Veteran players could feel the pinch of the drop in the salary cap expected in 2021 due to the still raging COVID-19 pandemic.
One of those players is Vikings Kyle Rudolph, who, based on declining production, snaps and a high contract, is a prime example of a player who could be released and / or asked to undergo a strong salary reduction.
From Rudolph’s point of view, he deserves everything his contract entails, telling the Unrestricted with the Ben Leber podcast, it “is worth every penny”.
“Obviously I’m a realist. I see both sides,” Rudolph said, via Courtney Cronin of ESPN. “If I was [team owners] the Wilfs, if I were [general manager] Grinding wheel [Spielman], I look at this situation like, ‘Hey, we’re paying this guy a lot of money and you don’t use him, so why do we keep paying him a lot of money?’
“That being said, I think I’m worth every penny of my contract. It doesn’t mean that I’m used to my potential and that I’m used to doing what I do well, so it will be interesting during the period. in the next few months. Like I said, I have three years left on my contract. I don’t want to go anywhere else. I kind of became a pretty decent tackle because I had to do it. It certainly wasn’t something that I have done well at any point in my career. Maybe in high school because I was taller than everyone else, but even then I just wanted to run and catch balls. “
In 2019, the Vikings extended Rudolph’s contract to lower the cap reached just two months after he drafted Irv Smith Jr. in the second round. Rudolph still has three years on his contract. Its 2020 cap is $ 9.45 million. The Vikes would save $ 5.1 million over the cap by reducing the TE with $ 4.35 million in dead money.
Unfortunately for Rudolph, the Vikings are $ 12.8 million above the projected salary cap for 2021, according to Over The Cap.
Rudolph generated just 28 catches for 334 yards and a career low of 1 TD in 12 games in 2020.
“At the start of last season, the writing was on the wall,” Rudolph said. “I saw where our offense was going. I had seven or eight catches in the first six games. It was just absurd. I was literally blocking all the time.”
When asked if the Vikings approached him about a pay cut, Rudolph was clear on his position on the matter.
“It wouldn’t happen,” he said. “You can only play this game for so many years, and I feel like I have a lot of good football left. Now we are moving fast, I have played these three years with my contract and I ‘I’m 33, 34 now. and they’re like,’ Hey, we want to keep you a few years at a much lower number, but we want you to help X, Y and Z these young guys get out ‘- sign me up .
“But like I said, at 31, with how I feel physically, knowing what I can still do … it’s just a lack of opportunities. In the past, it’s me who got targets in the red zone. I cannot register again. “
Rudolph can still be a productive player, but Minnesota’s circumstances don’t favor him. The Vikes have a younger, cheaper option in Smith and face the salary cap.
Many veterans are anxiously awaiting where the NFL and NFLPA land on the salary cap this season. The decision will determine the future of many veterans with mobile contracts like Rudolph.