The Vikings have signed former Titans wide receiver Tajae Sharpe to a one-year deal, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapaport. The deal is reportedly worth $1 million, with $675,000 guaranteed and up to $500,000 in playing time incentives.
This is a cheap, solid depth addition for a team that desperately needs more talent at wide receiver after trading disgruntled star Stefon Diggs for draft picks. Sharpe joins Bisi Johnson and Chad Beebe on the depth chart as options behind Adam Thielen. The Vikings are also widely expected to take a receiver or two in the early rounds of the upcoming draft.
Sharpe is 25 years old and still looking for his first big season in the NFL. His best year was his rookie year in 2016, when he caught 41 passes for 522 yards and two touchdowns. Sharpe then missed all of 2017 with a foot injury, and has failed to crack 330 receiving yards in either of the last two seasons. Last year he caught 25 passes for 329 yards and a career-high four touchdowns, but was held to one catch for six yards in three playoff contests as the Titans reached the AFC Championship game.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Sharpe is a good route-runner with great hands. He has the ability to get open in short-yardage situations, which should make him valuable as a third-down option for Kirk Cousins. Sharpe doesn't offer much as a big-play threat; his career yards-per-catch average is 12.7 and his longest reception is 47 yards.
Sharpe posted 2,600 receiving yards over his final two college seasons at Massachusetts, including 111 catches as a senior. However, mediocre testing numbers at the combine (including a 4.55-second 40) caused him to be a fifth-round pick. Sharpe made his NFL debut on September 11, 2016, against the Vikings, catching seven passes for 76 yards in a loss. That remains his second-best single-game yardage total in three seasons; Sharpe caught seven passes for 101 yards against the Chargers in 2018.
The Vikings decided not to pursue either of the top remaining free agent receivers on the market, both of whom signed new deals on Tuesday. Robby Anderson went to the Panthers for $20 million over two years, and Breshad Perriman signed with Anderson's former team, the Jets, on a one-year deal worth $8 million. That left GM Rick Spielman to choose from the scrap heap of remaining receivers.
The hope is that Sharpe can get back to the level of play he showed as a rookie before getting injured. He's probably the No. 2 receiver on the roster right now, but will likely end up as the No. 3 or 4 wideout when the season begins, depending on the development of Johnson and rookies. Sharpe will be looking to prove himself on this one-year deal and become a more valuable commodity on the market in 2021.
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