Xavier Rhodes

Details On Xavier Rhodes’ Deal With Colts

Late last month, the Colts agreed to sign former Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes to a one-year deal. At the time, it was reported that he’d earn somewhere around $5MM. On Thursday, we learned that it’s not quite that lucrative. 

Rhodes ‘s deal has a base value of $3MM including a $1MM signing bonus, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Outside of the signing bonus, the deal has no other guarantees, though he can add an extra $250K if he hits certain incentive milestones.

The Vikings dropped Rhodes midway through March, terminating his five-year, $70MM+ deal with three seasons to go. The new contract represents a serious pay cut for the former first-round pick – his average annual value has dropped by $11MM and he’ll have to play up to par in Indy in order to keep his value strong moving forward.

Rhodes, 30 this summer, had a rough 2019 in Minnesota. The 2016 and 2017 Pro Bowler looked like a shell of his former self – he notched five interceptions in ’16; he offered Swiss cheese D last year, as evidenced by his 127.8 passer rating.

The Vikings reportedly tried to re-sign Rhodes, but his Colts contract indicates that it probably wasn’t a very strong offer. Or, perhaps, the Vikes made him a similar pitch, but he wanted a change of scenery. Either way, the Vikings are now down three former first-round corners after watching Rhodes, Trae Waynes, and Mackensie Alexander switch conferences.

Now with the Colts, Rhodes will try to fill the void left by the Pierre Desir release along with slot specialist Kenny Moore and Rock Ya-Sin.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts Notes: Rivers, Gates, Rhodes

There were several times during the 2019 campaign that Antonio Gates considered joining the Colts. The veteran tight end told Jim Ayello of the Indianapolis Star that he was close to teaming up with several of his former Chargers coaches, including former offensive coordinator (and current Indy head coach) Frank Reich, former wide receivers coach (and current Indy offensive coordinator) Nick Sirianni, and former tight ends coach (and, well, current Indy tight ends coach) Jason Michael in Indianapolis. 

“It was just so familiar,” Gates said. “Even the players had, like, similarities if that makes sense. It’s just crazy how everything works. It did look familiar and when they called plays, it just fit what we had done over the course of a decade in California.”

Considering that connection, it was natural for some to wonder if the 39-year-old would finally land in Indy to team up with his former quarterback, Philip Rivers, in 2020. However, Gates made it clear that he isn’t planning on ending his retirement.

“No, no, no,” Gates said. “Last year, I was fresh out. I was hesitant about coming back, but I always wanted to keep open the opportunity of winning a championship. I really, truly feel like the Colts have that opportunity now with Philip. But for me, I can’t be who I was, from a mental standpoint. That’s why I retired. What I would have to go through mentally and the things I’d do to prepare, I just don’t feel like I can give that effort right now. I wouldn’t want to do that to anybody.” 

Let’s check out some more notes out of Indy:

  • Gates also provided some interesting insight into why he believes Rivers chose Indianapolis. “I was in the same boat Philip is in now,” said Gates. “You understand the people you’re going to work with. They don’t have to worry about me as a human being. They know me. And they know, ‘OK, this is his ritual and how he gets prepared and gets ready.’ Sometimes as a veteran, you need that. That helps you….Say I would have gone to New England. I never played under (Bill) Belichick. He doesn’t really understand how Antonio Gates works. He wouldn’t know, I need this day off. I’ll train on this day. So he has a philosophy he’s accustomed to, therefore they have no relationship with me. All they know is what they see. And that wouldn’t have worked. And I really think it’s the same for Philip. I’m 98-99% sure that’s why he went to Indy.”
  • Meanwhile, cornerback Xavier Rhodes didn’t mince words when explaining why he joined the Colts. The veteran said defensive backs/cornerbacks coach Jonathan Gannon and defensive backs/safeties coach Alan Williams were “the big reasons” he signed with the Colts (via Joel A. Erickson of the Star on Twitter). Gannon coached Rhodes in Minnesota between 2014 and 2017, while Williams was the Vikings defensive coordinator in 2012 and 2013.
  • In case you missed it, the Colts and cornerback T.J. Carrie agreed to terms Monday.

Colts, CB Xavier Rhodes Agree To Deal

The Colts will add a longtime starter to their cornerback corps. Former Vikings standout Xavier Rhodes agreed to a deal to join the Colts, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Rhodes’ new contract is worth around $5MM, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link).

A recent Vikings cap casualty, Rhodes secured a one-year Colts contract Thursday in a bid to re-establish his value. The seven-year veteran’s stock has dipped considerably since he signed a Minnesota extension in 2017. Rhodes, 30 in June, struggled for most of last season.

