Marcus Maye

Saints Place DT Malcolm Roach, S Marcus Maye On IR

The Saints announced a number of roster transactions today along with their earlier successful waiver claim of linebacker Monty Rice. The team placed two defenders, defensive tackle Malcolm Roach and safety Marcus Maye, on injured reserve and signed defensive tackle P.J. Mustipher to their active roster from the Broncos‘ practice squad. Lastly, New Orleans released safety Daniel Sorensen from its practice squad.

Roach, a former undrafted free agent out of Texas, is a disappointing addition to the injury list as he is having a career year in New Orleans. As a defensive tackle, his numbers won’t jump off the stat sheet, but Roach has been a strong contributor coming off the bench in the team’s defensive line rotation. So far this year, Roach has career-highs in total tackles (38), tackles for loss (3), and batted passes (3). Pro Football Focus (subscription required) also ranks Roach as the league’s 24th-best interior defensive lineman.

Maye has also played a large role in the Saints’ defense the past two years, serving as a starter when healthy. In his first year away from the Jets last year, Maye started 10 games for New Orleans, missing games here and there throughout the year. That trend continued as Maye has missed five of the team’s first 12 games in 2023 and is set to miss at least four more on IR. In his seven starts this year, Maye has contributed two interceptions, his first picks since 2020.

With Maye sidelined, the Saints will likely rely on rookie fifth-round pick Jordan Howden, who the team has turned to on multiple occasions this year to start in place of Maye. On the line, Mustipher will come in to make up for the depth lost in Roach’s departure. Mustipher, an undrafted rookie out of Penn State, was signed to Denver’s practice squad after failing to make the 53-man roster to start the year. He was a disruptive presence as a Nittany Lion with three sacks and 11.0 tackles for loss in college.

Sorensen, the former long-time Chiefs safety, will head to free agency at 33 years old. He had two picks in as many starts with the Saints last year and is set to have his first season without an interception since 2015. He could find himself on a new practice squad as a depth option, but the veteran’s time in New Orleans appears to be over for now.

NFL Suspends Saints S Marcus Maye

The Saints will not have one of their starting safeties available for a bit. Marcus Maye received a three-game suspension Wednesday. This is in connection with Maye’s 2021 DUI arrest, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets.

Maye’s arrest occurred back in February 2021 in Florida, but the case continued until this summer. Maye, 30, received six months’ probation via a plea deal he accepted in August. The former Jets second-rounder is in his second season with the Saints.

This arrest occurred ahead of Maye’s final Jets season, when the team franchise-tagged him before an ACL tear ended the parties’ five-season partnership. Maye signed a three-year, $22.5MM deal with the Saints in 2022. A 31-month gap between an off-field incident and a suspension certainly represents a lengthy span. Maye had entered a not guilty plea initially before pleading no contest to the DUI charge this summer.

The February 2021 incident also brought charges of damage to property and person, along with leaving the scene of an accident. Maye also faced a civil suit stemming from the crash; that case is ongoing. Maye was also arrested on a charge of aggravated assault with a firearm in an alleged 2022 road rage incident, but the Jefferson Parish district attorney’s office cited a lack of evidence and refused charges. Players do not need to be convicted or even charged to receive NFL suspensions, but Maye’s current ban covers the 2021 incident.

New Orleans features a veteran secondary housing Pro Bowlers Marshon Lattimore and Tyrann Mathieu. The team assembled the Mathieu-Maye duo last year, adding Maye in March and then signing Mathieu after the 2022 draft. Maye missed seven games last season due to rib and shoulder injuries.

Maye has delivered early production this season, intercepting a pass in Week 1 and notching a sack in Week 2. The Saints have veteran Lonnie Johnson Jr., fifth-round rookie Jordan Howden and veteran special-teamer J.T. Gray as safety backups. Among this group, Howden’s 26 defensive snaps lead the way this season.

Extra Points: Jefferson, Maye, International Pathway Program

An undrafted wideout is working his way back to the field following a tragic car crash earlier this year. According to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 Houston, the 49ers worked out Louisiana receiver Michael Jefferson today.

Jefferson earned third-team All-Sun Belt honors in 2022 after finishing with 51 receptions for 810 yards and seven touchdowns. Thanks to his performance, the receiver was projected to be a mid-round pick in the 2023 draft. However, Jefferson was injured in a car accident in April that killed another driver, and the player required multiple surgeries.

