Sony Michel

Contract Details: Michel, Goodwin

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

  • Sony Michel, RB (Dolphins): One-year, $1.75MM. The deal, according to Ben Volin of The Boston Globe, has a guaranteed amount of $850,000 consisting of a $350,000 signing bonus and $500,000 of the base salary. Michel will also earn a per game active bonus of $14,117 for a potential season total of $240,000.
  • Marquise Goodwin, WR (Seahawks): One-year, $1.27MM. The contract, according to Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times, has a guaranteed amount of $152,500 in the form of a signing bonus. It’s a low-risk deal meant to either bring in a veteran on the back end of the depth chart or motivate the younger players on the back end of the depth chart to up their game.

Contract Details: Addison, Michel, Chargers

We’ve compiled some updated numbers on recent NFL signings:

  • Mario Addison, DE (Texans): two-year deal. Contract has a $7.7MM base value, including a $2MM signing bonus, per ESPN’s Field Yates on Twitter.
  • Bryce Callahan, CB (Chargers): signed. It’s a one-year deal worth $1.27MM, according to Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com (via Twitter). The deal has a cap hit of $1.04MM thanks to the veteran salary benefit. Callahan will earn a base salary of $1.12MM and a signing bonus worth $152.5K.
  • Mike Davis, RB (Ravens): signed. It’s a one-year deal for the veteran running back, per Yates (on Twitter). The deal is worth a bit more than $1.20MM, meaning Davis’s cap hit will qualify for the veteran salary benefit contract.
  • Tyrann Mathieu, CB (Saints): three-year, $33MM deal ($18MM guaranteed). The deal features a $9.5MM signing bonus and fully guaranteed base salaries in 2022 and 2023. The contract is effectively a three-year pact worth $27MM, with $18MM guaranteed and $2MM in yearly bonuses (via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com).
  • Sony Michel, RB (Dolphins): one-year, $2.1MM deal. The contract includes a $1.75MM base value, including a $350K signing bonus (per Yates on Twitter).
  • E.J. Perry, QB (Jaguars): signed. The UDFA received $230K in guaranteed money from Jacksonville, including a $23K signing bonus and a guaranteed $207K salary, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter).
  • Kyle Van Noy, LB (Chargers): one-year deal. The contract’s base value and cap hit are worth $2.25MM. Includes $1.5MM base salary and $750K signing bonus, per Yates on Twitter.

Dolphins To Sign RB Sony Michel

The Dolphins’ offseason backfield makeover will continue post-draft. They are signing former Patriots first-round pick Sony Michel, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). It’s a one-year deal, Josina Anderson of USA Today tweets. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweets that the deal is worth $2.1MM.

Michel, who trekked to Miami and New Orleans for visits last week, will join Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert in a suddenly crowded Dolphins backfield. Miami signed both Edmonds and Mostert in March and will become the rare team to roster three running backs with at least four years’ experience. These additions should help a Miami ground attack that ranked 30th last season.

This will be Michel’s third NFL destination, and it comes on the heels of the ex-Georgia standout winning his second Super Bowl. Michel was far more effective during the Patriots’ 2018 playoff stretch (six rushing touchdowns, tied for second all time for a single postseason) than he was during the Rams’ four-game winter odyssey (26 carries, 80 yards), but he played a key role for Los Angeles during the regular season.

The Rams acquired Michel after Cam Akers sustained an Achilles tear, and the injury-prone ex-Patriot became the team’s go-to back after Darrell Henderson suffered a midseason injury. Michel posted two 120-plus-yard games in December, helping the Rams stay the course en route to their NFC West title. Michel faded into the background after Akers’ late-season return and received only two carries in Super Bowl LVI, but his 845 rushing yards led the Rams by a wide margin last season.

Although injuries plagued Michel for much of his Patriots run, he suited up for all 21 Rams games last season. The Dolphins’ previous two running back acquisitions have histories being injury-prone (Mostert) or as a change-of-pace back (Edmonds). Michel profiles as a between-the-tackles type who could provide some insurance. His arrival crowds a position group that also houses holdovers Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed. Provided everyone stays healthy through the preseason, Miami’s backfield will not have room for all five backs.

