Tanoh Kpassagnon

Saints Place Ryan Ramczyk On Reserve/PUP List; Chase Young Nearing Return

7:05pm: NFL network’s Ian Rapoport has provided a discouraging update, noting that Ramczyk’s placement on PUP means he’s out for the entire season. This applies to all vested veterans placed on reserve/PUP prior to the final roster reduction August 27.

4:00pm: Rumored to be in danger of missing the 2024 season, Ryan Ramczyk is already out of the picture for a chunk of it. The Saints placed the All-Pro right tackle on the reserve/PUP list Thursday, guaranteeing he will miss at least the season’s first four games.

A knee injury Ramczyk battled through last season has the eighth-year veteran at a career crossroads, and the Saints drafted a tackle in Round 1 (Taliese Fuaga). The former Oregon State right tackle is training on the left side, but it does not appear Ramczyk will be counted on in 2024. This transaction points to Ramczyk missing the season, NewOrleans.football’s Nick Underhill tweets.

Teams have the option of placing players on the active/PUP list, which is a training camp-only designation that does not affect a player’s regular-season availability. The Saints taking this step with Ramczyk more than a month before they have to does not bode well for the decorated blocker’s chances of factoring into the 2024 campaign.

Ramczyk, who turned 30 this offseason, has started 101 games. Twelve of those came last season, but knee trouble has pointed to this reality for a bit. A cartilage defect in Ramczyk’s knee has led him to this crossroads, which compounds issues for a Saints team in dire straits at tackle. Dennis Allen had labeled Ramczyk’s offseason knee surgery as minor and projected he would be ready for camp but said in April he felt better about the veteran’s chances at the time of surgery.

The team has not seen 2022 first-rounder Trevor Penning pan out; an early-season benching occurred. The Saints then saw three-year starter James Hurst, who worked at left tackle for two seasons and left guard for most of last year, retire. This came shortly after Andrus Peat, a Pro Bowl guard who was Penning’s primary LT replacement last year, defected to the Raiders. This all but assured the Saints would take advantage of this year’s deep tackle crop, with Fuaga being the prize at No. 14 overall.

As recently as last season, the Saints rolled out an O-line with four first-rounders (Ramczyk, Penning, Peat, Cesar Ruiz) and second-round center Erik McCoy. The team went back to the Round 1 well via Fuaga, who is in line to start at left tackle, but the LG and RT spots are uncertain. Penning trained at right tackle this offseason and may well be the favorite to fill in for Ramczyk, but the Northern Iowa alum’s performance to date leaves that as an unstable position.

This will be a blow for a perennially cap-strapped team. The Saints gave Ramczyk a five-year, $96MM extension in 2021. That contract included $43MM guaranteed at signing and $60MM guaranteed in total. Part of a 2017 draft class that changed the Saints’ trajectory, Ramczyk is a three-time All-Pro (first team in 2019) who has given the Saints stability on the right side. Ramczyk reworked his contract this offseason, dropping his cap number from $27MM to $12.9MM. A dead money charge of $23.1MM would come the Saints’ way if Ramczyk moves off the roster via release, though that number could be split via a post-June 1 cut.

In less impactful Saints news, the team placed tight end Juwan Johnson, defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon, linebacker Nephi Sewell and free agency DE addition Chase Young on the active/PUP list. Chris Olave landed on the active/NFI list. Players moved to the active/PUP or active/NFI lists can be activated at any point. The Saints activated rookie wide receiver Bub Means from the active/NFI list Thursday.

Young is coming off offseason neck surgery, though the former No. 2 overall pick has been viewed as likely to be ready for Week 1. His recovery has gone well enough the team does not expect a lengthy stay on the active/PUP list, Underhill adds. A similar assessment emerged last month, pointing to Young — who saw a severe knee injury change his path in Washington — being ready in the not-too-distant future. Young signed a one-year, $13MM deal comprised largely of per-game roster bonuses.

Saints DE Tanoh Kpassagnon Suffered Offseason Achilles Tear

Well before the 2024 season, the Saints’ front seven has been dealt a blow. When speaking to media at OTAs on Tuesday, head coach Dennis Allen said defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon suffered an offseason Achilles tear.

Allen added Kpassagnon will miss at least the start of the coming campaign as a result of the injury. He did, however, leave open the possibility of a return at some point in 2024. The 29-year-old has spent the past three seasons in New Orleans, logging 10 starts in 40 games.

During that span, he has maintained a steady rotational role along the edge. Kpassagnon – who served as a full-time starter in 2020, the final season of his Chiefs tenure – has posted 4.0, 2.0 and 3.5 sacks during his Saints campaigns. He was in line to continue as a key depth contributor in 2024, but this injury will obviously delay his debut or keep him off the field altogether. Considering the Villanova product is a pending free agent, the timing of the Achilles tear is particularly problematic.

New Orleans ranked just 28th in the league in sacks last season, one of the reasons the team made a notable (albeit one-year) investment in Chase Young during free agency. The former Defensive Rookie of the Year is sidelined as he continues to recover from offseason neck surgery. Young is still on track to take part in training camp, though, something which will not be true of Kpassagnon. Cameron Jordan, meanwhile, is rehabbing from ankle surgery, and he is aiming to be available for the end of OTAs.

The Saints also have the likes of Carl Granderson (who led the team in sacks in 2023), along with 2021 first-rounder Payton Turner and 2023 second-rounder Isaiah Foskey in place along the edge. They will be counted on to help New Orleans try and take a step forward in terms of sack production in Kpassagnon’s absence. It will be interesting to see if the latter manages to return in time to see game action in 2024, or if his injury will linger through the campaign and hinder his free agent value.

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.

Saints Extend DE Tanoh Kpassagnon

FEBRUARY 25: Kpassagnon’s deal is now official, per a tweet from his agent; Aaron Wilson of KPRC adds that his contract is two years in length, and has a maximum value of almost $6MM (Twitter link). He will continue his time in New Orleans, and quite possibly be in line for an increase in playing time depending on how many other free agents the Saints are able to retain. The team has a long way to go to achieve cap compliance, and keeping Kpassagnon on the books for the short-term future will eat into their limited funds, albeit while retaining a useful member of their defense.

FEBRUARY 24: As the Saints continue another layered journey toward cap compliance, they are planning to keep one of their impending free agents in the fold. They are closing in on a deal with Tanoh Kpassagnon, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

A seventh-year edge rusher, Kpassagnon has spent the past two seasons in New Orleans. The former Kansas City second-round pick is nearing a multiyear pact, per Pelissero. This move would keep one of the Saints’ rotational pass rushers in the fold.

[RELATED: Saints Restructure Three Contracts]

Void years are attached to Kpassagnon’s current Saints contract. If no deal is reached by the start of the new league year, $1.99MM in dead money would hit the Saints’ books. While that is a modest figure, the Saints are still more than $30MM over the cap. Kpassagnon, 28, played out a two-year, $4.5MM contract this past season.

Although the Villanova product has not become a regular starter, multiple teams have used him as a complementary edge presence. The 6-foot-7 defensive end has registered six sacks during his Saints tenure, one that has included 10 starts. Kpassagnon has added 14 quarterback hits during this span. The Chiefs gave Kpassagnon 24 starts, and he was their edge starter opposite Frank Clark in Super Bowl LIV and Super Bowl LV. Kpassagnon registered two sacks during the 2019 playoffs to help the Chiefs to their first Super Bowl title in 50 years. The team went with other options in 2021, however, one of them being former Saints D-end Alex Okafor.

The Saints may well be losing former first-round pick Marcus Davenport this offseason. Davenport played out his rookie contract and is weeks away from free agency. The Saints are pursuing Derek Carr, though it is unknown how much they are willing to pay the street free agent QB. It should not be ruled out the Saints find a way to keep Davenport, they are unlikely to have much in the way of funds to retain the 2018 first-rounder. The team retaining Kpassagnon, in that case, stands to help its D-end situation at a fraction of that cost.

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/26/22

Today’s minor NFL transactions, including a handful of notable names landing on the physically unable to perform list and the non-football injury list as teams open up camp:

Arizona Cardinals

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

  • Released with NFI designation: WR Cody Core

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Commanders

Saints Restructure Jordan, Kpassagnon

The Saints restructured the contracts of defensive ends Cameron Jordan and Tanoh Kpassagnon, creating $12.45MM in cap room (Twitter link via Field Yates of ESPN.com). Meanwhile, the Saints have also re-signed a pair of would-be ERFAs in defensive end Carl Granderson and defensive tackle Jalen Dalton. 

[RELATED: Saints Interested In Mathieu]

That’ll help the Saints tamp down their payroll, but they still have lots of work to do. Heading into today, the Saints were projected to be $45.2MM over the salary cap, so they still have a franchise quarterback’s worth of dollars to carve out.

Jordan still has two to go on his deal, thanks to the three-year, $52.5MM add-on he signed in 2019. Jordan has spent his entire career in New Orleans, turning in near-perfect attendance and 175 total starts. This past year, Jordan notched his fifth-straight Pro Bowl nod with 12.5 sacks, 59 tackles, six passes defensed, and two forced fumbles.

Kpassagnon, meanwhile, notched four sacks in eight games (five starts) last year. The 6’7″, 289-pound edge rusher still has one year to go on his deal — his contract will remain largely unchanged via the simple restructure.

Saints Place DE Tanoh Kpassagnon On IR

Tanoh Kpassagnon will be sidelined for at least the next three weeks. ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter) that the Saints have placed the defensive end on injured reserve.

