M.J. Stewart

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/7/23

Here are Tuesday’s minor transactions:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

Houston Texans

Los Angeles Rams

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

Price finds his way to injured reserve with an undisclosed injury in order to make room for quarterback Kyler Murray, who was activated from IR this afternoon. Price spent time on IR last year with a knee injury before missing the first five games of this season, as well.

Vilain and Wooten join eight other defenders on IR as Carolina continues to deal with injury issues on that side of the ball. They recently added veteran pass rusher Justin Houston to the injured list but may soon get back linebacker Marquis Haynes after opening his 21-day practice window yesterday.

Texans Re-Sign DB M.J. Stewart

The Texans are bringing back a key special teamer. The team announced that they’ve re-signed defensive back M.J. Stewart. The 27-year-old is inking a two-year, $7.5MM deal, per Aaron Wilson of Click2Houston.com.

Stewart, a former second-round pick, had two-year stints with the Buccaneers and Browns before catching on with the Texans last offseason. He ended up getting into all 17 games for his new squad, compiling 41 tackles. Stewart also got into 84 percent of Houston’s special teams snaps.

It’s uncertain where Stewart will fit in the secondary heading into 2023. The Texans added Jimmie Ward on a two-year deal, and they’re also still rostering Jalen Pitre and Eric Murray. Either way, the Texans can expect Stewart to contribute on all ST plays.

Speaking of, Murray reworked his contract yesterday, per Wilson. The move provided the Texans with an extra $732K in cap space. The defensive back inked a two-year, $10MM contract with Houston last offseason.

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.

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/9/23

Today’s minor moves around the league:

Cincinnati Bengals

Houston Texans

Las Vegas Raiders

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

Philadelphia Eagles

Stewart was a mainstay on the Texans’ special teams units in 2022, his debut season in Houston. His play has earned him a two-year, $6MM deal with a maximum value of $7.5MM, per Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 (Twitter link). The 27-year-old made 41 tackles (the second-highest total of his career) in 2022, adding a pair of fumble recoveries.

Pouncey signed a one-day contract to officially retire as a member of the Dolphins, the team which drafted him in 2011. The 33-year-old is two years removed from his joint retirement with brother Maurkice. Pouncey earned three of his Pro Bowl nods during his seven-year stint in Miami, before spending a pair of seasons with the Chargers. The former first rounder reflected on the controversy surrounding his career, via ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques.

“If I thought how I think now, I’d still be with the Dolphins,” he said. “I look back at it like… if I was just a little bit more mature when I was playing… I have no regret of what I did here. Very proud of my career that I had here. Now, I just try to be looked at in a different light.”

Ferentz’s new deal has a value of $1.215MM, and includes $200K in guarantees, per Wilson (on Twitter). Another $30K in incentives are in place, though the 33-year-old will only account for $1.02MM on the cap by qualifying for the veteran salary benefit. Ferentz has been in New England for the past five years, starting nine games amongst his 39 appearances.

Texans To Sign S M.J. Stewart

The Texans may have found their Justin Reid replacement. The team has signed safety M.J. Stewart to a one-year, $3MM deal (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network).

[RELATED: Texans To Re-Sign Maliek Collins]

Stewart, 26, was a second round pick of the Buccaneers in 2018. He only played two seasons in Tampa Bay, however, and was waived in August 2020. Injuries played a role in the decision to move on from the former Tar Heel, who had originally been drafted as a corner.

The Browns claimed Stewart off waivers, where he played in 29 games, including three starts. He totalled 69 tackles, two interceptions and seven passes defensed in Cleveland, while also seeing significant special teams duties. More notably, however, was the improvement he showed in pass coverage compared to his time in Tampa. Stewart had a career year in that regard in 2021; he allowed a completion percentage of 63%, and a passer rating of 84.7.

In large part due to his newfound effectiveness defending the pass, Stewart received an impressive PFF grade of 83.8. That outweighs Reid’s evaluation by a considerable margin, which gives this deal the potential to be one of the more valuable under-the-radar deals of the offseason. At a minimum, the Texans will have some experienced depth on the back end.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/12/21

Keeping tabs on today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Chicago Bears

  • Promoted: OLB/DL Sam Kamara

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

San Francisco 49ers

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/9/20

We’ll keep track of this weekend’s minor moves here:

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Miami Dolphins

New York Giants

Buccaneers Waive CB M.J. Stewart

The Buccaneers are parting ways with a recent high draft choice. Tampa Bay is waiving cornerback M.J. Stewart, whom the club selected with the 53rd overall pick in the 2018 draft, per Jenna Laine of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Stewart was named second-team All-ACC during his final season at North Carolina, and he was expected to be a valuable long-term contributor to a Tampa Bay secondary that desperately needed reinforcements. But injuries continually kept Stewart off the field — a foot problem cost him six games during his rookie campaign, and he missed five more games in 2019 while dealing with a knee issue.

