Trevor Penning

Saints Bench LT Trevor Penning

After starting the first five games of the 2023 season, Saints LT Trevor Penning has been benched, as Jeff Duncan of writes. Veteran James Hurst will man the blindside in New Orleans’ game against the Texans today.

Penning, the No. 19 overall pick of the 2022 draft, had his NFL debut delayed by nearly three months by a torn foot ligament, and he sustained a Lisfranc injury in Week 18 of the 2022 season that required multiple surgeries. All in all, Penning played in his just six games (one start) in his rookie campaign and saw a mere 58 snaps at left tackle.

To his credit, the Northern Iowa product has played every snap this season, but his performance has been a mixed bag at best. Out of the 62 offensive tackles who have played at least half of their team’s snaps in 2023, Penning ranks 47th, according to Pro Football Focus’ metrics. And while the offensive line as a whole had a good day in the Saints’ 34-0 victory over the Patriots last week, Penning earned a subpar 54.7 grade, the lowest mark among the club’s front five.

After allowing two sacks and six pressures in New Orleans’ Week 1 contest against Tennessee, Penning has allowed just one sack and eight pressures over the past four games. That improvement, however, was not enough for the coaching staff as it seeks to coax more out of an offense that presently ranks 25th in the league in yardage and 22nd in scoring.

Hurst started 16 games at LT in Penning’s absence in 2022 and has started each of the Saints’ first five games of the current season, including four at left guard and one at right guard. If Andrus Peat — who is dealing with a groin injury and who missed the New England game due to a concussion — is unable to suit up, offseason acquisition Max Garcia would fill in at LG.

Duncan characterizes Penning’s demotion as a surprise, and it is currently unclear when he will be reinserted into the lineup.

NFC South Notes: White, Falcons, Saints

Weeks after making a trade request, Devin White showed for Buccaneers minicamp this week. This was the expected outcome, but the talented linebacker did not participate. Still, Todd Bowles did not refer to this as a hold-in measure. The second-year Tampa Bay HC said (via ESPN’s Jenna Laine) the team wanted to gauge White’s readiness, though it is unclear if the former top-five pick is dealing with a specific injury. Bowles said he expects White to be ready to go for training camp. Though, that could be when a hold-in effort takes place in earnest. White, who avoided nearly $100K in fines by reporting to minicamp, is tied to an $11.7MM fifth-year option salary. Although White wants top-five ILB money and has not yet seen the Bucs show interest in signing off on such an extension, team brass said multiple times this offseason no trade desire exists on the organization’s part.

Here is the latest from the NFC South:

  • It appears the Falcons‘ big-ticket Jessie Bates acquisition will displace Jaylinn Hawkins. After the former fourth-round pick started 16 games last season, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter notes it will likely be Bates teaming with Richie Grant — a 17-game starter in 2022 — this year. Pro Football Focus’ No. 66 safety last season, Hawkins may factor in when the team uses three-safety looks. But a contract-year demotion looks set to commence.
  • Falcons defensive tackle Ta’Quon Graham missed last season’s final seven games due a full MCL tear, Michael Rothstein of tweets. After not participating in OTAs, the third-year defender was back on the field at minicamp. Like Hawkins, Graham might see the Falcons’ free agency moves affect his role. The team signed David Onyemata and Calais Campbell, and Eddie Goldman is attempting to return after a 2022 retirement call. Goldman, however, did not work with the team during minicamp.
  • Trevor Penning already underwent surgery to repair a Lisfranc injury sustained in Week 18. While the Saints tackle is expected to be ready for training camp,’s Jeff Duncan notes he is undergoing a second procedure Friday to remove hardware from the repaired foot. Penning started just one game as a rookie, seeing another injury — a torn foot ligament — delay his NFL debut by nearly three months. But the 2022 first-round pick is on track to be New Orleans’ Week 1 left tackle starter this year. James Hurst, the team’s primary blind-sider last season, shared first-team duties with third-year blocker Landon Young at minicamp.
  • After spending the past two seasons as a Saints staffer, Sterling Moore will not be with the team going forward. The Saints dismissed the former cornerback from their staff,’s Nick Underhill tweets. Moore worked as New Orleans’ assistant DBs coach last season. Moore, 33, started 12 games for the Saints in 2016 and played two seasons with the team. The Saints hired a new defensive coordinator this offseason — Joe Woods — but it is unclear if that move will directly lead to Moore’s summer exit.
  • The Saints made an addition to their scouting department recently, with’s Neil Stratton relaying (via Twitter) the team hired former Louisiana Tech staffer Ziad Qubti as their college scouting coordinator. This will be Qubti’s first NFL gig.

