DN you got to let me know....should I stay or should I go?
—The Clash (almost)
Hi kids, and Happy President’s Day. Today, we’re going to continue on with our ‘Should I Stay Or Should I Go’ series, discuss the pros and cons of some key personnel, and whether or not they will, won’t, or should be back in 2020.
And I’ll try not be condescending when I do it. That means to talk down to people in case you didn’t know...
Today, we take a look at CB Xavier Rhodes.
2020 Salary Cap hit (and dead money): $12.9 million ($4.8 million)
Should I stay?
Like Everson Griffen, who we discussed a few days ago, Rhodes has become one of the core players on what has been one of the best defenses in the NFL since Mike Zimmer arrived in 2014. From 2015-2017, he was arguably the top CB in the NFL, and whether or not you agreed with that ranking, there is no denying he was a true shutdown cornerback.
Week in and week out he was matched against the best WR’s the NFL had to offer—Antonio Brown before he went, uh...well, before. Larry Fitzgerald, Davante Adams, and he had Odell Beckham, Jr., so out of sync on a Monday Night game against the Giants in 2016, OBJ tried to start a fight with Rhodes. (I was at that game and it was 100% awesome). From 2015-2018, Rhodes only gave up 100 yards receiving or more just once, and was so effective teams just quit throwing to his side of the field.
With the other two starting cornerbacks, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander, both unrestricted free agents, the Vikings will need stability in the secondary, and as a favorite of Mike Zimmer who has also been the best CB on the roster for the last several seasons, a strong case can be made to keep him.
Should I go?
But...there is also a strong case to let Rhodes move on and look to re-sign Waynes or Alexander, for example. Rhodes’ play slipped significantly in the latter part of 2018, and seemed to crater this past season. After recording five interceptions in 2016, he’s had only one interception in the last two seasons, with none in 2019. After an opponent passer rating of an eye-popping 47.0 in 2016, it’s increased to 77.4 in 2017, which is still pretty good, then 88.4 in 2018, and an eye popping bad of 131.1 in 2019. Opponents completed 83.55 of passes when Rhodes was targeted, and he had a knack for committing a back breaking penalty at seemingly the most inopportune time.
From a financial perspective, Rhodes has a cap number that’s prohibitive when you add in the decline in play. As we said when discussing Griffen’s status, the Vikings are anywhere from $11-12 million over the cap. An outright release gives the Vikings over $8 million in cap savings, although the $4.8 million in dead money is something the Vikings typically don’t take on to the books.
If he is let go, that means Holton Hill is probably the odds-on favorite to take over for Rhodes. Hill has shown flashes of talent but his opponent passer rating was nearly identical to Rhodes, at 131.3...which was actually worse. And with his past league conduct violations, he is one more suspension from a one year vacation or a stint in the XFL.
When you add together Hill’s status, Alexander and Waynes possibly moving on, the decline in Rhodes’ play and his big 2020 contract, should Xavier Rhodes stay, or go?
Should Xavier Rhodes Stay Or Go?
This poll is closed
Stay at current contract
Stay at re-structured contract