Still, Stewart is still only 25 years old and has played 614 snaps over the past two seasons. Thanks to his second-round pedigree and his rookie contract, it’s entirely possible Stewart could be claimed off waivers, or if not, at least find a new club in the near future.

NFC South Notes: Rankins, Julio, Stewart

Let’s check out a few items from the NFC South:

  • Sheldon Rankins is the only player on the Saints‘ PUP list at the moment, but Amie Just of the Times-Picayune suggests that he may remain there when the regular season starts, which would automatically rule him out for the first six games of the season. Head coach Sean Payton said Rankins is ahead of schedule in his recovery from an Achilles tear he suffered in the playoffs, but Payton conceded that Rankins is likely to miss all of training camp at least. It sounds as if Payton is expecting Rankins to miss some regular season time as well, though he could not give a precise timeline. We heard back in April that Rankins was likely to start the season on the PUP list, though there now appears to be some hope he can avoid it.
  • It’s now been over a year since the Falcons and Julio Jones renegotiated his contract, as Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com observes. That means that the two sides are free to make a new deal official, though McClure still does not think it will happen before Michael Thomas signs his extension with New Orleans.
  • Buccaneers second-year player M.J. Stewart, a second-round pick in the 2018 draft, spent most of his rookie campaign at cornerback. GM Jason Licht said in March that he wanted Stewart to play safety, but as Greg Auman of The Athletic says, the team has reversed course. Per Auman, Stewart is back at corner, and he will compete for the fifth CB job that is currently available after Ryan Smith‘s suspension (Twitter links).

Bucs Rumors: Brown, Steelers, Smith

We could see a lot of change in Tampa this year, but do not expect the Buccaneers to pursue Antonio Brown, GM Jason Licht says (via ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert).

From a talent perspective, the Bucs would surely like to have Brown on the roster. However, a Brown trade would require the forfeiture of significant draft capital and would hurt the team’s cap room, effectively forcing them to mortgage the future for a soon-to-be 31-year-old.

For now, the Bucs seem intent on keeping deep threat DeSean Jackson, though it remains to be seen whether they can hang on to pending free agent Adam Humphries.

Here’s more on the Bucs:

  • I don’t envision Donovan Smith being anywhere else but the Bucs, at least for next year,” Licht said on SiriusXM (Twitter link via Greg Auman of The Athletic). He added that the franchise tag is “more than likely” for the left tackle. This jibes with what we’ve heard previously. if the Bucs follow through on that plan, they’ll be even less likely to keep their hands on Humphries.
  • Bruce Arians’ recent chat with Jackson went well, according to the Bucs’ new head coach. “It went great. We had a long sit-down. From my perspective, it couldn’t have been any better,” Arians said (via Jenna Laine of ESPN.com). “You’d have to talk to DeSean to find out what his perspective is. But I thought it was great. I look forward to working with him. Ton of respect for him as a player … and a person.” Licht, meanwhile, was non-committal when asked about D-Jax.
  • Licht was similarly non-committal when asked about six-time Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy, who carries a $13MM cap hit in 2019 and is under contract through 2021. “Gerald’s been a real productive, successful player for the Bucs — one of the Bucs’ all-time best defensive players, you could argue,” Licht said. “He’s under contract. Ideally, [we’d] love it if he continued to be a Buc.” For what it’s worth, rumor has it that the Bucs see McCoy as a good fit, even as they transition to a 3-4 scheme.
  • Rising sophomore M.J. Stewart will get looks at several positions but “we’d love to see him at safety,” Licht said (Twitter link via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times). Last year, the 2018 second-round pick spent the bulk of his eleven games (five starts) at cornerback. He finished out with 33 tackles and three passes defensed.
  • Licht noted that the Bucs can keep running back Peyton Barber with a high tender in order to keep him from free agency, which may give some insight into the team’s plans (via Auman). A second-round tender at just over $3MM should ward away other interested clubs.
  • Caleb Benenoch struggled in 2018 as the team’s right guard and Licht believes that a switch to tackle is in his future, Auman writes. The change would mean a backup role, so Auman wonders if his job will be safe given his scheduled $2MM salary for ’19.