Mo Alie-Cox will remain a Colt.
Indianapolis said Monday morning that the former VCU basketball star turned NFL tight end has signed his second-round tender offer from the team. The deal will pay him $3.38 million this year.
Alie-Cox was a restricted free agent. Indianapolis offered him the second-round tender last month, which meant it would have the option to match an offer Alie-Cox received from another team or, if Alie-Cox agreed to terms with another team, the Colts would get a second-round pick as compensation.
But the 6-5 267-pounder will be back for what will fifth year overall with Indianapolis after his standout career at VCU (2013-17).
Alie-Cox had his best season in the NFL this past year, with 35 catches for 426 yards and two touchdowns. He’ll have a new quarterback this year, after the Colts traded for the Eagles’ Carson Wentz.
Alie-Cox’s new deal is his most lucrative to date, more than his $2.1 million in estimated career earnings to this point, according to Spotrac.
Alie-Cox has 46 receptions for 620 yards and four TDs in his career.
Vander Esch’s option declined
FRISCO, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys declined the fifth-year option on linebacker Leighton Vander Esch’s rookie contract, setting up an interesting season at the position after the club used this year’s first-round pick on a potential replacement.
Vander Esch had a strong rookie season after the Cowboys drafted him 19th overall in 2018. But injuries limited him to 19 games the past two years, most notably the revelation that the former Boise State player has always had spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column that makes neck injuries more risky.
The 25-year-old was due to make $9.1 million in 2022. Vander Esch has a $2.1 million base salary in the fourth year of his $11.8 million rookie contract.
Declining the option doesn’t mean Vander Esch won’t return to the Cowboys. Cornerback Morris Claiborne re-signed for less money in 2016 after Dallas declined his fifth-year option.
Vander Esch and 2016 second-round pick Jaylon Smith are both on notice after the Cowboys drafted Penn State’s Micah Parsons 12th overall and Jabril Cox of LSU in the fourth round.
Bills: Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (Virginia Tech) are staying around for at least two more seasons.
The Bills exercised the fifth-year options of both players’ contracts and retained the 2018 first-round draft picks through the 2022 season. The move comes at a combined price of about $36 million, with Allen set to make nearly $23 million in his final year. The fifth year of the contracts is guaranteed, though the Bills can renegotiate the deals.
Falcons: Atlanta picked up receiver Calvin Ridley‘s fifth-year option, meaning he will make $11.1 million in 2022 and be in line for a long-term deal.
The Falcons made the expected move on Monday. Ridley, the No. 26 overall pick of the Falcons from Alabama, is coming off his best season. He had 90 catches for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns in 15 games, stepping into a lead role with Julio Jones enduring an injury-plagued season.
Titans: Tennessee’s fourth-round draft pick Rashad Weaver has been charged with simple assault following an incident in Pittsburgh last month.
The complaint against Weaver, who played defensive end at the University of Pittsburgh, was filed Friday, a day before the Titans selected Weaver with the 135th overall pick in the draft.
The charge stems from an alleged incident between Weaver and a woman in the early hours of Sunday, April 18 in Pittsburgh’s South Side entertainment district. At least one witness told police Weaver struck the woman. Another witness said she saw the woman fall but did not see what precipitated it.
His attorney, Dennis M. Blackwell, called the allegations against Weaver “completely false and reckless.”
Bears: Chicago is parting with veteran left tackle Charles Leno Jr.
Drafted by Chicago in the seventh round in 2014, Leno started every game the past five seasons and 93 in a row dating to 2015. He made the Pro Bowl as an alternate in 2018. The move comes after the Bears traded up to draft Oklahoma State tackle Teven Jenkins in the second round on Friday.
Vikings: Minnesota declined the fifth-year option for cornerback Mike Hughes with the injury-hampered 2018 first-round pick’s future with the team in doubt.
Broncos: Denver released backup quarterback Jeff Driskel. Driskel appeared in three games with the Broncos in 2020 following an injury to starter Drew Lock, completing 54.7% of his passes for 432 yards and a 3-2 TD-INT ratio.
Thursday package: Amazon Prime Video will become the exclusive home of the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” in 2022, which will make it an 11-season deal through 2032. It was originally supposed to begin in 2023 when the league’s new media rights deals kick in.
This is the first time a streaming service has had the full rights to an NFL package.