Brendan Mahon

NFC Rumors: Johnson, Rodgers, Panthers

More details on David Johnson‘s Cardinals contract are emerging. In addition to the fourth-year running back seeing $24MM in full guarantees as part of his three-year, $39MM extension, Johnson will receive a $12MM signing bonus, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). His $5.7MM base salary in 2019 is fully guaranteed. The All-Pro’s 2020 base ($10.2MM) will have $5.1MM guaranteed fully at signing, per Graziano (on Twitter), but the other half of it is guaranteed for injury only. However, Johnson’s full 2020 salary becomes guaranteed if he’s on the Cardinals’ roster by March of 2019.

Each of Johnson’s next three seasons include $750K in per-game roster bonuses. As far as cap numbers go, Johnson now has a $5MM hit this season. The former third-round pick will count $9.45MM against Arizona’s 2019 cap, $13.95MM in 2020 and $11.7MM in 2021, Graziano reports (Twitter link).

Here’s the latest out of the NFC, shifting toward its most important player.

  • Aaron Rodgers missed Packers practice again on Thursday, but this wasn’t unexpected. However, Mike McCarthy said it’s no layup that his two-time MVP quarterback will play Sunday against the Vikings, per Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Rodgers and McCarthy said Wednesday he does not need to practice in order to start Sunday.
  • It keeps getting worse for the Panthers. After serious injuries hit Greg Olsen and Daryl Williams in Week 1, Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner is in concussion protocol, David Newton of ESPN.com notes. Both of Carolina’s starting tackles — Williams and Matt Kalil — are already on IR. Both can return after eight weeks, but at this point, it can’t be assumed both will be back. Carolina could lose a more important player to its cause. Only two players can be recalled from IR. Amini Silatolu filled in for Turner last season, but he may have to play right tackle Sunday. However, the Panthers added Chris Clark to potentially do that. In addition to Silatolu, Newton writes Tyler Larsen and rookie UDFA Brendan Mahon will have a chance to start in place of Turner — in the event he can’t go Sunday.
  • Demario Davis rated as a top-10 Pro Football Focus linebacker last year, doing so for his work as an inside linebacker. It was expected the high-priced free agent would man the middle for the Saints, but they’ve moved him to the weak side, NOLA.com’s Josh Katzenstein notes. Second-year man Alex Anzalone is now stationed as New Orleans’ middle ‘backer, but the team rotated he, Manti Te’o and A.J. Klein as Davis sidekicks in Week 1. Sean Payton said the team’s still determining how it will structure its linebacker usage. Davis played all 66 snaps in the Saints’ loss to the Buccaneers, while Anzalone led the others with 34. Klein functioned in Davis’ role in 2017, playing all of the Saints’ Week 1 snaps in his first game with the team.

Amini Silatolu To Undergo Meniscus Surgery

Panthers left guard Amini Silatolu has a torn meniscus that will require surgery, the club announced Tuesday. Silatolu will undergo a procedure on Friday and will subsequently be evaluated on a “week-to-week basis.” Although Carolina didn’t announce a recovery timeline for Silatolu, Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer indicates a four-to-six week rehabilitation period is typical for meniscus tears.

The Panthers could ill afford another blow to their offensive line, which already saw starting right tackle Daryl Williams go down with a dislocated knee and a torn MCL. Per Wilson, Williams is planning to attempt a 2018 return without undergoing surgery. Either way, Carolina’s offensive line — which ranked as a bottom-half unit in both run- and pass-blocking in 2017 before losing All-Pro left guard Andrew Norwell, per Football Outsiders — doesn’t have the depth to withstand multiple absences.

Silatolu had been competing to replace Norwell as a starting interior lineman, and had reportedly been seeing the most reps at the position. Now, undrafted rookie Brendan Mahon is the likely starter at left guard, according to Bill Voth of Panthers.com. Jeremiah Sirles and Greg Van Roten might also be candidates for increased reps, but Person reports Sirles is slotted in as a pure backup, while Van Roten has spent most of his time at center.

The 29-year-old Silatolu started three games and made 14 total appearnces for the Panthers in 2017, a season which marked his return season in Carolina. Originally a Panthers second-round pick and 15-game starter in 2012, Silatolu spent the 2016 campaign out of the NFL. He re-upped with Carolina this offseason on a one-year, minimum salary benefit contract.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Sign Seven UDFAs

The Panthers have announced the signing of seven undrafted free agents:

Allen, a 6’3″ signal caller, began his collegiate career at Texas A&M before transferring to the University of Houston. Things didn’t go as planned with the Cougars, however, as he lost his starting job once again. In January, Allen decided to skip his senior season in order to go pro. All in all, Allen left the NCAA with a 61.7% completion percentage and 37 touchdowns against 18 interceptions.

Allen may have an opportunity to make the final cut with the Panthers as Garrett Gilbert and Taylor Heinicke are the only other QBs presently under contract behind Cam Newton. If veteran Derek Anderson is retained, however, that bunch will be competing for just one potential spot on the 53-man roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.