ST. PAUL — Taeje Sharpe got his money in free agency. Now, he has time to focus on his hip-hop group, GMR, which stands for “Get Money Regardless.”
After four years with the Tennessee Titans, the wide receiver on Wednesday agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract with the Vikings. He could earn another $500,000 in incentives.
With the coronavirus pandemic keeping Sharpe at his Piscataway, N.J., home, and it being uncertain when and if NFL spring drills will begin, he is working on his music.
“It’s been a big part of my quarantine situation, being at home in the house and just trying to find ways to stay active and keep your mind off everything that’s going on,” Sharpe said Thursday on a conference all.
“I definitely sit back and write some music, and that’s a way to get your mind off things and just another way to express yourself. … I record, as well.”
Sharpe began rapping when he was a freshman at the University of Massachusetts in 2012. His group put out its first tape last year and another is due out next month.
Sharpe said he is doing his best to stay in shape for whenever the Vikings can begin offseason drills. He has a gym at his home, and a JUGS machine in his backyard. He sometimes gets out to a park down the street, where he does some running, push-ups and pull-ups.
Sharpe vows to be ready for perhaps the most important season of his NFL career. After being a part-time starter with the Titans, he has a chance to move into Minnesota’s lineup as the replacement for Stefon Diggs, traded last week to Buffalo.
“I felt like I had the opportunity to come in here and compete for a starting spot,” Sharpe said. “And that’s all that you can ask for.”
Sharpe started 29 of the 47 games he played for the Titans. A fifth-round pick in the 2016 draft, he had his best season as a rookie, catching 41 passes for 522 yards. But he missed the entire 2017 season with a foot injury.
When he returned, Sharpe found his role diminished under new head coach Mike Vrabel. He caught 26 passes for 316 yards in 2018 and 25 for 329 yards last year.
“(New) coaches like to bring in guys that they want to see come in and try to make some plays, so I understand that part about the business,” Sharpe said. “… But now, the opportunity the Vikings presented me with, being able to come in and having a chance to compete for a starting spot and widen my role a little bit, have a larger role as part of the offense, that was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up.”
Sharpe got a congratulatory call Wednesday from Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins and said he’s “excited” to work with him. Sharpe also spoke with Vikings offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak.
He said there are some similarities between Kubiak’s offense and the one Tennessee ran in 2018 under offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, who then left after one season to become Green Bay’s head coach.
“That’s always a good thing when you don’t have to kind of completely start from scratch,” Sharpe said.
It could prove even more beneficial if all spring drills are canceled, a distinct possibility.
While the Vikings will look at Sharpe as a candidate to replace Diggs, they also have holdover receivers Bisi Johnson and Chad Beebe. And they are expected to select multiple receivers in the April 23-25 draft, perhaps one in the first round. The Vikings hold the Nos. 22 and 25 picks in the first round.
“I’m just excited they are taking a chance on me, getting me the opportunity to show my skill set,” Sharpe said. “I can’t wait to join the guys and get things rolling.”