RB Sony Michel To Visit Dolphins, Saints

There aren’t many RBs with first-round pedigree and 1,000-yard seasons still on the market. One of them, Sony Michel, is starting to generate some interest around the NFL. Per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (on Twitter), Michel visited the Dolphins today and is set to meet with the Saints later this week.

Michel was the 31st-overall pick in the 2018 draft, and he immediately played a role for the Patriots. He finished his rookie campaign with 981 yards from scrimmage, but he made a name for himself with his postseason performance. In three playoff games, Michel collected 345 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns en route to a Super Bowl championship.

The running back continued his production in 2019, finishing with 1,006 yards from scrimmage and seven touchdowns. However, he found himself in and out of New England’s RB rotation in 2020, and he was traded to the Rams prior to the 2021 campaign. During his lone season with the Rams, Michel collected 973 yards from scrimmage, and he added another 72 yards in four postseason games.

The Dolphins have been busy adding to the running backs room this offseason, signing Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert to join Myles Gaskins in Miami’s backfield. The Saints also added a former player in Mark Ingram, with Alvin Kamara once again leading the depth chart.

Patriots To Trade Sony Michel To Rams

5:14pm: The teams have agreed to a revised trade. The Rams are sending the Patriots a 2022 sixth-round pick and a 2023 fourth-rounder for Michel, The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue tweets. This certainly makes for a less complicated trade package, and the Rams could end up netting a compensatory pick — depending on Michel’s potential free agency path next year.

8:53am: The Patriots have agreed to trade running back Sony Michel to the Rams in exchange for two late-round conditional draft picks (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). The Patriots will get a fifth-rounder and sixth-rounder that combines and converts to a fourth-rounder when/if the Rams get a fourth-round compensatory pick (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). 

In essence, it’s Michel — a former-first round pick — in exchange for a fourth round selection. As New England’s 2018 first-rounder (No. 31 overall), Michel showed promise in his rookie year. He collected 981 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns in 13 regular season games, and he added another six scores during the Patriots’ run to a championship. Michel’s overall stats went up a bit in 2019 thanks to him appearing in three more games, but his yards per carry dropped from 4.5 (2018) to 3.7 (2019). Michel spent much of the 2020 campaign on the IR and COVID list, finishing with a career-low 563 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns.

The Patriots declined his fifth-year option, so he’s on course for free agency in 2022. Now, the Rams get Michel — who is still only 26 years old — in a prove-it year. It’s hard to see Michel as a three-down back in the NFL, but the Rams see ample upside here, especially with Cam Akers sidelined for the year.

The Pats, meanwhile, will move forward with 2019 third-rounder Damien Harris as their starter, James White as their pass-catching specialist, and new rookie Rhamondre Stevenson in support. J.J. Taylor and veteran special teams player Brandon Bolden are also vying for time and the Patriots weren’t going to carry more than five RBs.

Michel will earn $1.79MM this year as he looks to reinvent himself in Los Angeles. For now, he’ll likely slot in behind Darrell Henderson Jr. as the Rams’ RB1 with support from youngster Xavier Jones and rookie Jake Funk.

Latest On Damien Harris, Patriots RB Depth

Per usual, the Patriots running back room is getting a bit crowded. However, while Bill Belichick and co. will traditionally shake up their depth chart based on performance and opponents, ESPN’s Mike Reiss believes the hierarchy is already set heading into training camp. According to the writer, Damien Harris is the “surefire No. 1 option” at the moment

Harris, a 2019 third-round pick, barely played during his rookie campaign, but he took on more responsibility during the 2020 season. The Alabama product ended up finishing the campaign with 743 yards from scrimmage on only 142 carries. Best of all, the 5-foot-11 running back doesn’t appear to be a flash in the pan, as Belichick was quick to praise the 24-year-old last month.