Despite cutting Rhodes with three seasons remaining on his contract, the Vikings tried to re-sign him, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. Minnesota has now lost three former first-round corners, with Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander defecting to Cincinnati.

The Vikings, who used a 2013 first-round pick on Rhodes, gave their then-CB1 a five-year, $70MM pact in the summer of 2017. He earned first-team All-Pro acclaim that season, which came after a Pro Bowl 2016 when the Florida State product intercepted five passes.

Rhodes regressed fairly early over the course of his second contract, however. Despite being voted to the Pro Bowl as an alternate, Rhodes allowed a 127.8 passer rating last season. The Colts will aim to bring Rhodes closer to his top level next season.

This Rhodes addition comes less than a week after the Colts cut Pierre Desir a year after extending him. Rhodes will join a cornerback contingent that houses Rock Ya-Sin and standout slot man Kenny Moore.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings Cut Xavier Rhodes, Linval Joseph

Three seasons remained on Xavier Rhodes‘ five-year, $70.1MM contract. Instead, the Vikings will remove that deal from their books in an effort to create cap space.

Minnesota made its expected move Friday, cutting Rhodes, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The Vikings, however, are also releasing defensive tackle Linval Joseph. The former enjoyed a seven-season Twin Cities tenure, while the latter spent six seasons in the middle of Minnesota’s defensive line.

These cuts will create over $18MM in cap space for the Vikings, who entered the day barely $1MM below the projected salary ceiling. This also marks a major shift for the Vikings, who spent years crafting extensions and adding to Mike Zimmer‘s veteran defense. But the team’s payroll, headlined by a fully guaranteed quarterback contract, became flooded with veteran contracts in recent years.

Rhodes’ play had declined considerably, although Joseph remained one of the league’s better interior defenders. The Vikings will need to fill holes at these spots, likely with cheaper and younger cogs. Minnesota has Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander as free agents as well, so the franchise that has drafted three first-round cornerbacks since 2013 will need to have a plan at this priority position.

Joseph, 31, and Rhodes, 29, were two of the best players at their respective positions as recently as 2017. Both made the 2016 and ’17 Pro Bowls, and Joseph graded as one of Pro Football Focus’ top players in both 2015 and ’17. They will head to free agency, with Joseph joining a strong defensive line group.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings Likely To Cut Xavier Rhodes; Latest On Everson Griffen

Earlier today, we discussed a possible extension for Vikings QB Kirk Cousins, an extension that would give Minnesota some much-needed cap space. In addition to a potential new deal for Cousins, Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune notes that other priorities for the Vikings this offseason include extensions for head coach Mike Zimmer, GM Rick Spielman, and running back Dalvin Cook, all of whom are only under contract through 2020. The team will also need to find a new OC, as the Browns just hired Kevin Stefanski to be their next head coach.

The Vikings may also be looking at some significant turnover on the defensive side of the ball. As Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press observes, four of the team’s six defensive starters with Pro Bowls on their resumes — DE Everson Griffen, DT Linval Joseph, S Harrison Smith, and CB Xavier Rhodes — are on the wrong side of 30, or will be next season (Twitter link).

Per Tomasson, Minnesota is likely to release Rhodes. That does not come as much of a surprise, as Rhodes’ play has declined dramatically since he signed a lucrative extension in July 2017, and the team could net a $8.1MM cap savings by cutting him.

Tomasson also suggests that Griffen may not be back with the team in 2020. Pursuant to the terms of a reworked deal that Griffen and the Vikings agreed to last March, Griffen is technically under contract through 2022. But because he played at least 56% of the team’s defensive snaps in 2019 and recorded at least six sacks — he actually played over 77% of defensive snaps while posting eight sacks — he has the ability to void the 2020-22 seasons and hit free agency. Or, even if he does not choose to do so, the Vikings could release him and save about $13MM of cap space.

In any event, it figures to be a busy offseason for Minnesota, a talented team that has just not been able to get over the hump.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Floyd, Bears, Buccaneers, Barrett, Vikings, Rhodes

The Bears have obviously been having a disappointing season. A year after being one of the toasts of the league and winning the NFC North, they’ve officially been eliminated from playoff contention following their loss to the Packers. With the postseason out of reach, all eyes will now turn toward the offseason. The elephant in the room is what Chicago will do with Mitchell Trubisky and the quarterback situation, but they have some other big decisions to make as well. Linebacker Leonard Floyd is set to make $13.2MM under the fifth-year option in 2020, but that’s entirely non-guaranteed money. They can cut him this offseason with no financial penalty, and Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune seems to think that’s a real possibility.

