I am a fan of paying Hunter at this point in time.
3 yr 72M with a 25M signing bonus and 8M option bonus in 2024 with two void years.
Salaries of 4.9M, 10.4M, and 22.9M.
Cap hits of 18.12M, 23.62M, and 36.12M plus the 7.5M cap hits for the void years.
If they move on in 2025, they would eat 20.62M in dead money but save 10M in cap space.
They are not going to find a better player at this point in time.
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Interesting take on Hunter’s initial contract extension.
After racking up 25.5 sacks in his first three seasons (the first two coming in a rotational role), the 2015 third-round pick signed a five-year, $72 million extension prior to the 2018 campaign — a deal that would keep him in Minnesota through the 2023 season. Hunter then went on to immediately out-produce that contract, breaking out by posting back-to-back 14.5-sack Pro Bowl seasons in ‘18 and ‘19. In October 2019, he became the youngest player in NFL history to reach 50 career sacks.
The Vikings restructured Hunter’s deal in March 2020, a simple move that converted base salary to signing bonus. Unfortunately, Hunter missed the entire 2020 season with a neck injury — infamously described by Mike Zimmer as a “tweak” during training camp — and that complicated things.
This first restructure did NOT give him any more money even though he had outplayed his deal. Thielen got a raise after two season when he outplayed his deal but only had one year left if I recall correctly. Still, the team should have done it for a player like Hunter. Yes, it does set a precedent but that is silly. If there is another player that does what Hunter has done (Jefferson comes to mind) then the team should happily take care of that player. It does not happen often enough to worry about any precedent.
In 2021, Hunter began a holdout from offseason activities due to dissatisfaction with his contract. That June, the Vikings resolved the situation by restructuring his contract to give him a $5.6 million signing bonus up front. They also added two void years to Hunter’s deal, spreading that bonus across five years, and gave him an $18 million roster bonus that would hit in March 2022. Essentially, they pushed back any sort of long-term decision on his future and created some immediate cap space.
This second restructure created the situation Kwesi finds himself in now. I am still perplexed as to why Kwesi decided to restructure all of the 18M roster bonus last year. I thought that was the perfect vehicle to utilize in a longer extension. I was not worried about injury since he had shown he was recovered from the “tweak” and simply suffered a torn pec.
Penny wise and pound foolish?
It is simple. Either pay him top EDGE rusher money or trade him.
The Vikings will likely get a third-round compensatory pick if he leaves, so that’s where the bidding figures to start. A second-round pick in 2024 and perhaps another late Day 2 or early Day 3 pick in 2025 might get it done.
HOWEVER, our friends at the Vikings Wire floated something interesting where the 49ers could include quarterback Trey Lance in the deal.
Lance and one of the 49ers’ 2024 third-round picks could be enough to get the Vikings in on a trade.
“Early pulse from talking to a few teams: -Danielle Hunter would have real trade value (might take a 2+ to pry),” Fowler said.
That would be at least a 2nd-round pick, presumably for the 2024 draft, with the “+” suggesting the Vikings could potentially be looking for a 1st rounder. or multiple picks, or possibly a pick + player trade.
This would be bold of Kwesi and he probably would need to talk to Brian O’Neill first. :)
I wonder if there is a team out there that would trade a player and pick for Hunter besides the rumored/speculated Trey Lance move?
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