Justin Evans (S)

Eagles S Justin Evans Reverts To Season-Ending IR

Not seeing any game action from 2019-21, Justin Evans relaunched his career in New Orleans last season. His Saints showing generated Eagles interest, and the defending NFC champions signed the former second-round pick this offseason.

Despite playing as a part-timer for a 7-10 Saints squad last season, Evans worked as a full-time starter for the Eagles this year. Philadelphia used Evans as a four-game starter, doing so as it retooled at safety in the offseason. But Evans’ season came to a halt due to a knee injury. His IR stay will now shift to a long-term designation.

The Eagles designated Evans for return on Nov. 14 but let the 21-day activation window expire Tuesday, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweets. This will send the veteran safety to season-ending IR. The Eagles will preserve their five remaining IR activations, while Evans will be ineligible to play again this season. Shaquille Leonard will take Evans’ place on Philly’s 53-man roster; the former All-Pro linebacker chose the Eagles over the Cowboys on Monday. Philly’s move doubles as the first instance of a player’s IR-return window closing this season.

Evans signed a one-year, $1.5MM contract in March, doing so as the Eagles let their two starters from 2022 — C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Marcus Epps — sign midlevel deals elsewhere. Epps signed a two-year, $12MM Raiders contract, while Gardner-Johnson could only fetch a one-year, $6MM Lions pact. But the Eagles have made a major change at the position during Evans’ IR stint.

Former All-Pro Kevin Byard now lines up alongside Reed Blankenship at safety, with the Eagles making a trade with the Titans that sent backup Terrell Edmunds and two Day 3 draft picks to Tennessee. Edmunds had started three Eagles games this season, with Evans also missing an early-season game with a neck injury. Behind Byard and Blankenship, the Eagles have third-round rookie Sydney Brown. Josiah Scott and Tristin McCollum are the safeties on Philly’s practice squad.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/14/23

Today’s minor moves:

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

New Orleans Saints

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Following a spree of illegal hits, Kareem Jackson was hit with a four-game ban back in October. That suspension ended up getting knocked down to two games, and following that absence, the defensive back has returned to the active roster. While Justin Simmons has long resided as the Broncos’ top safety, Pro Football Focus has graded Jackson as a top-20 player at the position this season.

Halapoulivaati Vaitai suffered a back injury that will require a stint on injured reserve, although there’s a chance the veteran lineman ends up having to miss the rest of the season. After starting all 25 of his appearances for the Lions between 2020 and 2021, Vaitai has started three of his six games in 2022.

Hunter Long was a third-round pick by the Dolphins in 2021 but only lasted two seasons in Miami, hauling in a single eight-yard catch. He was part of the Rams’ offseason trade return for Jalen Ramsey but hasn’t appeared in a game this season. The tight end landed on IR in early September with a thigh injury.

Eagles Place S Justin Evans On IR, Sign CB Bradley Roby To Active Roster

The Eagles added Justin Evans in free agency as a starting-caliber option at the safety spot, and he has operated as a first-teamer to date. The veteran will be unavailable for an extended stretch, however, as the team announced on Friday that he has been placed on IR.

Evans made a return to the NFL game action for the first time since 2018 last year, playing 15 games for the Saints. His play in New Orleans earned him a one-year flier from the Eagles worth the veteran minimum. The 28-year-old had a path to notable playing time after both Marcus Epps and C.J. Gardner-Johnson departed in free agency, and he has started each of his four Philadelphia appearances. His absence will thus be felt on the team’s revamped secondary.

Being on injured reserve guarantees Evans will miss at least four weeks, adding further to the Eagles’ injury troubles amongst defensive backs. Reed Blankenship will remain in place at the free safety spot, but he will likely be joined by either veteran Terrell Edmunds or third-round rookie Sydney Brown in the starting lineup moving forward. Of course, the 5-0 Eagles could pursue a trade acquisition in the near future.

Philadelphia currently has just over $4.8MM in cap space, meaning a modest move could be made to address Evans’ absence. The team has already done so at slot corner, something made necessary by Avonte Maddox‘s torn pectoral muscle. That ailment has resulted in surgery and threatens to keep him sidelined for the remainder of the year. Veteran Bradley Roby was brought in as a replacement, and he will now find himself on the active roster.

