Russell Gage

Saints Working Out WR Russell Gage, S Roderic Teamer

As recent UFL players are emerging on the workout radar, NFL teams also use minicamp to occasionally audition veteran free agents. The Saints are doing so, bringing in a former Falcons regular looking to rebound.

Russell Gage‘s three-year, $30MM Buccaneers pact did not go well, and he missed all of last season with an injury. Gage excelled on his Falcons rookie contract, however, and the Saints will take a look at the NFC South lifer. The veteran slot receiver joins veteran safety Roderic Teamer as players working out at Saints minicamp, New’s Nick Underhill tweets.

A ruptured patellar tendon sustained last August knocked Gage out for the 2023 season. Brought in to complement Mike Evans and Chris Godwin after the Antonio Brown addition predictably ended poorly, Gage did not justify his contract in 2022, either. While Gage did make some contributions by posting a 426-yard, five-touchdown season in Tom Brady‘s finale, he did not match his best Falcons showings while attached to an eight-figure-per-year contract.

Gage’s 2022 numbers, however, came in 13 games; the former sixth-round pick missed time due to a hamstring injury. The Bucs still gave Gage a slight pay cut during the 2023 offseason, though the team increased his guarantee figure in the process. The team declined a 2024 Gage option this offseason, sending him to free agency.

With an Atlanta team that had seen extended Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley unavailability stretches during the early 2020s, Gage stepped in as a key Matt Ryan target. The LSU alum posted 786 yards and four touchdowns in 2020, teaming with Ridley while Jones battled a chronic hamstring issue, and added 770 yards and four scores in 2021 — as Ridley left the team midway through the season. The Saints will evaluate Gage’s form ahead of his age-28 season.

New Orleans released Michael Thomas after a spate of injuries and did not make a major addition to their wideout group this offseason. The team did add Equanimeous St. Brown and use a fifth-round pick on Bub Means, but the Chris OlaveRashid Shaheed duo still leads the way in New Orleans. A.T. Perry also flashed during his rookie season. As the team shifts to a Klint Kubiak-run offense, more receiving help is on the radar.

Teamer, 27, has made 11 career starts. The former Chargers UDFA found a role with the Raiders, but the team moved on following a November DUI arrest. Teamer’s arrest came years after he incurred a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. Teamer, however, is a New Orleans native who attended college at Tulane. His local team will see about a second chance.

The Saints roster a more acclaimed New Orleans native (Tyrann Mathieu) but released Marcus Maye this offseason. Jordan Howden, a 2023 fifth-round pick, operated as Maye’s primary replacement last season. A Teamer addition would undoubtedly be for depth purposes.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/20/23

Here are today’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Detroit Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

It appears that, like Colby Wadman before him, Palardy is just a camp body. Incumbent punter Tress Way is dealing with a back ailment, and he will only work as the holder in the Commanders’ preseason contest against the Ravens tomorrow night (Twitter link via Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post). So Palardy, who has appeared in 80 games in his career (including eight with the Patriots in 2022), will have a chance to audition for other clubs that may be on the lookout for a punter at some point.

Washington is also in need of another player to rotate in on the defensive line, as Jonathan Allen (plantar fasciitis) and Phidarian Mathis are both banged up (Twitter link via ESPN’s John Keim). Mack, who has 25 appearances in his pro career, will at least help the team get through camp and the rest of the preseason slate.

Buccaneers WR Russell Gage Out For Season

AUGUST 17: Gage did not suffer an ACL tear, but Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times indicates the veteran wideout ruptured his right patellar tendon (Twitter link). Gage will undergo season-ending surgery this week.

AUGUST 16, 12:21pm: The injury will end up sidelining Gage for the season, Jeremy Fowler of tweets. While it is not known if Gage suffered a torn ACL, that would stand to be the expected prognosis here. Either way, the Bucs will be down one of their top pass catchers for the 2023 slate.

10:53am: As the Buccaneers’ offense sputtered, Russell Gage‘s first Tampa Bay season did not go quite as planned. The sixth-year wide receiver may not step on the field for a second Bucs campaign.

Gage suffered a non-contact knee injury during a joint practice with the Jets on Wednesday, and Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of report the belief is this malady will end the veteran pass catcher’s season (Twitter link). A cart transported Gage off the practice field.

