Juwan Johnson

Saints TE Juwan Johnson To Undergo Foot Surgery

Juwan Johnson suffered an injury during the Saints’ minicamp, as first reported by Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football. The veteran tight end is facing notable absence as a result.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the ailment – a foot injury – will require surgery. Both Schefter and Underhill add the team is hopeful Johnson will be available by the start of the regular season, but at a minimum he will be sidelined for the bulk of training camp. His procedure will take place next week.

New Orleans’ tight end depth chart would be dealt a blow if Johnson were forced to miss time in September. The 27-year-old has received 124 targets in the two seasons following his transition from receiver to tight end. He has totaled 876 yards and 11 touchdowns during that span, and a notable offensive role should await him when he is healthy.

Johnson signed a two-year extension worth just over $12MM last offseason. That move took away the need for an RFA tender and included $8.5MM in guarantees. Another $2MM is available via incentives, but missed time would obviously hurt the former UDFA’s chances of earning them. As a pending free agent, Johnson’s value could also be affected depending on the length of his recovery and his production when back on the field.

The Saints have Taysom Hill and Foster Moreau as other options the tight end spot. The former is in line to once again serve in a unique offensive role in 2024, whereas the latter could see an increased workload if Johnson is unavailable for Week 1. ESPN’s Katherine Terrell notes Moreau (who played in 15 games last year following a successful bout with cancer) was used heavily during minicamp practice yesterday with Johnson sidelined.

New Orleans has other, less experienced options in the fold. That group includes rookie Dallin Holker, who received one of the league’s largest guarantees ($235K) amongst this year’s UDFAs. As New Orleans proceeds with a shorthanded tight end group through the summer, Johnson’s recovery will be worth monitoring.

Contract Details: Payne, Saints, Carter, Stewart, Pierce

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

  • Daron Payne, DT (Commanders): Four-year, $90MM. The deal, according to Mike Florio of NBC Sports, creates around $9.43MM in cap space for Washington heading into free agency. Payne was set to enter the 2023 season with a cap hit of $18.94MM. The new extension applies a $28MM signing bonus spread over four years, along with a base salary in Year 1 of the deal of $2.51MM, to lower Payne’s cap hit to $9.51MM. The new move sets the Commanders up with over $20MM of cap space heading into the new league year.
  • Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE (Saints): Two-year, $5MM. The deal, according to Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football, has a guaranteed amount of $2.5MM consisting of a $1.4MM signing bonus and Kpassagnon’s 2023 base salary of $1.1MM. The deal includes three voidable years for cap purposes leading to cap hits of $1.9MM in 2023, $3.3MM in 2024, and $1.786 of dead money in 2025.
  • Juwan Johnson, TE (Saints): Two-year, $12MM. The extension, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2, has a fully guaranteed amount of $11.51MM consisting of a $5MM signing bonus and both year’s base salaries of $1.01MM in 2023 and $5.5MM in 2024. The contract includes a 2024 roster bonus of $500,000 due on the 5th day of the 2024 league year. There are $2.5MM of incentives available to Johnson in this contract for receptions, yards, and All-Pro selections. Those incentives have escalators in 2024, as well. The deal includes three voidable years to spread out the cap hit.
  • Lorenzo Carter, OLB (Falcons): Two-year, $9MM. The deal, according to Field Yates of ESPN, has a guaranteed amount of $4.25MM consisting of a $2MM signing bonus and $2.25MM of the first year’s base salary (worth a total of $3.25MM). The contract also includes an additional amount of $1MM available through incentives.
  • M.J. Stewart, S (Texans): Two-year, $6MM. The deal, according to Wilson of KPRC 2, has a guaranteed amount of $3MM consisting of a $1.5MM signing bonus and the first year’s base salary of $1.5MM. The deal also includes potential incentives of up to $1.5MM including $750,000 of playtime incentives. The contract also includes a per game active roster bonus of $14,705 for a potential season total of $250,000.
  • Michael Pierce, DT (Ravens): Restructure. The new deal for Pierce includes a new concept in Baltimore. Following the lead of other teams in the NFL, namely the Eagles, the Ravens incorporated voidable years in Pierce’s contract, a first for the franchise. In doing so, though, the team removed the 2024 season from Pierce’s deal, making him a free agent one year sooner than he would’ve been in his original contract.