The latter was promoted from the practice squad to fill the roster spot opened by the Evans IR move. Such a scenario was expected when Roby was first signed to the Eagles’ taxi squad last week. The 31-year-old played 25 snaps in his Philadelphia debut in Week 5 as a gameday elevation, and he will be in line to see a larger workload from the slot through the rest of the campaign.

Contract Details: Hughes, Hollins, Anderson, Scott, Johnson, Evans, Morstead, Ham

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

  • C.J. Ham, FB (Vikings): Two years, $8.65MM. The extension, according to Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, has a guaranteed amount of $4.4MM composed of a $2.3MM signing bonus, Ham’s 2023 base salary of $1.1MM, and $1MM of his 2024 base salary (worth a total of $2.4MM. The 2025 base salary is worth $2.55MM. Ham is set to earn $100,000 workout bonuses in each year of the newly extended deal.
  • Mike Hughes, CB (Falcons): Two years, $7MM. The deal, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2, has a guaranteed amount of $3.24MM consisting of a $1.5MM signing bonus, Hughes’s first year base salary of $1.08MM, and his 2023 roster bonus of $660,000. The second year base salary is worth $2.57MM. The contract includes an annual per game active roster bonus of $35,000 for a potential season total of $595,000.
  • Trenton Scott, G (Commanders): Two years, $3.02MM. The contract, according to Wilson, has a guaranteed amount of $655,000 consisting of a $305,000 signing bonus and $350,000 of Scott’s first year base salary (worth a total of $1.08MM). The second year base salary is worth $1.13MM. The contract includes an annual per game active roster bonus of $15,000 for a potential season total of $255,000. Scott can earn an additional $500,000 through an incentive based on playing time.
  • Justin Evans, S (Eagles): One year, $1.59MM. The contract, according to Wilson, has a guaranteed amount of $600,000 composed of a $250,000 signing bonus and $350,000 of Evans’ base salary (worth a total of $1.08MM). The deal includes a per game active roster bonus of $15,294 for a potential season total of $260,000. Evans can earn an additional $1.25MM through incentives based on playing time and a Pro Bowl selection.
  • Henry Anderson, DE (Panthers): One year, $1.32MM. The deal, according to Wilson, has a guaranteed amount of $152,500 consisting of Anderson’s signing bonus. His base salary is worth $1.17MM.
  • Thomas Morstead, P (Jets): One year, $1.32MM. The deal, according to Wilson, has a guaranteed amount of $1.09MM consisting of a $152,500 signing bonus and $940,000 of Morstead’s base salary (worth a total of $1.17MM).
  • Justin Hollins, OLB (Packers): One year, $1.28MM. The contract, according to Wilson, has a guaranteed amount of $155,000 consisting of Hollins’s signing bonus. The base salary is worth $1.08MM. The deal includes a workout bonus of $45,000, and Hollins can earn an additional $350,000 through an incentive based on playing time.
  • Ty Johnson, RB (Jets): One year, $1.23MM. The deal, according to Wilson, has a guaranteed amount of $250,000 consisting of a $75,000 signing bonus and $175,000 of Johnson’s base salary (worth a total of $1.08MM). Johnson can earn a $77,500 roster bonus if he’s active in New York’s Week 1 matchup.

Eagles To Sign S Justin Evans

After seeing his first game action since 2018, Justin Evans will parlay his 2022 Saints work into a deal with the Eagles. Philadelphia will add the veteran safety, Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com report (on Twitter).

The Saints gave Evans, a former Buccaneers second-round pick back in 2017, another chance after injuries sidetracked his career. Evans logged 392 defensive snaps with New Orleans last season and, despite the lengthy stay off the field, made four starts for a top-10 defense.

Philly will bring Evans into the fold after losing both its 2022 safety starters. The Raiders added Marcus Epps early in free agency, and the Lions agreed to terms with C.J. Gardner-Johnson on Sunday night. The Eagles will be starting over on their back line, though bringing back James Bradberry and keeping Darius Slay at cornerback will help the defending NFC champions’ cause here.

