Minor NFL Transactions: 7/22/24

Today’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

  • Waived-injured: WR Jared Wayne

Kansas City Chiefs

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

  • Signed: WR Kevin Austin Jr.

New York Jets

Bengals Sign First-Round T Amarius Mims, Complete Draft Class Deals

The final member of the 2024 draft class is on the books. Bengals first-rounder Amarius Mims signed his rookie contract on Monday, per a team announcement.

[RELATED: Recapping Bengals’ Offseason]

This pact is worth $15.37MM full guaranteed over four years. That figure includes a $7.99MM signing bonus. Mims will be under team control through at least 2027, but like all Day 1 picks a fifth-year option could keep him in the fold for another season beyond that.

Jonah Williams departed in free agency, and right tackle was a key area of need for Cincinnati. As planned, the team sought out a short-term option at the position by signing Trent Brown to a one-year deal. To little surprise, though, several first-round prospects were considered in the lead-in to the draft. One of those was Mims, whom the Bengals selected at No. 18.

The 6-7, 340-pounder flashed considerable upside during his time at Georgia. More established options on the depth chart along with injuries severely limited his playing time, however. Mims got his first starts during the 2022 College Football Playoffs before logging three game at right tackle to begin the 2023 campaign. An ankle injury required tightrope surgery and left him sidelined for much of the season, threatening to hurt his draft stock.

Mims’ potential nevertheless allowed him to become a top-20 selection, and he will enter the NFL with high expectations. On the books in time for Wednesday (Cincinnati’s first training camp practice), Mims will spend the summer competing with Brown for the first-team RT gig. The team’s preference would likely be a redshirt rookie campaign given his lack of game reps in college, but Mims’ performance over the coming weeks will dictate how early he sees the field at the NFL level.

Here is a final breakdown of Cincinnati’s draft class:

Packers, DT Kenny Clark Agree On Extension

It’s been discussed as a possibility this offseason as both the Packers and defensive tackle Kenny Clark have been involved in “ongoing” talks towards a new agreement. Well, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the agreement was reached today with Clark signing a three-year, $64MM extension to remain in Green Bay.

Clark has been a longtime Packer, a staple on the team’s defensive front since being drafted out of UCLA in the first round in 2016. After a rotational role in his rookie season, Clark became a full-time starter in Year 2 and has held down the role for the remainder of his eight years in the NFL. With those eight seasons, Clark ranks in the top-10 in Packers history for tackles for loss (47) and quarterback hits (71) and top-20 for the franchise in sacks (34.0) and forced fumbles (7).

Back in 2020, Clark inked a four-year, $70MM extension, making 2024 a contract year for the 28-year-old. The contract made Clark the 12th-highest paid defensive player in the NFL at the time. This new deal puts Clark just outside the top-20 for highest paid defensive players but makes him the 10th-highest paid interior defender in average annual contract value.

Despite his advancing age, Clark more than deserves his new payday. While Pro Football Focus tends to be higher on the earlier years of Clark’s career, his play has aged like a fine wine. His most recent 2023 season saw him gain career highs in sacks (7.5), tackles for loss (9), and quarterback hits (16). Those peaks and three Pro Bowls in the last five years show that Clark isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, especially with his consistent health. Clark’s no ironman, but he’s only missed eight of 131 games in his career.

While not all the details are available on the new contract, Schefter tells us that Clark is set to receive $29MM, while Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the signing bonus on the new deal will be $17.5MM. With currently projecting the DT franchise tag value next offseason to be $22.1MM, the Packers avoid having to absorb that cap hit in 2025.

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/21/24

Today’s minor transactions to wrap up this final weekend before training camps begin:

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Kansas City Chiefs

Texans Sign RB Cam Akers

8:03pm: Akers’ Sunday tryout in Houston was a successful one as Wilson follows up his earlier report with an update that Akers has been signed by the Texans. After 15 starts in just over three years with the Rams and short stint in Minnesota, Akers now joins the Texans backfield for a third opportunity. He’ll now compete with Dare Ogunbowale and rookie sixth-round pick Jawhar Jordan for a backup role behind Mixon and Pierce.

In addition to Jackson and Williams, Wilson reports that Akers was joined in his workout by Ke’Shawn Vaughn. A former third-round pick out of Vanderbilt, Vaughn failed to catch on in Tampa Bay before spending part of last year on the Patriots’ practice squad.

1:40pm: The Texans have been busy in recent days with respect to investigating a backfield addition. Houston’s efforts on that front continued Sunday.

The team hosted Cam Akers on a workout, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 reports. The former Ram and Viking is among the players looking to find a new home as training camps open around the league. Houston also brought in veteran Deon Jackson and undrafted rookie Miyan Williams earlier this week.

Devin Singletary departed in free agency this year, and the Texans were suitors for a number of high-profile backs on the market. In the end, the team swung a trade with the Bengals for Joe Mixon and signed him to a new deal. The soon-to-be 28-year-old will thus handle lead back duties for the foreseeable future. 2022 fourth-rounder Dameon Pierce remains as a backup option.

