NFL notebook: Vikings sign LB Kendricks to huge extension

The Minnesota Vikings locked up standout middle linebacker Eric Kendricks to a multi-year extension, the team announced Monday.

ESPN reported the deal is worth $50 million over five years, with $25 million guaranteed.

“I like the defense we are on now, I like the group of guys we have in the locker room,” Kendricks said at a news conference announcing the deal. “I’m just excited to get another opportunity to play with them. A crazy front in front of me, so that’s another factor that came into it. At the end of the day, I just want to be out there playing football and winning championships.”

Kendricks is scheduled to make a base salary of $1.138 million in 2018 in the final season of his four-year rookie contract. He has recorded 314 tackles over his first three NFL seasons, including a career-best 113 in 2017. He also has 7.5 sacks and two interceptions — returning both for touchdowns.

–Starting running back C.J. Anderson was released by the Denver Broncos.

Anderson was reportedly close to being traded to the Miami Dolphins earlier this offseason, but the deal fell apart. He spent five seasons with the Broncos, rushing for 3,051 yards and 20 touchdowns. Releasing him saves $4.5 million against the 2018 salary cap.

Devontae Booker is expected to become the starter for the Broncos unless the team drafts a running back early in the 2018 NFL Draft on April 26.

–For the second year in a row, Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald did not report for the start of the team’s offseason conditioning program as he seeks a contract extension.

Donald, who turns 27 in May, is the league’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year and is widely expected to seek a contract that will make him the league’s highest-paid defensive player. He stayed away from the team for the entire 2017 offseason and through training camp, so his absence was expected.

Rams head coach Sean McVay did not express concern when addressing reporters, saying, “What I think we feel good about is the dialogue that has existed. We totally understand some of the other things that are going on with regards to wanting to get that deal. With respect to Aaron, we feel really good about where we’re at with that dialogue. This is a voluntary offseason program. You know he’s a guy that’s going to work hard on his off time, and that’s kind of where we’re at. We feel good about everything that’s going on with that.”

–Josh Gordon signed his one-year exclusive rights free agent tender with the Cleveland Browns. The contract covers only the 2018 season and is worth $790,000.

Gordon will make the minimum salary for a player with two accrued NFL seasons.

While Gordon was drafted in the 2012 supplemental draft, he missed the majority of two full seasons serving NFL suspensions for drug use. After leading the NFL in receiving yards in 2013, he has played only 10 games since, including five last season. In 40 career games, Gordon has 179 receptions for 3,089 yards and 15 touchdowns.

–Defensive end Ziggy Ansah is returning from a humanitarian trip to Ghana to sign his one-year, $17.143 million franchise tender with the Detroit Lions and begin offseason workouts.

First-year head coach Matt Patricia’s debut offseason with the Lions is underway in Allen Park, Mich., and Ansah is expected to be present for the majority of the sessions.

“We talked to Ziggy (before the NFL combine), had a good conversation with Ziggy about what the future entails,” Lions general manager Bob Quinn said in March. “All of those conversations between me and the player is going to be private. We’re not going to get into talking about it with you guys. But we did talk to him, told him what our plan was and he understands where we’re coming from. We understand where he’s coming from and we’re looking forward to having him on the team.”

–Safety LaMarcus Joyner signed his $11,287,000 franchise tag, and NFL Network reported that he will take part in the start of the Los Angeles Rams’ offseason program.

Rams outside linebacker Matt Longacre also signed his restricted free agent tender, and the team reportedly is re-signing offensive tackle Cornelius Lucas, according to NFL Network.

Joyner, 27, is entering his fifth NFL season, all with the Rams, after being drafted No. 41 overall in the second round in 2014. He has totaled 227 tackles, 4.0 sacks, three interceptions and a pair of forced fumbles over 52 games (27 starts). The Rams chose to place the non-exclusive franchise tag on him rather than wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who signed with the Kansas City Chiefs.

–The Seattle Seahawks are expected to release defensive tackle Malik McDowell “in the near future,” according to an NFL Network report.

The report adds that the team has yet to clear McDowell, 21, medically from the head injuries he sustained in an ATV accident last summer.

Taken in the second round (35th overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft, McDowell sustained facial injuries and what head coach Pete Carroll later called “a really bad concussion” in mid-July last year near his home in Michigan. McDowell spent the season on the non-football injury list, making him ineligible to practice or play. Carroll told reporters in late November that McDowell was “not making any progress” and ruled him out for a return during 2017.

–Quarterback Austin Davis re-signed with the Seahawks, but the team is reportedly still weighing the option of adding Colin Kaepernick to the depth chart behind All-Pro Russell Wilson.

