Vederian Lowe

AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Jets, Thornton

The 2019 draft produced several long-running partnerships between defensive tackles and the teams that chose them in the first round. Four of the six DTs selected in Round 1 that year signed extensions this offseason. Quinnen Williams, Ed Oliver, Dexter Lawrence and Jeffery Simmons have new deals in hand. Jerry Tillery did not work out for the Chargers, but he was the only first-round DT from the ’19 class not to negotiate an extension this offseason. Christian Wilkins spent months discussing a deal with the Dolphins, but the sides have tabled matters to 2024, when the former No. 13 overall pick will be on the cusp of free agency.

Guarantees represented a sticking point for Wilkins, but Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald offers that the Dolphins appeared to be skittish about authorizing a Williams-level deal for a player without much in the way of sack production. Wilkins’ camp undoubtedly pushed for terms in the Williams-Lawrence-Simmons-Daron Payne neighborhood ($22.5-$24MM per year), as the Clemson alum led all DTs with 98 tackles last season. Wilkins, who produced 89 tackles in 2021, has never topped 4.5 sacks in a season. He has also eclipsed seven QB hits in just one of his four NFL slates (13 in 2021). Wilkins has not requested a trade, per Jackson, and the Dolphins — despite trade interest emerging — are not interested in moving him.

The Dolphins will have the option of franchise-tagging Wilkins next year. The Commanders used the tag as a bridge to a Payne deal, but the D-tackle tag number will likely come in north of $20MM in 2024. The Dolphins are currently projected to be $27MM over the cap next year (29th in the league), though much will obviously change between now and then. Here is the latest from the AFC East:

Patriots Trade For Vikings OL Vederian Lowe

The Vikings have successfully found a trade partner to take second-year offensive tackle Vederian Lowe after a few days of searching, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC2. The team will send him to New England in exchange for a sixth-round pick.

Minnesota selected Lowe in the sixth round of last year’s draft after Lowe ended his college career with consecutive seasons of All-Big Ten honorable mention. Lowe, the 31st best tackle in college football his senior year, according to Pro Football Focus, was brought in presumably to add depth behind starting offensive tackles Brian O’Neill and Christian Darrisaw. With Lowe now out, Oli Udoh and Blake Brandel are the team’s top backups at tackle.

It’s not completely clear whether Lowe failed to meet Minnesota’s expectations as a backup or if he was too valuable to keep stashed without playing opportunities or if maybe Lowe himself was the one who wanted out. Regardless, the Vikings will likely be satisfied with the return of some draft capital in this exchange.

Lowe will now have a new opportunity with the Patriots to compete for playing time. The recent preseason injury to presumptive starting right tackle Riley Reiff and Calvin Anderson‘s status on the non-football injury list made tackle depth a necessity. Whether or not Lowe gets serious run at the right tackle job in the absence of Reiff and Anderson, his presence should have the Patriots feeling a bit better about their depth. Lowe joins Conor McDermott, newly acquired Tyrone Wheatley, and Andrew Stueber as the team’s healthy tackle options across from Trent Brown.

NFL Draft Pick Signings: 5/12/22

Thursday has featured several rookie deals finalized. Here are the mid- and late-round draftees to sign their four-year contracts today:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Buffalo Bills

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

  • WR Montrell Washington (fifth round, Samford)

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • RB Snoop Conner (fifth round, Ole Miss)
  • CB Gregory Junior (sixth round, Ouachita Baptist)
  • CB Montaric Brown (seventh round, Arkansas)

Las Vegas Raiders

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans