Michael Pierce

Ravens Extend DL Michael Pierce

Michael Pierce is sticking around Baltimore. The Ravens have signed the defensive tackle to a two-year extension, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.

The new two-year deal is worth $7.5MM and will keep Pierce in a Ravens uniform through the 2025 campaign. The veteran defensive lineman initially signed a three-year, $16.5MM deal with the Ravens prior to the 2022 campaign. The two sides later reworked that deal to make Pierce a potential free agent following this season.

The former UDFA spent the first four seasons of his career in Baltimore, starting 30 of his 60 appearances. He inked a three-year deal with the Vikings in 2020, but after opting out of his first season with the organization, he was limited to only eight starts in 2021. He was released by Minnesota during the 2022 offseason and quickly caught on with his former squad.

Pierce’s first season back in Baltimore was limited to only three games thanks to a torn biceps, but he’s returned to start each of his 16 appearances in 2023. This season, he’s compiled 36 tackles, one sack, and two fumble recoveries, with Pro Football Focus grading him 18th among 131 qualifying interior defenders.

The Ravens have been busy retaining their defensive tackles. The team extended Broderick Washington prior to the season, and they’ve now locked in Pierce. The last order of business would be Justin Madubuike, who is set to hit free agency after this season. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic says it’s “hard to imagine” that the Ravens would let Madubuike hit the open market, even if it means they have to hit the defensive lineman with the franchise tag.

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.

Restructure Details: Armstead, Dolphins, Hill, Chubb, Chargers, WRs, Ravens, Pierce, Panthers, Moton, Jets, Cardinals, Eagles, Vikings

Teams have until 3pm CT Wednesday — the start of the 2023 league year — to move under the $224.8MM salary cap. With the legal tampering period beginning at 3pm Monday, teams are working to create cap space for free agency pursuits. Here are the latest maneuvers teams have made on that front:

  • The Dolphins have created more than $43MM in cap space over the past two days, being the runaway leaders on this front this week. They agreed to restructures with Bradley Chubb and Terron Armstead to free up $25MM-plus, per ESPN.com’s Field Yates (Twitter links), but they are also using Tyreek Hill‘s receiver-record contract to create room. Miami created $18MM in space by restructuring Hill’s $30MM-AAV deal, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Hill was due a $16MM roster bonus; that and most of his 2023 base salary have been shifted into a signing bonus. Chubb’s base salary is now down to $1.1MM in 2023.
  • Rather than trade Keenan Allen to carve out cap space, Chargers GM Tom Telesco firmly opted against that strategy. The Bolts are keeping Allen, and both he and Mike Williams‘ 2024 cap numbers will balloon. The team freed up $14MM-plus in 2023 cap space by restructuring both their $20MM-per-year wide receiver deals, per Yates. While new funds are available for 2023, Williams and Allen are now tied to $32.5MM and $34.7MM cap numbers in 2024 (Twitter links). Neither should be expected to play on those numbers, which will undoubtedly lead to more maneuvers down the road.
  • The Panthers freed up more than $11MM in cap room by restructuring Taylor Moton‘s deal, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets. This marks the second straight year Carolina has adjusted Moton’s contract. A Xavier Woods tweak also added $1.5MM to Carolina’s cap space, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.
  • Michael Pierce accepted a $2MM pay cut to remain with the Ravens, Pelissero tweets. The move added $2.7MM in funds, Yates tweets. Pierce, who returned to the Ravens in 2022, can earn the money back via incentives. Pierce missed most of last season due to a biceps tear.
  • Pierce’s former team, the Vikings, took the same path with Ross Blacklock. The 2022 trade acquisition accepted a near-$700K slash which he can earn back via incentives, Pelissero adds (on Twitter).
  • D.J. Humphries missed much of the 2022 season, and while the Cardinals have a new regime in place, they are not moving their veteran left tackle. They will use Humphries’ 2022 extension to free up funds, with Pelissero noting (via Twitter) the Cards created $5.3MM in cap space with this restructure. Arizona has moved past $32MM in cap space. More could be coming via a DeAndre Hopkins trade as well.
  • C.J. Uzomah‘s three-year Jets deal became a vehicle for the team to carve out some room. The team freed up $3.6MM in cap space with a recent restructure for the veteran tight end, Pelissero tweets.
  • The Eagles also went to the restructure well Friday, with Yates noting (via Twitter) they are creating $2.5MM in space by adjusting Jake Elliott‘s deal.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/29/22

