It was a relatively quiet first day for the NFL free agency negotiation period on Monday. There was one measly trade reported, and for the most part, no huge moves were made.
That is, until after the clock struck midnight on the east coast. Just as Monday was coming to an end on the other coast, two reports hit the presses that could change the course of the rest of free agency, and both happen to affect the NFC North.
Broncos to sign Case Keenum
When free agency opens Wednesday, former Vikings’ QB Case Keenum intends to sign with the Denver Broncos, sources tell ESPN.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2018
First QB domino has fallen.
QB race is on.
The Minnesota Vikings quarterback that is half responsible for the Minneapolis Miracle and played a huge part in getting Minnesota to the NFC Championship will play elsewhere in 2018. Keenum just finished one of the most improbable seasons in recent memory, and although it won’t be the Vikings reward his good play, he’ll likely get a good chunk of change and a starting role with the Broncos. As of Monday night, the agree-upon terms were not available.
The other side of this move is that Denver is almost certainly out of the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes, while the Vikings continue to lead the way there:
And so with QB Case Keenum headed to Denver, Kirk Cousins is now down to three teams:— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2018
New York Jets.
Vikings remain the favorite.
Of course, if Cousins decides to bail on the Vikings, Keenum represented one of Minnesota’s backup plans and now that appears off the table. Still, signs have been pointing Cousins towards the Vikings for more than week now, and Monday night’s report is just one more step in that direction.
Bears to sign Allen Robinson
Former Jaguars’ WR Allen Robinson intends to sign with the Chicago Bears barring any last-minute snags when free agency opens Wednesday, source tells ESPN.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2018
Gone are the days when the Chicago Bears were weaponless. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky will have one fewer excuse in his sophomore year, as the Bears have themselves a No. 1 receiver.
Robinson missed nearly all his 2017 season due to a torn ACL in the season opener. However, in the two years prior, Robinson combined for 2,283 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Now let’s compare that to the Bears’ output last season. Their leading receiver was Kendall Wright, who caught 59 passes for just 614 yards and one touchdown. In fact, no Bears wide receiver had more than one receiving touchdown all season. Robinson is a huge upgrade of Chicago’s former set of receivers.
And this huge upgrade is getting himself a huge contract. Per ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Allen will be averaging $14 million a year:
By comparison, Marvin Jones Jr. was signed to a five-year, $40 million deal just two years ago. Other receivers making around Robinson’s salary average are Dez Bryant ($14 million), Demaryius Thomas ($14 million), Julio Jones ($14.25 million) and Davante Adams ($14.5 million).