The NFL’s “legal tampering” period allows teams to talk with free agents before the official start of the league year on March 14. On the first day of the “legal tampering” period, there was a flood of news items. Here’s a few things that stood out…
Reports of Kirk Cousins having a deal done with the Vikings were premature
It appeared there was a chance that we would learn Monday that the Vikings and Cousins had come to an agreement, but no such report ever came. In fact, NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport said the Arizona Cardinals are still in the mix and ProFootball Talk said the Jets and Vikings were the only two teams to show interest. The Jets can pay out more than any other team, so it’s still unclear whether Cousins wants the bigger pay day a la more guaranteed money or if he’d rather come to a top NFC contender.
Drew Brees is making things dramatic
Maybe we would have had an answer on Monday if not for Drew Brees, who still hasn’t signed a deal to stay in New Orleans. Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported that the Vikings called agent Tom Condon to check on Brees’s status. It still seems very likely he will work out a deal with the Saints, but the Vikings have more cap space and a roster that would make them far and away the Super Bowl favorites with him under center.
The Packers might actually help Rodgers in free agency
On day 1, Green Bay was connected to Jimmy Graham, Sammy Watkins and Allen Robinson. They don’t seem to be messing around with Aaron Rodgers’ supporting cast as he enters the latter part of his prime. The Packers already paid out big money to keep Davante Adams and now appear willing to go all-in to give him another high-quality receiver. That could mean the end of Jordy Nelson in Green Bay. It also could mean another huge year for Rodgers.
Case Keenum was never in the mix for the Vikings
Late into the night, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Keenum would sign with the Denver Broncos, making him the first free agent QB to find a home. The fact that Keenum came to a deal so quickly gives us a window into where he stood with the Vikings. If he was their No. 2 option behind Kirk Cousins, he might have waited to see whether they would still have an opening. The Vikings were concerned he was a one-year wonder. We will find out in the years to come if they were right.
Trey Burton isn’t going to come cheap
The market for Burton was set by Tampa Bay tight end Cam Brate, who signed a six-year, $41 million deal ($18 million guaranteed) on Monday. Brate is more accomplished, but Burton comes with a ton of interest across the league. He could clear $7 million per year. That would be a lot for the Vikings to sink into a No. 2 tight end unless he was a major part of the offense. With size, speed and hands, he might be worth overpaying.
Trades are in this year, so are QBs at the draft
This year’s QB class could see four or five quarterbacks taken high this year, so the Buffalo Bills are working their way up to the top to take one. They traded LT Cordy Glenn to Cincinnati in order to move up to No. 12 overall. It would be surprising if they didn’t make another deal. The possibility of the Vikings seeing a top QB drop to No. 30 (if they don’t land Cousins or Brees) now appears to be very slim.