Alex Jenkins

NFC South Notes: Ryan, Vea, Panthers

The $100MM guaranteed in Matt Ryan‘s landscape-changing Falcons extension appears to be fully guaranteed. Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports (video link) Ryan will see every dollar of this nine-figure allotment, one that will take the quarterback guarantee market to another level. Kirk Cousins‘ previous record of $84MM — more than $20MM more than Matthew Stafford‘s then-record amount from last summer — lasted less than two months. While it would be a good bet Ryan would see all $100MM even if it weren’t fully guaranteed, given the 11th-year quarterback’s reliability and importance to the Falcons, this sets a high floor for the impending Aaron Rodgers extension. This Ryan deal may have been completed as early as March, per Pelissero, but Ryan’s wife having twins in March prompted the parties to delay the talks.

Here’s the latest from the South divisions:

  • Despite being able to land Vita Vea with the No. 12 overall pick, the Buccaneers placed a top-five grade on the defensive tackle. Jason Licht said during an appearance on Good Morning Football (video link) Vea was slotted at fourth on the Bucs’ board. This made it risky for Tampa Bay to trade the No. 7 pick to Buffalo, with three non-quarterbacks going from Nos. 7-11, but the south Florida franchise landed Vea anyway. Licht said the Bucs ran several pre-draft scenarios centered around the possibility of trading back and still seeing Vea available, but the GM indicated there were a couple of players the team would have been comfortable with at No. 12 if another team chose Vea. One of these could have been Derwin James, a player whom Licht said the Bucs liked “a lot.”
  • A somewhat strange shakeup will occur on the Panthers‘ coaching staff. Curtis Fuller will resign from his post as defensive backs coach, Joe Person and Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer report. The reasoning for this exit is as of now unknown, with GM Marty Hurney telling the Observer “it’s a complicated situation.” Fuller’s been on Carolina’s staff since 2013, serving in various capacities — mostly helping defensive backs. The 39-year-old assistant rose to his most recent role last year after Steve Wilks was promoted to defensive coordinator.
  • Part of an NFL initiative for overseas players being placed on NFC South practice squads, defensive end Alex Jenkins remains with the Saints going into what could be his second year after signing a reserve/futures contract. And the team will again receive a roster exemption, Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com reports (on Twitter). The England native won’t count against the Saints’ 90-man offseason roster and would be an 11th man on the practice squad if he can’t make the team’s 53-man roster out of camp.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/16/18

Here are the latest reserve/futures contract signings from around the NFL. These deals will go into effect on the first day of the 2018 league year, with players joining their respective clubs’ offseason 90-man rosters:

Atlanta Falcons

New Orleans Saints

Pittsburgh Steelers

Sunday NFL Transactions: NFC South

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC South teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Falcons, Panthers, Saints, and Buccaneers are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s NFC South transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

New Orleans Saints

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Saints Reach 53-Man Roster Limit

Every team had to get under the 53-man limit by Saturday’s deadline, but the Saints were the last to publicly announce their cuts. Here’s the full rundown of their moves:

Waived:

Released:

IR:

The Saints re-signed Cadet this offseason only to put him on the trade block in June. They didn’t find any takers then and they apparently couldn’t find any now. The Jets, who pursued him in free agency, could have interest in signing him.

NFC South Teams Take On Int’l Players

The NFL announced that the teams of the NFC South will be carrying an additional overseas player on their practice squads during the upcoming season. This is part of the league’s flagship International Player Pathway program.

Now, the Falcons, Panthers, Saints, and Buccaneers will all be operating with an 11-man practice squad while the rest of the league has ten. However, they don’t necessarily have an advantage over other clubs because these additional overseas players cannot be activated during the season.

Here is a look at the players who will be joining each taxi squad:

  • Falcons: Alex Gray, TE – Gray, a former rugby star, is the first English rugby union professional to quit the sport to pursue American football. The 26-year-old was named the England Sevens player of the year in 2015. He not to be confused with the undrafted Appalachian State safety of the same name who joined the Bucs’ 90-man roster.
  • Panthers: Efe Obada, DE – Obada, who grew up in the Netherlands and England, was on the Cowboys’ practice squad in 2010. Prior to the 2016 season, he also had brief stints with the Chiefs and Falcons.
  • Saints: Alex Jenkins, DE – Jenkins was born and raised in England but actually has a background in American football. Back home, he played for the Bath City Academy and for the Bristol Aztecs before earning a spot on the Great Britain youth team. He played his college ball in San Antonio, Texas at the University of the Incarnate Word. He had 3.5 sacks in his senior year.
  • Buccaneers: Eric Nzeocha, LB – Nzeocha is now the second German-born player to join up with the Bucs in franchise history. German safety Claudius Osei spent the 2005 campaign on Tampa Bay’s taxi squad as part of a similar program. Nzeocha’s brother Mark is a linebacker for the Cowboys.