Ahead of Tom Bradys third and final season with the team, the Bucs gave Gage a three-year, $30MM deal to join Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. After improving over the course of his Falcons rookie contract, Gage generated interest on the open market. But he did not take off with the Bucs. The LSU alum totaled 51 catches for 426 yards — numbers well off his 2020 and ’21 outputs — as the Bucs’ offense fell off a cliff in 2022. Gage’s first Bucs season also ended with a concussion sustained in the team’s wild-card loss. He soon accepted a pay cut — in exchange for additional 2023 guarantees — to stay with the team.

Tampa Bay still rosters its long-running Evans-Godwin tandem, but Scotty Miller is now with the Falcons after signing a low-cost free agency pact. A Gage injury will would this year’s team more as well, with Julio Jones also no longer on the roster. The Bucs drafted Trey Palmer in Round 6, but their offense — to be quarterbacked by Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask — will be down its expected WR3 if this report turns out to be accurate.

Gage, 27, topped 700 receiving yards in both the 2020 and ’21 seasons in Atlanta, helping then-Matt Ryan-quarterbacked teams compensate for absences at the position. Gage broke through as an auxiliary option initially due to Jones’ hamstring injury in 2020 and then stepped up as Ryan’s top wideout in 2021 after Calvin Ridley left the team midway through that season. Those two showings catapulted Gage into free agency, and the Bucs — despite having Evans signed to an $18MM-per-year deal and franchise-tagging Godwin — authorized a third eight-figure-per-year wideout accord.

Losing Gage would represent familiar territory for the Bucs, who saw Ryan Jensen go down with a regular-season-ending knee malady during training camp last year. While Jensen returned in time for the wild-card loss to the Cowboys, he may not be a lock to start this season on time.

NFL Restructures: Watson, Gage, Edwards, Hines

As expected, the Browns have restructured the contract of quarterback Deshaun Watson, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter link). The move saves Cleveland just under $36MM in cap space, and avoids Watson breaking the NFL record for the highest cap hit in a single season (he was due to count for $54.9MM in 2023).

As was recently noted, the Browns did not require Watson’s permission to convert base salary into signing bonus, though he was reportedly open to the idea. His historic, fully-guaranteed pact signed last offseason upon his acquisition from the Texans was always seen as a financial burden beginning in 2023 due to its structure. While this move thus comes as no surprise (and will, of course, affect his cap hits in future years), it will give Cleveland the spending power needed to make at least one or two notable additions in free agency this week.

Here are some other recent contract restructures, as teams look to carve out much-needed cap space for the coming free agent frenzy:

  • Buccaneers receiver Russell Gage took a slight pay cut for this year to remain in Tampa Bay. Per Rapoport (on Twitter), the 27-year-old agreed to lower his salary from $10MM to $7MM – the latter figure now being fully guaranteed – with incentives in place to earn it back. After a slew of recent cost-cutting moves and financial maneuvering, Tampa Bay is now slightly under the cap ceiling in time for the start of the new league year.
  • Backup Ravens running back Gus Edwards has been seen by many as a potential cut or trade candidate, as the team looks to add financial wiggle room. He will remain in the fold for the coming season, however. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports that the 27-year-old has agreed to drop his base salary (set to be $4.4MM) by roughly $1MM (Twitter link). He, too will have the chance to make back that amount and more if he hits the new incentives in place in his deal. Edwards is entering the final year of his contract.
  • The Bills will have Nyheim Hines in the backfield at a different cap number than he was originally scheduled for. Rapoport’s colleague Mike Garafolo tweets that Hines is re-working his contract to move part of his base salary into a signing bonus. The midseason trade acquisition was due a base salary of $4.45MM in 2023, and set to carry a cap hit of $4.79MM. Garafolo notes that Hines will have the chance, via incentives, to earn more than the latter figure this season. He is on the books through 2024.

Injury Rumors: Hyde, Gage

Bills safety Micah Hyde was initially thought to be out for the year after suffering a neck injury in only the second week of this season. A glimmer of hope appeared in late November when a neck surgery allowed Hyde the relief needed to return to active participation with the team. The good news came to a head when Buffalo designated their veteran safety to return from injured reserve a little over a week ago.