Today’s minor moves around the NFL:

Baltimore Ravens

Las Vegas Raiders

Miami Dolphins

Ravens’ Michael Pierce Suffers Biceps Tear

SEPTEMBER 29: The sixth-year veteran announced he is undergoing surgery to repair the injury, Rapoport adds (via Twitter). This will almost certainly end Pierce’s season.

SEPTEMBER 28: Michael Pierce‘s first season back with the Ravens may not end up lasting long. The veteran nose tackle suffered a biceps tear in the team’s Week 3 win in New England, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

The Ravens are not ruling Pierce out for the season just yet; the team is determining how to proceed. Pierce is weighing whether to undergo surgery or attempt to play through the injury after a rehab effort, Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com tweets.

Pierce, 29, has played five of his six NFL seasons in Baltimore. After the Vikings released him in March, the Ravens brought him back on a three-year, $16.5MM deal. Of that amount, $6.75MM is guaranteed.

This Pierce injury comes nearly a year after an elbow issue shut him down for an extended stretch in Minnesota. Playing on a three-year, $27MM deal the Vikings authorized, Pierce missed nine games last season. That ended up being his only season in Minneapolis, after having opted out of the 2020 campaign.

A Ravens regular for nearly the duration of his rookie contract, Pierce has excelled in run defense with Baltimore. Pro Football Focus has consistently rated the former UDFA as a top-tier interior D-lineman. This year is no exception, with Pierce slotted fifth among inside defenders through three games. This will certainly deal a blow to Baltimore’s run defense, which is already giving up 5.0 yards per carry (28th through three games).

The team opted not to give Brandon Williams a third contract, but the longtime Baltimore D-line starter remains available. So does Ndamukong Suh, whom the Ravens pursued in 2020. Suh re-signed with the Buccaneers that year. The Ravens still roster the likes of Calais Campbell, former third-rounder Justin Madubuike, third-year backup Broderick Washington and veteran Brent Urban on their defensive front.

Latest On Ravens DL Michael Pierce

Michael Pierce is back in Baltimore. While he still hasn’t been seen on the practice field, it sounds like the veteran defensive lineman will be back for the start of training camp. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic writes that the Ravens expect Pierce to be at the first day of training camp.

Pierce was a no-show during Ravens minicamp. John Harbaugh was quick to dismiss the notion that the absence was injury-related, stating that Pierce wasn’t participating because of a personal issue.

“He’s healthy, he’s good; it’s just a personal matter with his family, and that’s what it is,” Harbaugh said last month (via the team’s website).

As Zrebiec writes, there was “obviously some concern” about the player’s lack of offseason participation “given Pierce’s past injury and weight issues.” However, having played for Harbaugh, the 29-year-old should be familiar with the team’s conditioning test, so it’s really on Pierce to just come into training camp in shape.

The former undrafted free agent spent the first four seasons of his career with the Ravens, starting 30 of his 60 games. He signed a three-year, $27MM deal with the Vikings in 2020, but Minnesota only got eight starts out of him. Pierce opted out of the 2020 campaign, and an elbow injury forced him to miss the middle chunk of the 2021 season. Still, he was productive during his brief time on the field with the Vikings, collecting 20 tackles and three sacks, and that performance helped him earn a new three-year, $16.5MM pact from Baltimore.

After moving on from the likes of Brandon Williams, Justin Ellis, and Derek Wolfe, the Ravens will be relying on Pierce to provide some much-needed depth on the defensive line. Third-round rookie Travis Jones could see some increased reps at camp if Pierce isn’t ready to go.

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.