By Grant Gordon NFL.com
Coveted outside linebacker Anthony Barr is staying put with the Minnesota Vikings and forgoing a new destination with New York after communicating with the Jets that he intended to sign with them on Monday, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported.
Barr’s loyalty, wavering as it may have been, was rewarded to the tune of a five-year deal worth $67.5 million, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, with incentives potentially pushing the pay day to $77.5 million. Rapoport added that $33 million is guaranteed, as Vikings coach Mike Zimmer will retain one of the centerpieces to his defense.
In the domino effect of free-agency comings and goings, Barr’s surprising change of plans could open the door for the Jets to add perhaps the most-prized free agent on the market — running back Le’Veon Bell.
Perhaps most importantly, the NFL calendar year’s genesis does not come until Wednesday, so deals are not official until then, so nothing is set in stone — as the Barr roller coaster is evidence of.
Dropping in as the sixth-ranked free agent by NFL.com, Barr was expected to sign with the Jets, with the hope of filling a pass-rushing void for Gang Green, who are also expected to sign former Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley.
Now, the Vikings are set to have a familiar force back to lead their defense.
Barr has been exceptional in five professional seasons in the form of four consecutive Pro Bowl over the past four seasons for Minnesota.
And thus, Barr is once again set to lead the Vikings.
Vikings To Ink Defensive Tackle Stephen To Three-Year Deal
During NFL free agency at around this time last year, the Minnesota Vikings lost a pair of defensive tackles to the Seattle Seahawks, as both Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephen signed with the team that we affectionately call “Vikings West.”
Johnson returned to Minnesota early last season after the Seahawks cut him loose, and now the team is bringing Stephen back as well.
Numerous sources are reporting that Stephen has agreed to a three-year deal with the Vikings, and will formally sign when free agency gets underway on Wednesday afternoon.
Stephen was a seventh-round pick of the Vikings out of Connecticut in the 2014 NFL Draft, and managed to stick with the team for four seasons. He appeared in 37 games for the Vikings in those four years, and was a starter in all 16 games in 2016. In 2017, he was mostly a rotational player, but still appeared in 15 of 16 games, starting one. Stephen has been very solid against the run throughout the course of his career, and that’s a spot where the Vikings could use some help.
Financial terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed.