The Vikings have signed tight end Kyle Rudolph to a four-year, $36 million extension. Without more details, it’s hard to know what that really means. So we tracked down more details.
Per a league source, Rudolph will receive $9.25 million fully guaranteed under the deal. The total guarantee (full guarantee plus injury guarantee) is $16.25 million.
Rudolph’s 2019 compensation is fully guaranteed. He’s getting $1.625 million more than the money he was already due to make, which included a base salary of $7.25 million. Rudolph’s 2020 salary of $7.375 million is guaranteed for injury. Beyond 2020, the deal has no guarantees.
As a practical matter, the Vikings will likely keep Rudolph for at least the next two seasons, which puts the new-money value of the one-year extension at $9 million. Depending on the number of years that the Vikings continue the arrangement after 2020, the new-money average will be $8.5 million (through 2021), $8.6 million (through 2022), or $9 million (through 2023).
Rudolph wanted to stay in Minnesota, as his Monday night tweet makes abundantly clear. Although he has given the Vikings ample flexibility when it comes to the balance of his career beyond 2020, his salaries coupled with the likely spikes in the salary cap will make it more attractive for the team to keep him around. He also realized that the team’s cap and cash situation makes it difficult to shell out large sums now, and that’s OK with Rudolph.
The whole purpose of free agency was to let players play where they want to play, and the salary cap sometimes gets in the way of players being able to stay where they are. Rudolph recognized the limitations that applied to hire desire to stay in Minnesota, and he accepted them in order to fulfill his broader goal to remain in the place that he and his family call home.