Kyle Fuller

Contract Details: Njoku, Addison, Fuller

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

  • David Njoku, TE (Browns): Four-year, $54.75MM. The contract, according to Mike Florio of NBC Sports, has an amount guaranteed at signing of $17MM consisting of a signing bonus of $11.47MM, the 2022 base salary of $1.04MM, and the 2023 base salary of $4.5MM. Unless the Browns release Njoku by the third league day in March of 2023, Njoku will receive an additional guaranteed bonus of $11MM consisting of an $8MM 2023 option bonus and $3MM of the 2024 base salary. The additional $11MM is only dependent on roster status, being guaranteed for injury at signing. The full amount of the 2024 base salary, including the guaranteed amount of $3MM, is $13MM. The 2025 base salary is worth $14.25MM. There are two automatically voided years built in for 2026 and 2027 meant to spread around the bonuses and cap hits. In 2024, Njoku will receive a per game active bonus of $88,235 for a potential total of $1.5MM. In 2025, Njoku will receive a per game active bonus of $58,823 for a potential season total of $1MM. The deal also includes annual incentives of $250,000 if Njoku is named first- or second-team All-Pro and $500,000 if he’s named All-Pro and the Browns make the playoffs.
  • Mario Addison, DE (Texans): Two-year, $7.7MM. The deal, according to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network, has a total guaranteed amount of $4.6MM consisting of a signing bonus of $2MM, the 2022 base salary of $1.5MM, and $1.1MM of the 2023 base salary. The 2023 base salary, including the guaranteed amount, is worth $3MM in total. Wilson reports an annual per game active bonus of $35,294 for a potential per season total of $600,000.
  • Kyle Fuller, CB (Ravens): One-year, $2.5MM. The contract, according to Field Yates of ESPN, is fully guaranteed with a signing bonus of $1.38MM and a base salary of $1.12MM.

Ravens Sign CB Kyle Fuller

The Ravens have made a noteworthy addition to their secondary. The team announced on Tuesday that they have signed veteran cornerback Kyle Fuller to a one-year contract. 

The deal represents a homecoming for Fuller. The 30-year-old is from Baltimore, and attended high school locally. From a business perspective, it is also a fresh start him, after an up-and-down tenure in Denver.

The Broncos signed him last March to a one-year, $9.5MM deal. The move reunited him with Vic Fangio, and was a significant part of the overall cause for optimism surrounding the Broncos’ secondary. He was a starter from the onset of the season, but he struggled to replicate the success he enjoyed under Fangio in Chicago. As a result, he was benched for a stretch of the campaign, and ultimately put on the trade block.

While the Virginia Tech product did end up back on the field playing in the slot for the first time in his career after injuries, his time in Denver came up short of expectations. With the Bears, who selected him in the first round in 2014, he was an immediate starter and impact defender. He was named a Pro Bowler in 2018 and 2019, leading the league in interceptions during the former campaign.

In Baltimore, Fuller will look to return to his previous form. He joins a CB room which still features starters Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, but was lacking in depth after the departures of Anthony Averett and Tavon Young. At a minimum, Fuller should serve as an experienced backup, but if the position is hit by injuries like it was last season, he could once again find himself in a starting role.

Minor NFL Transactions:  3/18/22

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals 

  • Re-Signed: LB Ezekiel Turner

Buffalo Bills

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Las Vegas Raiders

Miami Dolphins

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Denver Emerging As Premier QB Destination

We wrote a bit earlier today on the Broncos being among multiple AFC teams who “have trade compensation lined up with the Packers,” in relation to quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Well, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Denver has emerged as a prime location for many of the league’s veteran quarterbacks looking for a potential change of scenery.

The Broncos recently hired former Packers’ offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett to replace Vic Fangio, who failed to accomplish a winning season in three years with the Broncos. The former Green Bay staffer represents an obvious and strong connection for Rodgers. Should Rodgers decide to move on from the Packers, having a play-caller that he’s familiar with could add some allure to the Mile High City. Another intriguing aspect that could bring a star quarterback to Denver is the addition of former Vikings’ offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak as passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach. Kubiak just helped Kirk Cousins turn in one of his best seasons in Minnesota.