NFC Injury Rumors: Rams, Commanders, Penning, Swift

Rams rookie safety Russ Yeast endured a scary moment on Sunday in the team’s loss to the Seahawks, according to Sarah Barshop of ESPN. The seventh-round pick earned the first start of his career in place of Nick Scott, who was placed on injured reserve last week.

In the game, Yeast suffered a pulmonary contusion and needed to be taken to the hospital via ambulance. Head coach Sean McVay told reporters that Yeast was in stable condition but would stay in the hospital overnight. Yeast was reportedly scheduled to return to Los Angeles on Monday, according to The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue.

Following the dramatic events around Bills safety Damar Hamlin, another cardiac event requiring a hospital visit was the last thing the NFL wanted to see in Week 18.

Here are a few other injury rumors from around the NFC:

  • As the Commanders‘ season came to an end, Washington decided to address some players’ injuries, according to Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post. Head coach Ron Rivera informed the media before their final regular season matchup that running back Antonio Gibson underwent surgery to repair a fracture in his foot. Additionally, defensive tackle John Ridgeway tore a pectoral muscle in the team’s season finale against the Cowboys. He’ll have the full offseason to recover.
  • Saints first round rookie tackle Trevor Penning missed much of his first NFL season with a foot injury. What was initially thought to be a “bad case of turf toe” ended up being a torn ligament in his foot, resulting in him missing the first 11 games of his debut season. Penning would eventually work his way back and earn some snaps as a backup lineman before earning the first start of his career in Week 18. Unfortunately, a rough start for the Northern Iowa product has gotten even tougher as he suffered a Lisfranc injury in the season finale against the Panthers, according to Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football. Penning faces a long recovery of approximately five to six months, but if he can come back by June, he should be able to make it back for part of the offseason training program in New Orleans.
  • Early in the season, Lions running back D’Andre Swift suffered a high ankle sprain and a separated shoulder that would dog him for the rest of the year. Despite playing through those ailments for much of the season, there doesn’t appear to be any need for surgery in the offseason, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Swift will reportedly meet with medical professionals in the next few weeks but is under the impression that, come next season, he will be fully healthy and ready to go.

Saints Expected To Activate T Trevor Penning

The Saints are moving closer to seeing first-round tackle Trevor Penning make his NFL debut. They are expected to use one of their injury activations on Penning this week, Nick Underhill of tweets.

While this does not make it a lock Penning suits up in Week 12, the timing here could point to it. Because the Saints designated Penning for return on Nov. 10, they have another week to slow-play it with the highly drafted blocker. Penning being activated before the three-week deadline provides a decent indication he is ready to return to action.

Penning is viewed as the Saints’ left tackle of the future, but a preseason injury scuttled the organization’s plans for the Northern Iowa alum. Penning initially suffered what was thought to be a “bad case of turf toe.” However, the injury was later revealed to be a ligament tear in his injured foot. Considering the timing and severity of the injury, there was some initial fear that Penning may have to miss his entire rookie campaign. But the ex-Division I-FCS tackle is on the homestretch of his recovery. Dennis Allen said before the season the team had hopes of Penning playing this year; it looks like that will be on tap soon.

After passing on a third Terron Armstead contract, the Saints immediately reinvested in this premium position with the No. 19 overall pick. Penning was not a lock to be the team’s Week 1 starter before his injury, and James Hurst has been the team’s answer here this season. The Saints have left Pro Bowl right tackle Ryan Ramczyk, long a candidate to move to the blind side, at his usual position.

The Saints are in good shape, activation-wise, holding five IR-return moves before Penning’s activation becomes official. With the team at 4-7, Penning seeing work up front to build for 2023 makes sense. New Orleans made Penning this year’s fourth tackle taken, choosing him shortly after a top-10 run on tackles brought Ikem Ekwonu, Evan Neal and Charles Cross off the board. Like those players, Penning can be kept on his rookie deal (via the fifth-year option) through 2026.

Saints Designate OL Trevor Penning For Return

Trevor Penning is getting closer to his NFL debut. The Saints rookie offensive lineman has been designated to return from injured reserve, according to Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football (on Twitter).

