Marcus Davenport

Saints Open Up Extra Cap Space

The Saints have found a couple of ways to open extra cap space in recent weeks. ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter) that the organization reworked the contracts of cornerback Bradley Roby and defensive end Marcus Davenport.

[RELATED: Texans Trade Bradley Roby To Saints]

Roby’s restructuring comes on the heels of his trade to New Orleans earlier this month. After the Saints sent a 2022 third-round pick and a conditional 2023 choice to the Texans, they converted $847K of the player’s salary into a bonus. This move created a bit more than $677K in cap space. Per Aaron Wilson (on Twitter), this transaction was possible thanks to the Texans’ willingness to cover $7.58M of Roby’s salary and roster bonus.

The veteran’s cap hold in 2021 is now $1.18MM, but it’s a whopping $10.169MM in 2022. Roby also now has void years in 2023, 2024, 2025 at $25MM per year. The 29-year-old’s suspension ended earlier this week, meaning he should make his season debut this weekend.

Davenport also helped his team open some extra cap by converting $1.35MM of his salary into a bonus. Similar to Roby, the defensive end will also get three void years tacked on to the end of his contract. The move opens up about $1.08MM in cap space. Davenport started New Orleans’ season opener, collecting three tackles, two tackles for loss, and one sack. He was placed on IR this week after suffering a shoulder injury.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Place Marcus Davenport, Kwon Alexander On IR

Two Saints defensive starters will be sidelined until at least October. The Saints are placing Marcus Davenport and Kwon Alexander on IR, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

Neither Davenport nor Alexander practiced this week due to shoulder and elbow injuries, respectively. They will not be able to return until New Orleans’ Week 5 game.

While Davenport was believed to have suffered a pectoral muscle strain in Week 1, the Saints listed the fourth-year defensive end on their injury report with a shoulder ailment. Davenport’s injury is not expected to keep him out especially long, but the Saints will nevertheless save a roster spot by moving him to IR.

The Saints moved Davenport back into their starting lineup to start this season, after having let Trey Hendrickson walk in free agency. Hendrickson signed with the Bengals, leaving Davenport an opportunity to re-establish himself opposite Cameron Jordan. Davenport registered a sack and two QB hits in the Saints’ dominant Week 1 win over the Packers. The Saints picked up Davenport’s fifth-year option in May.

Alexander worked his way back from a December Achilles tear to be ready in time for the Saints’ opener, but this continues a rough run of health for the former Buccaneers standout. Alexander suffered a torn ACL in 2018, though he still landed a nice contract from the 49ers. However, the veteran linebacker sustained a pectoral muscle tear in his first 49ers season. Alexander’s latest malady stands to increase second-year linebacker Zack Baun‘s workload, The Athletic’s Larry Holder tweets. The 2020 third-round pick played 23 defensive snaps in the team’s opener.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: Penny, Davenport, Taylor, Brown

Rashaad Penny has struggled to stay healthy during his brief NFL career, and the Seahawks running back suffered another injury on Sunday. Penny left the game early with a calf injury, and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets that the 25-year-old is expected to be “shut down for a few weeks” while he recovers. An IR stint could be a possibility for the running back.

Fortunately for the Seahawks, they’re rostering a handful of capable running backs behind Chris Carson, including DeeJay Dallas, Travis Homer and Alex Collins. Head coach Pete Carroll pointed to that depth when explaining why the team would be cautious during Penny’s recovery.

“He’s got a calf strain, so it’ll take us a bit to figure out what the return would be on that,” Carroll said (via the team’s website). “He ran really well when he ran the other night, so we’re going to miss him, it looks like this week, we won’t know. We’ll let you know how that goes. But Alex is ready to go, and both Homer and DeeJay, they’re ready to go too, so we’re in good shape. We had four running backs up this week, so we’re in pretty good shape at the position. Unfortunately, if it takes him a couple weeks, then we’ll figure out how to handle that.”

Penny, a 2018 first-round pick, appeared in only 13 games between the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

Some more injury notes from around the NFL:

  • Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport will be sidelined while he recovers from a pectoral strain, per Rapoport on Twitter. The pass rusher is expected to miss some time but “should be back sooner rather than later.” Following a disappointing 2020 campaign, Davenport was hoping for a bounce-back season in 2021. He was already on his way, as he compiled three tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss, and one QB hit before falling to his injury.
  • Texans defensive tackle Vincent Taylor suffered an ankle injury yesterday that will require surgery, according to Mark Berman of Fox26 in Houston (via Twitter). Taylor is expected to be sidelined for six weeks. Taylor signed a one-year contract with Houston this offseason, and he started Sunday’s game before suffering the injury. The 27-year-old got into a career-high 15 games for the Browns last season, finishing with 12 tackles.
  • Patriots offensive tackle Trent Brown exited yesterday’s loss with a calf injury, but the offensive lineman is now just considered day-to-day, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. Brown re-joined the Patriots this offseason after having spent the past two seasons with the Raiders.