Houston has nearly $19MM in cap space, so a move at the running back spot (or any other position) is certainly feasible. Akers, 25, should not be an expensive option for the Texans or any other interested team. Following the end of his Los Angeles tenure, he was dealt to Minnesota. The Florida State alum made just six appearances with the Vikings before he was sidelined with the second Achilles tear of his career.

To little surprise, Akers – who showed promise when healthy before falling out of favor with Sean McVay – remains unsigned deep into the offseason. He recently underwent a physical, and a report from earlier this month suggested the Vikings would be open to re-signing him if he passed. The fact that Akers is still available (and visiting other teams) is a sign he failed the physical or that Minnesota has moved on to other options. In any event, he will attempt to latch onto a roster in Houston or elsewhere in the coming days.

Vikings Ink First-Round OLB Dallas Turner, Finish Draft Class Signings

The Vikings have finally finished up the signings of their rookie draft class, inking first-round pick Dallas Turner to his entry-level four-year deal. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the contract is worth $15.76MM with an $8.28MM signing bonus. The deal comes just in time as Turner would not have been able to participate in the team’s upcoming training camp until he put pen to paper.

Turner spent most of the draft process being billed as the 2024 NFL Draft’s top pass rushing prospect. The Fort Lauderdale-native wasn’t a starter in his true freshman season at Alabama, but that didn’t stop him from racking up 8.5 sacks and 10.0 tackles for loss in a rotational role, earning him freshman All-American honors. Turner experienced a bit of a sophomore slump in Tuscaloosa, only tallying four sacks and eight tackles for loss in 10 starts, but he rebounded strongly last year. Starting all 14 games for the Crimson Tide in 2023, Turner led the SEC in sacks (11.0) and led his team in tackles for loss (15.5) en route to becoming a consensus All-American.

As the No. 17 overall pick in the draft, Turner suffered a bit of a slide from his projected draft slot. The two noted reasons for this slide were the unprecedented run of offensive picks to open the night and some medical red flags that had not been widely reported in pre-draft conversations. Still, he was the second pass rusher off the board, taken two picks after UCLA’s Laiatu Latu, and the third defensive player off the board, following Texas defensive tackle Byron Murphy, as well.

With Turner’s contract done, now Bengals’ rookie first-round offensive tackle Amarius Mims is the lone draft pick without a signed contract. Cincinnati’s rookies reported to camp yesterday, and camp is set to begin on Wednesday. Mims will not be able to participate in training camp until he signs his rookie deal.

Here’s one last look at the Vikings’ 2024 rookie draft class before training camp starts:

  • Round 1, No 10 (via Jets): J.J. McCarthy (QB, Michigan) (signed)
  • Round 1, No. 17 (via Jaguars): Dallas Turner (EDGE, Alabama) (signed)
  • Round 4, No. 108: Khyree Jackson (CB, Oregon) (signed)(deceased)
  • Round 6, No. 177 (from Panthers through Jaguars): Walter Rouse (T, Oklahoma) (signed)
  • Round 6: No. 203 (from Texans through Browns, Broncos and Jets): Will Reichard (K, Alabama) (signed)
  • Round 7, No. 230 (from Falcons through Browns and Cardinals): Michael Jurgens (C, Wake Forest) (signed)
  • Round 7, No. 232 (from Broncos through 49ers and Texans): Levi Drake Rodriguez (DT, Texas A&M Commerce) (signed)

Chiefs Place Justin Reid On NFI List

The Chiefs have placed safety Justin Reid on the non-football injury list, per Matt Derrick of Fortunately, the situation does not sound overly serious, as Pete Sweeney of Arrowhead Pride notes that Reid is day-to-day with a quad injury.

Reid, a third-round pick of the Texans in 2018, played out his four-year rookie contract with Houston and signed a three-year, $31.5MM deal with the Chiefs in 2022. He has served as a full-time defensive starter since then, racking up 178 tackles and 14 pass deflections along the way while helping the team win consecutive Super Bowls.

Interestingly, a report from last month indicated that Kansas City plans on using him (rather than kicker Harrison Butker) on kickoffs. Thanks to the much-discussed rule changes concerning kickoffs, more returns are expected to take place in 2024, so adding a defender to the coverage team would provide an upgrade in terms of tackling compared to kickers. That is the thought process behind the projected move, and Reid is not entirely unfamilar with the kicking game; in Week 1 of the 2022 season, he handled kickoffs and two extra point attempts (converting one) in relief of an injured Butker.

Teams are generally hesitant to deploy an important offensive or defensive starter on special teams because they don’t want that player getting injured in the game’s third phase, though the Chiefs did add Jaden Hicks in the fourth round of this year’s draft as insurance for Reid. And despite Kansas City’s overall strong defensive showing in 2023, Reid himself regressed a bit, finishing as Pro Football Focus’ 79th-best safety out of 95 qualifiers thanks in large part to a poor 51.8 coverage grade.

Although the prognosis is a good one, any kind of absence could affect the Chiefs’ special teams plans, as Reid will likely need plenty of time to get acclimated to his new kickoff duties.