The Northern Iowa product was one of the best offensive lineman prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft, and he ended up going 19th overall to the Saints. The rookie made immediate headlines during training camp when he got into fights with teammates on three consecutive days.

Then, during New Orleans’ preseason finale, Penning suffered what was thought to be a “bad case of turf toe.” However, the injury was later revealed to be a ligament tear in his injured foot. Considering the timing and severity of the injury, there was some initial fear that Penning may have to miss his entire rookie campaign. However, we heard last month that the organization was eyeing a November return. Penning appears to still be on that return timeline, and at the very latest, he’ll be back on the field by early December.

“I’m definitely counting the days,” Penning said today of his impending NFL debut (h/t to Terrin Waack of “It’s been hard. Today was my first day watching walk-through in person, so that was kind of hard to see. I’m like shoot, I really want to get back out there.”

Penning was expected to replace the departed Terron Armstead in the starting lineup. James Hurst has since run away with the starting left tackle gig, and with Ryan Ramczyk entrenched at right tackle, Penning may be eyeing a backup role when he’s ready to hit the field. Ramczyk is currently nursing an injury (along with Erik McCoy and Andrus Peat), so a role could also open up sooner than later.

Latest On Saints OL Trevor Penning

Trevor Penning and the Saints got some good news this week. The first-round offensive tackle could return from his foot injury by early November, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). Saints coach Dennis Allen also provided some optimism, telling reporters that there’s hope the first-round pick will be able to play at some point this season, per ESPN’s Mike Triplett (on Twitter).

Even if he’s not ready to play by early November, Rapoport estimates that Penning should be healthy enough to practice. Either way, it sounds like the lineman should be good to go for the stretch run of the season, something that didn’t seem likely when we first learned of the rookie’s foot injury.

Penning initially suffered what was thought to be a “bad case of turf toe” during New Orleans’ preseason finale, but it was later revealed that the lineman suffered a ligament tear in his injured foot. Considering the timing and severity of the injury (plus the organization’s investment in the lineman), there was some fear that Penning may have to miss his entire rookie campaign.

The Northern Iowa product was selected by the Saints with the 19th-overall pick in this year’s draft, and he was expected to replace the departed Terron Armstead in the starting lineup. The rookie made headlines during training camp when he got into fights with teammates for three consecutive days. James Hurst was expected to start at LT even before Penning suffered his injury, and when the rookie returns, there’s a chance he’ll have to settle into a backup role.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/1/22

Teams continue to tinker with their rosters after hundreds of players were cut earlier this week. We’ve tracked all of today’s minor moves below:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Saints OT Trevor Penning Tears Ligament In Foot

2:35pm: More testing revealed bad news for the rookie. Penning suffered a ligament tear in his injured foot, and Rapoport adds surgery will be necessary (Twitter link). The player the Saints eyed as a long-term left tackle will not be beginning his season on time and will be out indefinitely.

9:28am: It sounds like Saints first-round pick Trevor Penning is going to miss some time. The offensive lineman suffered a “bad case of turf toe” during last night’s preseason finale, according to’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter).

Penning is set to undergo an MRI to determine the severity of the injury. Rapoport hints that the offensive tackle will miss at least a game or two to start the season. We’ll likely get more clarity on his roster status (and whether he’ll land on injured reserve) once the Saints cut down their roster to 53 players.

The offensive tackle got into 10 snaps last night before suffering the injury. According to Charean Williams of, Penning suffered the injury when tight end Juwan Johnson accidentally hit the back of his leg during Mark Ingram‘s one-year touchdown run. Penning walked to the sidelined before getting carted to the locker room.

The Northern Iowa product was selected by the Saints with the 19th-overall pick in this year’s draft, and he was expected to replace the departed Terron Armstead in the starting lineup. The rookie made headlines during training camp when he got into fights with teammates for three consecutive days. Pro Football Focus showed him taking a major step in New Orleans’ second preseason game, but the latest injury may have cost him his early-season opportunity to snag the starting gig. James Hurst has been listed atop the Saints depth chart at LT throughout the preseason, and while the veteran is dealing with his own foot injury, he’s a good bet to earn the starting nod with Penning temporarily out of the picture.

