Storm Norton

Falcons Sign T Storm Norton Off Saints’ Practice Squad

Storm Norton spent the past six months with the Saints, signing with the team in March and ending up on its practice squad. But an intra-NFC South transaction will send him to New Orleans’ top rival.

The Falcons are signing Norton off the Saints’ P-squad, according to NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo. Atlanta will be the veteran tackle’s sixth NFL destination. He is best known for a Chargers tenure that spanned from 2020-22.

Because they are poaching Norton off another team’s practice squad, the Falcons must keep the seventh-year blocker on their active roster for at least three weeks. Norton spent the past three seasons on the Chargers’ 53-man roster, working as a starter for most of the 2021 campaign. Norton, 28, started 15 games for the Bolts that year, beating out Trey Pipkins for the team’s right tackle job. Pipkins, however, won the following year’s competition to lead Norton to a backup role. The Chargers let Norton walk in free agency this offseason, re-signing Pipkins on a three-year, $21.75MM deal.

Norton, a 2017 UDFA, will join a Falcons team housing entrenched starters at tackle — in Jake Matthews and Kaleb McGary — and one that rosters Isaiah Prince as its swingman. Prince, however, was inactive for the Falcons’ Week 3 game against the Lions.

A Toledo alum, Norton has journeyed to Detroit, Arizona, Minnesota, Los Angeles and New Orleans over the first seven years of his career. He only played in one game over his first three seasons — a 2018 cameo with the Vikings — but worked his way up the ladder in L.A. Norton will now have a chance to make an impression as a Falcons backup.

Wednesday NFL Transactions: NFC South

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 BuccaneersFalconsPanthers and Saints moves are noted below.

Atlanta Falcons

Signed:

Claimed:

Waived:

  • OL Josh Miles

Signed to practice squad: 

Carolina Panthers

Claimed:

Waived:

Signed to practice squad:

New Orleans Saints

Claimed:

Waived:

Signed to practice squad:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Claimed:

Waived:

Signed to practice squad:

Saints Officially Set 53-Man Roster

The Saints welcomed back some old faces and said goodbye to others on their way towards setting their initial 53-man roster. Here are the moves the team made in their efforts to select the team they will open the season with:

Released:

Waived:

The veteran tight end James will have to continue his recent tour of the NFL. He, Holtz, and Krull fell victim to the reunion of New Orleans and former All-Pro Jimmy Graham.

On defense, Smith failed to make the roster after starting 11 games for the Giants last year. Roby is another player who was initially expected to contribute, but will have to pack up his locker.

With the emergence of rookie third-round pick Kendre Miller and the eventual return of Alvin Kamara, keeping Williams in the running backs room just wasn’t worth the roster spot.

On special teams, the third-year punter Gillikin lost the punting battle with undrafted rookie signee out of Miami (FL) Lou Hedley. The viral, jacked, tatted-up, Australian, 30-year-old rookie punter makes his first NFL roster as part of the Saints’ new-look special teams group.

Saints Add OL Storm Norton, Re-Sign P Blake Gillikin

The Saints have added some depth on the offensive line. Storm Norton is signing a one-year deal with New Orleans, according to Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com (via Twitter).

The 2017 undrafted free agent out of Toledo bounced between the Lions, Cardinals, and Vikings (plus a brief stint in the XFL) before finding a home in Los Angeles in 2020. After starting three of his six appearances in 2020, Norton started 15 of his 17 appearances in 2021.

He didn’t start any of his 12 performances this past year, and Pro Football Focus would have graded him as one of the league’s worst offensive tackles had he qualified. However, the site was a bit more bullish on his production in 2020 and 2021.

The Saints may return much of their offensive line depth in 2022, with Norton representing their first move on that unit. Ethan Greenidge, who appeared in 15 games for the Saints back in 2020, is the team’s lone OL free agent.

The Saints weren’t done making moves today. Nick Underhill tweets that the team has re-signed punter Blake Gillikin. The Penn State product joined the Saints in 2020 but didn’t see the field for the team until 2021. He’s appeared in all 34 games for New Orleans over the past two years, averaging 47 yards on his punts. Gillikin has also landed 61 of his 160 punts inside the 20 yard line.

OL Rumors: Pipkins, Packers, Vikes, Falcons

Practically the only need the Chargers did not address this offseason was right tackle, where incumbent Storm Norton and backup Trey Pipkins waged a summer competition. It looks like there will be a change up front for the Bolts. Pipkins appears to have beaten out Norton for the gig, Daniel Popper of The Athletic notes (subscription required). The two are swapping roles, with Pipkins — a 2019 third-round pick — leaving his swing tackle post to try his luck as a starter again. Norton, who replaced Bryan Bulaga early last season and made 15 starts, worked with the second team throughout practice this week and saw time as the second-string left tackle as well. Pipkins, 25, has made 10 career starts. While the Chargers demoted him in 2021, they were impressed with his left- and right-side spot starts late in the season. The University of Sioux Falls product, who is going into a contract year, will work on a line full of free agency investments (Corey Linsley, Matt Feiler) and first-round picks (Rashawn Slater, Zion Johnson).

