Payton Turner

Saints Decline Payton Turner’s Fifth-Year Option

As expected, the Saints won’t be committing to Payton Turner beyond the 2024 campaign. According to Ari Meirov of The 33rd Team, the Saints have declined the defensive lineman’s fifth-year option.

Today was the deadline to pick up the fifth-year option on 2021 first-round picks. That commitment would have locked Turner into a $13.39MM salary for the 2025 campaign. Instead, the defensive lineman will hit free agency following the 2024 season.

Things obviously haven’t gone as planned for Turner in New Orleans, with the Houston product being limited to only 15 games across three seasons. He was limited to only five games as a rookie thanks to a shoulder injury, but he managed to stay relatively healthy during his sophomore campaign. That season, Turner found himself in and out of the lineup, finishing the season with 16 tackles and a pair of sacks in eight games.

This past season, the defensive lineman landed on injured reserve after suffering a turf toe injury in Week 1. He didn’t return until January, and he ended his third NFL season with only two appearances.

With the Saints pairing free agent acquisition Chase Young with long-time Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan, Turner doesn’t have a clear path to playing time in 2024. There’s a chance the Saints look to save $2.3MM against the cap and let the former first-round pick pursue a fresh start elsewhere.

2025 NFL Fifth-Year Option Tracker

NFL teams have until May 2 to officially pick up fifth-year options on 2021 first-rounders. The 2020 CBA revamped the option structure and made them fully guaranteed, rather than guaranteed for injury only. Meanwhile, fifth-year option salaries are now determined by a blend of the player’s position, initial draft placement and performance- and usage-based benchmarks:

  • Two-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternates) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag
  • One-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag
  • Players who achieve any of the following will receive the average of the third-20th-highest salaries at their position:
    • At least a 75% snap rate in two of their first three seasons
    • A 75% snap average across all three seasons
    • At least 50% in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will receive the average of the third-25th top salaries at their position

With the deadline looming, we will use the space below to track all the option decisions from around the league:

  1. QB Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars ($25.66MM): Exercised
  2. QB Zach Wilson, Broncos* ($22.41MM): Declined
  3. QB Trey Lance, Cowboys** ($22.41MM): Declined
  4. TE Kyle Pitts, Falcons ($10.88MM): Exercised
  5. WR Ja’Marr Chase, Bengals ($21.82MM): Exercised
  6. WR Jaylen Waddle, Dolphins ($15.59MM): Exercised
  7. T Penei Sewell, Lions ($19MM): Extended through 2029
  8. CB Jaycee Horn, Panthers ($12.47MM): Exercised
  9. CB Patrick Surtain, Broncos ($19.82MM): Exercised
  10. WR DeVonta Smith, Eagles ($15.59MM): Extended through 2028
  11. QB Justin Fields, Steelers*** ($25.66MM): Declined
  12. DE Micah Parsons, Cowboys ($21.32MM): Exercised
  13. T Rashawn Slater, Chargers ($19MM): Exercised
  14. OL Alijah Vera-Tucker, Jets ($13.31MM): Exercised
  15. QB Mac Jones, Jaguars**** ($25.66MM): Declined
  16. LB Zaven Collins, Cardinals ($13.25MM): Declined
  17. T Alex Leatherwood, Raiders: N/A
  18. LB Jaelan Phillips, Dolphins ($13.3MM): Exercised
  19. LB Jamin Davis, Commanders ($14.48MM): Declined
  20. WR Kadarius Toney, Chiefs***** ($14.35MM): Declined
  21. DE Kwity Paye, Colts ($13.4MM): Exercised
  22. CB Caleb Farley, Titans ($12.47MM): Declined
  23. T Christian Darrisaw, Vikings ($16MM): Exercised
  24. RB Najee Harris, Steelers ($6.79MM): Declined
  25. RB Travis Etienne, Jaguars ($6.14MM): Exercised
  26. CB Greg Newsome, Browns ($13.38MM): To be exercised
  27. WR Rashod Bateman, Ravens ($14.35MM): N/A; extended through 2026
  28. DE Payton Turner, Saints ($13.39MM): Declined
  29. CB Eric Stokes, Packers ($12.47MM): Declined
  30. DE Greg Rousseau, Bills ($13.39MM): Exercised
  31. LB Odafe Oweh, Ravens ($13.25MM): Exercised
  32. LB Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, Buccaneers ($13.25MM): Declined

* = Jets traded Wilson on April 22, 2024
** = 49ers traded Lance on August 25, 2023
*** = Bears traded Fields on March 16, 2024
**** = Patriots traded Jones on March 10, 2024
***** = Giants traded Toney on October 27, 2022

Saints To Activate DE Payton Turner From IR

JANUARY 5: Turner’s activation window is closing, but the Saints still have the former first-round pick in their plans. Rather than let Turner revert to season-ending IR, the Saints are planning to activate him, Katherine Terrell of tweets. While Turner figures to be in uniform for New Orleans’ regular-season finale, Marshon Lattimore and Michael Thomas remain on IR and are unlikely to play again this season.