In an interesting column Biggs explores Floyd’s situation, noting all the dynamics at play. Floyd is the second first-round pick that GM Ryan Pace made since taking over the front office, and the first was megabust Kevin White. As such, Pace could be motivated to keep Floyd on the team to try and validate the pick. Floyd certainly hasn’t been bad and he’s been a full-time starter for the Bears since entering the league, but it’s fair to wonder if he’s lived up to the billing of a ninth overall pick. As Biggs points out, the option would make him the tenth highest-paid outside linebacker in the NFL. Floyd had seven sacks as a rookie, but only 4.5 two years ago and four last year. In 14 games this season, he has three. His money becomes guaranteed on March 18th, so the Bears will have to make a decision by then.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • Speaking of NFC pass-rushers, the Buccaneers’ Shaq Barrett has been having a breakout season. He just picked up his 16.5th sack of the year this past weekend, tying the legendary Warren Sapp for the all-time single season franchise record. He’s been a bright spot all year long for this Bucs defense, and they aren’t planning on letting him get away even as he prepares to enter unrestricted free agency this spring. “He ain’t going anywhere,” head coach Bruce Arians said of Barrett, who signed a one-year, $4MM deal this offseason, via Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. Barrett will likely be in line for a massive payday this offseason, and it sounds like the Buccaneers are ready to pay up. Barrett originally signed with the Broncos as an UDFA back in 2014, and was eventually able to get on the field as a situational rusher. He was slept on this offseason, and as we heard earlier this year, only one team other than Tampa even offered him a contract.
  • Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes played only 14 snaps against the Chargers this past weekend, but it wasn’t because of an injury. Head coach Mike Zimmer said after the game that Rhodes was healthy, and that his limited action was the plan going in, per Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. In other words, Rhodes got benched. The 2013 first-round pick quickly became a star and one of the league’s better corners, but he’s declined rapidly. He’s still started every game this season but his snaps have declined each of the past couple weeks, as he’s been burned repeatedly. A first-team All-Pro in 2017, Rhodes is under contract through the 2022 season as part of a five-year, $70MM extension he signed with the Vikings. There’s been a lot of talk that Minnesota will move on after this season, and it’ll be very interesting to see what happens to the 29-year-old.

Vikings Receiving Calls On Veterans

It could be a busy day in Minnesota. SI.com’s Albert Breer tweets that the organization has received calls on three veterans: tight end Kyle Rudolph and cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes. Breer notes that while the organization is not “actively shopping” the trio, they’d be open to trades for their expensive veterans.

Breer had mentioned earlier this week that the Vikings could be willing to talk trade. Rudolph is a natural trade candidate, as the tight end is set to earn $7.28MM in the final year of his contract. The organization also selected Alabama tight end Irv Smith Jr. with their second-round pick, which naturally added some competition to the position. General manager Rick Spielman said the two players can play different roles on offense, with ESPN’s Courtney Cronin suggesting the offense could replicate Philly, where Zach Ertz and Trey Burton coexisted. The 29-year-old Rudolph had another productive season in 2018, hauling in 64 receptions for 634 yards and four scores.

Waynes is also a natural trade candidate, as the cornerback will be playing on a fully-guaranteed fifth-year option salary of $9.07MM. The former first-rounded has spent his entire career in Minnesota, including a 2018 campaign where he finished with 44 tackles, eight passes defended, and one interception.

As Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com points out, trading Rhodes could be a bit more complicated. His $10.4MM salary is fully-guaranteed, and a trade would subsequently trigger a $7.2MM cap charge. At this point of the offseason, it could be difficult for an inquiring team to fit the 28-year-old into their books. On the flip side, a trade would help the Vikings financially; the team would save $6.14MM in cap space by trading the defensive back. Rhodes finished last season with 47 tackles, nine passes defended, and one interception.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Breer’s Latest: Jets, Broncos, Rudolph

