Armon Watts

Patriots To Sign DT Armon Watts, G Nick Leverett

Armon Watts is heading to New England. The veteran defensive tackle is signing with the Patriots, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

It’s a one-year for Watts, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 in Houston. The contract is worth $3MM.

The former sixth-round pick spent the 2023 campaign in Pittsburgh, collecting 15 tackles in 15 games. He had plenty of starting experience in his prior stops, including a career-high 12 starts with the Bears in 2022.

Watts has shown some ability to get after the QB, as he finished the 2021 campaign with a career-high five sacks while playing for the Vikings. The Patriots moved on from Lawrence Guy earlier this offseason, so there could be an opportunity for some snaps on the Patriots defensive line. Still, the 27-year-old Watts probably profiles as more of a backup piece on New England’s depth chart.

The Patriots also added some reinforcement on the offensive line today. Josina Anderson reports that the Patriots are signing offensive lineman Nick Leverett. The guard spent the past three seasons in Tampa Bay, appearing in 16 games. 11 of those appearances came during the 2022 campaign when he started a career-high 10 games.

Leverett will be hard pressed to carve out a starting role in New England, but his ability to play center and both guard spots could afford him a backup spot. He’ll compete with the likes of Jake Andrews, Michael Jordan, and Atonio Mafi for reps.

Contract Details: Hurts, Robinson, Ward, Perryman, Anderson

Here are some details on deals signed recently around the NFL:

  • Jalen Hurts, QB (Eagles): Five years, $255MM. We had received some broad numbers from the deal, and some details still elude us, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter provided some cap numbers recently. Hurts will represent a $6.15MM cap hit in 2023, $13.56MM in 2024, $21.77MM in 2025, and $31.77MM in 2026.
  • Allen Robinson, WR (Steelers): Three years, $46.5MM. We covered some details, like how the Rams will pay most of Robinson’s 2023 salary in a nearly two-to-one split. According to Jason Fitzgerald of, the Rams will additionally take on $21.45MM of dead money for Robinson moving forward, pushing them up to about $74MM of dead cap in 2023.
  • Jimmie Ward, S (Texans): Two years, $13MM. The deal, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2, has a guaranteed amount of $8.5MM consisting of a $4MM signing bonus, Ward’s 2023 base salary of $2.5MM, and $2MM of his 2024 base salary (worth $5.5MM total). Ward will receive a per game active roster bonus of $29,411 for a potential season total of $500,000. The contract also includes an annual playing time incentive. If Ward plays 60% of the team’s defensive snaps, he’ll receive an additional $250,000. He’ll get two more $250,000 bonuses for reaching both the 70% and 80% snap share totals, as well.
  • Denzel Perryman, LB (Texans): One year, $2.6MM. We were aware that Perryman could push the value of his deal to $3.5MM with incentives, but thanks to Wilson, we now know how he can do that. The additional $900,000 is based on playing time. Perryman can earn $300,000 bonuses for reaching each of the 60%, 70% and 80% thresholds of defensive snap shares for the Texans.
  • Eric Rowe, S (Panthers): One year, $1.32MM. The deal, according to Wilson, has a guaranteed amount of $852,500 consisting of a $152,500 signing bonus and $700,000 of Rowe’s base salary (worth a total of $1.17MM).
  • Kris Boyd, CB (Cardinals): One year, $1.23MM. The contract, according to Wilson, has a signing bonus of $152,500 and a base salary of $1.08MM.
  • Dante Pettis, WR (Bears): One year, $1.23MM. The deal, according to Wilson, includes a signing bonus of $152,500 and a base salary of $1.08MM.
  • Troy Reeder, LB (Vikings): One year, $1.23MM. The contract, according to Wilson, has a guaranteed amount of $100,000 consisting partially of a $25,000 signing bonus. Reeder’s base salary will be $1.08MM, and he can receive an additional workout bonus $25,000 and a roster bonus of $102,500 if he’s active Week 1. The deal includes a per game active roster bonus of $6,029 for a potential season total of $102,500.
  • Drew Sample, TE (Bengals): One year, $1.23MM. The contract, according to Wilson, has a signing bonus of $52,500 and a base salary of $1.08MM. Sample will also receive a roster bonus of $75,000 and a workout bonus of $25,000.
  • Armon Watts, DT (Steelers): One year, $1.23MM. The contract, according to Wilson, has a signing bonus of $152,500 and a base salary of $1.08MM.
  • Elijah Wilkinson, OL (Cardinals): One year, $1.23MM. The deal, according to Wilson, has a guaranteed amount of $1.09MM consisting of a $152,500 signing bonus and $940,000 of Wilkinson’s base salary (worth a total of $1.08MM).
  • Khadarel Hodge, WR (Falcons): One year, $1.2MM. The contract, according to Wilson, has a base salary of $1.08 and a roster bonus of $120,000 if he is active for Atlanta’s first game of the season. The deal also includes a per game active roster bonus of $7,500 for a potential season total of $127,500.
  • Chosen Anderson, WR (Dolphins): One year, $1.17MM. The deal, according to Wilson, includes a signing bonus of $152,500.
  • John Penisini, DL (Panthers): One year, $940,000, according to Wilson.
  • Kevin Jarvis, OL (Bills): One year, $750,000, according to Wilson.