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/20/24

Saturday’s minor moves around the NFL:

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Seattle Seahawks

Saints Give WR Rashid Shaheed One-Year Extension

After tendering exclusive rights free agent Rashid Shaheed, the Saints have agreed to extend the first-team All-Pro for an additional season, per Adam Schefter of ESPN. They settled his 2024 contract with the tender in March and, apparently, decided to deal with his situation for 2025 this offseason, as well.

The tender offer from New Orleans guaranteed that Shaheed will be on the roster in 2024. As an exclusive rights free agent, Shaheed essentially only had a take-it-or-leave-it option. With the team deciding to make a tender offer, a one-year contract at the value of the league minimum for a three-year veteran, Shaheed was unable to negotiate with other teams and was required to sign the deal in order to play in 2024.

That seemed like a bit of a cruel way to reward your first-team All-Pro return man. Over two years after going undrafted out of Weber State, Shaheed has solidified himself as a reliable WR2 behind Chris Olave and established himself as one of the league’s best current return men. Especially with the rule changes in the return game coming next year, having a returner you can depend on is a must.

Shaheed isn’t just a returner, though. In 2023, his 719-receiving yard total was second on the team, and he matched Olave for the team-lead in receiving touchdowns. With a punt return for a touchdown, as well, his six total touchdowns tied Alvin Kamara and Taysom Hill for the team-lead in total scores, as well.

To properly reward Shaheed for his efforts, New Orleans has signed him to a one-year extension worth $5.2MM. Shaheed was set to become a restricted free agent following this season, and his new extension helps both parties avoid that situation. The $5.2MM projects somewhere between the values of a first- and second-round RFA tender for next year, so the Saints are avoiding the tedium of the future while locking down Shaheed and rewarding him by guaranteeing that he’ll be under contract for another two years.

Dolphins OLB Shaquil Barrett Announces Retirement

The Dolphins signed Shaquil Barrett at the beginning of this offseason as one of several recent free agent additions to their defense. Before we get a chance to see just how he would fit into Miami’s defense, though, it appears that the veteran linebacker has informed his new team of his intentions to step away from the game, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

A former undrafted free agent out of Colorado State in 2014, Barrett took a bit of a slow start to his NFL career, spending his entire rookie season on the Broncos’ practice squad. The next year, though, Barrett almost immediately made it known that he should’ve been drafted. Leading the team in sacks during the 2015 preseason, Barrett made the 53-man roster for his sophomore campaign.

His first career sack came in Week 3, and he eventually earned his first starts due to an injury to DeMarcus Ware. In six starts over 16 appearances, Barrett totaled 5.5 sacks in his first season on the field. The remainder of his time in Denver saw him vastly undervalued. He would only make nine starts in the next three years (all nine coming in 2017), but in a mostly rotational role, Barrett totaled 14.0 sacks during his time in Denver.

After five years with the Broncos, Barrett signed with the Buccaneers on a one-year, $4MM deal. In a one-year audition, Barrett put on the performance of a lifetime. In Week 2 of his first year in Tampa Bay, Barrett sacked Cam Newton three times. A week later, Barrett upped his own performance with four sacks on the Giants. While that furious pace didn’t continue for a season full of multi-sack games, he did lead the NFL in 2019 with a career-high 19.5 sacks, adding 37 quarterback hits and 19 tackles for loss while earning Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro honors. The Buccaneers placed the franchise tag on him in 2020 but eventually rewarded Barrett in 2021 with a four-year, $72MM deal.

Barrett never quite reached the heights of that career year, but over the next two seasons, he continued to be effective and disruptive, totaling 18.0 sacks, 38 quarterback hits, and 20 tackles for loss. He earned his second Pro Bowl bid in 2021 after reaching double-digit sacks for the second time. His 2022 season was marred by a torn Achilles tendon that ended his season after eight games, and last year, he returned to add 4.5 sacks and three forced fumbles to the defense.

Barrett found his way to free agency as a cap casualty after Tampa Bay made it known that they only wanted to bring him back at a reduced rate. He signed with Miami a couple weeks later as the Dolphins searched for some quality depth while Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb recover from their respective Achilles and ACL tears. Phillips and Chubb were recently put on the team’s active/physically unable to perform list, so the Dolphins continue to lack experienced depth at a position group now led by first-round rookie Chop Robinson.

This late into the offseason, the Dolphins still have some options to fill in the outside linebacker spot in veteran free agents Carl Lawson, Tyus Bowser, Markus Golden, and others. Lawson visited the team back in April, while Bowser has experience with new defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver from their time in Baltimore. They will have a little financial flexibility to sign a replacement as Adam Beasley of Pro Football Network notes that the team should get back Barrett’s $5.5MM signing bonus and $6.8MM cap impact.

For Barrett, though, his run appears to be over. While it comes as a surprise for many of us, as the 31-year-old was days away from attending training camp with the Dolphins, he claimed on his Instagram that he’s “been thinking about this for a while and the decision has never been more clear then it is now.” He gives the reasoning that, knowing how it feels and what it takes to accomplish your greatest dreams, he now wants to help his family to reach dreams of their own. Best of luck to Barrett and his family in their future endeavors.