And then there were none.
At least for now, that’s the situation in Minnesota.
In a complex quarterback market in which teams are jockeying for position as free agency approaches, the Vikings reportedly are willing to let all three of their quarterbacks become free agents. So far, the Vikings have declined to use the franchise tag on Case Keenum, which would allow him to become a free agent when the market opens next month. Sam Bradford is also eligible for free agency, and now the NFL Network reports that Teddy Bridgewater will also become a free agent, ending speculation that his rookie contract would simply toll.
Tolling is a rather dull subject that mercifully rarely comes up. Here’s the rule:
“Any player placed on a Physically Unable to Perform list (‘PUP’) will be paid his full Paragraph 5 Salary while on such list. His contract will not be tolled for the period he is on PUP, except in the last year of his contract, when the player’s contract will be tolled if he is still physically unable to perform his football services as of the sixth regular season game.”
The NFL reiterated that it has made no official decision on the status of Bridgewater, who missed all of the 2016 season and all but one game in 2017 after suffering a devastating knee injury in training camp in 2016. But the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that the team, league and Bridgewater agree on his contract status.
Which means tolling is out, and the Vikings would be freed up to pursue Kirk Cousins when he hits free agency.
Minnesota wouldn’t be alone, though. A number of teams — the Jets, Broncos, Cardinals and others — need a quarterback and figure to line up to speak with Cousins’s agent, Mike McCartney, at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this week. But the 49ers, who reached an agreement to keep Jimmy Garoppolo, and Jaguars, who have a deal in place to retain Blake Bortles, are not among them. Nor are the Saints likely to need a quarterback. Although Drew Brees can become a free agent, he is not expected to leave New Orleans.
Yahoo’s Charles Robinson sees the Broncos and John Elway as the most passionate suitors for Cousins, whose decision will substantially settle the quarterback market. Which means the Vikings have a lot riding on this.
They’re not the only ones.
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