The veteran linebacker, Jones, lands back with the team he spent the preseason with after getting released in final roster cuts two weeks ago. The former Falcons defensive staple failed to really catch on last year after getting traded to the Browns, failing to amass over 100 tackles for only the second time in his NFL career, the first time being when he only played six games (and already had 53 tackles). While he failed to crack the 53-man roster in an impressive returning group of linebackers in Carolina, he’ll hope to work his way back onto the field from the practice squad.
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 Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers and Saints moves are noted below.
The Panthers have added some defensive line depth. Agent Brett Tessler tweeted that defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth has signed a one-year deal with the organization.
Despite going undrafted out of South Carolina in 2018, Stallworth has managed to put together a productive five-year career. The defensive lineman got into 18 games through two seasons with the Saints to begin his career, and he later appeared in 32 games for the Colts between 2020 and 2021.
Stallworth split this past season with the Chiefs and Texans, compiling 10 tackles in seven games. He landed on Houston’s IR back in May, but he was released via injury settlement a few weeks later. In 57 career games (two starts), the 27-year-old has collected 52 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 14 QB hits. He’s also seen time in four postseason contests.
In Carolina, Stallworth will be reunited with head coach Frank Reich, who spent two years coaching the defensive lineman in Indy. Listed at six-foot-two and 300 pounds, Stallworth could play a role at either defensive tackle or nose tackle for the Panthers. He’ll be competing with the likes of 2020 sixth-round pick Bravvion Roy and 2022 UDFA Marquan McCall for reps behind projected starters Shy Tuttle and Derrick Brown.
Johnson has bounced around a bit since his two-year Buccaneers stay. After a 360-yard receiving season in 2021, the former fifth-round pick has failed to catch on with the Texans or Raiders. Johnson played in two Houston games last year and, after signing a reserve/futures deal with the Raiders, received his Las Vegas walking papers earlier this month. In addition to the notable 2021 showing, Johnson has seven playoff receptions on his resume.
Stallworth re-signed with the Texans in February but ended up on IR — due to what his agent called a short-term injury — earlier this month. This settlement will allow Stallworth to heal up and attempt to play this season elsewhere. Stallworth played in seven games (six with the Chiefs, one with the Texans) last season but logged 32 as primarily a Colts backup from 2020-21. The veteran D-tackle is going into his age-28 season.
The Texans have been busy adding to their squad this week, and now the front office is starting to subtract. According to ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter), Houston has released Eric Tomlinson and placed defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth on injured reserve.
Despite going undrafted out of UTEP in 2015, Tomlinson has managed to put together an eight-year career. He had a three-year stint with the Jets between 2016 and 2018, seeing time in 36 games (29 starts). Since then, he’s bounced around the NFL, spending time with the Giants, Patriots, Raiders, Ravens, and Broncos. He started 12 of his 17 games for Denver last season, hauling in nine receptions while continuing to serve mostly as an extra blocker.
After having a brief stint in Houston to begin his career, Tomlinson rejoined the organization earlier this month. The team has since added Jordan Murray, perhaps costing the veteran his roster spot.
After appearing in 32 games for the Colts between 2020 and 2021, Stallworth got into seven games with the Chiefs and Texans last season. He inked a one-year extension with Houston back in February but has since suffered a hamstring injury.
Placing Stallworth on injured reserve would prevent him from taking the field for the Texans during the 2023 campaign. However, an injury settlement may be coming. Agent Brett Tessler stated (on Twitter) that reports of the IR move are erroneous and an “injury settlement on a short-term injury” is imminent. This move would allow Stallworth to join a new squad once he’s healthy enough to play.
Jennings will be back with the 49ers in 2023. As an ERFA, the former seventh-round pick had limited options. Jennings, who caught 35 passes for 416 yards last season, entered the league as a 2020 draftee but did not play that season. The 49ers will have the option of keeping the young wide receiver through the 2024 campaign; Jennings will be eligible for restricted free agency next year.
