Lorenzo Carter

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.

LB Rumors: Wagner, David, Bills, Al-Shaair

The Seahawks may be interested in bringing back Bobby Wagner. John Schneider and Pete Carroll spoke with the future Hall of Fame linebacker recently, according to the GM. Schneider said (via the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta) the team will keep in contact with Wagner during his free agency. The Seahawks shed Wagner’s pricey deal from their payroll last year, but with the decorated ex-Seattle defender not in position to command a lucrative long-term deal ahead of his age-33 season, a reunion would make a bit more sense. The team has also rebounded quicker than most expected post-Wagner and Russell Wilson, reaching the playoffs. Wagner is believed to be eyeing a contender, having asked for his Rams release. Pro Football Focus rated Wagner as the NFL’s top off-ball linebacker last season, which was also Wagner’s ninth straight first- or second-team All-Pro campaign.

Here is the latest from the league’s linebacker scene:

  • Wagner and Lavonte David will both be available on the market. David is not planning to re-sign with the Buccaneers ahead of free agency, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. If Tampa Bay wants its 10-year starter back, it will need to outbid others to secure such a deal. The Bucs managed to bring back David (and every other in-house free agent of consequence) in 2021, agreeing to a two-year deal. After the standout defender played out that contract, he joins Wagner in being a UFA linebacker ahead of an age-33 season. The Bucs remain in the league’s worst cap shape, so they will have a tough time bringing back David, who stands to command another short-term accord.
  • 49ers linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair will have a clear connection to the Texans, with DeMeco Ryans now their head coach. The Texans also hired ex-49ers assistant Chris Kiffin as their linebackers coach. Kiffin is a big fan of Al-Shaair, per The Athletic’s Matt Barrows, who notes Ryans is probably quite high on the free agent-to-be as well (subscription required). The 49ers have Fred Warner locked into a top-market contract and inked Dre Greenlaw to a midlevel extension last year. They are bracing to lose Al-Shaair, who figures to generate interest from the Ryans-led team.
  • Bills GM Brandon Beane said the team has discussed a new deal with Tremaine Edmunds, the biggest fish in a deep off-ball linebacker pond this year. But Edmunds’ comments last month still point to him reaching free agency to listen to other teams’ offers. Although this is a crowded market, Edmunds should still expect to do well in his first free agency foray.
  • The FalconsLorenzo Carter two-year deal carries a base value of $9MM, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The ex-Giant will earn $5.25MM guaranteed on his second Falcons contract, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com adds (via Twitter). He will carry a $5.25MM cap hit in 2023, and Yates adds an additional $1MM will be available via incentives.

Falcons, OLB Lorenzo Carter Agree To Deal

A few notable veteran edge rushers are set to hit the open market in the coming days, but one will be staying put for the next few years on his incumbent team. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets that Lorenzo Carter has agreed to terms on a two-year deal with the Falcons. The team has confirmed the move.

Carter spent the first four years of his career with the Giants. His time there was marked by consistency in terms of playing time and production; in three healthy seasons, he averaged 46 tackles and 4.5 sacks per campaign. The one exception to that was the 2020 season, in which the 27-year-old suffered a torn Achilles.

Last March, Carter bid farewell to New York one day before he found his next NFL employer. That decision paved the way for a homecoming for the Atlanta native and Georgia Bulldogs alum, since Carter signed with the Falcons. That one-year pact carried a value of $3.5MM, and allowed him to see a larger workload than any of his campaigns spent in the Big Apple.

Logging a snap share of 81%, the former third-rounder set a new career high with 58 total tackles last year. He added four sacks, 12 QB hits, one fumble recovery and a pick-six to his statline in his first Falcons season. Carter ranked second on the team in sacks, and first amongst edge rushers. As a whole, though, the team struggled once again to get to opposing quarterbacks, ranking 31st in the league with 21 sacks.