DECEMBER 15: The Saints will be without defensive end Payton Turner for the 13th straight game this weekend, but they have taken a step towards his eventual return by opening his 21-day practice window today. If Turner is not activated by the week of the regular season finale, Turner will no longer be eligible to return from injured reserve.

Turner was knocked out of the team’s season-opener early in the second quarter with a turf toe injury that was set to require surgery to heal. The story had become an all too familiar one in New Orleans. As a rookie first-round pick two years ago, Turner missed 12 games, spending the second half of his rookie year on IR with a shoulder injury. In his sophomore season, Turner would avoid an IR stint but would still miss most of the year, sitting out for nine games.

In addition, Turner has been determinedly unproductive. In the time that he has been available, Turner has failed to crack a starting lineup that has been anchored by Cameron Jordan and has included Carl Granderson, Tanoh Kpassagnon, and current-Viking Marcus Davenport. When he has entered the game, Turner hasn’t been able to do much with his opportunities, amassing only three sacks and six quarterback hits in 14 games.

Going into training camp this offseason, Turner wasn’t even a guarantee to make the 53-man roster. He was set for a backup role, fighting for snaps behind Jordan and Granderson. He was likely already slotted behind Kpassagnon, and the addition of second-round pick Isaiah Foskey to the room made his chances for playing opportunities that much slimmer. If Turner can make a return soon, though, he may be able to benefit from the recent absences of the rookie Foskey.

In the long run, though, three straight seasons of displaying an inability to stay on the field will not bode well for Turner’s future. The Saints will have the decision concerning his fifth-year option looming in the offseason, but at this point, it doesn’t seem like much of a decision. It will be up to Turner to come back from his most recent injury and make a case to stay in New Orleans.

Saints DE Payton Turner To Undergo Surgery

The Saints’ edge rushing contingent suffered a blow on Sunday, and it will be shorthanded for some time. Defensive end Payton Turner suffered a turf toe injury and will undergo surgery as a result, per Nick Underhill of

Turner exited the game early in the second quarter and was unable to return. That led to reports of the turf toe injury, which have now been confirmed to require surgery. The former first-rounder will now miss time in his third season in New Orleans, one in which his future with the organization will likely become clearer.

Ahead of training camp getting underway, it was noted that Turner was not a lock to make the Saints’ 53-man roster. Getting cut would have marked an underwhelming run to his time in New Orleans, but not an entirely surprising one. The 25-year-old made just 13 appearances across the 2021 and ’22 seasons, finding himself a healthy scratch at times. He has yet to start a game, and the free agent departure of Marcus Davenport did not clear a path for a first-team role for Turner.

The Houston alum was pegged for a backup role behind Carl Granderson last month, and it was indeed the latter who lined up opposite Cameron Jordan on Sunday. A rotational workload would have still provided Turner an opportunity to take a step forward in terms of production compared to his first two campaigns (during which he collected just three sacks and 12 QB pressures) and in doing so help his chances of securing a roster spot in 2024 and beyond. Now, his attention will turn to recovery while he is sidelined.

In Turner’s absence, the Saints will still lean heavily on Jordan and Granderson as starters. The team also has Tanoh Kpassagnonwho was re-signed in the offseason, in place as a depth option. New Orleans used a second-round pick this past April on Isaiah Foskey, and he could see a gameday role moving forward if Turner misses considerable time. Foskey was inactive during Week 1.

NFC South Notes: Saints, Panthers, Edmonds

The Saints made a key tweak to their front office Tuesday, announcing Khai Harley will move into the assistant GM role. Harley has been with the Saints for 16 years, most recently serving as the team’s VP of football administration. Mickey Loomis has credited Harley as being one of the chief architects behind the franchise’s aggressive strategy with regards to the salary cap. Omar Khan used this background to become the Steelers’ GM, and Harley rising to this post may put him on the radar for interviews.

New Orleans also Scott Kuhn as director of football administration, Zach Stuart as director of analytics and Rishi Desai as a scouting assistant. Gaining extensive experience on the analytics front, Kuhn spent 16 years with the Vikings. Stuart spent the past three years as the Jets’ analytics coordinator. Additionally, former safety Matt Giordano is now an assistant on Dennis Allen‘s staff. Giordano, 40, spent one season with the Saints (2010); the 30-game starter also played for the Colts, Packers, Raiders and Rams from 2005-13. Giordano had spent six seasons as head coach of Buchanan High School in his native Fresno, concluding that tenure after the 2021 season.