Dameon Pierce‘s season has come to an end. The Texans have placed the rookie running back on injured reserve, reports ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter).
Pierce suffered a high ankle sprain during Houston’s Week 14 loss to the Cowboys, although initial reports indicated that the injury was mild. It was believed that the rookie RB may only have to miss a game or two, which wouldn’t necessitate a move to IR. Instead, the Texans decided to shut down Pierce for the year.
The fourth-round rookie has quickly established himself as an offensive focal point in Houston. He’s started all 13 games for the Texans, and he leads all rookies with 939 rushing yards. In total, the Florida product has contributed 1,104 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns. With Pierce out for the final four games, the Texans will likely turn to Rex Burkhead and Dare Ogunbowale to lead their RB room. Royce Freeman will also be signed to the active roster, according to Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com (on Twitter).
Cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. and defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth are also heading to IR, per Yates. Stingley, the third-overall pick in this year’s draft, hasn’t played since Week 10 while recovering from a hamstring injury. He started each of his nine appearances for the Texans this season, collecting 43 tackles and one interception. After starting the season in Kansas City, Stallworth got into one game for Houston in 2022.
There is some good news on the injury front. According to Wilson (on Twitter), the Texans have also activated defensive lineman Jon Greenard from IR. Greenard had eight sacks in 12 starts last season, and he started each of Houston’s first four games this year before landing on IR. To round out their moves, the Texans signed defensive back Jacobi Francis to the 53-man roster and have promoted defensive back Will Redmond and tight end Mason Schreck from the practice squad.
Ellefson came off IR just last week and did not play in the Vikings’ matchup against the Jets. A nagging groin injury will send the third-year tight end back to IR. Although the new IR rules allow for players to be activated twice from IR, Minnesota’s injury-return math may come into play by the time Ellefson’s second activation window opens (Week 18).
In Darden, Browns snagged the NFL’s punt-return yards leader. The 2021 Bucs fourth-rounder has not seen much action on offense, with Tampa Bay oozing experience at the receiver position. But he has been Tampa Bay’s primary punt returner. Darden has totaled 330 punt-return yards this season. A 2021 third-round pick, Schwartz sustained a concussion that has sent him to IR. Ragland has spent the past month on the Raiders’ taxi squad. The Browns are the former second-round pick’s fifth team in four seasons; the ex-Jets draftee was with the Chiefs, Lions and Giants from 2019-21. After losing Anthony Walker and Jacob Phillips earlier this year, the Browns moved Sione Takitaki to IR with an ACL tear this week.
A rotational cog for the Saints, Colts and Chiefs during his five-year career, Stallworth played only 14% of Kansas City’s defensive snaps this season. He committed a third-down roughing-the-passer penalty during a Bengals touchdown drive in Week 13. The Texans had already used one of their injury activations on Dwumfour; the 1-10-1 team has three remaining. Greenard, who led the 2021 Texans with eight sacks, has been on the shelf since going down with a calf injury in an October practice.
Prior to waiving Stevenson, the Bills activated the second-year wide receiver from IR, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The procedural move would allow Stevenson — should he clear waivers — to return to Buffalo on a practice squad agreement. This will still count toward Buffalo’s eight injury activations, but the team still has six remaining. A 2021 sixth-round pick, Stevenson combined for 21 punt- and kick-return reps as a rookie.
The Eagles placed Robert Quinnon IR on Tuesday but will have a reinforcement in Robinson, a 2021 Vikings fourth-round pick. The Eagles signed Robinson off the Vikings’ practice squad in mid-September. He has yet to play in an NFL game.
A former franchise-tagged player, Harris was unable to carve out much of a role in Denver. The ex-Vikings and Eagles starter only played in three games for the Broncos, who signed him just before the season. Despite having a six-INT season on his resume, the 31-year-old defender did not play a defensive snap with the Broncos.