He was expected to resume his career in 2024, but Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported earlier this month that Jefferson had been cleared by doctors to “fly, take physicals and join a team.”

It sounds like his first opportunity could come in San Francisco. The 49ers are currently stashing four receivers on their practice squad in Willie Snead, Chris Conley, Tay Martin, and Isaiah Winstead.

More notes from around the NFL…

  • Saints safety Marcus Maye got six months of probation stemming from a 2021 driving under the influence charge, per ESPN’s Katherine Terrell. Maye will have his drivers license suspended for six months as a result of the plea deal, and he was also given 50 hours of community service with the opportunity to buy them out. Maye allegedly crashed into another car while driving on the Florida Turnpike and was initially charged with driving under the influence, DUI/damage to property and person, and leaving the scene of the crash. The player also continues to deal with a civil suit from the driver of the other car who is seeking $30K due to injuries.
  • The NFL International Pathway Program has expanded in scope since it’s inception in 2016, with the 2023 iteration allowing teams from the AFC West and NFC North to allocate an extra roster spot to an international player. According to ESPN’s Kevin Seifert, the NFL will provide an international player exception to all 32 teams starting in 2024. There are currently 24 active players who participated in the International Pathway Program.
  • The NFL has established an ownership committee that will evaluate current ownership rules, potentially allowing “institutional capital” to invest in teams, per Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal. As Liz Clarke, Nicki Jhabvala and Mark Maske of the Washington Post write, this committee could open the door to private equity firms buying stakes in teams, following the ownership rules previously established by the NBA, MLB, and NHL. Mike Klis of 9News in Denver reports that the committee includes Falcons owner Arthur Blank, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, Chiefs owner Clark Hunt, and Broncos owner Greg Penner.

NFC South Notes: Campbell, Maye, Sanders

Defensive lineman Calais Campbell has accomplished a great deal in his NFL career, though he has never won a Super Bowl ring. So it came as something of a surprise when the six-time Pro Bowler, who is entering his age-37 season, agreed to sign with the Falcons in March after the Ravens made him a cap casualty. After all, Atlanta has not made the playoffs since 2018 and will be starting Desmond Ridder — a 2022 third-round choice who made just four starts in his rookie campaign — at quarterback.

Still, when this offseason arrived, the Falcons had free agency money to spend for the first time in the Terry Fontenot/Arthur Smith era, and they have been especially aggressive in bolstering their defense. Jessie Bates, Mike Hughes, Kaden Elliss, and David Onyemata were signed, and as Mike Rothstein of ESPN.com writes, adding those talents and a player like Campbell supports the message that Fontenot and Smith want to convey: that Atlanta is ready to compete and is a prime destination for high-end talent.

Campbell acknowledged that the uncertainty of the NFC South played a role in his decision (Twitter link via Rothstein), and he believes that the Falcons will indeed contend for a playoff spot in 2023. He spoke glowingly of his meetings with Smith, Fontenot, and new defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen, and he also watched tape of Ridder. All of that turned the Falcons from a team that was not on Campbell’s radar into the team for which he eschewed an extended free agency courtship.

Now for more from the NFC South, starting with several more items on Campbell and the Falcons:

  • Campbell said that more teams were interested in his services in 2023 than during his free agency stay in 2022, which ultimately concluded with a new deal with Baltimore. He also said he was “close” to signing with another club this year before agreeing to terms with the Falcons, though that mystery team did not make him feel the same way Atlanta did. In addition to his meetings with the Jaguars and Falcons, he had visits with the Jets and Bills on the docket, and he told CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson during an episode of The Crew podcast that Aaron Rodgers — who is expected to join the Jets in the near future — texted him and implored him to sign with Gang Green (Twitter link via Ari Meirov of The33rdTeam.com).
  • As Campbell explained in the above-referenced podcast, the Jets tried to get a deal done with him even before his would-be visit with New York, so perhaps they were the team that he nearly picked over the Falcons. And, per Rothstein, another factor that worked in the Falcons’ favor is that Atlanta plans to use him as a “true D-end,” meaning that he will line up on the edge on first and second downs.
  • Saints safety Marcus Maye was arrested in September on a charge of aggravated assault with a firearm. As Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk wrote last month, those charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence. As most NFL fans know by now, the absence of criminal charges does not mean that a player will avoid league punishment, but since the time of Williams’ report, nothing has emerged on that front.
  • Running back Miles Sanders signed a four-year, $25MM contract with the Panthers in March, a deal that features $13MM in guaranteed money. Sanders indicated that the presence of Duce Staley, whom Carolina recently hired as its assistant head coach & running backs coach, was a big reason for his decision to join the Panthers (Twitter link via ESPN’s David Newton). Sanders spent the first four years of his career (2019-22) with the Eagles, and Staley was Philadelphia’s assistant head coach and running backs coach for the first two of those seasons.