2022 NFL Fifth-Year Option Tracker

NFL teams have until May 3 to officially pick up their options on 2018 first-rounders who are entering the final year of their rookie deals. In a change from years past, fifth-year option seasons are fully guaranteed, rather than guaranteed for injury only. Meanwhile, salaries are now determined by a blend of the player’s position, initial draft placement, and specific performance metrics:

  • 2-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternate Pro Bowlers) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag.
  • 1-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag.
  • Players who achieve any of the following will get the average of the 3rd-20th highest salaries at their position:
    • 75%+ snaps in two of their first three seasons
    • 75%+ average across all three seasons
    • 50%+ in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will get the average of the 3rd-25th top salaries at their position.

With the deadline looming, we’ll use the space below to track all the option decisions from around the league:

Updated 4-30-21, 4:24pm CT

  1. QB Baker Mayfield, Browns: Exercised ($18.858MM)
  2. RB Saquon Barkley, Giants: Exercised ($7.217MM)
  3. QB Sam Darnold, Panthers (via Jets): Pending ($18.858MM)
  4. CB Denzel Ward, Browns — Exercised ($13.294MM)
  5. LB Bradley Chubb, Broncos — Pending ($12.716MM)
  6. G Quenton Nelson, Colts — Pending ($13.754MM)
  7. QB Josh Allen, Bills: Pending ($23.106MM)
  8. LB Roquan Smith, Bears: Exercised ($9.735MM)
  9. OT Mike McGlinchey, 49ers: Exercised ($10.88MM)
  10. QB Josh Rosen, Cardinals: N/A
  11. S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers (via Dolphins): Exercised ($10.612MM)
  12. DT Vita Vea, Buccaneers: Exercised ($7.638MM)
  13. DT Daron Payne, Washington — Exercised ($8.529MM)
  14. DE Marcus Davenport, Saints: Exercised ($9.553MM)
  15. OT Kolton Miller, Raiders — N/A (extension)
  16. LB Tremaine Edmunds, Bills: Pending ($12.716MM)
  17. S Derwin James, Chargers: Exercised ($9.052MM)
  18. CB Jaire Alexander, Packers: Exercised ($13.294MM)
  19. LB Leighton Vander Esch, Cowboys: Pending ($9.145MM)
  20. C Frank Ragnow, Lions: Exercised ($12.657MM)
  21. C Billy Price, Bengals: Declined ($10.413MM)
  22. LB Rashaan Evans, Titans: Pending ($9.735MM)
  23. OT Isaiah Wynn, Patriots: Pending ($10.413 MM)
  24. WR D.J. Moore, Panthers: Exercised ($11.116MM)
  25. TE Hayden Hurst, Falcons (via Ravens): Pending ($5.428MM)
  26. WR Calvin Ridley, Falcons: Pending ($11.116MM)
  27. RB Rashaad Penny, Seahawks: Pending ($4.523MM)
  28. S Terrell Edmunds, Steelers: Pending ($6.753MM)
  29. DT Taven Bryan, Jaguars: Pending ($7.638MM)
  30. CB Mike Hughes, Vikings: Pending ($12.643MM)
  31. RB Sony Michel, Patriots: Pending ($4.523MM)
  32. QB Lamar Jackson, Ravens: Exercised ($23.106MM)

Saints Pick Up Marcus Davenport’s Fifth-Year Option

The draft is about to kickoff in a few hours, but as you can see with all the Aaron Rodgers drama, the rest of the league isn’t slowing down. The Saints are still taking care of other business, as they’ve exercised the fifth-year option on Marcus Davenport, a source told Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football (Twitter link).

With the changes in the new CBA, it means Davenport’s salary for 2022 is now fully guaranteed. Previously it would’ve been guaranteed for injury only. The UTSA product will now make around $9.55MM in 2022. New Orleans gave up a first-round pick to move up 13 spots in the 2018 draft in order to select Davenport.

He hasn’t lived up to those lofty expectations, but he has shown promise when on the field. He started 13 games in 2019 but was limited to only 11 contests this past year, and started just one of them. He had 4.5 sacks as a rookie, six as a sophomore, and then only 1.5 this past year.