“Damien works extremely hard at all phases — certainly his conditioning and training, running game, passing game, protection, route running, catching the ball,” Belichick said (via Reiss) “He’s got a lot of skill and he can contribute in a variety of ways, and he’s looking to upgrade where he is in every area.”

While Harris seems to have a firm hold on the starting gig, the rest of the depth chart is still a bit uncertain. As Reiss notes, the only other running back who’s (basically) guaranteed to make the roster is fourth-round rookie Rhamondre Stevenson. Elsewhere, pass-catching veteran James White will probably retain his role for at least another year, J.J. Taylor is inexpensive and should serve as a “spark plug,” and Brandon Bolden has established himself as a special teams ace. This means that former first-round pick Sony Michel could find himself on the outside looking in, especially if the Patriots decide to hang on to one of their younger, less expensive alternatives.

Trade Candidates: Patriots RB Sony Michel, WR N’Keal Harry

While Bill Belichick has earned praise for his successful late-round picks, many of his championship rosters have been predicated on early-round draft selections. However, a pair of recent first-round picks have disappointed during their tenures in New England, and the young duo could find themselves playing elsewhere come the start of the 2021 season.

Erik Scalavino of the Patriots website recently discussed the trade availability of edge rusher Chase Winovich (something we looked at yesterday), and the writer believes that running back Sony Michel and wideout N’Keal Harry could also be on the trade block:

“[Winovich] and a handful of other Patriots (Sony Michel, N’Keal Harry?) could be potential trade prospects come August or early September. As always, what their value would be is impossible to predict, but summertime trades often involve player-for-player swaps between teams needed to strengthen certain positions. Something to keep in mind.”

Let’s start with New England’s 2018 first-rounder (No. 31 overall). Michel actually looked like he was well worth his draft stock during his rookie year. He collected 981 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns in 13 regular season games, and he added another six scores during the Patriots’ run to a championship. Michel’s counting stats went up a bit in 2019 thanks to him appearing in three more games, but his yards per carry dropped from 4.5 (2018) to 3.7 (2019). Michel spent much of the 2020 campaign on the IR and COVID list, finishing with a career-low 563 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns.

Still, Michel has showed plenty of promise (especially when it matters most), and he’s still only 26 years old. Why would the Patriots shop the young running back? For starters, the former first-rounder is an impending free agent after the Patriots declined to pick up his fifth-year contract. Further, the Patriots haven’t shown any trust in the running back’s ability to catch the ball (26 receptions in 38 games), and it’s clear Michel will never be a three-down back. Considering those two factors, it seems unlikely that Michel will be playing in New England beyond 2021. Finally, New England has plenty of depth at the position; 2019 third-rounder Damien Harris is projected to be the starter, James White will be back in his pass-catching role, and the team also added Rhamondre Stevenson in the fourth round of this year’s draft.

Harry’s spot on the trade block makes a lot more sense. Since being selected with the 32nd pick in the 2019 draft, the Arizona State product has struggled to show much during his limited opportunities. Harry couldn’t find a groove with Tom Brady during his rookie season, finishing with only 105 receiving yards. With much less receiving depth in 2020, Harry only saw a slight uptick in numbers, finishing with 309 yards from scrimmage. The Patriots have done some work improving their pass-catching corps this offseason, including the additions of veterans Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne. This will only slide Harry further down the depth chart.

We haven’t done a whole lot to inspire confidence in either of these young players…so why would rival squads be interested? Well, both players are still on their rookie contracts, making them relatively inexpensive, (potentially) high-upside reclamation projects. Further, while the Patriots have a bit of a roster crunch at each position, there’s no real urgency nor financial advantage to cut the players. If a rival team is interested in Michel and/or Harry, they’ll likely have to acquire the player(s) via trade. New England obviously won’t come close to recouping their first-round investment, but the team could net a late-round pick.

One thing is certain: 2021 will surely be a make-or-break year for both Michel and Harry. The big question is if that crucial season will take place in New England or elsewhere.

