. Vaccaro will be cut to save $3.9MM in cap space with $3MM in dead money remaining (Twitter link via’s Ian Rapoport).

[RELATED: Titans Cut Malcolm Butler]

The former first-round pick joined the Titans as a free agent late in the 2018 cycle. After impressing in 13 starts, he re-upped on a four-year, $26MM deal, but he won’t see the second half of that contract in Tennessee.

Vaccaro started in all 42 of his games for the Titans across three years. Last season, he finished out with 62 stops, one sack, and five passes defensed. The advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus — which have never been especially fond of his work — gave him a 58.8 overall grade, slotting him just 68th out of 84 qualified safeties.

The Titans are trimming dollars and remaking their secondary all at once. Just yesterday, they released veteran cornerbackMalcolm Butler to free up $10.2MM for the coming year.

Contract Details: Vaccaro, Callahan, Okafor

Let’s take a look at the details of a few recently-signed NFL contracts, with all links going to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle’s Twitter account:

Titans To Re-Sign Kenny Vaccaro

It appears the safety market is back on track. A key member from 2018’s mysterious market will receive a big raise.

The Titans and Kenny Vaccaro have reached an agreement to keep the former first-round pick in Tennessee long-term, Ian Rapoport of tweets. It’s a four-year, $26MM deal, per RapSheet, who adds this will come with $11.5MM guaranteed.

Vaccaro joined Tre Boston and Eric Reid, the latter being the centerpiece of last year’s slowdown, in having to wait months to land deals in 2018. The Titans swooped in and signed Vaccaro on the cheap before training camp, and with Reid having already re-signed to stay in Carolina, Vaccaro’s second team took similar action. Vaccaro’s deal comes in just north of Reid’s.

The former Saints five-year secondary piece started 13 games with the Titans last season. The safety/slot defender will be a part of Tennessee secondaries going forward, and while Landon Collins‘ Redskins deal will grab justified headlines, the seventh-year veteran’s re-up is a good sign for this year’s safety market.

Titans’ Kenny Vaccaro To Miss Time

Titans safety Kenny Vaccaro will miss time with an elbow dislocation, a source tells Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter). Vaccaro will miss at least two weeks and potentially up to four. 

The injury is obviously not ideal, but it looked a whole lot worse when he went down in the Titans’ 26-23 win over the Eagles. After resting up for a few weeks, Vaccaro will look to continue his strong play from the month of September. Through four games, Vaccaro has already recorded an interception and a sack.

Vaccaro joined the Titans in August after the team lost starting safety Johnathan Cyprien to an ACL tear. Without him, they’ll look to fill the void internally with Kendrick Lewis, rookie Dane Cruikshank and Brynden Trawick.

The 3-1 Titans will face the Bills, Ravens, and Chargers in the next three games before their Week 8 bye. Depending on how things go from here, the team may opt to push Vaccaro’s return until Week 9, giving him nearly five weeks to recover.

AFC Notes: Chargers, Schofield, Vaccaro, Titans, Jets

The Chargers are seemingly never able to stay healthy, and this year hasn’t been any different. They’ve already lost Hunter Henry and Jason Verrett to season ending injuries. Last year’s second round pick, guard Forrest Lamp, has been expected to start for the team in 2018, but has been very slow in recovering from a knee injury that cost him his whole rookie season.

Michael Schofield is filling in for now, and in a recent interview with Dan Woike of the San Diego Union-Tribune, talked about his role. “I’m kind of a plug-and-play guy. I can play guard. I can play tackle. Right now, they need me at guard, so that’s where I’m going to be.” Woike echoes the sentiment many Charger fans have felt about Lamp, writing “even if Lamp is healthy, he still has much to prove, considering he essentially has not practiced since being drafted in the second round a year ago.”

Given Lamp’s history, it’s entirely possible Schofield ends up being a starting guard for the Chargers this year. Here’s more from the AFC:

  • Kenny Vaccaro only signed with the Titans earlier this week, but is already operating as the team’s starter according to Turron Davenport of ESPN (Twitter link). Davenport writes that Vaccaro has “taken pretty much all of the first-team reps” since signing with the team in the wake of Johnathan Cyprien’s season ending injury.
  • “Things aren’t looking great” for Juston Burris‘ roster chances, according to Matt Stypulkoski of The Jets’ fourth round pick in 2016, Burris hasn’t shown much through two seasons and appears likely to be cut at this point.
  • “It wouldn’t be a total shock to see the Jets in the mix” if the Raiders decide to shop Khalil Mack, writes Stypulkoski. Stypulkoski writes that the Jets “are looking to bolster the pass rush” so it sounds like whether it’s Mack or someone else, the Jets may be making a move soon.