NFC South Notes: Bucs, QBs, Maye, Panthers

Tom Brady‘s retirement shoved the Buccaneersvoid-years bill to 2023, and the $35.1MM cap hit will complicate the team’s plans to replace the all-time great. Tampa Bay is more than $55MM over the cap, as of Wednesday, and has upper-crust cornerback Jamel Dean on track for free agency. While the rest of the NFC South is being connected to quarterbacks, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets the Bucs should not be considered players for top-tier QB free agents. This would include Jimmy Garoppolo and almost definitely Derek Carr, and while Stroud adds the team will look at the market, the Bucs’ price range could be considered in the midlevel area.

Former second-rounder Kyle Trask, whom Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes Bucs players are high on as a player who can compete for the starting job (after two years in development), is the only quarterback left on the roster. The team holds the No. 19 overall pick. Here is the latest from the NFC South:

  • The Saints have been the team most closely connected to Carr. They will need to complete their usual batch of winter restructures to be in position to pay him, though there are not as many avenues available to the crafty organization compared to recent years. But the Saints started their path to cap compliance Wednesday. They restructured Marcus Maye‘s deal, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. By moving $6.07MM of Maye’s salary into a signing bonus, the team created $4.85MM in cap space. Baby steps. The Saints are still more than $50MM over the cap.
  • Another Matt Rhule-era hire is no longer with the Panthers. The team parted ways with VP of player personnel Pat Stewart, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets. Stewart, who worked with Rhule at both Western Carolina and Temple, joined the Panthers in 2020.
  • New Panthers HC Frank Reich will bring in ex-Rams assistant Jonathan Cooley, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic tweets. Cooley is set to join the Panthers as their defensive backs coach. He and new Carolina DC Ejiro Evero worked together in Los Angeles, with the Rams promoting Cooley after Evero left for Denver last year. The Rams, despite blocking Cooley from interviewing with the Vikings in 2022, fired him just after this past season ended.
  • Another Rams staffer fired along with Cooley in January will catch on in the NFC South. The Saints are hiring Kevin Carberry to be their assistant offensive line coach, Yates adds (on Twitter). Carberry served as the Rams’ offensive line coach during their Super Bowl LVI-winning 2021 season and last year. He will replace Zach Strief, who is now the Broncos’ O-line coach.
  • When Ryan Jensen went down during a July practice, he tore his MCL and PCL fully but only partially tore his ACL. This allowed for the veteran Buccaneers center to avoid surgery, Dan Pompei of Athletic notes (subscription required). Jensen also suffered meniscus damage, per Pompei, who adds retirement was a consideration for the injured blocker. Jensen took out a $5MM insurance policy in the event of a career-ending injury. A stem cell treatment in Antigua, however, made a difference in Jensen’s recovery. The 31-year-old blocker managed to make it back to practice late in the season and played in Tampa Bay’s wild-card loss to Dallas. Two years remain on Jensen’s three-year, $39MM contract.
  • Eddy Pineiro came to Charlotte as a Zane Gonzalez replacement, but the ex-Bears kicker fared well. Pineiro made 33 of 35 field goals, including a 15-for-16 mark from beyond 40 yards, and Person views him as the most likely Panthers kicker in 2023. Gonzalez suffered a preseason quad injury, leading to a full-season IR stay. The Rhule signee is under contract through 2023, while Pineiro is a free agent. But the latter has ties to special teams coordinator Chris Tabor, whom Person adds Reich is retaining. Tabor coached Pineiro in Chicago as well.

Saints WR Michael Thomas Out For Week 4; QB Andy Dalton To Start

OCTOBER 1: The Saints confirmed on Saturday that Winston is indeed out, meaning that Dalton will make his Saints debut Sunday morning.