That will likely turn Atlanta towards additions both in free agency and the draft this offseason. With more than $66MM in cap space, the Falcons could afford to make a significant splash in a pass rush market which is now expected to include Titans, Rams and Chiefs cap casualties Bud Dupree, Leonard Floyd and Frank Clark. The No. 8 selection could also land them one the top rookies at the position. In any case, Carter could be in line for a reduction in workload moving forward, as he starts the next phase of his Falcons tenure.

Latest On Falcons’ Edge Rush Competition

Improving the pass rush was an obvious priority for the Falcons this offseason, given their performance in that department in 2021. A number of changes have taken place as a result, but one of the starting roles might not already be spoken for to the extent many may have thought. 

In a breakdown of the position group, team reporter Scott Bair names Arnold Ebiketie as the most logical candidate to see first-team reps. The No. 38 overall pick in this year’s draft, he showcased his ability to be a disruptive edge rusher in college, especially during his time at Penn State. In 2021, the 23-year-old ranked third in the Big Ten with 9.5 sacks, more than half of the Falcons’ total (18) during the NFL campaign.

That has led many to believe Ebiketie can be an immediate impact player as a rookie. The free agent departures of Dante Fowler and Steven Means certainly opens up the possibility of a three-down role for the former Nittany Lion early in his career. However, Bair cautions that Ebiketie will face competition for a starting role alongside, in all likelihood, former Giant Lorenzo Carter.

Atlanta has Adetokunbo Ogundeji in contention for a larger workload in 2022. The former fifth-rounder played nearly half of the team’s defensive snaps as a rookie, registering 11 starts. He totalled just one sack along the way, but, as Bair notes, impressed the coaching staff with his potential. Another young option for snaps is DeAngelo Malone, whom the Falcons drafted one round after selecting Ebiketie. The Western Kentucky alum totalled 32.5 sacks during his college career, which could set him up for at least third down work as a rookie.

With several new faces in the edge group, the Falcons face a number of questions relating to their pass-rushing ability heading into 2022. The way in which the depth chart is ordered through training camp competition will be worth watching in the build-up to the campaign.

Contract Details: Seals-Jones, Williams, Tomlinson, Jones, Montgomery, Gardeck, Singleton, Carter

Here are the latest details from contracts recently agreed to across the league:

