Rodney McLeod

Colts S Khari Willis Announces Retirement

A Colts starting safety for most of the past three seasons, Khari Willis informed the team he will retire from the NFL. Willis intends to pursue a ministry career, he said (via Instagram).

The Colts had excused Willis from their minicamp last week, and he had also missed their OTAs. Willis, who became eligible for a contract extension in January, will walk away from the league after just three seasons.

This represents a blow to the Colts’ defense. Willis, 26, had started 33 of the 39 career games he played. After breaking into Indianapolis’ starting lineup as a rookie, Willis was a first-string regular over the past two seasons. He intercepted four career passes, including two last season, and made 219 career tackles.

The Colts traded up for Willis in the 2019 fourth round, and he teamed with Julian Blackmon as the team’s primary safeties over the past two seasons. Blackmon missed 11 games last season, suffering an Achilles tear. Willis played through injury issues, but an IR stint and a COVID-19-related absence limited him to 11 games in 2021. Calf and knee trouble led Willis to IR last season. He missed time due to a concussion and broken ribs in 2020.

Indianapolis has been active at safety this offseason. The team traded up in the third round to select Maryland safety Nick Cross. That move came after the Colts signed longtime Eagles starter Rodney McLeod. Indianapolis also added ex-Kansas City backup safety Armani Watts earlier this year. Cross should be expected to team with Blackmon in the long-term, though Joel Erickson of the Indianapolis Star notes McLeod may get the call to start this season as Cross develops.

Colts, S Rodney McLeod Finalizing Deal

After six seasons with the Eagles, Rodney McLeod is preparing to relocate. The former Super Bowl starter is finalizing a deal with the Colts, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

The Eagles re-signed Anthony Harris earlier this offseason and went through a virtual visit with Tyrann Mathieu this week. McLeod, a nine-year starter with the Rams and Eagles, will join a Colts secondary that encountered significant injury issues last season.

McLeod is entering his age-32 season. This will mark the veteran’s fourth NFL contract. The Eagles initially signed the UDFA success story in 2016 and kept him around, via a pay-cut agreement, to form a longtime McLeod-Malcolm Jenkins partnership. While McLeod played under former Colts defensive backs coach Jonathan Gannon in Philadelphia last season, Indianapolis hired a new defensive coordinator this year (Gus Bradley). This McLeod agreement comes days after the Colts added veteran safety/special-teamer Armani Watts.

One of the more experienced free agents available, McLeod has made 123 starts during his 10-year career. He has intercepted 16 career passes and forced 11 fumbles. The ex-Virginia Cavalier has bounced back from multiple major injuries as a pro as well, returning from a 2018 MCL tear and a 2020 ACL tear. McLeod’s completion percentage as the nearest defender in coverage did spike following his latest post-injury re-emergence, rising from 48% in 2020 to 71%. Though, these figures are a bit less indicative for safeties than they are for cornerbacks.

Indianapolis has its Week 1 starter pair from last season — Julian Blackmon and Khari Willis — under contract. Blackmon is coming off an Achilles tear, while Willis missed six games last season and battled injuries in 2020 as well. Andrew Sendejo worked as a fill-in last season; the 12-year veteran remains in free agency.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/3/22

Here are Monday’s activations from and placements on the reserve/COVID-19 lists:

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: OT Mike Remmers (remains on IR)

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: RB Raymond Calais (remains on IR)

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/16/20

Here are Wednesday’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Miami Dolphins

New York Jets

  • Placed on IR: S Saquan Hamilton

Philadelphia Eagles

Eagles’ Rodney McLeod Done For Year

Eagles safety Rodney McLeod is done for the season. On Monday, the Birds announced that McLeod has been diagnosed with a torn ACL.

[RELATED: Eagles To Stick With Hurts]

McLeod exited early from the Eagles’ win over the Saints, capping his season just as the Eagles playoff hopes were renewed. Unfortunately, this marks the second ACL tear of his pro career. His 2020 will end with starts in all 13 games, 66 stops, one interception, and two fumble recoveries — including the one he took to the house against the Cowboys in November.