2022 NFL Fifth-Year Option Tracker

NFL teams have until May 3 to officially pick up their options on 2018 first-rounders who are entering the final year of their rookie deals. In a change from years past, fifth-year option seasons are fully guaranteed, rather than guaranteed for injury only. Meanwhile, salaries are now determined by a blend of the player’s position, initial draft placement, and specific performance metrics:

  • 2-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternate Pro Bowlers) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag.
  • 1-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag.
  • Players who achieve any of the following will get the average of the 3rd-20th highest salaries at their position:
    • 75%+ snaps in two of their first three seasons
    • 75%+ average across all three seasons
    • 50%+ in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will get the average of the 3rd-25th top salaries at their position.

With the deadline looming, we’ll use the space below to track all the option decisions from around the league:

Updated 4-30-21, 4:24pm CT

  1. QB Baker Mayfield, Browns: Exercised ($18.858MM)
  2. RB Saquon Barkley, Giants: Exercised ($7.217MM)
  3. QB Sam Darnold, Panthers (via Jets): Pending ($18.858MM)
  4. CB Denzel Ward, Browns — Exercised ($13.294MM)
  5. LB Bradley Chubb, Broncos — Pending ($12.716MM)
  6. G Quenton Nelson, Colts — Pending ($13.754MM)
  7. QB Josh Allen, Bills: Pending ($23.106MM)
  8. LB Roquan Smith, Bears: Exercised ($9.735MM)
  9. OT Mike McGlinchey, 49ers: Exercised ($10.88MM)
  10. QB Josh Rosen, Cardinals: N/A
  11. S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers (via Dolphins): Exercised ($10.612MM)
  12. DT Vita Vea, Buccaneers: Exercised ($7.638MM)
  13. DT Daron Payne, Washington — Exercised ($8.529MM)
  14. DE Marcus Davenport, Saints: Exercised ($9.553MM)
  15. OT Kolton Miller, Raiders — N/A (extension)
  16. LB Tremaine Edmunds, Bills: Pending ($12.716MM)
  17. S Derwin James, Chargers: Exercised ($9.052MM)
  18. CB Jaire Alexander, Packers: Exercised ($13.294MM)
  19. LB Leighton Vander Esch, Cowboys: Pending ($9.145MM)
  20. C Frank Ragnow, Lions: Exercised ($12.657MM)
  21. C Billy Price, Bengals: Declined ($10.413MM)
  22. LB Rashaan Evans, Titans: Pending ($9.735MM)
  23. OT Isaiah Wynn, Patriots: Pending ($10.413 MM)
  24. WR D.J. Moore, Panthers: Exercised ($11.116MM)
  25. TE Hayden Hurst, Falcons (via Ravens): Pending ($5.428MM)
  26. WR Calvin Ridley, Falcons: Pending ($11.116MM)
  27. RB Rashaad Penny, Seahawks: Pending ($4.523MM)
  28. S Terrell Edmunds, Steelers: Pending ($6.753MM)
  29. DT Taven Bryan, Jaguars: Pending ($7.638MM)
  30. CB Mike Hughes, Vikings: Pending ($12.643MM)
  31. RB Sony Michel, Patriots: Pending ($4.523MM)
  32. QB Lamar Jackson, Ravens: Exercised ($23.106MM)

NFL’s Fifth-Year Option Salaries For 2021

The NFL’s 2021 salary cap has been set at $182.5MM, marking the league’s first reduction in a decade. With that, the league has also ironed out the value of this year’s fifth-round option for 2018 first-round picks.

