While there was no headline grabbing move this week, two notable transactions occurred. These two are discussed below and, as always, the rest of the moves are down below with some of the more significant ones highlighted in red.
Kansas City Chiefs re-sign DE Allen Bailey
It seems like there is a contract extension every week, and Bailey is the beneficiary this week.
Set to become a free agent at the end of the season, he signed a four-year contract extension to stay with the Chiefs through the 2018 season. Over the course of this new contract, he will make $25 million, of which $15 million is guaranteed. There is a signing bonus of $10 million. Averaging $6.25 million per season, he is now the seventh highest paid 3-4 defensive end in the NFL.
Drafted in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Miami (FL), the 25-year old spent three seasons as a backup before earning a starting job this season.
In his first two seasons he flashed skill as a rotational defensive lineman, recording 15 tackles and one sack in 26 games (one start). Last season he earned three starts while playing in 15 games. He recorded 30 tackles and one sack.
Due to free agent losses, Bailey was pushed into a starting role this season and he has embraced it. In 11 games this season––all starts––he has recorded 33 tackles and four sacks. Pro Football Focus has him graded as the 24th best 3-4 defensive end in the league. Two bad games are holding him back, as he would be number 13 if weeks two and five were taken out.
As the season has progressed, Bailey has looked better and better as he adjusts to being a full-time player.
He has become a key component in the Chiefs defense from his defensive end spot. Kansas City's defense has yet to allow a rushing touchdown this season and he is one of their main run defenders.
At this point in time, $6.25 million is too much to pay for a player of Bailey's skill level. Kansas City is paying him with the expectation that he continues to improve his play. If this occurs––which Kansas City clearly believes––then this contract will look better. A first-year starter in his fourth season and only 25-years old, Bailey is sure to be a mainstay of the Chiefs defense for years to come.
Cleveland Browns release and Minnesota Vikings claim RB Ben Tate
In a surprising move, the Cleveland Browns released running back Ben Tate. The Minnesota Vikings aren't complaining though as they claimed him off waivers the following day.
This move comes after signing him to a two-year contract worth $6.2 million as a free agent before the season started. Due to the structure of his contract, Cleveland is not saving any money this season by releasing him. In fact, they add $93,750 to their cap due the acceleration of his signing bonus which comes when released.
For the season, he had 106 carries for 333 yards and four touchdowns and in the air he caught nine passes for 60 yards. In the first game of the season, he suffered a minor knee injury which kept him out for two games. In his first game back from the injury, he had his best game of the season, rushing for 124 yards on 24 carries.
Since that game, his snaps and touches––starting one week after his 124 yard game––have decreased every game. Rookies Terrance West (third round pick) and Isaiah Crowell (undrafted free agent) had passed him on the depth chart the last few weeks as they had been more effective.
Not only were the two rookies running well, Tate was struggling. In his last five games, he had 53 carries for 90 yards and two touchdowns. This works out to a putrid 1.7 yards per carry.
Both West and Crowell have more rushing yards and better yards per carry on the season than Tate.
With his snaps decreasing, Tate was becoming frustrated with his role on the team and had complained about his playing time. When he signed with Cleveland as a free agent, he was expected to come in and be the lead back in offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's run heavy offense. Tate was long rumored to be signing with the Browns, even before free agency started as he had played in an offense that was very similar Shanahan's while in Houston. (Shanahan was the Houston offensive coordinator from 2008-2009 before joining his dad in Washington. Tate was drafted by Houston in 2011, but the offense was still the same.)
While it was obvious the writing was on the wall for Tate with his lack of production and decreasing role, it is still surprising to see the Browns get rid of him while in the midst of the playoff hunt. Behind the scenes, the team must have been frustrated with him.
Expected to be the workhorse running back for Cleveland this season, Tate never lived up to the expectations that were set when he was signed as a free agent this offseason. Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell have both being playing better than Tate, making him expendable to Cleveland.
For Minnesota, it makes sense to claim him off waivers. He is still only 26-years old without much milage as he was a backup his whole career in Houston. The Vikings are dealing with their own running back problems as star Adrian Peterson has played in only one game this season as he deals with a child abuse case. The NFL has suspended him for the rest of the season after he reached a plea deal. He is in the midst of appealing this suspension right now.
Without Peterson, the Vikings have relied on third round pick Jerick McKinnon, a college quarterback, and Matt Asiata. Both have played well, but adding another running back was a good idea. After the season is over, Minnesota can move on from Peterson and save $13 million in cap space. With the addition of Tate––signed through 2015––the emergence of McKinnon and Peterson's criminal case, this has a very high probability of occurring. Adding Tate to their backfield is a smart move by the Minnesota Vikings.
The Arizona Cardinals release LB Thomas Keiser.
The Arizona Cardinals sign TE Matthew Mulligan.
The Atlanta Falcons sign LB James Anderson.
The Buffalo Bills sign S Bacarri Rambo.
The Buffalo Bills cut RB Phillip Tanner.
The Buffalo Bills claim TE MarQueis Gray off waivers.
The Carolina Panthers waive WR Jason Avant.
The Chicago Bears sign WR/KR Marc Mariani.
The Chicago Bears waive S Ahmad Dixon.
The Cleveland Browns sign LB Keith Pough.
The Cleveland Browns cut LB Zac Diles.
The Green Bay Packers sign TE Justin Perillo.
The Green Bay Packers release OT Jamon Meredith.
The Houston Texans cut LB Ricky Sapp from injured reserve.
The Indianapolis Colts sign WR/KR Josh Cribbs.
The Indianapolis Colts sign TE Weslye Saunders.
The Indianapolis Colts cut LB Victor Butler.
The Miami Dolphins sign CB Jalil Brown.
The Minnesota Vikings waive TE MarQueis Gray.
The New England Patriots waive DL Casey Walker.
The New England Patriots sign RB LeGarrette Blount to a two-year contract.
The New Orleans Saints sign S Pierre Warren.
The New Orleans Saints sign CB Terrence Frederick.
The New Orleans Saints sign LB Moise Fokou.
The New Orleans Saints cut RB Edwin Baker.
The New Orleans Saints sign WR Jalen Saunders.
The New Orleans Saints cut RB Brian Leonard.
The New York Giants cut LB Justin Anderson.
The Oakland Raiders sign OL Khalif Barnes to a one-year contract extension.
The Oakland Raiders waive LB Kaluka Maiava from injured reserve.
The Philadelphia Eagles sign CB Roc Carmichael.
The Pittsburgh Steelers release RB LeGarrette Blount.
The Pittsburgh Steelers sign RB Josh Harris.
The San Diego Chargers sign S Adrian Phillips.
The San Diego Chargers cut LB Cordarro Law.
The Seattle Seahawks sign C Lemuel Jeanpierre.
The Seattle Seahawks sign DT Travian Robertson.
The Seattle Seahawks release OT Andrew McDonald.
The Seattle Seahawks release S Steven Terrell.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers waive WR/KR Trindon Holliday from injured reserve.
The Tennessee Titans cut LB James Anderson.
The Tennessee Titans sign LB Justin Staples.