SEPTEMBER 30: When they take on the Vikings in London on Sunday, the Saints will be without at least their top wide receiver, and, in all likelihood, their starting quarterback as well. Head coach Dennis Allen confirmed on Friday that Michael Thomas is out for the game due to a foot injury; Jameis Winston, meanwhile, did not practice for the third consecutive day and is listed as doubtful. 

Thomas had just returned to full health after missing most of the past two seasons with lingering ankle issues. His presence, along with that of free agent signing Jarvis Landry and first-round rookie Chris Olave, led to heightened expectations for the Saints’ offense. The former Offensive Player of the Year started all three of New Orleans’ games to start the year, recording 16 catches for 171 yards and three touchdowns.

Winston has been dealing with spinal fractures so far this season, but this would be the first game action he missed in the event he cannot suit up. That, too, would represent a notable setback given his season-ending ACL tear from last season. His absence, along with that of Thomas, greatly contributed to the Saints’ passing offense finishing as the league’s worst in 2021.

To guard against a repeat of that taking place, even if Winston were to miss time, New Orleans added Andy Dalton in free agency. Given the impression the 34-year-old made on the team during training camp, it would come as no surprise if he got the nod over a banged-up Winston on Sunday. Allen further indicated that the Saints are prepared to have Dalton make his New Orleans debut when speaking to the media.

“Our plan right now is to have Andy ready to go,” he said, via ESPN’s Katherine Terrell“We’ll see how things go overnight, but Andy will be ready to go if that’s the direction that we go.” 

Dalton spent one season with the Cowboys in 2020 and the Bears in 2021 as he has transitioned into a backup. He still saw a combined total of 19 appearances and 15 starts over that stretch, though, earning him a one-year deal with the Saints worth up to $6MM. It appears Sunday will be his first opportunity to demonstrate his value, albeit with a shorthanded group of pass-catchers available to him.

The Saints also ruled out guard Andrus Peat and safety Marcus Maye due to a concussion and rib injury, respectively. With that pair, along with Thomas and (probably) Winston sidelined, they will look to get to 2-2 on the year against Minnesota.

Saints S Marcus Maye Arrested For Aggravated Assault With Firearm

Saints safety Marcus Maye was arrested Thursday morning on a charge of aggravated assault with a firearm, Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.football reports (on Twitter).

Maye’s attorney (via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero, on Twitter) said his client “vehemently denies” an allegation that stems from a motor vehicle incident. Maye signed a three-year, $22.5MM deal with the Saints this offseason. This arrest, however, marks his second in as many years. Ahead of his final Jets season, Maye was arrested for DUI. Thursday’s arrest could have a considerable impact on Maye’s NFL future.

The Saints are moving to a new safety duo this year, having signed Maye to team with New Orleans native Tyrann Mathieu. The veterans are replacing Malcolm Jenkins, who retired, and Marcus Williams, who signed with the Ravens. Maye’s path toward doing so could become complicated.

Maye, 29, did well to cash in despite suffering a torn Achilles’ tendon in 2021. The Jets kept him off the market via the franchise tag last year, and the sides did not come to an extension agreement. The former second-round pick scored $14.5MM in guarantees from the Saints. Those guarantees would be vulnerable, should the NFL suspend Maye under the personal conduct policy.

New Orleans’ secondary came into the week as one of the NFL’s deepest. The team was confident enough in this group to trade away promising slot cornerback C.J. Gardner-Johnson, who will move to safety with the Eagles.

Contract Details: Watson, Adams, Stafford, Jones, Maye, Reed, Joseph-Day, Bozeman

Here are the latest details from contracts recently agreed to across the league, starting with the Browns’ fully guaranteed deal for their new quarterback.

