Xavier Rhodes

NFC Notes: Freeman, Panthers, Vikes

An extension for Falcons running back Devonta Freeman doesn’t appear imminent, but an agreement should come together by early September, writes Dan Graziano of ESPN.com. The Falcons and Freeman’s agent, Kristin Campbell, are engaging in daily conversations, and both sides are motivated to reach a deal, adds Graziano. Atlanta regards the 25-year-old as a cornerstone player after witnessing him pile up 1,000-plus rushing yards in each of the previous two campaigns, to go with 27 touchdowns (22 on the ground, five as a receiver) and 127 catches. Freeman provided that production while making a relative pittance, and he’ll earn another low base salary this year ($1.797MM) if talks with the Falcons fall through. It doesn’t appear that will happen, however.

More from the NFC:

  • Corey Graham visited the Panthers last week, but the two sides could not agree on money, reports Adam Caplan of ESPN (on Twitter). The safety signed with the Eagles on Thursday.
  • Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodesfive-year, $70MM extension features $32.8 million in guaranteed money (excluding the $8.026MM he’ll make this season as a fifth-year option player), writes Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune. The accord also comes with $500K in per-game roster bonuses from 2018-22 and annual workout bonuses of $100K.
  • Quarterback Luke McCown‘s one-year pact with the Cowboys includes a $1MM base salary, $170K guaranteed and an $80K signing bonus, per Field Yates of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • The Redskins worked out rookie safety Alex Gray on Thursday, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Gray previously spent time with the Buccaneers, who signed him as an undrafted free agent from Appalachian State.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Vikings, Xavier Rhodes Agree To Extension

The Vikings and cornerback Xavier Rhodes have agreed to terms on a five-year, $70MM extension, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). Rhodes was already slated to earn a little over $8MM this season under his fifth-year option, so in total, he is now under contract for six years (through 2022) and $78MM. As Schefter reports, the deal includes a whopping $41MM in guaranteed money, and also comes with a $12MM signing bonus, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Xavier Rhodes

This is not surprising news, as reports from multiple sources this morning indicated that the two sides expected to finalize a deal today, and we heard yesterday that a lucrative extension was imminent. Schefter adds (via Twitter) that Rhodes will receive $42MM over the first three years of the contract, and he now ranks as the league’s third-highest-paid corner in terms of average annual value (behind only Trumaine Johnson, who is playing out the 2017 season under the franchise tag, and Josh Norman).

Rhodes, whom the Vikings selected in the first round of the 2013 draft, turned in the best season of his career in 2016, which earned him his first Pro Bowl nod. Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics were fairly kind to his overall effort, as Rhodes graded out as the 29th-best corner in the league out of 111 qualified players, but PFF really loved his performance against the run, where he graded as the top CB in football. Whatever issues he had in coverage he helped to make up for with his five interceptions, one of which he returned 100 yards for a score.

Since he became a full-time starter in 2014, Rhodes has also been pretty durable. He started all 16 regular-season contests in 2014 and 2015, and after missing the first two weeks of 2016 with a knee injury, he started and finished the remaining 14 games.

As Rapoport tweets, Minnesota will pursue a long-term deal with linebacker Anthony Barr next offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings, Xavier Rhodes Close On Extension

The Vikings are close to finalizing an extension with cornerback Xavier Rhodes, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

A source informed Tomasson the deal is expected to be in the five-year, $70MM vicinity. That would tie Rhodes to the Vikings through the 2022 season. The cornerback is set to make just more than $8MM on a fifth-year option this season.

We heard earlier this week the Vikings made a “nice offer” to the 27-year-old cornerback, who is entering his contract year. Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reported the team is willing to make him one of the league’s highest-paid corners.

An assistant coach at Florida State during Rhodes’ time there and a former NFL corner, Terrell Buckley serves as a mentor to Rhodes. He told Tomasson there was a “high probability” Rhodes will sign an extension by the end of the week but is attempting to get a couple of things “squared away” with this Vikes proposal. Buckley added Rhodes “loves” playing for Mike Zimmer and secondary coach Jerry Gray, further pointing to a long Rhodes stay in Minneapolis.

At $14MM annually, that would match Rhodes with Richard Sherman and Patrick Peterson as the third-highest-paid corner. Only Josh Norman makes more than that annually, although Trumaine Johnson‘s franchise tag ($16.742MM) has him as the league’s highest-paid corner for 2017.

In addition to Rhodes, the Vikings want to lock down key members of their defense, Tomasson reports. They are internally discussing extensions for Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks and Linval Joseph, per Tomasson. The team just signed Everson Griffen to a $57.9MM extension.