McLeod remains under contract for 2021 thanks to the two-year, $12MM deal he signed last offseason. He won’t have to stress over security as he rehabs, since his $3.75MM base salary is guaranteed.

The good news is that McLeod already knows the ropes after bouncing back from his previous ACL tear. Upon returning last year, the safety started in all 16 regular season games and notched two interceptions, six passes defensed, two forced fumbles, one sack, and 76 total stops.

Eagles Re-Sign Rodney McLeod

The Eagles have re-signed Rodney McLeod to a two-year contract, per a club announcement. The new deal will be worth $12MM in total, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter) hears. 

McLeod has been a starter since the 2013 season, when he was still with the (St. Louis) Rams. That streak continued in 2016 when he hooked on with the Eagles, though he was interrupted by a knee injury in 2018 that limited him to just three games. After that, the Eagles asked him to adjust his deal and he obliged.

Last year, he was able to return and start in all 16 of the Eagles’ regular season games. He came away with two interceptions – bringing his career tally to 13 picks – along with six passes defensed, two forced fumbles, one sack, and 76 total stops.

McLeod is currently slated to return to his starting position. This time around, he’ll be paired with Jalen Mills on the first-string unit. Earlier today, the Birds re-upped Mills on a one-year deal and declined their option on locker room leader Malcolm Jenkins.

Extra Points: Wilson, Vikings, McLeod, AAF

More details of Russell Wilson‘s landmark extension are emerging. Wilson’s 2020 and ’21 base salaries — $19MM apiece — will become fully guaranteed if he is on the Seahawks roster five days after Super Bowls LIV and LV, respectively. With that a near-certainty, Wilson’s $107MM in total guarantees are practically full guarantees. Wilson will earn a $19MM base salary in 2022 and ’23, according to OverTheCap. This deal leaves Wilson with cap numbers of $26.29MM (2019), $31MM (2020), $32MM (’21), $37MM (’22) and $39MM (’23). The eighth-year quarterback’s base salary was slated to be $17MM this year; the new deal converted much of that money into a signing bonus, with Wilson now attached to a $5MM base in 2019. The new contract raised Wilson’s 2019 cap number by just $1MM. Additionally, the contract includes a $6MM escalator clause — which would bring the total dollar figure up to $146MM — for Wilson’s 2023 salary, per CBS Sports’ Joel Corry (on Twitter). Unspecified performance-based incentives from 2020-22 can bump the Pro Bowler’s $21MM salary in 2023 to $27MM.

Here is the latest from around the American football landscape:

  • The Vikings are considering moving left tackle Riley Reiff to left guard, but it appears that is contingent on how the draft goes. Reiff will likely only move inside if Minnesota selects a first-round tackle, per Dave Campbell of the Associated Press. Reiff has only played tackle in the NFL. The Vikings “wouldn’t hesitate” to move center Pat Elflein to guard, Campbell adds, but that will also be contingent on the draft. Minnesota failing to add a center worth relocating Elflein would presumably nix that move. Either way, the Vikings’ embattled line will likely look a bit different post-draft.
  • Rodney McLeod will not participate in the Eagles‘ offseason program. The veteran safety, who tore his ACL in Week 3 of last season, is aiming for a training camp return, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Les Bowen notes. McLeod took a major pay cut this offseason, slashing his 2019 salary from $7.5MM to $1.5MM. That can become $4MM, should McLeod play in all 16 Eagles games, Bowen adds. He played in 16 games in each season from 2012-16 and had missed just two in his career prior to the 2018 injury. McLeod signed a five-year deal in 2016, but the contract is now a four-year pact. The restructure voided the 2020 season.
  • No last-ditch effort will save the Alliance of American Football. The league filed for bankruptcy this week. “Pursuant to the bankruptcy laws, a trustee will be empowered to resolve all matters related to the AAF’s remaining assets and liabilities, including ongoing matters related to player contracts,” the league said in a statement. The AAF abruptly halted operations earlier this month, leaving a messy trail of financial turmoil after an eight-game season.

