Latest On Free Agent CB Trae Waynes

In an interview with the Geary & Stein Sports Show podcast, veteran NFL CB Trae Waynes says he hasn’t officially closed the door to playing this season, but at this point, he’s strongly leaning toward retirement. 

Trae Waynes

“I mean it’s open but I’m not really exploring anything to be honest with you,” he said. “Multiple teams have actually called, but in my head I’m done. I’m not officially doing it, I’d say, just because I don’t do that shit. I’m retired, but it’s not like I announced it or anything.” 

Waynes said he was heavily tempted to sign with the Eagles at one point this offseason given the connections on the team from his time with the Vikings. But he ultimately decided against it. 

“I actually almost went to Philly, to go back with JG [DC Jonathan Gannon] and Ant [S Anthony Harris], but at that point I was like ‘I’m ready to be done,'” he said. 

Health is a major consideration for Waynes right now. He was released by the Bengals this offseason after significant injuries limited him to just a handful of games the past two seasons. His family also figures prominently in Waynes’ thinking. 

“Could I easily keep playing several more years? Yes, but I got a family, I want to be around with by kids more, and you know, with all the stuff happening with these former players, it kind of makes you nervous,” he said. “For me, I want to look out for myself and my physical and mental health because at the end of the day if I played, say, 14-15 years and I’m 40 and my body is beat to shit, it’s not going to affect anybody else but me and my family. So it’s like, I want to take care of myself and make sure I’m able to be there for my family when football is said and done because at the end of the day if I’m 40 and I can’t fucking walk, what’s a sports fan going to do? Nothing, he’s just going to keep being a fan of the sport while I’m dealing with the day-to-day health issues from playing a sport for so long that’s not ideal for the human body.”

Waynes mentioned he’s cut his signature dreadlocks, which is something he always said he was going to do when he was ready to stop playing. 

“Being able to walk away on my own terms is always something I wanted to do. I was never that guy that wanted to die on the football field or however you want to say it, because like I said having kids put stuff in a whole different perspective for me,” Waynes said. “I tell Melvin [Gordon] and some of my good friends all the time [who ask] ‘Why are you walking away so early, you can still play.’ Yeah I know, but there’s more to life than just football, and I want to be able to enjoy life outside of football without limping or walking in pain all the time or stuff like that. It’s bittersweet, but I know at the end of the day it’s probably the right decision.”

Waynes, 29, is a former first-round pick out of Michigan State by the Vikings in the 2015 NFL Draft. He was entering the final year of his four-year, $12.944 million rookie contract when the Vikings picked up his fifth-year option. 

Waynes made a base salary of $9,069,000 for the 2019 season under his fifth-year option. He was testing the open market as an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his NFL career when he signed a three-year, $42 million deal with the Bengals. 

However, injuries limited him to just five games in two years for Cincinnati. The Bengals released him in 2022. 

For his career, Waynes appeared in 79 games over seven seasons with the Vikings and Bengals. He recorded 248 total tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles, one recovery, seven interceptions and 43 pass deflections. 

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