The Tricky Part of a Camryn Bynum Extension

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Minnesota Vikings
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The checklist has seen its top item checked off. Justin Jefferson is sticking around for the long haul.

The focus now shifts toward other players who could be looking for new deals. Recently, PurplePTSD‘s Josh Frey took on that precise topic, highlighting left tackle Christian Darrisaw, safety Camryn Bynum, and defensive tackle Harrison Phillips. The Bynum deal looks to be a tricky one.

Camryn Bynum and An Extension in Minnesota

Camryn Bynum is a good football player. No need to add too much else to qualify that statement. The dude can play ball and he can be part of an impactful secondary.

The issue Minnesota may run into is how much money they’re willing to allocate to the position.

Dec 31, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jayden Reed (11) scores a touchdown as Minnesota Vikings safety Josh Metellus and safety Camryn Bynum (24) attempt to make the tackle during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Last offseason, Minnesota may have set a bit of a precedent by inking Josh Metellus to a modest 2-year, $8 million deal to add onto the end of his rookie contract. Metellus’ level of play suggests he’s far outperforming that level of compensation.

In 2024, Metellus is scheduled to carry just a $3,725,000 cap charge. That number only grows to $4,775,000 in 2025. Again, a bargain.

The critical context is simply that Metellus had yet to become a starter when he signed that deal. Over his opening three seasons, Metellus was a special teams stud with limited opportunity on defense. Fast forward into 2024 and Brian Flores unlocked the versatile defensive back. Mr. Metellus went for 116 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 5 passes defended, 1 interception, 4 forced fumbles, and 7 tackles for a loss. He was sent on a blitz 91 times; over his opening three seasons, Metellus had only been blitzed 3 times.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
Nov 27, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. (40) and safety Josh Metellus (44) tackle Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) causing him to fumble in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The broader point, folks, is that Minnesota demonstrated good foresight with Metellus. They saw someone who hadn’t yet exploded and arrived at an extension that looks like an instant bargain. Will they be able to do the same thing with Bynum?

Unlike Metellus, Camryn Bynum has gotten into the starting lineup early in his career. In fact, the 25-year-old safety has started all seventeen games across these past couple seasons.

The consensus seems to be that Bynum struggled in 2022 before bouncing back in 2023. The word from Frey: “After being selected in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, Camryn Bynum took over a starting role in 2022. However, the second-year safety seemed a bit in over his head in this role, and he struggled a bit in coverage. PFF graded him at just 50.9 in coverage during the 2022 season, which ranked 57th among 66 safeties with at least 400 snaps.”

Nov 12, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. (7) celebrates his interception with safety Camryn Bynum (24) against the New Orleans Saints in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

As Frey goes on to note, though, things looked much better while working under Flores’ tutelage: “However, Bynum’s career was completely revived in Brian Flores’ defense this past season. The safety had a tremendous 2023 campaign, and he was a huge reason for Minnesota’s defensive success.”

The basic stats were certainly more flattering. Bynum piled up 137 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 9 passes defended, 2 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles, and 2 tackles for loss.

The Metellus negotiation involved arriving at a deal with someone who had yet to firmly prove he could be a defensive starter. The Bynum negotiation will involve someone who has been an entrenched starter for two straight years. See the issue? Bynum has a bit more on his resume going into negotiations. Could he demand more money than Metellus?

Harrison Smith is getting closer to the end of his career, so the safety cupboard will need to be restocked. To that end, there’s still the presence of Jay Ward, Theo Jackson, and Lewis Cine. Camryn Bynum may end up snagging an extension — he certainly deserves a strong second deal — but the negotiation could be more complicated than the one Minnesota did for Metellus last offseason.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference and Over the Cap helped with this piece.

K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.