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Should I Stay Or Should I Go?: Trae Waynes

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Looking at upcoming roster decisions on some key personnel

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Chargers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

DN you got to let me know...should I stay or should I go?

—The Clash (almost)

Hi kids, and Happy Tuesday to you. We’re plugging along with our ‘Should I Stay Or Should I Go’ series, where we discuss the pros and cons of some key personnel, and whether or not they will, won’t, or should be back in 2020.

If you’ve noticed, the profiles we’ve done so far have been on defensive players. It’s not that I have a vendetta against the defense, it’s just that most of the big personnel decisions this off-season are on that side of the ball. I think that portends a few things for the 2020 defense, and those things aren’t necessarily good. I’ve stated before, and still feel, that based on all these roster questions the Vikes defense will look a lot different next year. Although I don’t think that ‘different’ necessarily means ‘bad’, adjusting expectations over what we’ve come to expect the last several years may be in order.

But, you know, maybe not. Just thinking out loud. Anyway, on with the show.

So far, we’ve looked at:

Everson Griffen, which was our first profile.

Xavier Rhodes, who we looked at on President’s Day.

Today, we stay with defense and talk the starting CB opposite Rhodes, Trae Waynes.

2020 Salary Cap number (and dead money): Free Agent

Should I Stay?

So, here’s the thing about Waynes. He’s been maligned by a lot of Vikings fans since he was drafted, but I think he’s gotten better each season, and in 2019 he was the best starting CB on the team, per PFF. He’s also been durable, starting 44 of 48 games since he became a starter in 2017. If you believe in the comparative rankings that PFF provides, and I do as a guide, he was ranked 46th in overall play among NFL CB’s. That makes him an NFL starter, but not necessarily a number one guy.

Since most of you (per the legit, 100% scientific poll we do at the end of each of these posts) think the VIkings should move on from Xavier Rhodes, you could make a strong argument that the Vikings should at least make a serious run to re-sign Waynes, and not lose both starting outside CB’s. He’s a three year starter, he’s been durable, and he knows the Mike Zimmer system. So regardless your opinion of Waynes, he’s going to command starter money come free agency time, and since he’s younger than Rhodes, if you decide to keep Waynes over Rhodes, in theory you’ll get a better return on investment with Waynes than you would restructuring Rhodes and letting Waynes walk.

What would that return on investment look like in contract terms? It depends. The Vikings could, in theory, slap the franchise tag on Waynes, and be done with it for 2020. The fine folks at Over The Cap have estimated that a franchise tag number for a CB is going to be in the neighborhood of $16.5 million.

I don’t think that path for the Vikings is going to happen. If you’ve read both previous SISOSIG posts, you know the Vikings are currently $11-12 million over the cap. If you HAVEN’T read this series, come on man, what are you waiting for? Go back and read the other two pieces when you finish this one! What, you’d rather read about the Vikings trading Dig—you know what, never mind. Either way, if the Vikes want to keep Waynes, signing him to a multi year contract gives them a lower cap number, and more flexibility.

For a new multi year deal, the only guide I have right now for what kind of contract he could command is from Spotrac. They’ve estimated a market value contract for Waynes at about 3 years, $25.2 million, or an average of about $8.4 mil a season. That’s literally half of what a franchise tag number would be, and a lot more manageable in terms of the salary cap.

If he’s in the ‘stay’ camp, it would be a multi year contract.

Should I Go?

Is Trae Waynes worth $8.4 million a year? A lot of you probably don’t think so, would love to kick both Waynes and Rhodes to the curb, and start fresh with two new starting CB’s on the outside going in to 2020. If that’s your plan, then CB almost has to be a first round pick in the draft, so don’t gripe when it happens, or they have to sign someone in free agency.

Could they sign someone cheaper than they could Waynes?

I don’t know if that could happen. These market value numbers are all good estimates, don’t get me wrong, but remember how weird free agency can be. Teams can get into a bidding war for a player, or 2-3 players at one position, and the next thing you know the price of a CB just doubled and a guy you thought you had a decent shot with gets blown out of your price range.

And this year, that’s a real possibility for the Vikings, since they won’t have a lot of room under the cap and will be able to be outbid by most teams, even after they make their roster moves to create space.

If they do move on from Waynes and find a guy in free agency, what would the contract for CB New Guy look like? Let’s assume that the Vikings aren’t going to be able to afford the top 2-3 guys that will hit the market because of their cap space compared to other teams. Let’s also assume they’ll not want to get a guy worse than Waynes, either. In that case, the closest to Waynes in terms of ranking and talent (and also one of the few guys that Spotrac has a market value calculation for) is Denver CB Chris Harris. Harris is 31 (Waynes will be 28 in July), is also an unrestricted free agent, and was ranked 34th by PFF last year.

His estimated market value contract is $11 million/yr. So, he’s older, a little bit more expensive, and is about the same level, talent-wise, as Waynes.

Is there someone else out there they could get cheaper? Yeah, maybe. Is there someone else out there they could get that would be worse, and more expensive? Yeah, maybe.

Poll

Should Trae Waynes stay or go?

This poll is closed

  • 81%
    Stay
    (1650 votes)
  • 18%
    Go
    (383 votes)
2033 votes total Vote Now