  • Ricky Seals-Jones, TE (Giants): One-year, $1.19MM. The deal, tweeted out by Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network, has a $352,500 amount guaranteed at signing. The guaranteed amount includes a signing bonus of $152,500 and $200,000 of his salary worth $1.04MM.
  • Maxx Williams, TE (Cardinals): One-year, $1.27MM. The deal has a salary of $1.12MM, according to Wilson. Regardless of whether or not he is active, he’ll receive a $15,000 bonus for any game for which he is on the roster. If he is active for any game, he’ll receive an additional $52,500 roster bonus. He’ll also receive a per game active bonus of $5,000 for a potential season total of $85,000.
  • Eric Tomlinson, TE (Broncos): One-year, $1.44MM. The deal has an amount of $1MM guaranteed at signing, according to Wilson. The guaranteed amount includes a $400,000 signing bonus and $600,000 of his salary worth $1.04MM.
  • DaQuan Jones, DT (Bills): Two-year, $14MM. The deal has an amount of $10.63MM guaranteed at signing, according to Wilson. The guaranteed amount consists of a $5.5MM signing bonus, the full first-year salary of $1.75MM, and $3.38MM of the second-year salary, which is set at $6.75MM. The contract includes a voidable year for 2024 that voids automatically 23 days before the 2024 league year begins.
  • Ty Montgomery, RB (Patriots): Two-year, $3.6MM. The deal has an average annual salary of $1.8MM with an amount of $300,000 guaranteed consisting entirely of the dual-position player’s signing bonus, according to Wilson. Included in that AAV of $1.8MM are a first-year salary of $1.16MM, a second-year salary of $1.36MM, roster bonuses of $280,000 in year one and $340,000 in year two, and workout bonuses of $50,000 in each year. The former wide receiver will earn a per game active bonus of $20,000 for a potential season total of $340,000. The deal holds an annual playtime incentive of up to $300,000. The deal also holds a potential out after the 2022 NFL season that would leave a dead cap number of $150,000.
  • Dennis Gardeck, LB (Cardinals): Three-year, $10MM. The deal has a guaranteed amount of $3.75MM, according to Wilson. $3.25MM of that amount is guaranteed at signing with a $2MM signing bonus and the first-year salary of $1.25MM being fully guaranteed. $500,000 of the second-year salary, worth $3.27MM, guarantees on the fifth league day of the 2023 season (injury guaranteed at signing). The third-year salary is worth $2.46MM. Gardeck will also receive a per game active bonus of $20,000 for a potential season total of $340,000. The deal includes an annual playtime incentive of $250,000 and an escalator based on sack total that can be worth up to $625,000. A potential out after the 2022 season would leave a dead cap number of $1.33MM.
  • Alex Singleton, LB (Broncos): One-year, $1.12MM. The deal has a salary of $965,000 with a guaranteed amount of $150,000 fully consisting of Singleton’s signing bonus, according to Mike Klis of 9News. Singleton will have a playtime incentive based on snap-percentage. At the end of the year, if he has played 65% of the team’s defensive snaps, he’ll receive $250,000, $500,000 if he plays 70%, and $750,000 if he plays 75%.
  • Lorenzo Carter, OLB (Falcons): One-year, $3.5MM. The deal has a salary of $1.5MM with a guaranteed amount of $2MM fully consisting of Carter’s signing bonus, according to Michael Rothstein of ESPN. The deal includes a 2023 dummy year that will be voided 23 days before the 2023 league year. It will leave the Falcons with a dead cap number of $1M for Carter.

Falcons To Sign OLB Lorenzo Carter

Lorenzo Carter posted a lengthy goodbye message to the Giants on Sunday. Less than 24 hours later, the former Day 2 pick has chosen his second NFL employer.

The Falcons are expected to sign him to a one-year deal, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. After bouncing back from a 2020 Achilles tear last season, Carter hit the market last week. This will be a homecoming for the ex-Georgia Bulldog, who is an Atlanta native.

The Giants, despite their recent regime change, had Carter on their radar. The rebuilding NFC East squad attempted to re-sign him this weekend, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com adds (via Twitter), but it appears the sides were not on the same page.

The former third-round pick joins a Falcons team that is retooling on the edge. The Falcons just shed their Dante Fowler contract, though they received little from their non-Fowler sect of edge rushers last season. The team’s 18 sacks ranked last in the NFL, by 11, last season. Fowler is now with the Cowboys, reuniting with Dan Quinn.

Carter’s one-year Atlanta agreement will give him a chance at a better 2023 free agency payday while also providing the Falcons exclusive negotiating rights until that point, should Carter prove effective. He finished with a career-high five sacks last season and has 14.5 in his career.

Big Blue is still putting its edge pieces together as well. Azeez Ojulari had a nice rookie season, and 2019 third-round pick Oshane Ximines remains on the roster. But the Giants should be a candidate to select an outside rusher with one of their two top-10 picks.

Lorenzo Carter Not Returning To Giants

It appears Lorenzo Carter will need to find a new home in the NFL. The pass rusher indicated in an Instagram post that the Giants will not be re-signing him. 

The 26-year-old was drafted by New York in the third round in 2018. He posted four sacks in his rookie campaign, and has taken on a larger role in each of the three seasons since. Carter started all but three of the 34 games he played in from 2019 to 2021.

“It’s hard for me to even put in words how blessed I am to have been a part of the New York Football Giants family these past four years”, he wrote, adding, “I’m thankful for everyone that played their part in making my time with the organization so special… as I move on to my next chapter, I’ll never forget the Big Blue“.