Steelers To Sign DL Armon Watts

For a second straight year, Armon Watts will be heading east. The former Vikings and Bears starter agreed to terms with the Steelers on Monday night, according to his agent (on Twitter). It is a one-year deal, the Steelers announced.

A fifth-year defensive tackle, Watts spent the past two seasons as a primary starter in the NFC North. The Vikings made the surprising decision to waive him on roster-cutdown day last summer, doing so after acquiring Ross Blacklock from the Texans via trade. Watts played out his contract year in Chicago, starting 12 games for the rebuilding Bears.

The former Vikings sixth-round pick profiles as a depth addition for the Steelers, who have added both Watts and D-lineman Breiden Fehoko recently. Fehoko spent the past three seasons as a Chargers rotational cog; Watts received a bit more playing time, having started 21 games between the 2021 and ’22 seasons.

A Michael Pierce injury prompted the Vikings to use Watts as a starter two years ago, and he contributed five sacks to Minnesota’s cause that year. As the Vikings shifted to a primary 3-4 alignment for the first time in decades, they cut Watts, who did not make it too far down the waiver priority list last August. The Bears, who pivoted to a 4-3 scheme under Matt Eberflus, used the 307-pound defender on 532 defensive snaps last season. Watts finished with just one sack but added four tackles for loss. Pro Football Focus graded the 6-foot-5 defender as a top-50 interior D-lineman in 2021 but slotted him outside the top 100 players at the position — just behind Fehoko — last season.

The Steelers have used a 3-4 scheme for many years; they obviously feel comfortable enough with Watts here to take a flier weeks into free agency. Watts and Fehoko join a Steelers team that has not brought back veteran Tyson Alualu or Chris Wormley. The latter suffered a torn ACL in December. Alongside Cameron Heyward and the recently re-signed Larry Ogunjobi, the Steelers have 2022 third-round pick DeMarvin Leal, Isaiahh Loudermilk and Montravius Adams on their defensive line. Loudermilk and Adams combined for 12 starts last season.

Wednesday NFL Transactions: NFC North

Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These BearsLions, Packers and Vikings moves are noted below.

Here are Wednesday’s NFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.

Chicago Bears




Placed on IR:

Signed to practice squad:

Detroit Lions



Released from IR:

Signed to practice squad:

Green Bay Packers



Signed to practice squad:

Minnesota Vikings


Bears Claim OL Alex Leatherwood

After a woeful Raiders tenure, Alex Leatherwood will have a second chance via the NFL’s waiver system. The Bears put in a claim for the former first-round pick, Field Yates of tweets.

The Raiders bailed on Leatherwood after one season, marking a shocking freefall for last year’s No. 17 overall pick. The Bears, however, have also run into extensive O-line uncertainty. The rebuilding team will take a chance on the former Alabama prospect. Leatherwood’s signing bonus is the Raiders’ responsibility, leaving considerable dead money on Las Vegas’ cap sheet. But the Bears are now responsible for $5.9MM in Leatherwood salary.

Chicago, which changed up its roster considerably as it transitioned to a new GM-HC pairing this offseason, made five more waiver claims Wednesday. Defensive tackle Armon Watts, defensive back Josh Blackwell, defensive end Kingsley Jonathan, linebacker Sterling Weatherford and tight end Trevon Wesco will be en route to the Windy City as well, Yates tweets. The Bears’ six waiver claims are a league-high total this year.