Here’s the full rundown, via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter):

1. Baker Mayfield, Browns, QB — $18.858MM (playing time)

2. Saquon Barkley, Giants, RB — $7.217MM (1x Pro Bowl)

3. Sam Darnold, Jets, QB — $18.858MM (playing time)

4. Denzel Ward, Browns, CB — $13.294MM (1x Pro Bowl)

5. Bradley Chubb, Broncos, LB — $12.716MM (1x Pro Bowl)

6. Quenton Nelson, Colts, G — $13.754MM (2x Pro Bowl)

7. Josh Allen, Bills, QB — $23.106MM (1x Pro Bowl)

8. Roquan Smith, Bears, LB — $9.735MM (playing time)

9. Mike McGlinchey, 49ers, OT — $10.88MM (playing time)

10. Josh Rosen, Cardinals, QB*

11. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers, S (drafted by Dolphins) — $10.612MM (2x Pro Bowl)

12. Vita Vea, Buccaneers, DT — $7.638MM

13. Daron Payne, Washington, DT — $8.529MM (playing time)

14. Marcus Davenport, Saints, DE — $9.553MM

15. Kolton Miller, Raiders, OT — $10.88MM (playing time)

16. Tremaine Edmunds, Bills, LB — $12.716MM (1x Pro Bowl)

17. Derwin James, Chargers, S — $9.052MM (1x Pro Bowl)

18. Jaire Alexander, Packers, CB — $13.294MM (1x Pro Bowl)

19. Leighton Vander Esch, Cowboys, LB — $9.145MM

20. Frank Ragnow, Lions, C — $12.657MM (1x Pro Bowl)

21. Billy Price, Bengals, C — $10.413MM

22. Rashaan Evans, Titans, LB — $9.735MM (playing time)

23. Isaiah Wynn, Patriots, OT — $10.413MM

24. D.J. Moore, Panthers, WR — $11.116MM (playing time)

25. Hayden Hurst, Falcons, TE (Drafted by Ravens) — $5.428MM

26. Calvin Ridley, Falcons, WR — $11.116MM (playing time)

27. Rashaad Penny, Seahawks, RB — $4.523MM

28., Steelers, S Terrell Edmunds — $6.753MM (playing time)

29. Taven Bryan, Jaguars, DT — $7.638MM

30. Mike Hughes, Vikings, CB — $12.643MM

31. Sony Michel, Patriots, RB — $4.523MM

32. Lamar Jackson, Ravens, QB — $23.106MM (1x Pro Bowl)

* Rosen was released from his original contract and, therefore, is not option-eligible 

As a refresher, the fifth-year option year is now fully guaranteed. In the past, it was guaranteed for injury only. The values are also dependent on certain performance metrics:

  • Two-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternate Pro Bowlers) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag.
  • One-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag.
  • Players who achieve any of the following will get the average of the 3rd-20th highest salaries at their position:
    • 75%+ snaps in two of their first three seasons
    • 75%+ average across all three seasons
    • 50%+ in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will get the average of the 3rd-25th top salaries at their position.

Patriots Activate RB Sony Michel

Following a six-game absence, Sony Michel is back with the Patriots. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that New England has activated the running back from injured reserve. The team will waive Hjalte Froholdt to make room on the roster. Jeff Howe of The Athletic tweets that the Patriots have also waived defensive end Derek Rivers.

Michel started each of New England’s first three games this season, but a quad injury has kept him out of the lineup for the past month-plus. It’s unlikely the 25-year-old will slide back to the top of the Patriots depth chart; former third-rounder Damien Harris has three 100-plus-yard performances since Michel went down, while both Rex Burkhead and James White continue to see work out of the backfield.

The Georgia product has been a bit trick-or-treat since being selected with the 31st-overall pick in the 2018 draft. He had a dynamic playoff run in 2018, rushing for 336 yards and six touchdowns in three games en route to a Super Bowl championship. However, Michel only averaged 3.7 yards per attempt in 2019, and he didn’t play more than 38-percent of his team’s offensive snaps through the first three weeks of the season.

Rivers was a third-round pick by the Patriots in 2017, and he’s already missed a pair of seasons due to injuries. In total, the 26-year-old has seen time in 14 games, compiling six tackles and 2.5 sacks. Froholdt, a fourth-round pick by the Patriots in 2019, appeared in eight games this season.