Brendon Ayanbadejo received some good news from Minnesota on Wednesday.
While it’s unlikely the Vikings are planning to earmark any of their reported $30 million in available salary-cap space on the two-time Pro Bowl special teams performer, Ayanbadejo can take heart in the tender the team made its special teams ace Heath Farwell, who is a restricted free agent.
Minnesota tendered Farwell a one-year offer for $1.417 million, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Farwell is free to negotiate with other teams, but the Vikings would receive a second-round draft pick in compensation if they chose not to match an offer. In other words, Farwell is staying put. It bodes well for Ayanbadejo because it’s evidence a team is willing to pony up good money for a special teamer and reserve linebacker.
Farwell as the first Pro Bowl alternate to Ayanbadejo this past season. According to Stats Inc., Farwell leads the league with 61 tackles on special teams over the last three seasons. Ayanbadejo is next with 57.
Ayanbadejo stated during the season that he wanted to surpass the New York Giants’ David Tyree as the highest-paid special teams player in the league. Well, Tyree didn’t do Ayanbadejo any favors in Super Bowl XLII. The part-time wide receiver caught a touchdown pass from Eli Manning and then made one of the most spectacular plays in the history of the Super Bowl, catching a desperation pass on top of his helmet with New England safety Rodney Harrison draped all over him. It helped set up the game-winning score.
It didn’t help Ayanbadejo because Tyree has proven his value goes beyond special teams, even on the biggest stage. Ayanbadejo, who looked good on defense in preseason, has not had a similar opportunity at linebacker.
But the pay day Farwell will receive can only boost the value of Ayanbadejo. He has told the Bears he will present them with the best offer he receives in free agency and give them an opportunity to match the deal.