The Vikings rode their defense to a dominant start in 2016, jumping out to a 5-0 mark. Minnesota finished third defensively last season. Barr became extension-eligible after last season, but Kendricks — as a 2015 second-round pick — isn’t yet allowed to sign one until after this season. Joseph has delivered dominant football to the Vikings after they signed him as a UFA from the Giants. He has two years remaining on the five-year, $31.25MM deal he signed in 2014. Joseph is set to make $6.85MM in each of the next two seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings Offered Extension To Xavier Rhodes

The Vikings have made a “nice offer” to cornerback Xavier Rhodes and are willing to make him one of the league’s highest-paid cornerbacks, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (Twitter link).Xavier Rhodes (vertical)

Rhodes, 27, has appeared in 59 games for Minnesota since being selected with the 27th overall pick in the 2013 draft. 2016 was a Pro Bowl campaign for Rhodes, who earned the nod after starting 14 games and racking up five interceptions while grading as the league’s No. 29 corner, per Pro Football Focus, which also ranked Rhodes as the single-best run-defending corner in the NFL.

Under team control for the 2017 season thanks to his fifth-year option, Rhodes will earn $8.026MM for the upcoming year. In order to ensure he’s one of the NFL’s highest-paid at his position, the Vikings will likely need to clear the $13MM per year barrier for Rhodes. That level of contract would put him in line with Stephon Gilmore, A.J. Bouye, and Desmond Trufant. If Rhodes can hit $14MM or even $15MM annually, he’ll join the ranks of Josh Norman, Patrick Peterson, and Richard Sherman.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extension Candidate: Xavier Rhodes

The Vikings’ defense finished 2016 ninth in Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA), third in yards allowed per game, and sixth in points allowed per game. In short, Minnesota boasted a pretty strong defense, and there is a lot of credit to go around for that performance.

Dec 1, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes (29) during a game at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Cowboys defeated the Vikings 17-15. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Cornerback Xavier Rhodes deserves a great deal of that credit. Rhodes, whom the Vikings selected in the first round of the 2013 draft, turned in the best season of his career in 2016, which earned him his first Pro Bowl nod. Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics were fairly kind to his overall effort, as Rhodes graded out as the 29th-best corner in the league out of 111 qualified players, but PFF really loved his performance against the run, where he graded as the top CB in football. Whatever issues he had in coverage he helped to make up for with his five interceptions, one of which he returned 100 yards for a score.

Minnesota picked up Rhodes’ fifth-year option last year, so he is currently under contract through 2017, and he is set to earn a tidy $8.026MM this season. But that doesn’t mean Rhodes wouldn’t be open to a long-term deal, and the Vikings do have a history of signing key players to extensions during contract years. Indeed, we heard back in February that the team was expected to begin negotiating a new contract with Rhodes, and while there have been no public reports of such negotiations, it does not appear that either side has put a deadline on contract talks. As such, it could be that a deal gets hammered out at some point during the season.

Former NFL agent Joel Corry says Desmond Trufant‘s recent extension with the Falcons could serve as a barometer for Rhodes’ negotiations with Minnesota. Trufant, whose total contract value is currently the third-highest in the league among cornerbacks — and who was drafted three picks ahead of Rhodes — pulled down a five-year, $68.75MM deal from Atlanta, including $41.53MM in guaranteed money. In addition to being just about the same age, Trufant and Rhodes are similarly talented players, both solid in coverage and stout against the run, so it would not be a surprise to see Rhodes land a contract that matches or exceeds Trufant’s pact.

Since he became a full-time starter in 2014, Rhodes has also been pretty durable. He started all 16 regular-season contests in 2014 and 2015, and after missing the first two weeks of 2016 with a knee injury, he started and finished the remaining 14 games. The Vikings have about $13.5MM in cap space at the moment (under the Rule of 51), so theoretically they could even front-load a Rhodes extension to give themselves some wiggle room down the road. In any event, expect to see Rhodes and fellow Pro Bowler Harrison Smith sharing Minnesota’s defensive backfield for the next few years.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Vikings, Rhodes, Saints, 49ers

Free agent cornerback K’Waun Williams will take his visit with the Vikings next Tuesday, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. Williams, 25, had meetings with the Lions and Jets earlier this week, and is expected to convene with the Dolphins and 49ers at some point, as well. After starting 10 total games during his first two years in the NFL, Williams was sidelined for all of 2016 thanks to an ankle injury.

Here’s more from Minnesota and the rest of the NFC:

  • The Vikings have are expected to hire former Purdue and Kent State head coach Darrell Hazell as their new wide receivers coach, according to Alex Marvez of the Sporting News (Twitter link). Hazell, who was fired only six games into the Boilermakers’ 2016 campaign, has a career NCAA record of 25-43. Internal offensive assistant Drew Petzing was also thought to be a candidate for the position, but instead it’s Hazell who will replace George Stewart, who left for Los Angeles.
  • While they’ll face decisions on unrestricted free agents Matt Kalil, Captain Munnerlyn, and Cordarrelle Patterson, the Vikings are also expected to begin negotiating a contract extension with cornerback Xavier Rhodes, according to Matt Vensel of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Thanks to his fifth-year option, Rhodes is signed through the 2017 season, during which he’ll earn $8.026MM. A long-term deal could nearly double his salary, as Josh Norman currently leads all cornerbacks with a $15MM annual figure.
  • The Saints are likely to select an offensive tackle early in the draft, perhaps as early as Round 1, writes Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. Although Drew Brees‘ blindside is locked down by Terron Armstead, right tackle Zach Strief is now 33 years old and entering the twilight of his career. Strief is due a $1.5MM roster bonus later this spring, and New Orleans is expected to pay that figure if Strief definitely decides to continue his career, per Triplett. As such, the Saints likely won’t target a tackle in the free agent market, and the draft looks like a better avenue to find a new lineman.
  • The 49ers are hiring Daniel Bullocks as their assistant secondary coach, per Marvez (Twitter link). Bullocks worked in the same role for Jacksonville last season, and previously coached in the collegiate ranks.

Vikings Pick Up Options On Xavier Rhodes, Sharrif Floyd

9:55am: The Vikings have informed Patterson that they won’t be picking up his option, a source tells Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune.

9:49am: The Vikings have option decisions on three players to announce today, and they’ve already made at least two of those decisions. According to agent Sunny Shah (via Twitter), Minnesota has picked up the fifth-year option on his client, cornerback Xavier Rhodes. The team has also exerciXavier Rhodessed its fifth-year option on defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

[RELATED: 2017 Fifth-Year Option Decision Tracker]

Both moves had been anticipated, since Rhodes and Floyd have been solid pieces of the Vikings’ defense since joining the team, and their projected 2017 salaries aren’t exorbitant. Floyd, the 23rd overall pick in 2013, will earn a $6.757MM salary on his 2017 option year, while Rhodes, the 25th overall pick, will be in line for an $8.026MM salary.

While Floyd, who has started 23 games for Minnesota over the last two seasons, figures to continue in a similar role going forward, Rhodes will have a little more competition at cornerback in 2016 and 2017 — the Vikings used their second-round pick on Friday to nab Clemson’s Mackensie Alexander, one of the top cornerbacks in this year’s draft, so he’ll join Rhodes, Terence Newman, Trae Waynes, and Captain Munnerlyn in Minneapolis.

The Vikings’ third option decision today is for wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, who would be owed a $7.915MM salary in 2017 if the team picks up his fifth-year option. It does not appear likely to be exercised.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fifth-Year Option Notes: Vikings, Titans, 49ers

While most NFL teams only have one fifth-year option decision to make in the next couple weeks, assuming they haven’t already made that decision, the Vikings will have calls to make on three separate players. Thanks to a pair of trades, the Vikes had a trio of first-round picks in the 2013 draft, meaning defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, cornerback Xavier Rhodes, and wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson are all eligible to have 2017 options exercised.

Let’s round up the latest updates on Minnesota’s option decisions, along with some other fifth-year option notes from around the NFL…

  • Patterson’s option for 2017 will be worth $7.915MM, making it more expensive than Floyd’s ($6.757MM) and nearly as pricey as Rhodes’ ($8.026MM). As such, given the wideout’s limited on-field impact, it would be a surprise if the Vikings pick it up, writes Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. However, Tomasson notes that Floyd’s and Rhodes’ options are near-locks to be exercised.
  • It doesn’t appear the Titans have made a final decision on the 2017 option for guard Chance Warmack, but Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com suggests the team may be leaning toward turning it down, given the exorbitant price ($11.902MM). Tennessee has until May 3rd to make a decision.
  • 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said today that the team intends to retain safety Eric Reid beyond the coming season, either by picking up his fifth-year option or by working out a longer-term deal, tweets Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group. Reid’s 2017 salary would be $5.676MM if the Niners exercise that option.
  • Check out PFR’s 2017 option tracker to keep tabs on all decisions that have been reported or announced so far.

Extra Points: Smith, Browns, Texans, Hughes

Let’s take a look at some assorted notes from around the NFL…

  • ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini says there are a variety of reasons why the Jets wouldn’t trade Geno Smith this season. There wouldn’t be much of a market for the quarterback, and if the Jets ultimately make the playoffs, they wouldn’t want to rely on Bryce Petty as insurance to Ryan Fitzpatrick. Regardless, the writer opines that Smith will be on his way out during the offseason, as Cimini can’t see how the 25-year-old fits in the team’s future plans.
  • The Browns worked out four tight ends on Friday, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter): Cameron Clear, Konrad Reuland, Brian Leonhardt and Connor Hamlett.
  • Texans safety Eddie Pleasant was fined $8,681 for his unnecessary roughness penalty during last weekend’s loss to the Falcons, according to Wilson (via Twitter).
  • Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes earned more than $30,000 in fines for his actions during his team’s contest against the Giants, according to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. One fine was for unnecessary roughness, while the other was for abusive language toward an official.
  • Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes was fined $17,363 for his horse-collar tackle on Broncos wideout Emmanuel Sanders, reports ESPN.com’s Ben Goessling.