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I put out my last plan trying to think like a smart GM of a NFL football team. We all know it was boring and that I am not that smart. So instead of trying to do what may be prudent, I must do what I do. I will now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.
My last plan overestimated the available cap but I was OK since I was not spending any money. Still, the latest information is that the Vikings should have 17.5 mil in cap space after the release of Michael Jenkins.
The first thing I would do is figure out what to do with Jared Allen and his 17.2 cap hit. Tom P mentioned that the Vikings could try and restructure Allen's deal in a similar manner as Tom Brady.
The question is will Allen do this for the Vikings and how much will he want going forward?
I just do not know if he is worth 10 mil per year at the ages of 31 through 34.
Here is another article that indicated he was not worth the money he made last year ...
In fairness, he did have a shoulder problem for most of the year but I still think it is a risk to pay a player his age that kind of money even if he is a future HOFer.
So, I would trade Jared Allen to the Seahawks for their 2nd round pick and a conditional 2014 5th round pick.
The compensation may not be what you want but it is fair considering Seattle will have to take on that contract.
In fact, the Vikings may have to settle for a 3rd round pick for Allen. Now that is kind of crazy for sure.
But the team will get out from under his contract this year without having to flat out release him which is insane (even for me).
I realize this is not popular but the Vikings really should not carry that 17 mil cap hit without any assurance of beyond this year in performance or value.
I think the Vikings can do more with that money and make the overall team better in the process.
The next thing I would do is trade for Darrelle Revis from the Jets. I saw an article on nfl.com where one guy thinks our 2nd round pick, Toby Gerhart, and a 3rd or 4th would get it done for him.
It is a tough situation because Revis cannot hold out or else the last 3 years of his deal become active. He can walk away from his deal after this year though. The Jets will apparently still take a 9 mil dead money cap hit even if he plays for them this year and then walks away. They take a 12 mil cap hit this year if they trade him though. The question they must be asking is do they bite the bullet this year when many are expecting them to be in a semi-rebuild mode or wait until next year and take a 9 mil hit when he leaves. There is a reason why they were shopping him and I believe it is because they want to get the money off the books this year ...
So the question is why get Revis when the Vikings supposedly run the Tampa 2? You get him because he is the best CB in the game. Also, the Vikings do not run the cover 2 every play and run different coverages quite often. Plus they do not have to be married to the Tampa 2 either. If Frazier gets let go and a new coach comes in and wants to run a 3-4 with press coverage, then what do you do?
Now you have to redo Revis deal right away or actually before you execute the trade. Here is a blueprint for the new deal ...
This deal is going to cost the Vikings close to 15 mil per year depending on how much they want to give him in a signing bonus.
But since I am trading Allen and his huge deal then I think they can afford Revis. The only new deals for next year are Cook, Griffen, and Robison. In 2015 you will have Ponder and Rudolph. Signing Ponder could be an issue because if he is doing well then they probably have to pay him 10 mil per year or more. I could see a Matt Cassel or Ryan Fitzpatrick type deal.
I also think that since the team needs to be at 89% of the cap each and every year, having AP & Revis helps you get there quickly. Having the two best players at their respective positions is a good thing too.
I like it. I like it a lot.
The secondary would be Revis, Cook, Winfield, with Robinson as the dime and Jefferson as the 5th DB. That is a solid young group except for AW. I think Cook will get a modest deal after this next season. I think a 3 year deal would be fair to both sides. It gives Cook a decent raise and also allows him to get a new deal after two seasons. The team could decide to release Winfield if they did get Revis too. They could take all of his 7.25 mil and put it towards Revis' new deal. I wouldn't but they are talking about limiting his snaps. I would offer Winfield a two year deal of about 5 mil per year if he will take it.
So now I have blown it all up. Traded away Allen and for Revis giving up two possible second round picks.
Well I am not done.
It is now time to figure out what to do with Percy Harvin. I think a deal to the 49ers is a good idea. The 49ers will probably release some more veterans to free up cap space to make the move. I think they can work out what they need to work out to get Harvin in the fold.
I would ask for their #34 pick they received from Kansas City and their 5th round pick #157. I think that is about as good as the Vikings are going to get.
This should save at least 3 mil in cap space. Percy had earned some incentives for this season and should make close to 4 mil if you believe spotrac.
Recap thus far. The Vikings had about 17 mil in cap space after releasing Jenkins. Trading Allen saves 17 mil more. Trading Percy saves another 3 mil at least. Trading for Revis while giving up Toby saves about 630k but then assumes Revis's deal which calls for 6 mil this year which amounts to an extra 5.4 mil.
The Vikings will still be sitting on 31.6 mil in cap space.
The next thing I would is offer KWill a 3 year 15 mil extension with a 3 mil signing bonus and 9 mil guaranteed. This frees up another 2 mil this year.
Now the Vikings are at 33.6 mil in cap space.
