Mount Vernon native Chad Greenway not worried about his contract situation with Minnesota Vikings
MANKATO, Minn. -- Chad Greenway is not overly concerned about contract negotiations right now.
The Mount Vernon native and 28-year-old Minnesota Vikings linebacker said playing football and getting ready for the upcoming NFL season is his top priority.
Greenway is signed to a one-year franchise tag contract this season, making him a free agent after the completion of the year if Greenway and the Vikings cannot work out a long-term deal, which would possibly end his tenure in Minnesota.
However, after Tuesday's training camp practice, he said talks of a long-term deal have been ongoing, and both sides are happy where things are at, but he said he's leaving everything to his agent to focus solely on football.
"If I'm out here worried about how much money I make, then clearly my head isn't in the right place," Greenway said after live practice drills on the campus of Minnesota State University Mankato, the team's eighth day of preseason training.
On March 1, the Vikings tagged Greenway as their franchise player and he signed the offer, netting him about $10 million this season. He said since signing the contract, the team and his agent, Marvin Demoff, have been working on a long-term deal.
"There's been negotiations back and forth and I haven't been tracking it nearly as much as maybe I should," said Greenway, who finished last season with a team-high 149 tackles. "They're working through it, and I'm trying to keep myself as far away from it as possible to focus on football."
Last season, Greenway played on the final year of his rookie contract, which he signed in 2006 after being drafted in the first round by the Vikings out of the University of Iowa. He made about $1.3 million last season.
He not only led the team in tackles for the third straight year last season, but he had 10 tackles for a loss, one sack and one forced fumble. He was also chosen as the team's defensive MVP, a bright spot in a season that ended 6-10.
The Vikings had a few big-name free agents after the completion of last season such as wide receiver Sidney Rice and linebacker Ben Leber, but the team decided to set its lone franchise tag on Greenway, an obvious sign of realizing his importance to the defensive side of the ball. Rice eventually signed a deal with the Seattle Seahawks and Leber, a Vermillion native, agreed to terms with St. Louis Tuesday afternoon, according to reports.
Even though Greenway is signed to another one-year deal, he said this season is no more important as any of his previous six seasons, including a rookie year where he sat out due to a left knee injury when he tore his ACL and had to rehab back to full strength.
If he plays well and isn't re-signed by the Vikings, he could land a large contract in the open market during next year's free agency period.
This year, linebacker LaMarr Woodley, a defensive end/outside linebacker, re-signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers as a free agent for six years, $61 million. Another free agent linebacker, Kamerion Wimbley, re-signed with the Oakland Raiders for five years, $48 million. If Greenway becomes a free agent after the season, he could be offered contracts worth about the same or more than Woodley's and Wimbley's.
Greenway wouldn't disclose the length in years or amount of money he's looking for in a new contract, but said he's talked with Demoff every two to four days for new information pertaining to a deal.
"It's about getting a fair deal," he said. "Really, you don't want to come out of this thing with one side mad at the other."
Greenway added it would be weird to play for another team after being in purple the first six years of his career, but it's a possibility if a long-term deal can't be reached.
"For now, I'm in the present and not worrying about the future," Greenway said. "But I know (playing for another team) is a possibility. You look at a guy like Ben Leber, a guy who thought maybe he would finish his career here, but it didn't end up working out that way. So you'd just move on and keep preserving."
But the ideal situation is to stick in Minnesota, he said.
"I've played my whole career here and they've done nothing wrong to me, so I don't feel slighted in any way," Greenway said. "Hopefully, we'll be able to work out a long-term deal."
At 7 p.m. Saturday, Greenway and the Vikings open their preseason schedule against the Tennessee Titans.