The former third round pick has been a consistent contributor during his time in the Big Apple. With the exception of 2020 (in which he only suited up for five contests due to a torn Achilles), Carter totalled between 43 and 50 tackles and either 4.0, 4.5 or 5.0 sacks each year. His career-high totals in both categories in 2021 showed his ability to bounce-back from the serious injury.

Even with Carter, the Giants ranked 24th in the league in sacks last year. Without him, they will likely lean more on the likes of Azeez Ojulari, Elerson Smith and Quincy Roche, each of whom were drafted in 2021. Carter, meanwhile, will join an edge rusher market which has lost almost all of its marquee names, with the notable exception of Za’Darius Smith.

NFC Rumors: Giants, Saints, Adams, Bears

Part of 2019’s Odell Beckham Jr. trade, Jabrill Peppers is going into his fifth-year option season. However, the Giants‘ three-year, $31MM extension for Logan Ryan back in December may well have signaled they are OK moving on from the former first-round pick after this season, Dan Duggan of The Athletic writes (subscription required). The Giants signed Ryan shortly after Xavier McKinney suffered a broken foot and extended him toward the end of the year. By season’s end, the team had Ryan, Peppers and McKinney available. Ryan and McKinney are signed through 2023, though Ryan has no guarantees beyond this year. While Peppers (25 starts as a Giant) would attract interest as a 2022 free agent, his role and performance this season will go a long way toward determining his long-term value.

Of the players that changed teams in that 2019 deal, Peppers, Beckham and Dexter Lawrence — the first-round pick the Browns sent to the Giants — remain with their teams. Kevin Zeitler and Olivier Vernon are not. With Beckham’s long-term status in Cleveland uncertain and Peppers in a contract year, Lawrence may be the only holdover from this trade come 2022. Here is the latest from the NFC:

  • Despite Lorenzo Carter going down with an Achilles tear in October, the Giants are prepared to reinstall him as a starter, Duggan notes. Carter returned for the Giants’ offseason program. The former third-round pick out of Georgia has 9.5 career sacks and, like Peppers, is entering a contract year. The Giants have not been especially aggressive at outside linebacker during Dave Gettleman‘s GM tenure, but they did use a second-round choice this year on USC’s Azeez Ojulari. He, 2019 third-rounder Oshane Ximines and fourth-round rookie Elerson Smith are in the mix to start opposite Carter, per Duggan. The Giants added veterans Ryan Anderson and Ifeadi Odenigbo as well, but they appear to be competing for rotational work.
  • Marcus Williams is one of this year’s seven remaining franchise-tagged players. The Saints surprised most when they created cap space to tag the talented safety, but if they cannot complete an extension by July 15, they should not be expected to entertain a second tag in 2022, Joel Corry of CBS Sports writes. Marshon Lattimore playing this season on his fifth-year option would make him a higher-priority free agent come March, and whoever wins New Orleans’ quarterback job — set to be a Jameis WinstonTaysom Hill competition — could fall into the 2022 tag mix as well.
  • One factor complicating the SeahawksJamal Adams talks: the Pro Bowl safety wanting not only to become the highest-paid player at the position but seeking to end up on his own financial tier. Adams does not want to be viewed as a pure safety, and thus be confined to the position’s salary range, Corry adds. Adams does not rate as a top-tier coverage safety, but he is a historically productive pass rusher for the position and is used in myriad capacities. With Seattle having traded two first-rounders for him, a deal is expected to come to fruition soon.
  • The Bears made a couple of changes to their scouting staff. They promoted Jeff King to the pro scouting director post. King joined the team as a pro scout in 2016. The former NFL tight end interviewed for the Panthers’ assistant GM job in May. Chicago also promoted Sam Summerville from area scout to national scout. The Fritz Pollard Alliance named Summerville, a Bears scout since 2012, as its NFC scout of the year in 2019.

