Why Trae Waynes Still Hasn't Signed His Contract With the Bengals

Will Ragatz

Back on March 17th, former Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes agreed to a three-year, $42 million deal with the Cincinnati Bengals in free agency. The contract included a $15 million signing bonus and would pay him a total of $20 million in 2020. 

Three and a half months later, he still hasn't seen a dime of that money.

In his weekly GamePlan column, Sports Illustrated insider Albert Breer wrote about how Waynes' situation is a prime example of an issue many 2020 free agents are facing.

Waynes moved his wife and two kids to Cincinnati in May to get them settled and, he figured, to finalize the deal he’d agreed to in March. The Bengals were among the teams that weren’t allowing third-party physicals — more than half the NFL’s 32 teams aren’t allowing rookies to take those, which is why so many draft picks remain unsigned — and the logical workaround there was to get into town and see the team doctor off-site.

Unfortunately, after he got on the ground in Ohio, Waynes learned that the Bengals weren’t going to be allowing for the team doctor to do the physicals at his private practice, which left the 27-year-old without any other avenue but to wait for the league to reopen facilities to players. That, as most of you know, still hasn’t happened.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Waynes has been unable to take a physical with the Bengals thus far. And as a result, he still hasn't actually signed his contract.

One notable effect of this situation is that Waynes now has to be very careful about not getting hurt. If he were to suffer an injury, all that money could go out the door.

“I’ve advised Trae not to do any football drills, not to get out there on the field, certainly don’t do any live drills against other people," his agent Brian Murphy told Breer. "And my hope is that he’s following my advice. He did do all the Zoom calls. Obviously, there’s no physical activity there, and he’d really want to be in the best shape of life, so he can play the best football of his life. But because of the Bengals’ decision, he can’t do that."

For the record, Waynes understands that his problems pale in comparison to those of millions of people across the country.

And no, you shouldn’t feel sorry for him. From what I understand, he’s pretty sensitive to how his concern over a $15 million payment might come off, understanding the job situation in our country right now.

Still, let's hope that for the sake of Waynes and his family, NFL facilities will fully reopen soon so he can officially begin his career with the Bengals.

The Vikings were fortunately able to sign their big free agent acquisitions – Michael Pierce, Tajae Sharpe, and Anthony Zettel – to contracts back in late March. So no worries there. However, Minnesota still has yet to sign a single one of its 15 draft picks.

Check out all of our Vikings 2020 season preview content right here.

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