Hackett and company inherit an impressive roster posed to perform. The defense is comprised of veterans like outside linebacker Bradley Chubb, safety Justin Simmons, defensive end Shelby Harris, and cornerback Ronald Darby. There are a number of free agents that Denver would like to bring back like cornerbacks Bryce Callahan & Kyle Fuller, defensive back Kareem Jackson, inside linebacker Josey Jewell, and outside linebacker Malik Reed. Even if they fail to bring some of those names back, the Broncos saw impressive seasons last year for youngsters like cornerback Patrick Surtain II, linebacker Baron Browning, defensive end Dre’Mont Jones, and safety Caden Sterns. The list of defensive players above may not overwhelm you with stardom, but, together, the Broncos defense ranked third in the league in points allowed and eighth in the league in yards allowed.

In addition to a brand new offense and stacked defense, Denver boasts a nice array of young offensive weapons. An impressive receiving corps is led by veteran 26-year-old Courtland Sutton, young star Jerry Jeudy, and Tim Patrick, who has broken out a bit over the past two seasons. The Broncos also have two talented, young receiving tight ends in Noah Fant and Albert Okwuegbunam. Any quarterback looking to join in on the fun would potentially have the benefit of a two-headed rushing attack that was 79 yards short of a combined 2,000-yard rushing season. Running back Javonte Williams enjoyed a healthy dose of carries in his rookie season, and there is mutual interest in bringing back Melvin Gordon.

Rodgers is obviously a name to keep an eye on as the decision on his future in Green Bay looms on the horizon. He has said that he will let the Packers know of his intentions before the franchise tag deadline so they can figure out how to deal with free agent wide receiver Davante Adams. In addition to Rodgers, though, keep an eye out for Denver to make moves on other quarterbacks searching for greener pastures. Russell Wilson has long been rumored to be interested in moving on from Seattle, and Deshaun Watson is still searching for a new home.

Whether Rodgers, Wilson, Watson, or some other under-the-radar name, look for the Broncos to make a move for a star quarterback. If they are able to find the right fit, the move could bring them into contention for what could easily turn into the toughest division in football.

Broncos Shopping Kyle Fuller

The phone lines are still open in Denver. The Broncos are pushing to trade Kyle Fuller between now and this afternoon’s deadline, according to a source who spoke with Mike Florio of PFT (Twitter link). 

[RELATED: Broncos Trade Miller To Rams]

This jibes with recent talk of the Broncos fielding calls on their corners and safeties — both Fuller and Kareem Jackson have drawn interest from rival clubs. Fuller may have been a hotter property earlier this year, back when the Saints were searching high and low for cornerback help. New Orleans ultimately turned to the Texans, swinging a September trade for Bradley Roby.

Fuller, a former first-round pick of the Bears, has 99 career starts to his credit across seven seasons (not counting his missed 2016 campaign). His best work came in 2018, when he led the league with seven interceptions and 21 pass deflections en route to a First-Team All-Pro nod. His 2019 encore also earned him a second straight Pro Bowl selection.

Fuller has slipped down the depth chart in Denver, but he should hold some appeal as a rental for contenders in need. The Bucs, for example, could see Fuller as a logical fill-in for their banged-up secondary.

West Rumors: Broncos, Cards, Hicks, Hawks

The Bears briefly entertained the prospect of trading standout defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, but they reconsidered and brought the former All-Pro back for his sixth season in Chicago. Shortly after free agency began, the Bears gave Hicks permission to find a trade partner. Nothing materialized, but the Chargers were monitoring this situation through the preseason, according to ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler (ESPN+ link). Hicks, 31, has a history with Bolts HC Brandon Staley, who was on the Bears’ defensive staff — as outside linebackers coach — under Vic Fangio from 2017-18. The 11th-year veteran’s contract expires at season’s end. Should the Bears falter against a tough October schedule, Hicks could be a name to watch as the Nov. 2 trade deadline approaches. The $7MM-plus left on his 2021 salary would be a difficult accommodation for most teams, but that number will drop closer to $5MM by the deadline. A groin injury sidelined Hicks in Week 5, but he remains on the Bears’ active roster.

