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Staro 09-11-2018, 07:50 AM
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Početno on Thursday night

”It took a great player to come to the market, and it’s not easy to get to the market with great players,” McCartney said. ”It’s just the way it turned out. It’s been an exciting several weeks in anticipation. We researched all fall, the different teams and potential options. At one point, we never thought that the Vikings would need a quarterback and yet still did our research and homework on them. As we got closer to free agency, I had a feeling we were going to have an opportunity.”

As a low draft pick who was forced to work his way up the depth chart and has never won a postseason game, Cousins represented an unlikely candidate to set the precedent. The market always flows toward the demand, though, and because Washington was lukewarm on his long-term potential, Cousins was able to make about $44 million over the last two years and still hit free agency in his prime with no history of significant injury. The Redskins declined to use the franchise tag a third time and acquired Alex Smith in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs instead.

That allowed a player who topped 4,000 passing yards in three straight seasons to cash in on the volume of quarterback-needy teams in the NFL, where there’s perpetually a short supply of true superstars at the most challenging of all positions.

”It would be great if this would be a game changer and started a trend. Hopefully Wayne Gallman Jersey , there are some high-profile guys who can build on this and go beyond Kirk’s money but still have a fully guaranteed contract,” McCartney said, adding: ”It’s time for it to happen.”

The Vikings were the other critical part of this equation, of course. They drafted Teddy Bridgewater in the first round in 2014 with the expectation he’d become their franchise quarterback, but he wrecked his knee right before the 2016 season and has yet to start a game since then. His replacement, Sam Bradford, became a free agent. So did his super sub, Case Keenum. With a roster on the cusp of a Super Bowl, having lost to the eventual champion Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC championship game, the Vikings were more than willing to be as aggressive as they needed to acquire the quarterback they believed was the best available free agent.

”I don’t know where it’s going to go,” Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said. ”But I know when a player of this caliber gets out there on the market and he’s been franchised two years in a row, and it’s the quarterback position, you’re going to have to do what you have to do. If we didn’t, I know a lot of other teams out there would have.”

The Vikings didn’t offer Cousins the most overall money, McCartney said, but they were confident enough in Cousins to commit to not only the largest per-year average in NFL history (topping Jimmy Garoppolo) but the biggest guaranteed figure the league has seen (beating Matthew Stafford). Those benchmarks will be temporary, of course, with quarterbacks of greater ability and accomplishment like Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan in the queue for contract extensions with their clubs.

The ice has at least been chipped Patrick Kerney Jersey , though, if not broken wide open.

”It won’t matter if other players after me choose to go a different route,” Cousins said at his introductory news conference on Thursday. ”It is what it is for my situation, but players after me have to decide what they want to do.”

There are a number of complex reasons why NFL contracts have so rarely been guaranteed like those in MLB, the NBA or the NHL, with one being a decades-old clause in the collective bargaining agreement that requires teams to put deferred guaranteed money in escrow. That was devised before the league’s revenue boom to ensure teams wouldn’t run out of cash to pay players. Now, the rule can simply deter deep-pocketed owners from granting long-term, guaranteed deals that require cutting massive checks that won’t be cashed for years.

”Now we have so much TV money that it’s completely unnecessary from my vantage point,” McCartney said.

The key to making this a trend instead of a footnote will be more players willing to take shorter contracts. If Cousins asked for a five-year deal, the total value likely wouldn’t have been much higher if at all. In so many contracts over the course of the modern NFL, the maximum value was never paid out because teams were able to cut an aged or underperforming players without being on the hook for much if any guaranteed money in the latter part of the deal.

McCartney acknowledged his confidence level of fulfilling this goal was relatively low when he first approached the Redskins about a new contract for his client. Cousins picked the Vikings for more than just the desirability of their offer. They provided him the best championship opportunity of all the suitors, and he raved about the culture and leadership he discovered through his research and initial visit to team headquarters.

”Just so grateful for the way things have played out, The Minnesota Vikings selected Central Florida cornerback Mike Hughes with the 30th pick in the first round on Thursday night, resisting temptation to pass up a premium position while counting on depth in the pool of offensive linemen to help them later in the draft.

Hughes played only one season for UCF, helping the Knights finish undefeated in 2017 with four interceptions, 11 pass breakups and four touchdown returns. He scored twice on kickoff returns, once off an interception and once on a punt return.

"I knew they were pretty excited about me. So once they got the chance to grab me, I'm not surprised JK Scott Jersey ," Hughes said. "I'm definitely blessed to be in this position.

Hughes became the third cornerback drafted in the first round by the Vikings in the last six years, with current starters Xavier Rhodes coming in 2013 and Trae Waynes coming in 2015. Terence Newman became a free agent and has not yet re-signed. Mackensie Alexander, their second-round pick in 2016, has yet to hold of the nickel role. So the 5-foot-10, 189-pound Hughes ought to have a place in coach Mike Zimmer's defense, with the ability to play outside or inside.

"We didn't do it to push Mackensie. We're just trying to get good football players in here and shake it out and whoever ends up playing plays," Zimmer said. "I'm not married to anybody, so we just go out and try to get the best players in the field. Quite honestly, in today's NFL with as much throwing as is going on, I could see four corners in a game at one time."

Returning kickoffs would be welcomed, too, where the Vikings have yet to find a productive replacement for Cordarrelle Patterson after his departure following the 2016 season. Punt returner Marcus Sherels, entering his ninth year in the NFL, dropped off a bit in 2017.

"This kid will help us in all phases of special teams, and then we're going to mature him into being a full-time player," Zimmer said. "I don't know how soon that will be, but he's got the traits that we're looking for."

Hughes started his college career in his home state with North Carolina, but he left the program after one year. He was involved in an altercation at a fraternity house on campus that led to a misdemeanor assault charge. He also told the NFL Network last week that there was a sexual assault allegation against him Lester Hayes Jersey , a case that authorities dropped for insufficient evidence. After spending the 2016 season at a community college, Hughes transferred to UCF.

Hughes met with the Vikings at the scouting combine and on a draft prospect visit to team headquarters. What did he tell teams about his off-the-field issues?

"Just tell them what I've learned from it, how I've overcame all the things that happened," Hughes said.

Offensive tackles went ninth (Notre Dame's Mike McGlinchey) and 15th (UCLA's Kolton Miller) to San Francisco and Oakland. Division rival Detroit used the 20th pick on Arkansas center Frank Ragnow, a native of Chanhassen, Minnesota, who could play guard in the NFL. Cincinnati went with Ohio State center Billy Price at No. 21. New England took Georgia tackle Isaiah Wynn, who has been projected as a guard, with the 23rd selection.

Still, the Vikings had plenty of offensive linemen widely given first-round grades to choose from on Thursday night when their turn finally came more than three hours into the draft. The top prospects available included UTEP guard Will Hernandez, Iowa center James Daniels and Texas tackle Connor Williams, all three of which carry the potential to replace retired right guard Joe Berger in the starting lineup.

"Looking at the board there's still a lot of quality depth on the offensive line, but there's also a lot of quality depth throughout the rest of the draft," Spielman said. "So I'm excited for tomorrow. Potentially moving up or potentially moving down. We'll see how the board starts to fall in the beginning."

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