NFC South Rumors: Saints, Jones, Panthers

Trevor Penning is slotted to be the Saints‘ long-term Terron Armstead replacement, but a stopgap may be required ahead of that succession. The Northern Iowa alum is not a lock to open the season as New Orleans’ left tackle, Mike Triplett of notes. The Saints expected the Division I-FCS product to be raw coming in, and it does not appear he has seized the job for which he’s ultimately ticketed just yet. If Penning is on the bench to start the season, swingman James Hurst would be in line to get the call. The former Ravens starter was a 15-game first-stringer with the Saints last season.

Here is the latest from the NFC South:

  • Departure rumors have encircled Deion Jones for a stretch now, but the well-paid Falcons linebacker is on the shelf after undergoing shoulder surgery. Jones is set to count $20MM toward the Falcons’ cap this year — the highest figure on the rebuilding team. The Falcons should be considered unlikely to cut Jones, Michael Rothstein of writes. They would be slammed with $18MM-plus in dead money, saving barely $1MM, by releasing the seventh-year veteran. Jones could potentially be an in-season trade chip, once the Falcons pay out part of his $9.6MM base salary. At just 27, the off-ball linebacker would be an upgrade for many teams. Atlanta signed ex-Dean Pees charge Rashaan Evans, has Mykal Walker returning, and the team drafted Troy Andersen in Round 2. The Arthur SmithTerry Fontenot regime appears to have a post-Jones plan in place.
  • New Panthers secondary coach Steve Wilks, returning to Charlotte after a few notable stops, is not planning to have Jeremy Chinn play much linebacker, per David Newton of Despite the team signing free agent safety Xavier Woods, the plan is for Chinn to stick at his listed position. The third-year defender saw extensive run on Carolina’s defensive second level as a rookie, and while Newton notes Chinn will still move around, the Woods addition will not lead to extensive Chinn linebacker burn. Having already totaled 224 tackles in two seasons, the former second-round pick has a big year in front of him. Chinn will become extension-eligible in 2023.
  • The Panthers are on the lookout for a veteran edge rusher, but the team has plans for the recently extended Frankie Luvu. The fifth-year linebacker is on a new Carolina deal because the coaching staff believes he can contribute on the edge, according to Newton. In his first Panthers season, Luvu started four games but worked mostly as a backup. Among players who saw the bulk of their snaps as off-ball linebackers, Luvu graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 2-ranked pass rusher — behind only Micah Parsons — last season. Granted, this came on just 249 snaps and produced just 1.5 sacks, but the American Samoa native earned a two-year, $9MM deal to stay.
  • Panthers defensive lineman Daviyon Nixon is not expected to be full-go when training camp starts, Joe Person of The Athletic notes (subscription required). The former Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year-turned-Carolina fifth-rounder is still recovering from the knee injury that ended his rookie season. With Matt Ioannidis in the fold alongside Derrick Brown, Nixon is in line to be a rotational presence in his second season.

Saints Agree To Terms With First-Rounders Chris Olave, Trevor Penning

Friday has seen each of the Saints’ first round picks from this past draft sign their rookie contracts. New Orleans has reached an agreement with both receiver Chris Olave and offensive tackle Trevor Penning

As ESPN’s Adam Schefter details (on Twitter), the deal for Olave is worth just over $19.27MM. The Ohio State alum put up consistent production over the course of his four seasons there. He was the team’s leading receiver in 2019 and 2020, but his best individual season came this past campaign.

Over the course of 11 games, Olave totalled 65 catches for 936 yards and 13 touchdowns. While those figures were eclipsed by 10th overall pick Garrett Wilson and phenom sophomore Jaxon Smith-Njigba, they represented his ability to produce despite a heated competition for targets. Given the Saints’ lack of receiving options, Olave was named as a candidate for the team to consider, so there was little surprise when the team traded up to select him at No. 11.

Penning, meanwhile, had already agreed to terms on his rookie contract before the Olave deal was announced (Twitter link via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport). The Northern Iowa blocker showcased an appealing combination of size, length and athleticism throughout his time there, earning stellar PFF grades along the way. He held up against higher-quality competition at the Senior Bowl, confirming his status as a first-rounder. Predictably going later than Evan Neal, Ikem Ekwonu and Charles Cross, Penning was the fourth tackle off the board, landing at 19th overall.

Given the concerns related to his level of competition, as well as discipline, the six-foot-seven, 325-pounder might not be able to occupy the left tackle spot vacated by Terron Armstead right away. He is nevertheless viewed as a candidate to do so at least down the road, which would make him, like Olave, a pick aimed at filling glaring roster holes on Day 1. Penning will earn $14.1MM on his pact, per Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson (Twitter link).