M.J. Stewart

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/12/21

Keeping tabs on today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Chicago Bears

  • Promoted: OLB/DL Sam Kamara

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

San Francisco 49ers

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/9/20

We’ll keep track of this weekend’s minor moves here:

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Miami Dolphins

New York Giants

Buccaneers Waive CB M.J. Stewart

The Buccaneers are parting ways with a recent high draft choice. Tampa Bay is waiving cornerback M.J. Stewart, whom the club selected with the 53rd overall pick in the 2018 draft, per Jenna Laine of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Stewart was named second-team All-ACC during his final season at North Carolina, and he was expected to be a valuable long-term contributor to a Tampa Bay secondary that desperately needed reinforcements. But injuries continually kept Stewart off the field — a foot problem cost him six games during his rookie campaign, and he missed five more games in 2019 while dealing with a knee issue.

Still, Stewart is still only 25 years old and has played 614 snaps over the past two seasons. Thanks to his second-round pedigree and his rookie contract, it’s entirely possible Stewart could be claimed off waivers, or if not, at least find a new club in the near future.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC South Notes: Rankins, Julio, Stewart

Let’s check out a few items from the NFC South:

  • Sheldon Rankins is the only player on the Saints‘ PUP list at the moment, but Amie Just of the Times-Picayune suggests that he may remain there when the regular season starts, which would automatically rule him out for the first six games of the season. Head coach Sean Payton said Rankins is ahead of schedule in his recovery from an Achilles tear he suffered in the playoffs, but Payton conceded that Rankins is likely to miss all of training camp at least. It sounds as if Payton is expecting Rankins to miss some regular season time as well, though he could not give a precise timeline. We heard back in April that Rankins was likely to start the season on the PUP list, though there now appears to be some hope he can avoid it.
  • It’s now been over a year since the Falcons and Julio Jones renegotiated his contract, as Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com observes. That means that the two sides are free to make a new deal official, though McClure still does not think it will happen before Michael Thomas signs his extension with New Orleans.
  • Buccaneers second-year player M.J. Stewart, a second-round pick in the 2018 draft, spent most of his rookie campaign at cornerback. GM Jason Licht said in March that he wanted Stewart to play safety, but as Greg Auman of The Athletic says, the team has reversed course. Per Auman, Stewart is back at corner, and he will compete for the fifth CB job that is currently available after Ryan Smith‘s suspension (Twitter links).

Bucs Rumors: Brown, Steelers, Smith

We could see a lot of change in Tampa this year, but do not expect the Buccaneers to pursue Antonio Brown, GM Jason Licht says (via ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert).

From a talent perspective, the Bucs would surely like to have Brown on the roster. However, a Brown trade would require the forfeiture of significant draft capital and would hurt the team’s cap room, effectively forcing them to mortgage the future for a soon-to-be 31-year-old.

For now, the Bucs seem intent on keeping deep threat DeSean Jackson, though it remains to be seen whether they can hang on to pending free agent Adam Humphries.

Here’s more on the Bucs:

  • I don’t envision Donovan Smith being anywhere else but the Bucs, at least for next year,” Licht said on SiriusXM (Twitter link via Greg Auman of The Athletic). He added that the franchise tag is “more than likely” for the left tackle. This jibes with what we’ve heard previously. if the Bucs follow through on that plan, they’ll be even less likely to keep their hands on Humphries.
  • Bruce Arians’ recent chat with Jackson went well, according to the Bucs’ new head coach. “It went great. We had a long sit-down. From my perspective, it couldn’t have been any better,” Arians said (via Jenna Laine of ESPN.com). “You’d have to talk to DeSean to find out what his perspective is. But I thought it was great. I look forward to working with him. Ton of respect for him as a player … and a person.” Licht, meanwhile, was non-committal when asked about D-Jax.
  • Licht was similarly non-committal when asked about six-time Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy, who carries a $13MM cap hit in 2019 and is under contract through 2021. “Gerald’s been a real productive, successful player for the Bucs — one of the Bucs’ all-time best defensive players, you could argue,” Licht said. “He’s under contract. Ideally, [we’d] love it if he continued to be a Buc.” For what it’s worth, rumor has it that the Bucs see McCoy as a good fit, even as they transition to a 3-4 scheme.
  • Rising sophomore M.J. Stewart will get looks at several positions but “we’d love to see him at safety,” Licht said (Twitter link via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times). Last year, the 2018 second-round pick spent the bulk of his eleven games (five starts) at cornerback. He finished out with 33 tackles and three passes defensed.
  • Licht noted that the Bucs can keep running back Peyton Barber with a high tender in order to keep him from free agency, which may give some insight into the team’s plans (via Auman). A second-round tender at just over $3MM should ward away other interested clubs.
  • Caleb Benenoch struggled in 2018 as the team’s right guard and Licht believes that a switch to tackle is in his future, Auman writes. The change would mean a backup role, so Auman wonders if his job will be safe given his scheduled $2MM salary for ’19.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Pick Signings: 5/10/18

Here are the rest of Thursday’s draft pick accords:

  • The Buccaneers signed one of their three second-round picks in cornerback M.J. Stewart (No. 53 overall), Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. They also agreed to terms with their final three picks — Kansas State safety Jordan Whitehead (Round 4, pick 117), Penn wide receiver Justin Watson (Round 5, pick 144) and Wisconsin linebacker Jack Cichy (Round 6, pick 202).
  • Five-sixths of this Falcons draft class is now signed. Atlanta agreed to a deal with third-round defensive tackle Deadrin Senat (No. 90 overall out of South Florida). After already signing four other selections, only first-rounder Calvin Ridley remains unsigned.
  • The Steelers signed one of the safeties they drafted last month in agreeing to terms with Penn State product Marcus Allen (Round 5, pick 148). Pittsburgh also signed Alabama defensive tackle Joshua Frazier (Round 7, pick 246).
  • The Jaguars came to terms with four of their seven draftees — the final four Jacksonville selected in this year’s draft. N.C. State tackle Will Richardson (Round 4, pick 129), Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee (Round 6, pick 203), Wisconsin linebacker Leon Jacobs (Round 7, pick 230) and Mississippi State punter Logan Cooke (Round 7, pick 247) all signed their first Jags contracts Thursday. Cooke has a clear path toward the Jags’ punter job since the team released Brad Nortman two days after the draft.
  • Beginning their signings, the Titans agreed to deals with half of their four-man draft class. Tennessee signed Arizona cornerback Dane Cruikshank (Round 5, pick 152) and Washington State quarterback Luke Falk (Round 6, pick 199). The latter will attempt to develop behind Marcus Mariota and Blaine Gabbert.
  • Following suit in bringing aboard the back half of their draft, the Bills agreed to deals with four rookies. Jacksonville State safety Siran Neal, Virginia Tech guard Wyatt Teller (Round 5, pick 166), Clemson wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud (Round 6, pick 187) and North Carolina wideout Austin Proehl (Round 7, pick 255) signed their initial Buffalo deals.
  • Second-round Panthers pick Donte Jackson (No. 55 overall) signed his rookie contract. Indiana tight end Ian Thomas (Round 4, pick 101), Ole Miss defensive end Marquis Haynes (Round 4, pick 136), Maryland linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr. (Round 5, pick 161) and Miami defensive tackle Kendrick Norton (Round 7, pick 242) followed suit.