New Orleans took a league-minimum flier on Evans last year, adding the Texas A&M product nearly 18 months after the Bucs cut ties with him. While Evans was still with Tampa Bay during the 2019 and 2020 seasons, a foot injury sustained during the 2018 season led to his on-field Bucs run ending. An Achilles injury sent Evans back to IR in September 2019, and the Bucs cut the cord late in the 2020 season. Evans, 27, was out of football in 2021.

The first in a wave of DBs the Bucs drafted on Day 2 from 2017-20, Evans did not pan out on the level Carlton Davis, Jamel Dean, Sean Murphy-Bunting, Mike Edwards and Antoine Winfield Jr. have. Rather than a big free agency deal, Evans played for $1MM in New Orleans. Pro Football Focus graded Evans outside the top 60 during his comeback season, but he showed renewed health after injuries threatened his career. Evans made 29 tackles, forced a fumble and logged a 39% defensive snap rate with the Saints.

The Eagles should not be expected to carry Evans into the season as a starter, but Howie Roseman‘s team has some work to do after passing on re-signing Epps or Gardner-Johnson. The latter decision proved surprising given a pre-Super Bowl LVII report indicating Philly wanted CJGJ back, but as the versatile defender surveyed his options last week, the team allocated money to Bradberry and Slay.

Saints Cut Roster Down To 53

New Orleans got a head start on the deadline for roster cuts this weekend with several moves, but the team found its way to the 53-man limit today. Here are the moves the Saints made today to get there:



Placed on reserve/injured:

Placed on reserve/suspended by commissioner:

The big story of the day for New Orleans was the trade this morning that sent defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson to Philadelphia. The defensive back had pushed for an extension, staging a hold-in effort early in camp, but ultimately found himself on his way to Pennsylvania, paving the way for the Saints to hold onto six safeties. Safety Daniel Sorensen is on the roster for his special teams contributions, but Justin Evans will really be given a chance to contribute at safety in the absence of Gardner-Johnson.

Despite seeing fellow defensive tackle Huggins head to injured reserve, rookie sixth-round pick Jackson was unable to hold onto a roster spot, being the only member of the Saints’ rookie draft class who failed to do so. The offseason addition of Kentavius Street was likely the determining factor that left Jackson off the 53-man roster.

The team did see an undrafted free agent make the final roster as offensive lineman Lewis Kidd worked his way out of Montana State to make the Saints’ initial 53. He’ll serve as a depth piece on an offensive line with quite a few injury questions.

A position group that definitely looks improved on paper is the receiving corps who gets back Michael Thomas and added first-round pick Chris Olave and veteran Jarvis Landry in the offseason. These new targets will combine with the tight ends group, that includes swiss-army man Taysom Hill, as weapons for quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton.

Besides all the above, the team will look fairly similar in composition to last year’s. The running backs, special teams, defensive ends, and cornerbacks will look largely the same as the team heads into the 2022 NFL season. Where things could end up looking different is on the practice squad. After clearing waivers, many of the players above will have the opportunity to rejoin the Saints’ 16-man squad.

Saints Sign DE Taco Charlton, S Justin Evans

The Saints have made two additions to their defense. The team has announced the signings of defensive end Taco Charlton and safety Justin Evans

[RELATED: Saints Acquire First-Round Pick From Eagles]

Charlton was highly touted when he began his NFL career in 2017 with the Cowboys. He only lasted two years in Dallas, though, posting four sacks in 27 games. That led to his release in September 2019, which began the streak of current one-year stints he is now on.

The Michigan graduate joined the Dolphins after his release from Dallas, and enjoyed his best campaign there. He recorded five sacks in 10 games, but that wasn’t enough to extend his stay with the team. He next found himself in Kanas City, then Pittsburgh last year. Between those two campaigns, he totalled 2.5 sacks in 18 contests. Still only 27, Charlton could fill at least a depth role in the Saints’ edge-rush department.

Evans, meanwhile, hasn’t played in the NFL since the 2018 season. A second round pick in 2017, he dealt with injuries throughout his brief tenure in Tampa Bay. Starting 21 of 24 games, the 26-year-old made 125 tackles, adding four interceptions and eight passes defensed. If he can stay on the field, his production shows that he is capable of being an impact defender; given his time removed from the game, however, a backup role would be a more realistic expectation.

With areas of last season’s top-five scoring defense having undergone significant, these two moves will add depth for the Saints, while providing, potentially, upside at each position.