Not taking anything away from what the good news means for Hyde and his eventual return to the field, the Bills are remaining cautious and patient with Hyde this season. He was ruled out before last week’s matchup against the division rival Dolphins and ruled out for the divisional round a week in advance, according to ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg.

Head coach Sean McDermott spoke on Hyde’s situation, saying, “After (the divisional round), I don’t know. It’s kind of one of those things like, wake me up when…tap me on the shoulder when he’s ready.”

Here’s another rumor, this one concerning an injury that occurred on Monday:

  • Buccaneers wide receiver Russell Gage encountered a scare when he exited Monday night’s loss to the Cowboys on a stretcher after taking a scary hit to the head and neck area. Tampa Bay’s official Twitter account released a statement explaining that Gage suffered a neck injury and a concussion and was taken to a hospital for an overnight stay where he received additional testing and observation. Head coach Todd Bowles told the media that Gage was released from the hospital the next day, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Bowles divulged that Gage avoided serious injury in his neck and that “he has all his extremities moving.”

Buccaneers Designate RB Giovani Bernard For Return

The Buccaneers offense could soon be getting some reinforcement. The team announced that they’ve designated running back Giovani Bernard to return from injured reserve. The Buccaneers now have three weeks to activate the running back to their active roster.

Bernard landed on injured reserve in September after suffering an ankle injury in Week 2. In his one-plus games this season, the 30-year-old exclusively played on special teams, including one kickoff return.

The RB hasn’t played a significant offensive role since joining the Buccaneers in 2021, as he finished his first season in Tampa Bay with only 181 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns on 31 touches. However, he’s only two years removed from a 2020 campaign that saw him finish with 771 yards from scrimmage. Leonard Fournette suffered a hip injury last week, but thanks to a Week 11 bye week, he should be good to go on Sunday. Rachaad White had a career day while filling in for Fournette, finishing with 105 rushing yards on 22 carries. Bernard made a name for himself as a pass-catcher in Cincinnati, and if Leonard’s hip injury lingers, the veteran could end up seeing more offensive snaps.

The Buccaneers got some more good injury news today, as guard Luke Goedeke and wideout Russell Gage returned to practice, per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter). Gage has missed a month with a hamstring injury, and with the offseason acquisition now back on the field, Tom Brady will have a full grouping of wideouts heading into the final stretch of the season. Goedeke’s foot injury forced him to miss a chunk of time, and the veteran has since been jumped in the starting lineup by Nick Leverett.

Meanwhile, while safety Logan Ryan has been working out with the team, he still hasn’t been activated from injured reserve. The veteran defensive back’s foot surgery landed him on IR back in October.

Latest On Buccaneers Injuries

The Buccaneers are still dealing with their fair share of injuries, but the team could soon be welcoming back some key players. According to ESPN’s Jenna Laine, defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, cornerback Carlton Davis II, and cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting all practiced this week, a strong indication that they’re ready to return from their respective injuries.

Hicks has been sidelined since Week 2 while nursing a foot injury. The veteran defensive lineman started 77 games during his six seasons in Chicago before joining the Buccaneers this past offseason. He started each of Tampa’s first two games, collecting five total tackles. His return to the lineup will surely help a defensive line that has struggled against the run.

“It helps because it puts everybody back in their roles,” coach Todd Bowles said. “It puts everybody back in their roles and they can get the amount of time and play how they’re used to playing, and it helps us up front because it gives us a dimension we haven’t had over there.”

Davis had missed the past two games after aggravating a hip injury in Week 6. The 25-year-old started each of the Buccaneers’ first six games, collecting 31 tackles and four passes defended. Murphy-Bunting suffered a squad injury in Week 5 that forced him to miss a handful of games.

Of course, as mentioned, Tampa Bay still has a crowded injury list. Pro Bowl defensive back Antoine Winfield Jr. will be out tomorrow against the Rams, as will tight end Cameron Brate, left guard Luke Goedeke, and wide receiver Russell Gage.

Buccaneers To Add WR Russell Gage

Despite rostering Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, the Buccaneers have agreed to terms with Russell Gage. The ex-Falcons wideout will join the Bucs’ deep receiving stable, Ian Rapoport of tweets.