Here is the latest from the O-line scene:

  • Staying on the right tackle topic, Elgton Jenkins is expected to settle in there when he returns, per Albert Breer of SI.com. A high-end Swiss Army knife for the Packers, Jenkins made the 2020 Pro Bowl at guard and began last season as David Bakhtiari‘s left tackle fill-in. An ACL tear sidelined Jenkins in November. Jenkins would stand to command more in earnings with a quality right tackle season, though staying on the field in 2022 will position him for a lucrative deal no matter where he lines up. The Packers removed both players from the active/PUP list this month but do not yet know if Jenkins and Bakhtiari — who have not played together since December 2020 — will be ready for Week 1, Matt LaFleur reiterated Sunday. When healthy, a Bakhtiari-Jenkins duo would be one of the league’s best tackle tandems.
  • The Vikings are on the verge of having five homegrown first- or second-round picks as O-line starters. Second-round rookie Ed Ingram is “trending” toward being the Vikes’ right guard starter, Kevin O’Connell said (via the St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson). Although Minnesota signed Jesse Davis and Chris Reed as potential stopgaps, Ingram has impressed since moving to first-team duty during camp. Ingram worked with Minnesota’s first team in joint practices against San Francisco, with Davis — who had taken some days off to rest a surgically repaired knee — shifting to the second team, Tomasson adds. Ingram was also held out of the Vikings’ preseason finale Saturday, and while O’Connell stopped short of locking the LSU product into the lineup, that is the likely scenario. Ingram would join 2021 first-rounder Christian Darrisaw, 2020 second-rounder Ezra Cleveland, 2019 first-rounder Garrett Bradbury and 2018 second-rounder Brian O’Neill on a fully homegrown Vikings line.
  • Free agent pickup Elijah Wilkinson looks to have commandeered the Falcons‘ left guard spot, per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who notes the former Broncos and Bears blocker looks set to play ahead of 2021 third-rounder Jalen Mayfield. The Michigan product struggled as a rookie, ranking as a bottom-10 Pro Football Focus guard. Mayfield did start 16 games, so a demotion is certainly notable for player who started one with the Bears last season. Wilkinson’s most relevant NFL work came in Denver, when he served as Ja’Wuan James‘ primary replacement from 2019-20. Mayfield may already be on Atlanta’s roster bubble, per Ledbetter.

Chargers Rumors: RT, Davis, Palmer

The Chargers offensive line is almost perfectly set for the regular season. They return the left-side trio of tackle Rashawn Slater, guard Matt Feiler, and center Corey Linsley, who were all very impressive in the same roles last year. They used their first-round pick this year to fill the right guard spot with rookie guard Zion Johnson out of Boston College. 

The right tackle position is currently a battle between last year’s starter Storm Norton and reserve lineman Trey Pipkins III. Norton has vastly outperformed his undrafted status, but does leave something to be desired at the position. The Chargers are really hoping, though, that Pipkins will live up to his third-round draft stock from three years ago, according to Daniel Popper of The Athletic.

Pipkins spent the offseason working out with Duke Manyweather, who works with offensive lineman in Dallas. Los Angeles will hope that Pipkins will be able to make the leap and take over the starting right tackle job to fill in their ideal offensive line. If not, they will likely rely again on Norton and focus any blocking help directly to that side of the line.

Here are a few other notes on position battles the Chargers face going into the preseason, according to Popper:

  • Cornerback Michael Davis is heading into his sixth year with the Chargers. After spending his first season and a half as a rotational cornerback in the Chargers defense, Davis took hold of a starting job and didn’t relinquish it. Not until this preseason, that is. With the free agent additions of Bryce Callahan and J.C. Jackson, Davis is facing some serious competition for his starting job. As training camp begins, it appears the Chargers have been running with Jackson and Asante Samuel Jr. on the first-team with Callahan coming in as the first option for nickel packages. It’s great news for the Chargers depth at cornerback, but tough for Davis who hasn’t been a backup since 2018.
  • With wide receivers Mike Williams and Keenan Allen set to return as quarterback Justin Herbert‘s top two receiving options, the question rises of who comes in as the third receiver. Los Angeles didn’t make any moves to acquire a new receiving threat this offseason, mainly due to the belief they hold that Josh Palmer will make a significant leap in his second NFL season. As a rookie, Palmer caught 33 balls (third-best for receivers on the team) for 353 yards (fourth-best for receivers on the team). The Chargers will continue to use running back Austin Ekeler‘s receiving abilities in the passing game and, after losing Jared Cook to free agency, they brought in Gerald Everett to start at tight end. But they hope to see Palmer really step up as a wide out so that they can terrorize opposing defenses with a three-headed monster of a receiving corps.

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 4/18/22

Here’s a look at the latest tender decisions from around the NFL:

RFAs

Signed:

ERFAs

Signed:

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/15/22

Here’s a look at the latest tender decisions from around the NFL:

RFAs

Tendered:

Non-tendered:

ERFAs

Tendered:

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/1/22

Here are the New Year’s Day activations from and placements on the reserve/COVID-19 lists:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: G Oli Udoh

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: CB Bryce Hall

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 12/29/21

Several key players returned to practice Wednesday. Here are the latest COVID-19 updates from around the league:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

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 Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Activated from practice squad/COVID-19 list: WR Rico Bussey

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team