Injuries are a concern, and he only played around 50 percent of the snaps when healthy in 2020. This one was far from a lock, and it’s a strong vote of confidence in a player who’s still only 24. He’s shown flashes of brilliance before, and the Saints are hoping he can fully deliver on that potential over the next two years.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL’s Fifth-Year Option Salaries For 2021

The NFL’s 2021 salary cap has been set at $182.5MM, marking the league’s first reduction in a decade. With that, the league has also ironed out the value of this year’s fifth-round option for 2018 first-round picks.

Here’s the full rundown, via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter):

1. Baker Mayfield, Browns, QB — $18.858MM (playing time)

2. Saquon Barkley, Giants, RB — $7.217MM (1x Pro Bowl)

3. Sam Darnold, Jets, QB — $18.858MM (playing time)

4. Denzel Ward, Browns, CB — $13.294MM (1x Pro Bowl)

5. Bradley Chubb, Broncos, LB — $12.716MM (1x Pro Bowl)

6. Quenton Nelson, Colts, G — $13.754MM (2x Pro Bowl)

7. Josh Allen, Bills, QB — $23.106MM (1x Pro Bowl)

8. Roquan Smith, Bears, LB — $9.735MM (playing time)

9. Mike McGlinchey, 49ers, OT — $10.88MM (playing time)

10. Josh Rosen, Cardinals, QB*

11. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers, S (drafted by Dolphins) — $10.612MM (2x Pro Bowl)

12. Vita Vea, Buccaneers, DT — $7.638MM

13. Daron Payne, Washington, DT — $8.529MM (playing time)

14. Marcus Davenport, Saints, DE — $9.553MM

15. Kolton Miller, Raiders, OT — $10.88MM (playing time)

16. Tremaine Edmunds, Bills, LB — $12.716MM (1x Pro Bowl)

17. Derwin James, Chargers, S — $9.052MM (1x Pro Bowl)

18. Jaire Alexander, Packers, CB — $13.294MM (1x Pro Bowl)

19. Leighton Vander Esch, Cowboys, LB — $9.145MM

20. Frank Ragnow, Lions, C — $12.657MM (1x Pro Bowl)

21. Billy Price, Bengals, C — $10.413MM

22. Rashaan Evans, Titans, LB — $9.735MM (playing time)

23. Isaiah Wynn, Patriots, OT — $10.413MM

24. D.J. Moore, Panthers, WR — $11.116MM (playing time)

25. Hayden Hurst, Falcons, TE (Drafted by Ravens) — $5.428MM

26. Calvin Ridley, Falcons, WR — $11.116MM (playing time)

27. Rashaad Penny, Seahawks, RB — $4.523MM

28., Steelers, S Terrell Edmunds — $6.753MM (playing time)

29. Taven Bryan, Jaguars, DT — $7.638MM

30. Mike Hughes, Vikings, CB — $12.643MM

31. Sony Michel, Patriots, RB — $4.523MM

32. Lamar Jackson, Ravens, QB — $23.106MM (1x Pro Bowl)

* Rosen was released from his original contract and, therefore, is not option-eligible 

As a refresher, the fifth-year option year is now fully guaranteed. In the past, it was guaranteed for injury only. The values are also dependent on certain performance metrics:

  • Two-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternate Pro Bowlers) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag.
  • One-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag.
  • Players who achieve any of the following will get the average of the 3rd-20th highest salaries at their position:
    • 75%+ snaps in two of their first three seasons
    • 75%+ average across all three seasons
    • 50%+ in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will get the average of the 3rd-25th top salaries at their position.

Saints’ Marcus Davenport Done For The Year

There’s already been a lot of big injury news today, and now we have even more. Saints defensive lineman Marcus Davenport is expected to undergo season-ending surgery, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). 

Per Pelissero, Davenport “suffered a significant foot injury” during New Orleans’ loss to the 49ers on Sunday. It’s a huge blow to a Saints defensive front that has been one of the team’s strengths this season. The Saints traded a first-round pick to move up and take Davenport 14th overall in last year’s draft. He dominated against weaker competition in college at UTSA, and was regarded as a highly talented but somewhat raw prospect.

After a relatively quiet rookie year in which he showed plenty of flashes but didn’t start a game, he has been playing a huge role in 2019. He’s started all 13 games for the Saints this season, racking up 31 tackles, six sacks, and three forced fumbles. The Saints’ defense is pretty banged up at the moment, with key linebackers A.J. Klein and Kiko Alonso also dealing with injuries.

