The one-year, $2 million contract that quarterback Case Keenum signed with the Minnesota Vikings this offseason looks to be the biggest bargain in the league, what with Keenum having guided the Vikings to seven consecutive victories and essentially locking up the NFC North on Thanksgiving. With Keenum set to hit free agency again this offseason, it doesn’t appear that a bargain price like that will be happening again.
Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press spoke with Jason Fitzgerald, the man that runs the salary cap site Over the Cap. When asked about Keenum’s value this coming offseason, Fitzgerald estimates that Keenum should be able to get a contract worth around $15 million a season.
“A lot will depend on how the year ends, but based on how he’s doing right now, if I had to put an estimate on it, I would say he probably is going to get a contract worth about $15 million a year, like three years, $45 million,’’ said Jason Fitzgerald, who runs the website OvertheCap.com.
. . .
“If you have an arm and can throw a little bit, there’s such a scarcity of talent at the position and I think there’s a lot of worries about guys coming in from college unless you’re looked at as a super prospect and are going to be picked in the top five of the draft,’’ Fitzgerald said.
A contract worth $15 million a season would have been a crazy suggestion just a few weeks ago, but Keenum is clearly playing his best football at the right time. He should be able to cash in with somebody, whether it’s the Vikings or with someone else.
Fitzgerald also touches briefly on what the Vikings might expect in a potential contract for Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater, like Keenum, is set to be a free agent after this season, but with no playing time in nearly two seasons, it might be a bit tricky to assess his value. Still, Fitzgerald thinks that Bridgewater could be looking at a contract worth about $7 million/season.
“He hasn’t played (since 2015) and it depends what people think about (his recovery from injury),’’ Fitzgerald said of Bridgewater’s potential value in free agency. “But he has showed enough before that he could get something like (Robert Griffin III) did when he was coming off injury (and got $6.75 million guaranteed from Cleveland in 2016).’’
If you look at what the Vikings are spending on the quarterback position this season, it comes out to about $22.5 million (about $18 million for Sam Bradford, approximately $4 million combined for Keenum and Bridgewater, and a shade under half a million for Kyle Sloter). Signing Keenum and Bridgewater for the sort of numbers that Fitzgerald is suggesting, along with retaining Sloter (who is the only quarterback on the roster that is currently under contract beyond this season) comes out to the same dollar figure.
I’m not sure how the quarterback situation is going to work itself out over the next few months, other than to say that I, like most others, don’t think that Sam Bradford is a part of the team’s long-term plans anymore. I don’t think that you can ignore what Keenum has done and how far he’s exceeded expectations to this point. I also don’t think that the Vikings invested all the time and effort that they have into Bridgewater’s rehab and getting him back and ready to play football again just so that he could go and realize his potential somewhere else.
Given some of the quarterback problems that the Vikings have had over recent seasons, this is actually a pretty good “problem” to have.