  • Deshaun Watson, QB (Browns): Five years, fully guaranteed $230MM. Everything else about Watson’s Cleveland arrival is complicated; his contract is not. Following the 2022 season, in which the Browns reduced his salary to $1MM due to the likely forthcoming suspension, Watson is set to make $46MM in base salary from 2023-26, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes.
  • Matthew Stafford, QB (Rams): Four years, $160MM. The Rams are keeping Stafford’s base salaries down in the near future; they reside at $1.5MM for both 2022 and ’23, per OverTheCap. The team gave its quarterback a $60MM signing bonus, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. There are no void years on this deal, which includes $49.5MM, $50.5MM and $49.5MM cap numbers from 2024-26.
  • Davante Adams, WR (Raiders): Five years, $140MM. Adams’ deal surpasses DeAndre Hopkins‘ $27MM-per-year pact, but it is essentially a three-year, $67.5MM accord, Florio notes. Only $22.75MM is guaranteed at signing, but by early 2023, $42.9MM in injury guarantees shift to full guarantees. The Raiders have Adams tied to a $3.5MM 2022 base salary, helping for cap purposes, with a $20MM roster bonus representing part of that $42.9MM guarantee in 2023. Adams’ 2023 salary is set to be $6MM. His 2025 and ’26 salaries — $35.6MM apiece — are nonguaranteed.
  • Chandler Jones, OLB (Raiders): Three years, $51MM. The Raiders guaranteed Jones $32MM, with SI.com’s Howard Balzer noting the deal includes an $8.5MM roster bonus (Twitter link). The Raiders, who have Jones tied to base salaries of $4MM in 2022 and $7.5MM in 2023, tacked on two void years for cap purposes.
  • D.J. Reed, CB (Jets): Three years, $33MM. Reed collected $10.5MM guaranteed at signing and will count just $4.6MM against the Jets’ cap this year, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com tweets. Reed is set to count $14.2MM against the Jets’ 2023 and ’24 caps.
  • Marcus Maye, S (Saints): Three years, $22.5MM. Originally reported as three years and $28.5MM, Maye’s deal does include $14.5MM guaranteed, per Spotrac (on Twitter). Maye’s 2022 cap hit is just $2.6MM, and the Saints included two void years. Maye’s cap hits for 2023 and ’24 are $8.6MM and $8.7MM, respectively.
  • Sebastian Joseph-Day, DT (Chargers). Three years, $24MM. Joseph-Day will receive $16.5MM guaranteed, which is up from initial reporting here. His 2022 and ’23 base salaries — $2.5MM and $6.5MM — are guaranteed, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets.
  • Bradley Bozeman, OL (Panthers): One year, $2.8MM. Bozeman will receive a $1MM signing bonus and a $1MM base salary, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets.

Saints To Sign S Marcus Maye

The Saints have added a big-name free agent to their secondary. New Orleans is signing safety Marcus Maye, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo (on Twitter).

Maye got a three-year, $28.5MM deal from New Orleans, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). The deal contains $15MM in guaranteed money.

Maye’s 2021 did not go especially well. A DUI arrest came shortly after tense negotiations with the Jets, who did not finalize a long-term extension by the July deadline. Maye played the season on the franchise tag but suffered an Achilles tear, limiting him to only six games. The former second-round pick started 32 games for New York between the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

It was only a few hours ago that we heard the Jets were keeping an eye on their free agent. Connor Hughes of The Athletic confirms (on Twitter) that the Jets were interested in re-signing the safety, but Maye ended up taking the better offer.

The Saints, meanwhile, watched as safety Marcus Williams left for Baltimore earlier today. The defensive back got a whopping five-year, $70MM deal from the Ravens, so New Orleans certainly got a discount by pivoting to Maye.

Jets Open To Bringing Back Marcus Maye?

Long expected to part ways with Marcus Maye, the Jets may be keen on salvaging this relationship. The veteran safety remains on the team’s radar, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets.

Another Maye agreement coming to fruition would crowd things at safety for the Jets, who have re-signed Lamarcus Joyner and agreed to terms with ex-Bucs back-line defender Jordan Whitehead. Former third-round pick Ashtyn Davis remains under contract as well.

Maye’s 2021 did not go especially well. A DUI arrest came shortly after tense negotiations with the Jets, who did not finalize a long-term extension by the July deadline. Maye played the season on the franchise tag but suffered an Achilles tear. Despite this, Maye still has several fans in the building, Connor Hughes of The Athletic notes (on Twitter).

This would be an interesting move for the Jets, with Maye not only predating the Robert Saleh staff but going back to Todd Bowles‘ Jets stay. The former Jamal Adams tandem partner has started 60 games with the Jets, playing especially well in 2020, when Pro Football Focus graded Maye as the No. 5 overall safety.