They recently re-signed Manti Te’o in response to the health issues. Defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins was also knocked out of their loss to the 49ers with an ankle injury, although it’s unclear how serious that is. Davenport took a step forward this season, and he will be back as a key piece in 2020.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints’ Marcus Davenport To Miss Time

Saints rookie pass-rusher Marcus Davenport is expected to miss about a month with a toe injury, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. They’ll evaluate him as he recovers, but he’ll be in a boot for at least a little while. 

[RELATED: Saints Place OL Josh LeRibeus On IR]

Davenport has been heating up in recent weeks, so it’s unfortunate timing for the Saints. The 6’6″, 265-pound defensive end notched two sacks against the Vikings in Week 8 to bring his season total to four and presently ranks as one of Pro Football Focus’ Top 40 ranked edge defenders in the NFL.

For now, the Saints will rely a bit more on veteran Alex Okafor to generate pressure from the edge. You can also expect to see Trey Hendrickson on the active roster.

The Saints, who are on a six-game winning streak, face a major test on Sunday when they take on the undefeated Rams.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC South Notes: Bucs, Winston, Saints

Earlier this month, Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston dumped his agents. Apparently, he won’t have a hard time finding new representation. Winston is expected to get pitches from CAA, Athletes First (David Dunn), Joel Segal and other agents hoping to work with him, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets.

Winston reportedly fired Greg Genske and Kenny Felder because the bulk of their experience is in baseball. With one year to go on his rookie deal plus a 2019 fifth-year option worth $20.9MM (guaranteed for injury only), Winston reportedly wants to go with a tried and true football agency to help negotiate his next deal. Still, the timing of his switch was suspicious as it came just moments after Winston’s reps negotiated a settlement in which he will miss the first three games of the 2018 season for his alleged sexual misconduct with an Uber driver.

Many are wondering whether Winston will have a long-term future with the Buccaneers, but the league’s top agents clearly still believe in his prospects going forward.

Here’s more from the NFC South:

  • The Saints gave up their 2019 first-round pick to go from No. 27 to No. 14 this year, where they picked defensive end Marcus Davenport. It was a big gamble, but coach Sean Payton tells Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com that the opportunity to add Davenport was too good to pass up. “It’s something we felt that could help our team right now,” Payton said of the trade. “And obviously there is downside and you give up some compensation and you give up some flexibility next year. But we are worried about this year, too, and our focus is on winning this year, and that was the cost to move from where we were in the first round to getting really into a different part of that round.”
  • This week, the Falcons informed Julio Jones that they will not be giving him a new deal this year.
  • Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis sounds like he wants to play beyond 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Notes: Ingram, Davenport, Koo

Running back Mark Ingram is back at Saints practice after skipping organized team activities in May, tweets Nick Underhill of the Advocate. Ingram’s presence doesn’t come as a surprise, as he indicated late last month that he’d been in attendance for mandatory minicamp. A free agent at the end of the 2018 season, Ingram will begin the campaign by serving a four-game performance-enhancing drug suspension. New Orleans figures to hand a full workload to second-year running back Alvin Kamara, although the club is scheduled to audition veteran runners Jamaal Charles and Terrance West this week.

Here’s more on the Saints:

  • Rookie defensive end Marcus Davenport will undergo thumb surgery on a minor injury, but is expected to return in time for training camp, as Underhill writes in a full piece. Davenport will wait until after minicamp to have the operation, so he’s unlikely to miss any practice sessions. The Saints sacrificed a great deal of draft capital in order to land Davenport, trading two first-round selections and a fifth-rounder for the right to move up to pick No. 14. While Davenport’s injury seems negligible, New Orleans should have enough defensive end depth if he does end up missing significant action, as Alex Okafor (recovering from his own injury), Trey Hendrickson, and George Johnson, among others, are available.
  • In addition to Charles and West, the Saints plan to work out a number of players during their minicamp, including kicker Younghoe Koo (Twitter link via Larry Holder of NOLA.com); wide receiver Kevin Snead, tight end Jack Tabb, punter Jonathan Hernandez, and offensive lineman Trevor Darling (Twitter links via Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com); and wide receiver Josh Smith (Twitter link via Underhill). Of the group, Koo is the only member with NFL experience, as he spent four games as the Chargers’ kicker in 2017 before being waived.
  • In case you missed it, the Saints were one of five teams to use a post-June 1 release designation, meaning they were able to free up $3MM in cap space on June 1 as a result of tight end Coby Fleener‘s release.