The Minnesota Vikings were smart to take advantage of NFL free-agency rules to sign wide receiver Michael Floyd on Wednesday. It also helps fill a void for a team that needs all the offensive firepower it can assemble.
This is the first day on the NFL calendar where teams can sign unrestricted free agents and have it count against their compensatory pick equation for 2018. Patient teams are wise to take advantage of this little wrinkle whenever possible.
And if the player is good, all the better. But in the case of Floyd, who was released late last season by the Arizona Cardinals and allowed freely to walk by the New England Patriots in the span of about six months, expectations should be mitigated.
Reports indicate Floyd received a one-year, prove-it deal for about $1.5 million. That should tell you a lot about his perceived value around the NFL right now.
Floyd is a big name as a former Notre Dame standout, a former first-round pick and as a former 1,000-yard receiver. He’s also still well put together at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds and remains in the prime of his career at age 27. But Floyd has been in decline the past few seasons and has an “extreme DUI” conviction on his record that will require home confinement for a long stretch this year.
The Patriots claimed Floyd after the Cardinals released him immediately following his Dec. 12 arrest for DUI charges. He played two regular-season games down the stretch for New England, catching four passes for 42 yards and a touchdown, along with a terrific block on Julian Edelman‘s 77-yard TD in Week 17. However, Floyd played only in the divisional round playoff game before a numbers game shuttled him back to the inactive list. He did not appear in the Patriots’ Super Bowl LI comeback victory against the Atlanta Falcons.
At wide receiver, the Vikings have Stefon Diggs in a leading role and Adam Thielen — whom they just signed to an extension — as a solid sidekick. There’s also Jairus Wright in the mix, but for how long? The man the Floyd move might impact most right now is 2016 first-rounder Laquon Treadwell, although it’s easy to view Floyd as a low-rent investment for insurance in case Treadwell doesn’t improve markedly. He was one of the biggest disappointments for the team last season, catching one pass for 15 yards in nine games that mostly were spent on special teams.
Still, Treadwell should be fine to show he’s not a bust, as this offense reportedly will be a better fit for his skills and the teams’ moves up until now suggest they’re not casting him off yet. The Vikings did not sign a free agent at the position until this week (Floyd), and it was on modest terms. Additionally, they used two draft picks on receivers, but both late in the draft.
There’s a chance Floyd can make the Vikings’ roster and have an impact, but it’s not high. Think of this as more of a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency addition.
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