Saints Sign TE Juwan Johnson To Extension

Previously on track for restricted free agency, Juwan Johnson now has a new contract. The Saints and the young tight end agreed to a deal that runs through 2024 on Saturday, according to his agent (on Twitter).

Johnson has become a key presence in New Orleans’ passing attack, and the Saints convinced him to bypass a run at unrestricted free agency next year. He is now in line to be part of the team’s next two Derek Carr-piloted offenses.

This agreement will keep the Saints from having to place a second-round RFA tender on Johnson, which matters more after the Carr deal pushed the team more than $20MM over the cap ahead of the 2023 league year. The second-round RFA tender costs $4.3MM this year. The terms of this deal are not yet known, but it should be assumed Johnson’s 2023 cap number checks in considerably lower than that number while rising in 2024. It will be interesting to see these terms, as Johnson could have parlayed a nice 2023 season into a free agency payday next year.

A converted wide receiver, Johnson saw his involvement in the Saints’ offense increase dramatically in 2022. The former UDFA caught 42 passes for 508 yards and seven touchdowns, helping the team’s Andy Dalton-led offense. No other Saints pass catcher totaled more than four touchdowns last season, and only Chris Olave topped Johnson’s yardage total. Johnson scored twice against the Falcons and Cardinals last season. As Carr settles in with the team, Johnson figures to be an important player in the near future.

Next season will be Johnson’s age-27 campaign; he has been with the Saints since his post-draft deal in 2020 but only became a key passing-game presence last season. The team traded four draft choices to move into the third round for tight end Adam Trautman that year, but Johnson has taken over as the squad’s most productive tight end. Trautman has maintained a steady role, however, as has Taysom Hill. Both are also under contract for 2023.

NFL COVID List Updates: 12/21/21

Once again, we’ve had a busy day of moves on and off the reserve/COVID-19 list. Here are the players who were placed on the list or activated off of it today:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: TE Dalton Keene (remains on IR)

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Washington Football Team

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/19/20

Here are Saturday’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/12/20

Here is Saturday’s usual barrage of minor moves:

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: LB Jachai Polite; Polite tested positive for the coronavirus, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates (via Twitter)

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Saints Activate DT Sheldon Rankins

One of the NFL’s best defenses will feature more defensive line talent than it has in recent weeks. The Saints activated Sheldon Rankins from IR on Saturday.

An MCL injury sidelined the contract-year defensive tackle since Week 8. While Rankins’ role has changed since his Achilles tear in the 2018 playoffs, he still represents a key depth piece for the Super Bowl-contending Saints. New Orleans has won eight straight games and now leads the league in total defense.

The Saints have used Rankins as a backup behind David Onyemata and Malcom Brown this season, but the former first-round pick was a full-time starter prior in the two seasons prior to his Achilles malady. Rankins has seen various injuries, including a 2019 ankle setback, affect his NFL status. But he will have a chance to make a final push for a reasonable free agency deal in the weeks ahead.

New Orleans placed wide receiver Marquez Callaway on IR to make room for Rankins. The team also promoted offensive lineman Will Clapp, cornerback Grant Haley, wideouts Juwan Johnson and Tommylee Lewis and defensive lineman Anthony Zettel from its practice squad.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/31/20

Here is the league’s avalanche of Halloween minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/24/20

Here is another spree of Saturday minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

  • Moved from IR to reserve/COVID-19 list: CB Michael Joseph

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

  • Promoted: CB Dylan Mabin

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

  • Activated from IR: OL Cameron Clark
  • Promoted: K/P Sergio Castillo, LB Bryce Hager

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team