Bucs Notes: Winston, Godwin, Howard

In addition to the thumb injury that we heard about in early January, Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston was also playing through a torn meniscus for at least some of 2019, as Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports (video link). Per Rapoport, Winston recently had surgery to trim the meniscus tear.

Though Winston’s boom-or-bust tendencies remain an obvious concern, the toughness that he displayed in battling the injuries may help him land a new contract with Tampa, which may have winnowed down its quarterback options to Winston and Philip Rivers.

Now for more from the Bucs:

  • Standout receiver Chris Godwin is now eligible for an extension since he has completed three years in the league, but that is not a front-burner item on the Bucs’ agenda just yet, per Greg Auman of The Athletic. Auman says the club will look to take care of its 2020 FAs first and then see if there is money left in the budget for a new contract for Godwin. Barring something unforeseen, it would be a huge surprise if Tampa lets Godwin hit the open market in 2021.
  • There were rumors that the Bucs were looking to trade much-maligned TE O.J. Howard at the 2019 deadline, and though that did not happen, the former first-rounder was still viewed as a trade candidate this offseason. But as Auman notes, the club still believes in Howard, and it sounds like he will be back in 2020. Fellow TE Cameron Brate, however, could be a trade or release candidate.
  • The Bucs are very young at CB, which has led many to believe that the club will draft a corner with an early pick or sign one in the first wave of free agency, but that’s not necessarily the case. As Auman writes, Tampa is very high on Carlton Davis, Jamel Dean, and Sean Murphy-Bunting, so a late-round pick or modest FA signing may be more likely.
  • Likewise, Tampa is bullish on its cadre of safeties, but 2017 second-rounder Justin Evans‘s stock is trending downward, per Auman. Evans has not been healthy enough to practice in a long time, and although the team hoped he would be fully recovered by April 1 and would participate in spring workouts at OTAs, it’s now unclear whether he will be back at all.
  • Unsurprisingly, it does not sound like the Bucs will look to re-sign free agent RB Peyton Barber, per Auman.

Buccaneers To Move Justin Evans To IR

A 10-game starter for the 2018 Buccaneers, Justin Evans will not have a chance to play in that many games this season. The Bucs are placing their former second-round pick on IR, per Greg Auman of The Athletic (on Twitter).

The Bucs will sign offensive lineman Josh Wells to take Evans’ place on the 53-man roster. Wells worked out for the team last week.

This will mark at least 15 consecutive games Evans will have missed. A foot injury shelved him midway through last season, and IR rules stipulate the safety will not be eligible to return this year until Week 10. Evans is dealing with a nagging Achilles injury. Tampa Bay started Darian Stewart and Jordan Whitehead against San Francisco on Sunday.

A Texas A&M product, Evans landed with the Bucs as the No. 50 overall pick in 2017. He has started 19 of the 24 games in which he’s played. Under Bruce Arians this year, however, the Bucs selected safety Mike Edwards in Round 3.

Working mostly at tackle, Wells has played in 39 games — all with the Jaguars — since coming into the league as a UDFA in 2014. The 28-year-old blocker started five games for the 2018 Jags.

Buccaneers Place TE O.J. Howard On IR

Tight end O.J. Howard and safety Justin Evans have been ruled out for the year, the Buccaneers announced. As previously reported, cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, guard J.R. Sweezy, and linebacker Adarius Glanton have also been placed on IR, meaning that the Bucs have shut down five players for the year on the same day. O.J. Howard (vertical)

[RELATED: Buccaneers Place Vernon Hargreaves On IR]

Howard (first round) and Evans (second round) were the Bucs’ top draft picks in 2017. Howard was productive in the end zone this year, notching six touchdowns with 26 catches and 432 yards. Evans, meanwhile, made nine starts and recorded 49 tackles with three interceptions. Needless to say, both players will play a major role on the team next year.

Fellow tight end Cameron Brate, who also had a strong season, is expected to be retained with a high restricted free agent tender.

The 4-10 Buccaneers would have the No. 7 pick in the draft if the season ended today. The Texans (pick belongs to the Browns), 49ers, and Bears all have equal records, but the Bucs rank lower in the draft order due to their strength of schedule.