Some assorted notes from SI.com’s Albert Breer leading up to tonight’s draft…

  • The Jets are beginning to gain some traction on a deal involving the third-overall pick. Breer mentions that the Redskins could be a match, with the team presumably eyeing a quarterback. Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins could be an option, as could Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray (if he isn’t taken with the first-overall pick). Breer notes that if the Jets remain in the top-10, they could opt for Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver, who one scout described as “the epitome of a [defensive coordinator] Gregg Williams player.”
  • Missouri quarterback Drew Lock is “rising continuously in draft meetings” among the Broncos front office. The team could be eyeing him with pick No. 10, or they could be preparing for a scenario where Lock falls towards the bottom of the first round.
  • After paying Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr and Danielle Hunter, the Vikings could be looking to deal one of their other pricey veterans. Tight end Kyle Rudolph could be a trade candidate, and Breer writes that he wouldn’t be shocked if the Patriots make a play for the pass-catcher. The writer mentions cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes as well as wideout Laquon Treadwell as trade candidates.
  • Two players who are set to play on their fifth-year option are on the block. Breer writes that Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor and 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead “have been part of trade discussions.” On the flip side, Breer believes that it’s unlikely that the 49ers trade defensive lineman Solomon Thomas.
  • If Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat gets past the Redskins (No. 15), Panthers (No. 16), or Seahawks (No.21), Breer is unsure how far the defensive end could end up falling. Breer points to the Rams as a potential fit at the end of the first round. Reports indicated that Sweat was diagnosed with a heart condition, although there were rumblings today that he may have been misdiagnosed.

Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes Inactive For Today’s Game

The Vikings can secure a playoff birth with a win today, but they’ll have to play the game without one of their defensive leaders. The team announced that cornerback Xavier Rhodes is inactive for today’s game against the Bears.

Rhodes had been listed as questionable heading into the day with a groin injury, and there was some optimism that he’d be able to play. However, following a 20-minute pregame workout, the team decided to sit the two-time Pro Bowler. With Rhodes on the sideline, the team will now likely turn to rookie Holton Hill to play opposite Trae Waynes. The team could also look to give reps to Mackensie Alexander.

The 28-year-old Rhodes was having another productive season 2018, compiling 47 tackles, seven passes defended, and one interception. Pro Football Focus hasn’t been particularly fond of his performance, ranking him 105th among 117 eligible cornerbacks. While those metrics aren’t very favorable, there’s no denying that the Vikings would rather have Rhodes on the field for such an important game.

Minnesota automatically secures an NFC wild card spot if they win today’s game against Chicago. If the Vikings lose, they’ll need the Eagles to lose/tie with the Redskins.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Notes: Vikings, Packers, Colts, Bucs, Falcons

The Vikings received some excellent news on Monday when an MRI revealed cornerback Xavier Rhodes suffered a “very, very mild” hamstring injury, head coach Mike Zimmer told reporters, including Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (Twitter link). While Minnesota does have depth in its secondary (Mackensie Alexander, Holton Hill), the club had already lost rookie first-round corner Mike Hughes for the season. And missing Rhodes, who was named All-Pro in 2017, for any amount of time would have been devastating. After beating the Packers on Sunday night, the Vikings now have a 63% chance of earning a postseason berth, per FiveThirtyEight.com.

Let’s take a look at more injury news from around the NFL:

  • Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari suffered two knee injuries and an ankle injury against the Vikings last night, but there is still hope he’ll be able to play against the Cardinals in Week 13, as Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com writes. After being defeated by Minnesota, Green Bay will almost surely need to win out to have any chance at making the playoffs, and losing Bakhtiari certainly wouldn’t help matters. Arguably the league’s best pass-blocking tackle, Bakhtiari missed six games over his first five seasons in the NFL. If Bakhtiari’s not able to play against Arizona, former second-round pick Jason Spriggs would take over on Aaron Rodgers‘ blindside.
  • After going down with a concussion against the Dolphins, Colts running back Marlon Mack is “iffy” for Week 13, tweets Mike Chappell of Fox59. Mack missed three games with a hamstring injury earlier this year, but has averaged 16.5 carries per game since as Indianapolis’ lead back. The 6-5 Colts face a winnable game against the Jaguars next Sunday as they fight for a playoff spot, and would turn to Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines to play more snaps if Mack can’t go.
  • Buccaneers receiver DeSean Jackson is headed to New York to get a second opinion on his thumb injury, per Jenna Laine of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Jackson was originally injured in Week 11, and while he played against the 49ers in Week 12, it still sounds as though the issue is bothering him. Elsewhere in Tampa Bay, tight end O.J. Howard — who is already on injured reserve — is facing a four-to-six week recovery timeline for his ankle ailment, tweets Laine. Given that the Bucs are already out of postseason contention, Howard isn’t a candidate to return this year.
  • Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said linebacker Deion Jones looks excellent but stopped short of saying Jones will be ready for Week 13, reports Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Jones was activated off injured reserve in advance of Week 11, but he still has yet to see the field. After originally suffering a foot injury in Week 1, Jones hasn’t played since, and his — and other key defenders’ — absences have contributed to Atlanta’s disappointing 4-7 record.