Kpassagnon had already been ruled out for Week 13 thanks to a nagging ankle injury. The ailment had forced the defensive lineman to miss the previous two games, as well, and now he won’t see the field until Week 16 at the earliest.

The former second-round pick spent the first four seasons of his career with Kansas City, and he started 23 games for the Chiefs between the 2019 and 2020 seasons (along with six playoff starts and three playoff sacks). He joined the Saints this past offseason on a two-year deal, and he started five of his first eight games with the organization, collecting 18 tackles, four sacks, eight QB hits, and one forced fumble.

New Orleans made a handful of additional moves in anticipation of tonight’s matchup against the Cowboys (per Yates). The team signed offensive tackle Caleb Benenoch, defensive tackle Albert Huggins, and running back Adam Prentice from the practice squad to the active roster, and they also promoted linebacker Chase Hansen and guard Forrest Lamp to the 53-man roster.

Saints To Sign Tanoh Kpassagnon

The Saints have agreed to a two-year deal with defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon. Financial terms of the deal are not yet known, but this is likely a low-cost — and potentially high-reward — signing for the Saints

Kpassagnon was a second-round pick of the Chiefs in 2017. Selected in between Patrick Mahomes and Kareem Hunt, the edge rusher has yet to live up his draft billing. Midway through his tenure at Villanova, Kpassagnon switched from tight end to defensive end and put himself on the NFL radar. After notching 9.5 tackles for loss and six sacks in 2015, he turned in an even stronger senior season – 21.5 TFL and eleven sacks, en route to first-team All-America honors.

The 6’7″, 289-pound athlete has spent much of the last four years as a deep reserve, but he started in 15 games for the Chiefs last year. And, in 2019, he notched a career-high four sacks. Meanwhile, the Chiefs are set to move forward with Jarran Reed and Frank Clark on the edges.

Chiefs Sign Tanoh Kpassagnon

The Chiefs have signed one of their top draft picks, second-round defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon, reports Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star (on Twitter). As the 59th overall selection, Kpassagnon’s four-year deal is worth $4.32MM and includes a $1.28MM signing bonus.

Tanoh Kpassagnon

Kpassagnon played the previous four years at Villanova, where he broke out in 2015 with 9.5 tackles for loss and six sacks. He logged even better production last year – 21.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks – en route to first-team All-America honors. While his sack numbers with the Wildcats were gaudy, the 6-foot-7, 289-pound Kpassagnon is “raw” and “lacks natural pass rush talent,” according to Lance Zierlein of NFL.com.

With Kpassagnon under contract, the Chiefs have signed five of their six picks. Kansas City’s lone straggler is the most important member of its 2017 class, first-round quarterback Patrick Mahomes, for whom it traded up 17 spots to land at No. 10. That bold move came at a high price for the Chiefs, who sent their 2018 first-rounder and a third-round pick this year to Buffalo.

East Notes: Redskins, Dolphins, Jets, Giants

The Redskins have lost $4.5MM in cap space after paying back a “salary cap loan” from the 2011 campaign, as Rich Tandler of CSNMidAtlantic.com explains. Once the lockout concluded in 2011, the league-wide salary cap was set at $120MM per team, a $3MM decrease from the previous capped year. Because of the discrepancy, the NFL allowed clubs to borrow cap space: up to $3MM in 2011, and up to $1.5MM in 2012. Both amounts had to be repaid by 2017, so the bill has now come due for Washington.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • The Dolphins are continuing their search for front seven players by researching draft prospects, reports Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Oklahoma defensive tackle Charles Walker has been invited for a meeting with the Fins, per Jackson, while the club is also showing interest in Temple linebacker Haason Reddick and Villanova defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon. Meanwhile, Miami worked out cornerback John Ojo — who spent 2016 with the Edmonton Eskimoes of the Canadian Footbball League — on Monday, but he’s expected to sign with another team, according to Jackson.
  • Ohio State safety Malik Hooker will visit with the Jets on Thursday, as Hooker tells SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link). Hooker, considered one of the draft’s top two safeties along with Jamal Adams (LSU), will likely be selected within the top 10 picks later this month. In New York, a Hooker addition could possibly lead to the release of veteran defender Marcus Gilchrist.
  • After indicating he was stepping away from the NFL on Monday, Giants defensive end Owa Odighizuwa tweeted Tuesday that he’s “grateful to be part of Big Blue,” but New York sources (and a few Giants teammates) aren’t sure what is going on with the 25-year-old defender, per Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. While some observers believe Odighizuwa is dealing with “personal” problems, the entire nature of his tweets is still unclear.
  • The Redskins are working out offensive tackle John Kling, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. King signed with Chicago last summer after being undrafted out of Buffalo, but was waived during final cutdowns and never latched on with another team.