Eagles Rodney McLeod Takes Big Pay Cut

The details are in on Rodney McLeod’s reworked deal with the Eagles. McLeod’s 2019 base salary will drop from $7.5MM to $1.5MM under the revised terms, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). In total, the move creates $7.469MM in new cap room for Philly. 

Under the old terms of his deal, McLeod’s contract meant that he was likely a goner in Philadelphia. McLeod has been a starter since the 2013 season and started the first three games of 2018 for the Eagles, but a knee injury ended his season in September. Given the Eagles’ limited cap room and the awful market for free agent safeties over the last year, McLeod probably didn’t have much leverage in this round of negotiations with Howie Roseman & Co.

On the plus side, McLeod has done well for himself over the course of his career. He joined the Eagles on a five-year, $35MM deal prior to the 2016 season and is still young enough to cash in again down the line. He’ll turn 29 in June, just before training camp begins for his eighth NFL season.

Eagles Rework S Rodney McLeod’s Contract

The Eagles have agreed to rework Rodney McLeod‘s contract, according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link).

McLane doesn’t have details on the revised contract yet, but he notes that it’ll keep him with the team for 2019. As McLane wrote in a follow-up tweet, a lot of people thought the team might move on from McLeod this offseason, but this move apparently guarantees his return. His cap number had been set to be $9.9MM for this year, although that’s presumably been reduced.

McLeod signed a deal that went through the 2020 season back in 2016, but he tore his ACL in Week 3 of this year. McLeod signed with the Rams as an undrafted free agent back in 2012, and blossomed into a nice player in St. Louis. His strong play landed him a five-year, $37MM deal with Philly.

McLeod is a key part of the defense and his injury was a large part of the reason the Eagles’ secondary collapsed this year, so it’s not surprising they figured out a way to keep him.

Eagles Place Rodney McLeod On IR

Eagles safety Rodney McLeod‘s season is presumably over. The team announced on Twitter that they’ve placed the safety on the injured reserve. The Eagles have promoted wideout DeAndre Carter to take the open roster spot.

McLeod underwent knee surgery earlier this week after suffering a torn MCL, and many assumed he’d ultimately land on the IR. However, Doug Pederson initially refused to comment about whether the safety would end up missing the remainder of the season. Instead, the head coach simply said the defensive back would be out for “a while.” Considering these comments, perhaps the Eagles are optimistic that McLeod could return to the field towards the end of the season.

McLeod signed a five-year, $35MM deal with the Eagles prior to the 2016 season. He’s proven himself to be worth the expenditure, as he has notched three interceptions in each of the last two years. After compiling 10 tackles and four passes defended through the first three weeks of this season, Pro Football Focus ranked McLeod as a top-20 safety in the NFL.

With McLeod sidelined, the Eagles will likely turn to Corey Graham as the replacement in the starting lineup. Otherwise, the team is rostering only two other healthy safeties: starter Malcolm Jenkins and recent trade acquisition Deiondre’ Hall. As our own Dallas Robinson notes, the safety market is starting to dry up, with Mike MitchellT.J. WardLardarius WebbTyvon Branch, and Jairus Byrd among the top available free agents.

Carter has bounced around the league since going undrafted out of Sacramento State in 2015, spending time with the Ravens, Raiders, Patriots, and 49ers. He has one catch for 10 yards this season with Philly, and he could temporarily serve as a returner. The Eagles decision to promote Carter instead of practice squad safety Tre Sullivan could be an indication that Alshon Jeffery won’t be ready to go for tomorrow’s game against the Titans (as noted by Jeff McLane of Philly.com on Twitter).