Giants’ Lorenzo Carter Has Torn Achilles

The hits keep on coming for the 0-5 Giants. Outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter has a torn Achilles and will miss the rest of the season, sources told Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Needless to say it’s unwelcome news, as Carter has been a full-time starter in 2020 and the Giants are pretty thin on pass-rushers outside of him. A third-round pick in 2018, Carter started 12 games for New York last year, racking up 45 tackles, 4.5 sacks (including a strip-sack of Tom Brady), and five passes defended. It’s a tough blow for the Georgia product, who will be entering the final year of his rookie deal next season.

Carter went down with a non-contact injury during their 37-34 loss to the Cowboys on Sunday, so the diagnosis isn’t too surprising. No one on the Giants has more than two sacks this season, and generating pressure has been an issue. Fellow outside linebackers Markus Golden and Kyler Fackrell will take on an even more important role moving forward.

Injury Notes: Berry, Giants, Titans, Falcons

Some teams will be opening their seasons without key defenders. Here’s the latest from the Week 1 injury front:

  • The nagging heel issue Eric Berry‘s been dealing with will likely keep him out of Week 1. Andy Reid (via Adam Teicher of ESPN.com, on Twitter) does not expect his All-Pro safety to be available when the Chiefs play arguably their toughest AFC West game of the season — a road tilt against the Chargers. Berry’s been held out of practice this week. He missed the Chiefs’ final 15 games of last season with an Achilles tear, his second severe NFL injury. Berry’s right heel’s plagued him in recent weeks, and was also an issue in Kansas City’s 2017 training camp; the ninth-year safety tore his left Achilles’ tendon in Week 1 of last season. He hasn’t practice since August 11. Eric Murray and the recently reacquired Ron Parker are K.C.’s likely safety starters, per Teicher.
  • Suffering a high ankle sprain in practice late last month, Olivier Vernon will not be available for the Giants on Sunday. Vernon will miss New York’s Week 1 game against Jacksonville, Pat Shurmur said (via SNY.tv’s Ralph Vacchiano). This will pose a problem for the Giants’ pass rush, which is now without Jason Pierre-Paul. This could push rookie Lorenzo Carter into Big Blue’s lineup Sunday, per Matt Lombardo of NJ.com, who adds the Georgia-developed edge defender may play plenty regardless of his first-string status.
  • The Titans will be missing some key players but may also have one back sooner than expected. Derrick Morgan‘s meniscus issue hasn’t stopped him from practicing this week, and the ninth-year edge player practiced fully on Thursday to put him in line to start Sunday. However, the Titans will begin their season without Jack Conklin, Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry, Jim Wyatt of Titansonline.com tweets. Evans and Landry were Tennessee’s top two 2018 draft picks.
  • Keanu Neal‘s Week 1 injury (an ACL tear) proved to be the biggest health news thus far on Friday, and the Falcons may not seek an outside replacement. Damontae Kazee is likely the next man up for the Falcons, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets, rather than Atlanta going after former Dan Quinn charge Earl Thomas or UFA Eric Reid.
  • Joey Bosa may miss Week 1 as well, and the Chargers‘ dynamic pass rusher was spotted in a walking boot on Friday, Jack Wang of the Los Angeles Times tweets. Bosa will be out for Sunday’s game, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Bosa missed the preseason with a foot injury, but Wang notes (on Twitter) that ailment healed and that the third-year defensive end is week-to-week because of a different malady on that same foot. While the Bolts have maybe the NFL’s best edge-rushing tandem in Bosa and Melvin Ingram, they aren’t especially deep at that position.
  • Jesse James will start at tight end for the Steelers on Sunday against the Browns. Vance McDonald will miss Pittsburgh’s opener, per Steelers.com’s Missi Matthews (Twitter link). A foot injury shelved McDonald during the preseason, halting the tight end’s offseason momentum as he prepares for his second Steelers season.