The Panthers were going to land Stevens as an UDFA back in April before the Saints snagged him in the seventh-round. He was recently cut from New Orleans’ practice squad last week. Stevens is a diverse athlete who played a Taysom Hill-esque role at Penn State before transferring to Mississippi State for the 2019 college season. His signing could be an indication the Panthers are worried about Teddy Bridgewater‘s status for Sunday, but since they had previous reported interest in Stevens it could be completely unrelated.
Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC South teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers and Saints are noted below.
Additionally, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads today. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.
Here are Sunday’s NFC South transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.
Gerald McCoy spent nearly a decade with the Buccaneers, who have not made the playoffs since 2007. As a result, he is prioritizing a certain type of team as a first-time free agent. McCoy said he plans to sign with a contender, ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson reports.
“I want to win,” McCoy said. “I’m not worried about where I’m living. Wherever I got to go to win. … Everybody’s open.”
Thus far, the Browns, Ravens, Bengals, Colts and Panthers have emerged as McCoy suitors. The Browns and Ravens have received or will receive meetings, Cleveland’s occurring over the past two days and Baltimore’s set for Tuesday. The $11MM-AAV offer is believed to have come from a non-contending team. Despite the Browns’ NFL-long playoff drought (16 years), their offseason improvements have this year’s edition profiling as a playoff threat, joining the Ravens and Colts in that regard. Interestingly, the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots no longer appear to be interested in the six-time Pro Bowler.
Here is the latest from around the league:
Julio Jones and the Falcons are engaged in contract negotiations, and these talks may well be impacting another NFC team’s re-up discussions with a No. 1 wideout. The Cowboys look to be under the impression Amari Cooper is waiting on the Jones deal before moving forward in his negotiation, Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets. The Cowboys and Cooper are at a stalemate presently, and although Cooper may not have much of a case to be paid more than Jones, the Alabama alums’ age difference (Jones is 30; Cooper will turn 25 next month) may bring their next prices closer together.
The Bears are doing some rearranging up front. Former second-round picks Cody Whitehair and James Daniels are switching positions, with Whitehair set to slide to left guard and Daniels to center, J.J. Stankevitz of NBC Sports Chicago notes. A 2016 draftee, Whitehair has started all 48 games in his career and has spent most of that run as the Bears’ snapper. Whitehair played guard at Kansas State, while Daniels — a 2018 draft choice — was primarily a center at Iowa. Both played well last season in their old jobs, Whitehair grading as Pro Football Focus’ No. 10 center and Daniels ending his rookie year as PFF’s No. 29 guard.
Additionally, Bears backup running back Taquan Mizzell is now a wide receiver, Stankevitz adds. Mizzell is also in his third Bears season; he only received nine carries in 2018.
The latest injury Kyle Long‘s sustained will result in a lengthy absence for the former Pro Bowl blocker. The Bears announced they’ve placed their top guard on IR on Saturday.
Long suffered a foot injury in Week 8 and was expected to miss between one and two months of action. It will now be at least two, per IR rules. The sixth-year veteran cannot return until Week 17, if the Bears were intent on bringing Long back. It would be an interesting decision if the Bears were contending for a playoff spot at that point.
The Bears promoted running back Taquan Mizzell from their practice squad, Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune tweets.
This will obviously hurt Chicago’s O-line. Long has dealt with numerous injuries in recent years but returned to be a well-regarded blocker in 2018. Pro Football Focus graded Long as the league’s No. 31 guard through seven games.
Eric Kush also missed Week 8, bringing second-round rookie James Daniels into the starting lineup for the first time. Daniels will be back with the first-stringers in Week 9. If Kush can’t go on Sunday, the Bears have former Chiefs interior lineman Bryan Witzmann and second-year UDFA Rashaad Coward as options. Kush, though, got in a full practice on Friday, placing him on track to be able to suit up Sunday.
Long played in 47 games during his first three NFL seasons — all Pro Bowl campaigns — but missed 14 games between the 2016-17 slates. He’ll add at least eight missed contests to that total. The Bears signed Long to a four-year, $40MM extension in September 2016. The veteran’s injury trouble began immediately after that deal was finalized.