It’s a three-year deal worth $30MM, according to Aaron Wilson of (on Twitter). The deal contains $20MM in guaranteed money.

Coming off back-to-back 700-yard seasons, Gage looks set to step into Tampa Bay’s WR3 role — one vacated by Antonio Brown — behind the two Pro Bowlers. This move arms the Bucs with a proven complementary weapon while further depleting a Falcons receiving corps that has seen its crew decimated over the past several months.

Since June 2021, the Falcons have seen their Gage-Julio JonesCalvin Ridley trio gutted by the Jones trade, Ridley’s in-season exit and subsequent gambling suspension and now this impending transaction. Atlanta has some critical work to do at the receiver position this offseason. Gage’s 770 receiving yards — in just 14 games — were by far the most among Falcons wideouts last season.

The Bucs used their franchise tag on Godwin for the second straight year, keeping their younger Pro Bowl receiver in the fold for Tom Brady‘s third season with the team. While Brady famously advocated for Brown, constant turmoil notwithstanding, the mercurial standout burned the Bucs for that faith late last season. Gage is now set to step into a much higher-profile NFC South role.

Falcons’ Calvin Ridley To Miss Week 5

Calvin Ridley will not make the trip with his Falcons teammates to London. The Falcons have ruled out their top wide receiver in Week 5 due to a personal matter.

This certainly represents a blow to a passing attack that will also be without Russell Gage, who will join Ridley in staying home for the Falcons’ London game. Gage is battling an ankle injury that forced him to miss the past two games. The fourth-year wideout remains on Atlanta’s active roster.

Ridley became Atlanta’s unquestioned No. 1 wideout this summer, when the Falcons sent Julio Jones to the Titans, and has 27 receptions for 255 yards and a touchdown this season. The Falcons picked up Ridley’s fifth-year option earlier this year. With Jones out of the picture, a Ridley extension would appear imminent in 2022.

Though Kyle Pitts‘ presence will become even more pivotal, the Falcons will be down to a skeleton crew at receiver against the Jets. They have the likes of Olamide Zaccheaus, a third-year UDFA, and Tajae Sharpe in the fold. Atlanta, however, has also done well to coax quality run- and pass-game work from Cordarrelle Patterson, who leads the team with 354 scrimmage yards and five touchdowns.

NFC South Notes: Falcons, Anderson, Saints

The Falcons were interested in trading up during Round 1 for Alabama defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne, per Tony Pauline of However, the Redskins taking him at No. 13 made the Falcons change their plan. They stood pat and drafted Payne Crimson Tide teammate Calvin Ridley, doing so despite having Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu in the fold. Pauline notes the Falcons passed on Florida defensive tackle Taven Bryan — the Jaguars’ pick at No. 29 — because they weren’t particularly enamored with the former Gator’s game. Atlanta has Grady Jarrett and Jack Crawford stationed in the middle of its defensive front, and the team used a third-round pick to help out at this spot in taking South Florida interior defender Deadrin Senat.

Here’s the latest from the NFC South:

  • C.J. Anderson‘s Panthers deal will be worth around $1.7MM this season, with Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer adding that $800K in incentives are available to the longtime Broncos starter. This comes after the Broncos released Anderson well over a month into free agency. The 27-year-old running back would have made $4.5MM in 2018 on his previous contract, one the Dolphins originally designed and one the Broncos shed free of any dead-money charges.
  • While it’s only rookie minicamp, the Falcons had former LSU wide receiver Russell Gage playing cornerback on Day 1, Vaughn McClure of tweets. Gage played wide receiver during his final two years at LSU but as a sophomore worked exclusively at cornerback. He did so as a freshman as well but didn’t see much action playing defense in college. He managed to be a sixth-round wide receiver pick despite finishing his college career with just 28 receptions, so the Falcons — who traded up to get Gage — may have a firm plan for the rookie.
  • Sharrod Neasman saw action in 14 games for the Falcons from 2016-17, but he’s working out with the Saints during their rookie camp this weekend, Tom Pelissero of tweets. A 26-year-old safety and a former UDFA, Neasman drew interest from the Saints in the past. Pelissero notes New Orleans tried to sign him off Atlanta’s practice squad. Neasman worked out for the Chiefs recently as well.