Michael Pierce

Ravens Sign DT Michael Pierce

Michael Pierce is returning to Baltimore. The veteran defensive tackle is signing with the Ravens, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter).

Pierce will sign a three-year, $16.5MM deal with Baltimore, per Rapoport.

Pierce earned his walking papers from Minnesota earlier this week. The Vikings tried to convince Pierce to take a “moderate pay cut,” and when that didn’t happen, they tried to trade him. They couldn’t find any takers, so they ended up moving on from the defensive lineman. Pierce signed a three-year, $27MM deal with the Vikings in 2020, and he was set to have a $10.5MM cap hit in 2022. His release left behind $4MM in dead cap.

After opting out of the 2020 campaign, Pierce made his Vikings debut in 2021. He ultimately collected 20 tackles and three sacks in eight starts. He suffered an elbow injury that forced him to miss the middle chunk of the season.

Following his release from Minnesota, there were whispers that Pierce could look towards a reunion with Baltimore (via Josina Anderson on Twitter), but it was uncertain if the return of Za’Darius Smith would price the Ravens out of the sweepstakes. Ultimately, the two sides agreed to terms, and Pierce will now return to the team that took a chance on him as an undrafted free agent in 2016. The Stanford product ended up spending the first four seasons of his career with the Ravens, starting 30 of his 60 games.

Vikings To Release DT Michael Pierce

Michael Pierce‘s stint with the Vikings is about to come to an end. Minnesota is planning to cut the the veteran defensive tackle, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter).

According to the reporter, the Vikings tried to convince Pierce to take a “moderate pay cut,” but the player clearly refused. The team also tried working out a trade, but despite “some feelers,” a deal never materialized. While the wording of Rapoport’s tweet seems to indicate that the Vikings are holding out hope for a deal, a release still seems imminent.

Pierce signed a three-year, $27MM deal with the Vikings in 2020, but that deal was pushed to 2021 after Pierce opted out of the 2020 campaign. The 29-year-old was attached to a $10.5MM cap hit in 2022, and his release will leave behind $4MM in dead cap.

Pierce made his Vikings debut in 2021, collecting 20 tackles and three sacks in eight starts. He suffered an elbow injury that forced him to miss the middle chunk of the season. The Stanford product spent the first four seasons of his career with the Ravens, starting 30 of his 60 games.

Vikings, DT Harrison Phillips Agree To Deal

The Bills have signed Tim Settle and DaQuan Jones, and one of their previous defensive tackle contributors is heading elsewhere. The Vikings are signing Harrison Phillips, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets.

Buffalo wanted to bring Phillips back, but the four-year veteran moved out of the AFC East champions’ price range, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. The former third-round pick will score a nice payday in Minnesota, signing for three years and $19.5MM.

Phillips worked as a starter and rotational player in Buffalo; he will collect a big raise to likely play a more prominent role in Minnesota. Phillips will join Dalvin Tomlinson in Minnesota, which has Sheldon Richardson on track for free agency and Michael Pierce uncertain to return.

After getting off to a strong start in 2019, Harrison saw that momentum blunted by an ACL tear. He made modest contributions in 2020 but enjoyed a better season last year, making a career-high 51 tackles (four for loss) and posting six quarterback hits. The Bills used Phillips as a starter in eight games last season.

Phillips, 26, joins a Vikings team that plans to address Pierce’s contract, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets. The veteran defensive tackle is tied to a $10.2MM 2022 cap number. Since Pierce’s contract tolled after he opted out in 2020, his deal runs through 2023.

Latest On Vikings’ Cap Situation

The Vikings are looking to reset their cap, and their quarterback could end up being a casualty. According to Jason La Canfora (via Twitter), the Vikings are “eager to move big contracts,” and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they end up moving on from Kirk Cousins.

With the Vikings changing regimes, the status of their four-year starting quarterback has understandably come up. Cousins carries the NFL’s third-highest 2022 cap hit at $45MM, and he’s going into a contract year. If the organization is truly looking to reset their books, it’d make sense to move on from the veteran QB. It would help the Vikings a bit if Cousins agreed to another extension, which would allow the team to reduce his 2022 cap hit. However, Cousins’ camp hasn’t been receptive to that idea.

La Canfora also mentions wideout Adam Thielen, linebacker Eric Kendricks, defensive tackle Michael Pierce, and even running back Dalvin Cook as sizable cap hits that the organization could look to move on from. These four players and Cousins represent five of the team’s seven highest cap hits, joining defensive end Danielle Hunter and safety Harrison Smith.

The Vikings entered the offseason with one of the worst cap situations in the NFL, so it’s not surprising that the team is looking to move around some money. Per OverTheCap.com, the Vikings are currently $15MM over the cap, so moves are certainly coming.

Vikings Activate DT Michael Pierce

SATURDAY: Pierce is now back on Minnesota’s active roster. The Vikings moved Pierce to their game-day 55-man squad Saturday, putting the mammoth D-tackle in position to play for the first time since Week 4.