Here is the latest from the NFC South:

  • Although Payton Turner carries a first-round pedigree, he is unlikely to beat out Carl Granderson for the starting role Marcus Davenport vacated this offseason. The Saints are more likely to turn to Granderson — a former UDFA — than Turner opposite Cameron Jordan, Jeff Duncan of notes. Granderson, 26, has stood out in training camp and has two five-plus-sack seasons over the past three years. Turner entered camp after two iffy years, and while the Saints are likely to give the 2021 first-rounder another shot, a rotational role looks to be how this will play out.
  • Jordan’s two-year, $27.5MM Saints extension is fully guaranteed, and it will also include sack incentives. Jordan can pick up an extra $500K with a 10-sack season this year, Nick Underhill of tweets. The 34-year-old defensive end can add $250K by reaching $250K in 2024 and 2025. Sitting 23rd on the official sack list (115.5), Jordan has six double-digit sack slates on his resume — including a 12.5-sack showing in 2021.
  • Frank Reich is in place as the Panthers‘ play-caller to start his HC tenure, but OC Thomas Brown continues to loom as a future option for the post. The first-year Carolina HC said the long-term goal remains to make Brown the play-caller, Darin Gantt of tweets. This is Brown’s first OC post, but he has already booked HC interviews and received interest from other teams regarding their respective OC jobs. A former Rams assistant, Brown earning play-calling responsibilities this year would enhance his case for a top coaching job.
  • Deion Jonesone-year Panthers agreement is worth $1.17MM, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweets. That doubles as the veteran minimum, though Wilson adds the former Falcons mainstay will receive a $75K bonus for making the Panthers’ 53-man roster. The Falcons gave Jones a four-year, $57MM extension before the 2019 season, but the team cut bait on that deal before the 2022 trade deadline. The Browns also removed a year from Jones’ contract, and scant interest came his way this offseason. This will be a key year for the 29-year-old linebacker.
  • The Panthers included four void years in Justin Houston‘s contract, dropping his cap hit to $2.13MM, Field Yates of tweets. Houston signed a fully guaranteed one-year, $6MM deal earlier this month. The contract will include sack incentives, with Wilson adding Houston will receive $500K by reaching 11 sacks and could earn another $500K by hitting 12 (Twitter link). These are classified as not likely to be earned; Houston has one 11-sack season since 2015.
  • As the Buccaneers prepare to use Rachaad White as their starting running back, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times notes offseason addition Chase Edmonds is locked into the third-down role. Edmonds, who received just $153K guaranteed on a one-year Bucs deal, operated as a solid pass catcher for the Cardinals but is coming off a down year. The Dolphins included him as salary filler in the Bradley Chubb trade, and the Broncos made him a cap casualty in March.

NFC South Notes: Falcons, Saints, Shenault

A 16-game starter as a rookie in 2021, Jalen Mayfield missed all of last season due to injury. The Falcons designated the former third-round pick for return but let his practice period expire without an activation. Prior to the injury, Mayfield lost a competition for the team’s left guard gig last summer. They have since moved in another direction at guard, both sliding ex-center starter Matt Hennessy to that post and drafting Syracuse’s Matthew Bergeron in Round 2. As a result, Mayfield spent this offseason primarily at tackle, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes.

Mayfield started 15 of the 18 games he played at Michigan at right tackle. He struggled at guard as a rookie; Pro Football Focus rated him as one of the NFL’s worst O-linemen that year. Guard does not appear to be in Mayfield’s past, however, with Arthur Smith suggesting a swing backup role is likely. The Falcons re-signed right tackle Kaleb McGary this offseason and look to have a fairly set O-line, with Chris Lindstrom, longtime left tackle Jake Matthews and center Drew Dalman rounding out the unit.

Here is the latest from the NFC South:

  • Calais Campbell is expected to play a true edge role in Atlanta, to the point Ledbetter slots the 300-pound defender as an outside linebacker in the Falcons’ defense. It should not be expected Campbell will spend much time in a standup position outside, but it is interesting the career-long D-lineman is even mentioned as a candidate to do so. Campbell is aiming to play around 60% of the Falcons’ defensive snaps, per Ledbetter. That would be in line with the veteran’s Ravens role; he respectively logged 64% and 62% snap rates over the past two seasons. Campbell, who signed a one-year deal worth $7MM, will turn 37 in September.
  • On the topic of positional adjustments, the Panthers are giving Jordan Thomas a shot as an edge rusher. Formerly a sixth-round Texans pick in 2018, Thomas was a tight end during his previous NFL run. He caught 20 passes as a Houston rookie. Thomas, however, saw some time as an edge rusher in the XFL, and Joe Person of The Athletic notes he will attempt to make the Panthers’ 53-man roster as an outside linebacker (subscription required). This is a somewhat unusual transition, as Thomas still primarily played tight end in the XFL. He caught three TD passes this season.
  • Through two seasons, the Saints have not seen much from first-round pick Payton Turner. The 2021 draftee should not be considered a lock to make New Orleans’ 53-man roster, Nick Underhill of writes. While Turner will be expected to make the team, due to his draft status and contract, the defensive end has three sacks in two seasons and was a healthy scratch at points last year. The Saints used a second-round pick on a D-end (Isaiah Foskey) and re-signed Tanoh Kpassagnon, but the team also let Marcus Davenport leave in free agency. The Saints would eat $3.2MM in dead money by waiving Turner; the Houston alum showing belated development would obviously be the best-case scenario for the team.
  • New Orleans also did not re-sign Jarvis Landry this offseason, leaving some competition for the receiver spots alongside Chris Olave and Michael Thomas. James Washington is not a lock to make the Saints’ roster, but Underhill adds the ex-Steelers second-rounder impressed during the offseason program and will be in the mix to snag one of the backup jobs. The Saints signed Washington to a league-minimum deal with nothing guaranteed.
  • The Panthers are still determining the best way to deploy Laviska Shenault, but Person notes a bigger run-game role will likely be in the cards. A fourth-year wide receiver, Shenault totaled nine carries last season. One of them went for a 41-yard touchdown. The former second-round pick worked in a hybrid capacity at points in Jacksonville as well and has logged 38 career carries.

Saints DE Payton Turner Cleared For Training Camp

It sounds like the Saints’ 2021 first-round pick will be completely healthy heading into training camp. Saint defensive end Payton Turner announced on Twitter that he’s been medically cleared to return to the field.

“It’s been a long road to recovery,” Turner wrote. “I had a pretty major shoulder surgery last November and didn’t have quite the rookie year I wanted, but shoutout to everybody that’s stayed down with me and helped me get to this point, blessed to say I’ve been cleared.”

Following a 2020 campaign at Houston that saw him finish with five sacks, 10.5 tackles for loss, and second-team All-ACC honors, the Saints selected Turner with the 28th-overall pick in the 2021 draft. The rookie saw an inconsistent role through the first half of the season, thanks in part to an undisclosed injury that halted his progress during training camp and a separate elbow injury that kept him off the field. He was inactive for three of New Orleans’ first eight games, with the defensive lineman collecting 12 tackles and one sack.

He suffered a shoulder injury in early November that ultimately landed him on injured reserve. The rook later underwent surgery, officially ending any hope that he’d return again in 2021.

The 23-year-old defensive end now has a chance at a fresh start in 2022, although it remains to be seen if new head coach (and former defensive coordinator) Dennis Allen will keep him on a tight leash. Considering his lack of experience, it could be difficult for Turner to jump Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport in the starting lineup. However, Davenport is rehabbing from his own shoulder surgery, which could open the door for the second-year pro.

Saints Place DL Payton Turner On IR

The Saints are placing their rookie first-round pick on injured reserve. According to ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter), defensive lineman Payton Turner has been placed on IR.

Turner suffered a shoulder injury that limited him to a season-low 15 snaps during Sunday’s loss to the Falcons. The defensive lineman had just returned to the lineup after missing two games with a calf injury, so this is unfortunate timing for the rook. He’ll be out for at least the next three games.

The Houston product was selected by the Saints with the 28th-overall pick in the 2021 draft. He’s seen time in five games this season, collecting 12 tackles, three tackles for loss, three QB hits, and one sack. In his first four games of the season, Turner has appeared in at least 40 percent of his team’s defensive snaps.

Turner has mostly played defensive end since entering the NFL, and the Saints have plenty of depth at the position in Cameron Jordan, Marcus Davenport, Tanoh Kpassagnon, Carl Granderson, and Jalyn Holmes.

Saints Sign Entire Draft Class, Restructure Marshon Lattimore

The Saints just knocked out a big order of business. New Orleans has signed their entire draft class to their rookie deals, as Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football tweeted.

To create the cap space necessary for these deals, the team restructured cornerback Marshon Lattimore‘s contract, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets. They converted his “$10.2M fifth year option to a $990K base salary and the rest in a roster bonus with voidable years,” he reports. Rapsheet adds that the team will “keep working on an extension” with Lattimore.

The six-man draft class includes defensive end Payton Turner (first-round; Houston), linebacker Pete Werner (second-round; Ohio State), cornerback Paulson Adebo (third-round; Stanford), quarterback Ian Book (fourth-round; Notre Dame), offensive tackle Landon Young (sixth-round; Kentucky), and wide receiver Kawaan Baker (seventh-round; South Alabama).

It’s great they got this out of the way as the offseason starts to heat up with mandatory minicamps. The Saints had been in a terrible cap situation at the end of 2020, but GM Mickey Loomis has always been able to work some magic.