This marks quite a haul for Chicago, which added former starters from Las Vegas and Minnesota. Watts started nine games for the Vikings last season, replacing the injured Michael Pierce, but the team changed defensive schemes this offseason and made a trade for former Texans second-round defensive tackle Ross Blacklock on Tuesday. That led Watts off the roster. But he will be back in a 4-3 scheme under Matt Eberflus, whose team cleared some D-tackle space by releasing Mario Edwards on Tuesday.

Viewed as a reach in last year’s first round, Leatherwood did not justify his draft slot when deployed at right tackle or right guard for the Raiders last season. The staff that drafted Leatherwood quickly moved him off right tackle, but Pro Football Focus rated him as one of the league’s worst guards. Despite the Raiders facing a few questions on their offensive line and losing Brandon Parker for the season, their new regime cut bait after trying Leatherwood at tackle again in training camp.

The Bears are expected to start fifth-round rookie Braxton Jones at left tackle, and they have 2021 fifth-rounder Larry Borom on the right side. Riley Reiff, who signed with the team shortly before camp, is also in the tackle picture. The team moved 2021 second-rounder Teven Jenkins from tackle to guard late this offseason, and while Jenkins appeared in trade rumors, he is on the roster and may well start the season at the new position. Leatherwood, his early-career struggles notwithstanding, may now also be a factor at that spot.

Vikings Move Down To 53

Here is how the Vikings finalized their initial 53-man roster Tuesday:




Beyond the previously covered quarterback situation, the Watts departure is Minnesota’s most notable cut. The 2019 sixth-round pick started nine games last season, moving into the lineup after Michael Pierce‘s injury. The Vikings cut Pierce this offseason, though Watts did not profile as a pure nose tackle. He was also drafted to play in a different scheme.

Minnesota hired a new DC this offseason (Ed Donatell), and the team acquired former Texans second-round defensive tackle pick Ross Blacklock on Tuesday. The Vikes had also added veteran Jonathan Bullard this offseason. These moves appear to have affected Watts’ status, as does the Vikings keeping only six D-linemen. They retained 10 after 2021’s cutdown day. Some of the changes can be attributed to classification, with edge defenders classified as outside linebackers in 3-4 sets. Watts also carried a $2.5MM cap charge, allowing Minnesota to save some decent money.

The Davis cut represents a quick bailout on a 2021 third-round pick. One of two guard Davises the Vikes shipped out Tuesday (along with Jesse, whom they traded to the Steelers), Wyatt — an Ohio State alum — played in six games last season and did not log an offensive snap. In addition to drafting Ed Ingram in the second round this year, the Vikings signed veteran interior linemen Chris Reed and Austin Schlottmann.

Vikings Place DT Armon Watts On IR

The Vikings have placed defensive tackle Armon Watts on injured reserve. To fill his roster spot, they’ve signed defensive end Eddie Yarbrough off the Bills’ practice squad. 

The Vikings selected Watts out of Arkansas with a sixth-round pick in the 2019 draft. Watts did not play in the first half of the season, but he suited up for six of the team’s final seven games. In those games, he tallied 1.5 sacks.

Yarbrough appeared in 31 games for the Bills in 2017 and 2018, including six starts. This year, he missed the team’s final cut, but he hooked on with their practice squad. All of a sudden, Yarbrough has a chance at a Super Bowl ring.

The Vikings will face the Saints on Saturday in New Orleans. The secondary will have its work cut out for them as they try to keep a lid on Michael Thomas, so the Vikes are hoping for some pass rush pressure against Drew Brees.

Vikings Sign Three Draft Picks

The Vikings got ahead of the game on Friday by signing the following draft choices (all Twitter links from Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press):

Smith, who grew up in sunny California, will have to get used to the cold weather in Minnesota. He didn’t impress with his measurables in workouts, but he has proven to be a savvy defender in live action. In 2017, he led the Trojans with 112 tackles, with 11 tackles for a loss. He was slowed somewhat by injuries last year, but still managed 81 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss in ten games.

Watts measures in at 6’5″ and roughly 300 pounds, so he already has the size to compete in the NFL. In accordance with his slot, he’ll receive a four-year, $2.687MM deal with a $167K signing bonus.