Here is the latest from the West divisions:

  • Staying on the trade front, the Broncos received inquiries on their two contract-year corners — Kyle Fuller and Bryce Callahan — along with Ronald Darby. The veteran defenders came up in talks leading up to the season, but new Denver GM George Paton set a fairly high asking price. The Broncos sought a third- or fourth-round pick in a deal for one of their vets, Fowler adds, scuttling talks. The Saints made a strong push for Fuller, which came months after New Orleans’ aggressive pursuit of Denver’s No. 9 overall pick — which was used to take Patrick Surtain II. While Denver has made multiple deadline deals in recent years, involving receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, it would likely take a tumble out of contention for the team to deal from its corner surplus.
  • The Cardinals are likely to be without Chandler Jones as they attempt to move their unbeaten run to 6-0. While vaccinated players who test positive for COVID-19 can return after two negative tests 24 hours apart, Kliff Kingsbury said Jones is experiencing symptoms and that it would be “a stretch” for him to play against the Browns, via SI.com’s Howard Balzer (on Twitter). Jones is vaccinated. News of the veteran pass rusher’s positive test circulated Tuesday, creating a narrow window for him to recover in time.
  • Arizona will also be without center Rodney Hudson. The acclaimed O-lineman is battling a rib injury, and Kingsbury declared him out Wednesday. Seventh-year pro Max Garcia will step in for the Cards’ Pro Bowl snapper.
  • Blake Bortles auditioned for the Seahawks on Tuesday, but Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times notes they are not expected to sign him (Twitter link). Seattle instead re-signed Danny Etling, who was with the team from August 2020 to August of ’21. Etling is currently on the Seahawks’ practice squad. Bortles has not been able to land a steady gig since the 2019 season, when he backed up Jared Goff with the Rams.
  • Pete Carroll said Tre Flowers did not request to be waived, Condotta adds (via Twitter). The Flowers transaction went through Wednesday, so a claim would surface by Thursday afternoon — if a team is to claim the fourth-year cornerback. The Seahawks have used former second-round pick Sidney Jones in Flowers’ place in the past two games.

Teams Calling Broncos On Cornerbacks

The Broncos exited last season with no proven cornerbacks available, with Bryce Callahan injured and A.J. Bouye suspended. Teams have now observed Denver may have a surplus at this position.

Teams have called the Broncos about their depth, with Mike Klis of 9News noting some are eyeing Denver’s corner group. The Broncos cut Bouye but retained Callahan. They then added Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller in free agency and drafted Patrick Surtain II ninth overall, passing on Justin Fields and Mac Jones to do so.

We’re fortunate we have a player in Surtain that can play multiple positions at a young age,” first-year GM George Paton said, via Klis. “Not many rookies can play three positions. It’s a really good problem to have. It’s Vic [Fangio‘s] problem, but you can’t have enough of those guys. Corners, a lot of them go down so we’re really happy with our depth. We have a lot of teams calling us on our depth. But we like our corners, that’s for sure.”

Denver has an interesting mix of midlevel contracts — Callahan, Darby and Fuller are each signed to deals averaging between $7-$10MM per year — at corner, along with Surtain’s rookie-deal salary. The Broncos also used a third-round pick on Michael Ojemudia last year. Nickel sets generally call for three cornerbacks, potentially leaving teams wondering if the Broncos are open to moving one of their vets, though dime sets and others in which the team’s top four corners play together are likely in Fangio’s plans.