Titans Sign Kenny Vaccaro

The Titans have found their starting safety.’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the team has signed veteran defensive back Kenny Vaccaro. The Titans had been hunting for a safety since Johnathan Cyprien was placed on the injured reserve earlier this week.

We heard the other day that the 27-year-old was set to meet with Tennessee, although it sounded like the front office had other options on their radar. Those reports indicated that the organization was also eyeing safety Eric Reid. However, as Rapoport tweets, multiple flight cancellations prevented Reid from visiting his suitor. With Vaccaro generating interest from other teams, the Titans decided they had to make a move. Vaccaro had already had visits with the Jets, Dolphins, and Colts.

The 2013 first-round pick should immediately contribute to the Titans secondary. While Vaccaro hasn’t been able to put together a healthy season since 2015, he was still plenty productive last year. In 12 starts with the Saints, the safety finished with 60 tackles, 1.5 sacks, seven passes defended, and three interceptions. Due to those numbers, the veteran earned a spot on our list of the best remaining free agents.

With Cyprien out for the season with an ACL injury, the Titans were trying to figure out who to start opposite fellow safety Kevin Byard. Veteran Kendrick Lewis was currently slotted in as the starting strong safety, although the Titans also could have eyed one of Brynden Trawick or Dane Cruikshank for the gig.

Titans Considering Eric Reid, Kenny Vaccaro

In the wake of losing safety Johnathan Cyprien for the season, the Titans aren’t wasting any time in exploring outside options. The club has talked about safety Eric Reid and he could be brought in for a visit, head coach Mike Vrabel tells reporters. Meanwhile, Kenny Vaccaro will meet with the Titans on Friday, according to Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter). 

[RELATED: Titans’ Johnathan Cyprien Done For Season]

Reid met with the Bengals in April, but he believes teams have been staying away from him due to his participation in anthem protests. Reid filed a grievance against the NFL in May and has been spotted working out with former teammate Colin Kaepernick. As a five-year starter who is still in the prime years of his career, Reid is clearly deserving of a roster spot somewhere. His opportunity may come with the Titans.

Vaccaro also offers years of starting experience, but he has been a victim of the league’s slow-moving free agent safety market this offseason. The Colts, Jets, and Dolphins showed interest in Vaccaro earlier this offseason, but we haven’t heard much about him in recent weeks. In his fifth season as a starter for the Saints last year, Vaccaro totaled 60 tackles, 1.5 sacks, seven passes defensed, and a career-high three interceptions.

The Titans’ current group of reserve safeties includes Kendrick Lewis, Brynden Trawick, and fifth-round pick Dane Cruikshank.

South Notes: Saints, Vaccaro, Texans

Saints free agent safety Kenny Vaccaro is still on the market, but it’s not due to any health issues, Nick Underhill of The Advocate tweets. And, although the safety market didn’t develop as expected, Underhill anticipates that he’ll land somewhere before training camp starts.

It’s possible that Vaccaro turned down some low-cost deals early on in free agency, as Underhill notes that there was “no need [for him] to hurry and sign a deal when free agency opened.” He may have some regrets about that now, but it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Vaccaro won’t be able to find a team on a low-cost one-year deal.

The Colts, Jets, and Dolphins showed interest in Vaccaro earlier this offseason, but we haven’t heard much about him in recent weeks. While we wait to see where the former Saints safety will land, here’s more out of the South divisions:

The Best Remaining NFL Free Agents

There are still plenty of impact free agents left on the board, including some big names. Here’s a look at some of the high-profile veterans that are still looking for work in advance of training camp: 

Kaepernick probably stands as the most talented quarterback left on the open market, but his ongoing collusion case against the NFL complicated matters. It seems unlikely that he’ll land anywhere between now and the start of the season, but friend and former teammate Eric Reid probably has a better chance of signing somewhere, despite being in a similar boat. Recently, the duo was spotted working out together in California.

It seems like just yesterday that Murray was the league’s most fearsome running back. Unfortunately, Murray’s age has caught up to him to some extent and he was overshadowed last year in Tennessee by the younger Derrick HenryThe Titans dropped Murray in March and he has not found a new NFL home despite meeting with the LionsSeahawks, and Dolphins since his release. Recently, the Saints tried to include Murray in their cattle call for running backs, but he declined the invite.

Peterson has lobbied the Texans, Saints, Packers, Panthers, Dolphins, and Rams to sign him, but we have yet to hear of any reciprocated interest from those clubs. It’s possible that Murray and Peterson won’t sign unless a running back injury opens up an opportunity for them. Teams could also steer clear of Peterson altogether given his desire for a starring role despite his lack of star performance over the last two years.

Bryant is the biggest name on this list, but we shouldn’t expect to see him sign anywhere until July. There have been conflicting reports on his market, but the latest word indicates that he is receiving interest, despite concerns about his demeanor in the locker room.

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