Davis, 28, will make $780,000 for 2018 and joins Stephen Morris, who signed with the team Friday amidst speculation Seattle could add Kaepernick, as Wilson’s backups on the current roster.

Both Davis and Morris have experience under new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. Davis played for the St. Louis Rams from 2012-14 with Schottenheimer as offensive coordinator. Morris, 25, worked under Schottenheimer when he was quarterbacks coach in 2016 with the Colts.

–Five months after the NFL began an investigation into an alleged incident between Jameis Winston and an Uber driver, the NFL still hasn’t interviewed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, Winston told reporters as the team began their offseason workout program in Tampa.

A female Uber driver in Arizona accused Winston of groping her in March 2016, and the league began its probe last November. Winston, who maintains his innocence, said nobody from the NFL has contacted him to discuss the incident. Winston could possibly be suspended under the league’s player conduct policy.

“Well, I know the NFL has a process they have to go through and I respect that process,” Winston told reporters. “That’s not my job to speculate on that process. My focus has been with this organization, getting the guys back in here and focusing on what we can do to be a better team this offseason.”

–Linebacker Reuben Foster will not face the misdemeanor charge for possession of a large-capacity ammunition magazine due to a federal injunction.

The Santa Clara District Attorney informed Foster’s attorney the misdemeanor would be dropped at his next scheduled court date April 30. However, the San Francisco 49ers’ second-year starter does face three felony counts — domestic violence, forcefully attempting to prevent a victim from reporting a crime and possessing an assault weapon.

The 24-year-old Foster, a first-round pick in 2017, is not participating in offseason workouts with the 49ers. He is scheduled to meet with the team this week, a sitdown that could determine his future with the franchise.

–Linebacker James Harrison is retiring from the NFL after 15 seasons.

In an Instagram post on his account focused on fatherhood and featuring pictures of his children, Harrison wrote: “I’ve missed way too much for way too long…and I’m done. Many thanks to my family, coaches, the fans, and everyone who played a role in my football life.”

Harrison, 39, was released by the Pittsburgh Steelers last season but joined the New England Patriots on Dec. 26 and helped the team reach the Super Bowl. He had a franchise-record 80.5 sacks in 14 seasons with the Steelers. He turns 40 on May 4.

–The NFL and NLFPA announced they are prohibiting 10 models of helmets worn by players in 2017 based on the results of an annual laboratory study of helmet performance.

According to a joint release, NFL players previously could choose any helmet so long as that model passed current National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) certification standards.

Of the 10 prohibited models, six are no longer being manufactured and thus are banned immediately. The other four models can be worn in 2018, but only by players who wore the model in 2017, including quarterbacks Tom Brady and Drew Brees. The phase-out of all 10 helmets will be complete in 2019, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero.

–The Dallas Cowboys have retained David Irving after the defensive lineman signed his $2.9 million restricted free agent tender.

After accepting the team’s second-round tender, the 24-year-old Irving is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in 2019, unless he signs an extension before then.

Irving, who was present at the Cowboys’ team headquarters for the start of Dallas’ offseason training program, has provided strong production when he’s on the field. In 2017 he racked up 7.0 sacks — second on the team — in eight games while playing defensive end and defensive tackle. He missed both the season’s first four games (suspended for violating performance-enhancing drugs policy) and last four (concussion).

–The Washington Redskins have picked up the fifth-year option for guard Brandon Scherff, keeping him under contract through the 2019 season, the team announced.

Scherff, 26, has started all but two games since being drafted fifth overall in 2015, earning Pro Bowl appearances in each of the last two seasons. A sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee kept him out of two contests in the middle of 2017. After making about $3.3 million 2018, Scherff will earn an average of the top-10 offensive linemen salaries in 2019, a figure that is currently estimated to be around $12.5 million.

Washington also announced the signing of restricted free agent offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe’s tender and the re-signing of offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom.

–The Miami Dolphins announced that they signed free-agent tight end Gavin Escobar.

Escobar was a second-round draft pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 2013 but hasn’t panned out. He has 30 career receptions for 333 yards and eight touchdowns in 64 NFL games (seven starts). He played four seasons for the Cowboys behind Jason Witten, scoring four of his eight career touchdowns in 2014.

The 27-year-old Escobar signed with the Kansas City Chiefs last offseason but didn’t make the squad. He was later picked up the Baltimore Ravens and played in two games before being released in November. The Browns signed Escobar in January, but he was one of seven players they released last week.

–Field Level Media

Source: Economic Times