The Broncos are using Surtain at multiple spots, and Callahan and Darby bring injury pasts creating a need for depth. Callahan ended the 2018 and 2020 seasons on IR and missed all of the 2019 season. Darby was sidelined for 20 games from 2017-19. Denver’s depth may be limited to just 2021, with Callahan and Fuller on one-year deals, but it will nonetheless be interesting to see how the Broncos proceed at this spot.

Broncos To Sign CB Kyle Fuller

Less than an hour after Kyle Fuller officially became a free agent, he has a deal in place. The Broncos will sign the recently released cornerback, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

This pact will reunite Fuller with former Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. The Broncos, who were expected to be interested, will sign Fuller to a one-year deal worth $9.5MM. Fuller’s 2018 All-Pro season came in Fangio’s defense, and he will join ex-Bears teammate Bryce Callahan in Denver. On this quickly developing deal, Fuller will collect $9MM fully guaranteed, per Pelissero.

The Broncos freed up some cap space by extending Justin Simmons on Friday. They now have three veterans in place at corner, with Fuller and Ronald Darby joining Callahan. While the Broncos had assembled a top-tier corner crew in the mid-2010s, their No Fly Zone troops are all now either retired or elsewhere. The team lacked depth at this position over the past two seasons but will now boast extensive experience here.

Fuller, 29, struggled early in his Bears career. Chicago did not pick up his fifth-year option in 2017, but after Fuller’s breakthrough 2018 campaign (NFL-high seven interceptions), they gave him the transition tag and matched a Packers offer sheet for him. However, the Bears cut him after seven seasons this week. Fuller made immediate sense for the Broncos, with Fangio having coached him for four seasons. Fuller has made two Pro Bowls — in 2018 and ’19 — and helped the Bears to three straight top-10 DVOA defenses, though Pro Football Focus rated his 2020 work just outside the top 50 at his position.

While the Broncos have three veteran salaries at corner now, none of the cogs are earning more than $10MM per year. Darby is at $10MM annually, while Callahan is going into the third and final year of his $7MM-AAV pact. Callahan played well when available last season, ranking as a top-five corner in the view of Pro Football F0cus, but the standout slot defender has missed 22 games since signing with the Broncos in 2019.

This signing lessens the Broncos’ need at corner, where mock drafters frequently have connected them with their No. 9 overall pick. GM George Paton has (understandably) said quarterback will be in play with that selection.

Broncos Expected To Pursue Kyle Fuller

Now a free agent, Kyle Fuller figures to have some options. One will be in Denver with his former defensive coordinator.

The Broncos are expected to make a “strong push” to sign the veteran cornerback, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. Vic Fangio coached Fuller for four seasons as Chicago’s D-coordinator. New Denver GM George Paton was with the Vikings throughout Fuller’s Bears career.

It should not be ruled out, as the Raiders have shown this week, that the Bears could find a trade partner at the 11th hour. But the team likely discussed Fuller with other teams before cutting him. Fuller was due to make $13MM as part of his 2018 contract, which the Packers constructed after the Bears transition-tagged him.

While the Broncos made a key addition in Ronald Darby, they still have a need at cornerback. They also roster ex-Fuller teammate Bryce Callahan, who is going into his third season with the team. Callahan has shown the ability to play outside and in the slot, his strength, but he has battled significant injury issues that would prevent the Broncos from counting on him. Callahan missed all of the 2019 season and was limited to 10 games last season.

Denver entered free agency targeting more than one cornerback, and Mike Klis of 9News notes the team made an offer to Michael Davis early this week (Twitter link). The Chargers, however, re-signed Davis. Fuller, 28, certainly carries a higher profile. The Broncos not adding another will make corner a logical target at No. 9 overall.

The Bears drafted Fuller before Fangio’s 2015 arrival, taking him in the 2014 first round, but he still broke out during Fangio’s run. The Bears passed on Fuller’s fifth-year option in 2017, but he delivered a first-team All-Pro 2018 season in Fangio’s Chicago finale. Considering the Packers signed Fuller to the offer sheet three years ago, they may be back in the mix for him as well. Other teams figure to inquire too, but Fangio’s presence may be pivotal for the Broncos.