The only WR on the roster is Wright. The Vikings must be active in free agency. But do they want to pay top money to a free agent WR like Bowe, Jennings, or Wallace. I think that with the draft class being pretty good this year that we will not see any major free agent signing at the wide receiver position.
My number one signing has to be Phil Loadholt. If they do not get him signed then getting another right tackle is the top priority. Considering AP almost broke the single season rushing record, it is hard to justify NOT paying Loadholt a very good deal. Even slightly overpaying him is worth the money. They can structure it so that they can let him go after two or three seasons without much of a cap hit too.
My first free agent to sign would be Phil Loadholt 6'8" 335 27 years old. I think a 4 year 28 mil deal is fair and the last couple of years could be voidable.
My next free agent to sign would be Erin Henderson 6'2" 242 26 years old. I would offer a 3 year 10 mil deal.
My next free agent to sign would be Kenny Phillips FS 6'2" 217 26 years old. I would offer a 4 year 23 mil deal.
My next free agent to sign would be David Nelson WR 6'5" 215 26 years old. I would offer a 2 year 4 mil deal.
My next free agent to sign would be Mohamed Massaquoi WR 6'2" 204 26 years old. I would offer a 2 year 4 mil deal.
My next free agent to sign would be Keith Rivers LB 6'2" 242 26 years old. I would offer a 2 year 4 mil deal.
I think the thing to remember with these deals as they may seem high but what the player will be actually guaranteed will be a lot less like with John Carlson.
I would structure most of the deals to be voidable with very little cap effect after two seasons as well.
I also like Louis Vasquez, Desmond Bryant, and Glenn Dorsey but I think the first two would be too expensive. Maybe Dorsey can be had for a couple of mil per year on a 2 year deal?
I think if the team cannot reach a deal with Loadholt then they should try and sign Schwartz to a modest 3 year deal. Then they can go after Vasquez and cut Johnson.
But at this point I think I would wait and look to sign some players to smaller deals.
I would not mind seeing them bring in an Osi Umenyiora as a rotational pass rusher.
I could see the team signing a Larod Stephens-Howling or Felix Jones to a small deal.
Now the Vikings can draft. They have picks #23, 34, 56, 83, 99, 117, 148, 157, 179, 197, & 213.
It is clear the team needs wide receivers. They then could draft based on best available no matter the position.
I think the Vikings will trade down from #23. And I think they will continue to do business with the 49ers.
The Vikings trade #23 to the 49ers for #31, #93, & #125.
The Vikings now have picks #31, 34, 56, 83, 93, 99, 117, 125, 148, 157, 179, 197, & 213.
31. *Robert Woods WR Southern California Jr 6-1 190
34. Jesse Williams DT Alabama Sr 6-3 320
56. Barrett Jones C Alabama rSr 6-4 306
83. *Tyrann Mathieu CB LSU Jr 5-9 186
93. Zaviar Gooden OLB Missouri rSr 6-2 233
99. Devin Taylor DE South Carolina rSr 6-7 266
117. T.J. McDonald FS Southern California Sr 6-2 211
125. Chris Harper WR Kansas State rSr 6-1 229
148. Cornelius Washington DE Georgia rSr 6-4 264
157. Reid Fragel OT Ohio State Sr 6-8 308
179. Chris Gragg TE Arkansas Sr 6-3 244
197. Jake Knott OLB Iowa State Sr 6-2 243
213. Nicholas Williams DT Samford rSr 6-5 309
Miguel Maysonet RB Stony Brook Sr 5-9 209
Ryan Allen P Louisiana Tech rSr 6-1 229
Jeff Tuel QB Washington State Sr 6-3 221
Michael Mauti OLB Penn State rSr 6-2 243
Joseph Fauria TE UCLA rSr 6-7 259
Onterio McCalebb RB Auburn Sr 5-10 168
Braden Wilson FB Kansas State rSr 6-4 251
Wes Horton DE Southern California rSr 6-5 261
*Joe Kruger DE Utah Jr 6-6 269
Chris Jones DT Bowling Green Sr 6-2 302
Sam Barrington ILB South Florida Sr 6-1 246
Quinton Dial DT Alabama Sr 6-5 318
Luke Ingram LS Hawaii Sr 6-5 258
Greg Reid CB Valdosta State Sr 5-8 190
Vinston Painter OT Virginia Tech rSr 6-4 306
I could do a final roster with cuts and all that but I will just let it play out.
I do like the CBs. Revis, Winfield, Cook, Robinson, Jefferson, Mathieu, Reid, Sherels, Burton, Felder, etc.
Not a bad group at all. If Mathieu pans out then the Vikings could have a good young group.
I know a lot of people would not like the trade for Revis but if you can get the #1 player at his position (Jared Allen rings a bell) at a young age then you should go for it. Revis would help the defense immensely. Now maybe, the team can figure out a way to keep Allen and try and trade Robison instead. I am OK with that move too.