WEDNESDAY: The Vikings have designated nose tackle Michael Pierce for return from the injured reserve list, per a club announcement. After missing his last seven games, Pierce is finally on the verge of retaking the field.

Pierce enjoyed a great Week 1, collecting two sacks, two tackles for loss, two QB hits, and seven tackles against the Bengals. After that, he was clearly less than 100% and limited to just two tackles over the next three games. Then, when his elbow injury flared up against the Browns, the Vikings were forced to put him on IR.

Pierce, 29, spent his first four seasons with the Ravens. He joined the Vikings on a three-year, $27MM deal in 2020, but missed the year after opting out. His contract tolled, so he remains under club control through 2023.

The 5-6 Vikings could activate Pierce as soon as this week, allowing him to play against the winless Lions. They may also get some additional bulk up front if Dalvin Tomlinson is able to come off of the COVID-19 list.

 

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/13/21

Here are Saturday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

  • Activated from PUP list: DT Trysten Hill
  • Promoted: K Lirim Hajrullahu

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Vikings DL Michael Pierce Could Miss Time

Michael Pierce suffered an elbow injury on Sunday, and the Vikings nose tackle could end up missing time thanks to the ailment. Ben Goessling of the Minnesota Star-Tribune reports (via Twitter) that Pierce “could be out a while.”

The veteran was limited to only 21 defensive snaps during Sunday’s loss to the Browns. The 28-year-old had a great Week 1, collecting two sacks, two tackles for loss, two QB hits, and seven tackles, but he was limited to only a pair of tackles over the next three games.

After spending the first four seasons of his career with the Ravens, Pierce joined the Vikings last offseason on a three-year, $27MM deal. The defensive tackle ended up opting out of the 2020 season.

The Vikings have already started preparing for Pierce’s absence, signing T.J. Smith to the practice squad. As Goessling points out, Smith is already a bit familiar with the Vikings scheme after having played for current assistant defensive line coach Imarjaye Albury at Arkansas. The reporter also suggests that Dalvin Tomlinson could move to nose tackle with Pierce out of the lineup.

Vikings’ Michael Pierce Suffers Injury

Vikings defensive tackle Michael Pierce suffered a calf injury while working out this week (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). He could miss the start of training camp, but doctors believe that he’ll be good to go for the season opener.

The Vikings inked Pierce a three-year, $27MM deal last March. Then he opted out, so they haven’t seen him in live action.

In 2019, his last time out on the field, Pierce logged 35 tackles (two for loss) in 14 starts for the Ravens. Previous to that, he graded as one of the top interior defenders in football in 2017 and ’18, per Pro Football Focus. The advanced metrics pegged him as a middle-of-the-pack defender in his contract year, but he still managed a decently-sized deal in free agency — a pandemic-altered offseason no less.

Barring any setbacks, Pierce projects to start at nose tackle with Dalvin Thompson, Danielle Hunter, and Stephen Weatherly joining him up front. Of course, the recently-signed Sheldon Richardson also figures to get into the mix.

Vikings GM Rick Spielman: Kirk Cousins Is Our Quarterback, We Anticipate Having Danielle Hunter

The Vikings were a big disappointment in 2020, sparking some murmurs that the team could potentially look to move on from Kirk Cousins. Mike Zimmer tried to nip that in the bud about a month ago, and now Minnesota GM Rick Spielman is coming down emphatically.

Kirk Cousins is our quarterback,” Spielman said, via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. “I know there’s a lot of rumors floating around out there, but Kirk Cousins is our quarterback. We felt that he played very well, probably the best that he’s ever played down that stretch last year. Kirk is our quarterback going forward, and I look forward to him (having) another year in this system.”

Some people connecting dots have floated the 49ers as a potential landing spot due to Cousins’ history with Kyle Shanahan, but that sounds exceedingly unlikely. Cousins signed an extension around this time last year that has him wrapped up through the 2022 season. Assuming Cousins is on the roster past March 19th, his 2022 salary of $35MM becomes guaranteed, so they won’t be able to just dump him after this season if he doesn’t perform.

Spielman also provided an update on star pass-rusher Danielle Hunter. There had been a report last year that Hunter would look for a trade if Minnesota didn’t adjust his contract, but Spielman said he hasn’t heard anything about a possible trade demand.

Hunter, who had 14.5 sacks in both 2018 and 2019, didn’t play at all last year due to a herniated disk in his neck. Spielman said his rehab has gone well, “he looks in great shape,’’ and that “we anticipate him being here.’’

He also said the team anticipates having defensive tackle Michael Pierce back in the fold in 2021. Pierce signed a three-year, $27MM deal with the team last March, but then opted out of the season due to COVID-19.

2020 NFL Opt Out Tracker

Per an agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA, players with COVID-19 health concerns can opt out of the 2020 season. Initially, the deadline was believed to be Tuesday, August 4. Talks between the league and the union have pushed it to August 6.

Chiefs guard and medical school graduate Laurent Duvernay-Tardif was the first player to officially opt out. Scores of players followed.

Here’s the rundown, so far:

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • T Brad Seaton

Tennessee Titans

  • OL Anthony McKinney

Washington Football Team

Free agents