Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These Bengals, Browns, Ravens and Steelers moves are noted below.
Here are Wednesday’s AFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.
The Bengals are signing free agent defensive end Noah Spence, as Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reports (via Twitter). Cincinnati brought Spence in for a workout several days ago in the wake of injuries to DLs Khalid Kareem and Joseph Ossai, and as Pelissero notes in a separate tweet, Ossai is likely to miss the entire 2021 campaign. The third-round rookie sustained a meniscus injury that will require surgery.
The loss of Ossai will be an especially difficult pill for the Bengals to swallow. The club mustered a league-worst 17 sacks in 2020, and while the free agent addition of Trey Hendrickson was supposed to help offset Carl Lawson‘s defection to the Jets, Cincy was also relying on Ossai to play a significant role in its pass rush. The Texas product did not disappoint in his preseason debut against the Bucs last week, piling up five pressures and sacking Tom Brady in an absolutely dominant showing.
Unfortunately, Ossai suffered a wrist injury during that game, and as he was being examined for that ailment the following day, he also noted that he was feeling some knee pain. Further examination of the knee revealed the depth of the problem (Twitter link via Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic).
Spence, meanwhile, has not done much since a promising 5.5-sack performance in his rookie season with Tampa Bay in 2016. The former second-round pick did not make it to the final year of his rookie contract with the Bucs, as he was waived as part of final cutdowns in August 2019. He hooked on with Washington several weeks later, but after seven games with WFT yielded just one sack and three tackles, he was waived again.
The 27-year-old signed with the Saints later that year. He did not get into a game with New Orleans, but the club saw enough from him in practice to re-sign him to a one-year contract for 2020. Unfortunately, a torn ACL suffered in May of that year knocked him out for the season, and after he signed another one-year pact this March, Spence was unable to carve out a spot on the Saints’ roster. He was cut one week ago.
The Bengals hope that Spence can finally start to unlock some of his potential in the Queen City. They are going to need it.
Noah Spence is already starting to generate some interest around the NFL. After getting cut by the Saints earlier this week, the defensive end worked out for the Bengals today, reports Aaron Wilson (via Twitter).
An Ohio State cog who transferred to Eastern Kentucky, Spence flashed as a Bucs rookie by registering 5.5 sacks. However, the defensive end has only collected a pair of sacks since that 2016 campaign. His Tampa tenure ended following a 2018 season where he had only three tackles in 12 games, and despite getting into seven games for Washington in 2019, he finished with only three tackles and one sack.
He joined the Saints in late 2019, but a torn ACL forced him out for the entire 2020 season. Spence re-signed with New Orleans earlier this offseason, but he was cut by the organization on Sunday.
The former second-round pick would be hard pressed to earn a roster spot in Cincinnati, but if he does sign, he’ll have at least a temporary opportunity to show his stuff. Both Khalid Kareem and Joseph Ossai are currently sidelined with injuries, and while the duo isn’t expected to miss any regular season time, their absences will open up reps during the preseason.
A 2021 rule tweak will force teams to cut down to 85 players by Tuesday, and the Saints included a former second-round pick in their first group of cuts. They intend to release defensive end Noah Spence, according to Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.football (on Twitter).
Despite Spence tearing his ACL in 2020, the Saints brought him back on a one-year deal worth the league minimum. The former Buccaneers second-rounder, however, could not make enough of an impression to stick with the Saints beyond the first cutdown day.
This marks another setback for Spence, who has been a preseason cut previously. The Bucs jettisoned him in August 2019, and while Spence found his way to Washington later that year, he wound up being waived by the NFC East franchise as well. The Saints scooped him up in March 2020, but the ACL tear marred any game action.
An Ohio State cog who transferred to Eastern Kentucky, Spence flashed as a Bucs rookie by registering 5.5 sacks. In 18 games from 2017-18, however, the pass rusher combined for just one. New Orleans did not include any fully guaranteed money in Spence’s latest deal.
The Saints are also waiving running back Stevie Scott, Underhill tweets. The Indiana product caught on with the team as a rookie UDFA but will now head to the waiver wire.
The Saints have re-signed edge rusher Noah Spence, according to Katherine Terrell of The Athletic (Twitter link). Due to injury, he has yet to play a down for New Orleans. His new deal is believed to be another one-year arrangement for the sub-$1MM minimum.
The Buccaneers selected Spence in the second round of the 2016 draft and he managed 5.5 sacks in his rookie campaign. Unfortunately, his sophomore season was largely lost to injury and he didn’t really produce in 12 games in 2018. The Bucs waived him prior to the start of the 2019 regular season, leading him to Washington. After two months there, the Saints picked him up in December.
Spence suffered another setback last year when he tore his ACL during spring workouts. Now, it seems like he’s on the road to recovery and ready to compete for a depth spot.
The Saints re-signed defensive end Noah Spence in March, but the former second-round pick is likely done for the season.
New Orleans placed Spence on its reserve/non-football injury list Tuesday. This would only shelve him for the first six weeks of the season, but Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that Spence suffered a torn ACL while working out independently. The Saints would have been unable to place Spence on the NFI list in a normal offseason, with Rapoport noting the injury occurred during the OTA window.
Spence caught on with the Saints late last season but did not play in any games with the team. After the Buccaneers waived him following the preseason’s conclusion, Spence landed with the Redskins. He played seven games with the team, registering one sack.
A Bucs draftee in 2016, Spence has 7.5 career sacks. He recorded 5.5 of those as a rookie. He was expected to compete for a depth spot with the Saints.