Trae Waynes won’t be returning to the Vikings.
The free agent cornerback agreed to a three-year, $42 million contract on Tuesday, according to NFL Network. Free agency will open at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, but players were allowed to negotiate with teams the past two days. Waynes, 27, reportedly will make $20 million in the first year of his contract and become one of the Top 10 highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL.
Waynes was selected 11th overall by the Vikings in the 2015 draft out of Michigan State and spent his first five seasons with Minnesota. He played in 74 regular-season games and made 53 starts, finishing with 247 tackles, seven interceptions and 42 pass breakups. Waynes had one interception, five pass breakups and 12 tackles in five playoff games.
Waynes’ departure means both the Vikings’ starting cornerbacks from 2019 are gone. Minnesota released veteran corner Xavier Rhodes on Friday. Waynes joins a growing list of players leaving Minnesota. The Viking also released defensive tackle Linval Joseph last Friday, defensive end Everson Griffen has opted for free agency; defensive end Stephen Weatherly agreed to a two-year, $12.5 million deal with Carolina on Monday afternoon; and wide receiver Stefon Diggs was traded to Buffalo on Monday night.
Mackensie Alexander, the Vikings’ starting nickel corner in 2019, also is a free agent and could be on the move. Here is a link to the complete list of Vikings free agents.
BROWNS PURSUING HARRIS
The Vikings placed the franchise tag on Anthony Harris on Monday, but that doesn’t mean the safety will be in Minnesota in 2020. It appears the Vikings did not want the 2021 compensatory pick they would have gotten if Harris left as a free agent and, instead, would prefer to trade him for pick(s) in this year’s draft.
Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported the Browns are exploring a trade for Harris, but that it will take at least a third-round pick, and probably second-rounder, and that might be too rich. The Browns are coached by Kevin Stefanski, a longtime Vikings assistant who was Minnesota’s offensive coordinator this past season.
The Vikings have 12 picks in the 2020 draft after acquiring three picks in this year’s draft from the Bills for Diggs. The franchise tag would pay the 28-year-old Harris about $11.441 million in 2020.
#Browns are exploring a trade for #Vikings safety Anthony Harris, a source tells clevelanddotcom. But another source says it will take at least a 3rd, prob a 2nd, which is prob too rich https://t.co/idunpQlvLH
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) March 17, 2020