Stephon Tuitt

Extra Points: Steelers, Tuitt, Saints

Here’s a look around the NFL:

  • Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt has a chance to play this week against Minnesota, coach Mike Tomlin told reporters on Tuesday (Twitter link via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com). Tuitt has been classified as week-to-week with his bicep injury.
  • In light of the Zach Strief injury news, Nick Underhill of The Advocate (on Twitter) notes that likely replacement Senio Kelemete can earn $200K by playing in 50% of the team’s snaps and up to $600K at 70%. The Saints will be without the tackle for at least a few weeks.
  • Texans guard Jeff Allen is expected to miss at least one game with an ankle injury, Mark Berman of FOX 26 tweets. Allen, one of Houston’s starting guards, is in year two of a four-year, $28MM pact. He appeared in 14 games last season, all starts.
  • Wide receiver Cobi Hamilton is working out for the Texans this week, a source tells ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler (on Twitter). The former Pittsburgh receiver could round out a banged up unit that is missing both Bruce Ellington (concussion) and Will Fuller (collarbone).
  • The Chiefs gave running back Akeem Hunt an upgraded practice squad contract, Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets. He’ll now make $36K per week, which comes out to $615K for the year. Hunt signed on with KC’s taxi squad on Sept. 5 and it sounds like the Chiefs weren’t the only team interested in his services.

Good News For Steelers DE Stephon Tuitt

Defensive end Stephon Tuitt is week-to-week with a biceps injury, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. It’s not ideal, but the Steelers are breathing a sigh of relief after they initially feared a complete tear of the muscle. Stephon Tuitt

Tuitt exited the Steelers’ season opener against the Browns in the first quarter. He could miss next week’s game against the Vikings and Week 3 against the Bears, but the Steelers should get the starting bookend back in the lineup before long.

The 25-year-old recorded 37 tackles, four sacks, 20.5 pressures, three passes defended, and two forced fumbles in 2016. The advanced metrics told a similar story – he finished out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 20 ranked interior defender.

The Steelers rewarded him ths offseason a five-year $60MM extension that includes $14MM in full guarantees. The former second-round pick was scheduled to earn a base salary of just over $1MM for the upcoming season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers Fear DL Stephon Tuitt Tore Biceps

The Steelers fear that defensive end Stephon Tuitt tore his biceps on Sunday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). If confirmed, the injury will end Tuitt’s 2017 season.Stephon Tuitt (Vertical)

Tuitt secured himself financially before the campaign began, agreeing to a five-year $60MM extension that includes $14MM in full guarantees. Originally scheduled to earn a base salary of just over $1MM for the upcoming season, Tuitt will now earn $14MM this year: $1MM in base salary, plus a $11MM signing bonus and a $2MM roster bonus.

A second-round pick in the 2014 draft, Tuitt has made 44 appearances and 32 over three seasons with Pittsburgh. One of the more underrated defensive lineman in the league, the 25-year-old managed four sacks ad 20.5 pressures in 2016 while grading as the NFL’s No. 20 interior defender, per Pro Football Focus.

If Tuitt is done for the year, the Steelers will turn to veteran Tyson Alualu and 2015 sixth-rounder Leterrius Walton to take on more snaps, while practice squad defensive end Lavon Hooks is now a candidate for promotion. Alternatively, free agents with experience in a 3-4 defense — such as Arthur Jones, Tyson Jackson, Glenn Dorsey, or Jaye Howard — could be on Pittsburgh’s radar.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: Tuitt, Trubisky, Vikings

Following the extensions for Antonio Brown and Alejandro Villanueva, the Steelers locked down Stephon Tuitt on the eve of their 2017 opener. Tuitt agreed to a five-year, $61MM extension on Saturday, and the details of that deal are out. Tuitt will receive an $11MM signing bonus and stand to earn $24MM in new money in the deal’s first two years, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports, adding the fourth-year defensive end will collect $14MM in 2017 as opposed to the $1.05MM he was set to make. Florio adds there is no guarantee after the first year of the contract, which is typical for Steelers deals.

A $7.5MM roster bonus will be owed to Tuitt on the fifth day of the 2018 league year, Florio adds, and a $3.5MM roster bonus will be due on Day 5 of the 2019 league year. In 2018, Tuitt will earn a $3.5MM base salary and stands to collect a $6MM base in 2019. Tuitt’s ensuing base salaries are as follows: $9MM (2020), $9MM (’21) and $9.05MM (’22).

In Tuitt and Cameron Heyward, the Steelers have two interior defensive linemen earning at least $10MM annually. They join only the Jaguars and Bills in that group.

Here’s the latest from the North divisions on Week 1 Sunday eve.

  • Mike Zimmer considered giving up Vikings defensive play-calling duties in advance of this season, Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune notes. However, the fourth-year coach resumed that responsibility during the preseason. The Vikings ranked ninth in defensive DVOA last season and made a point to extend key starters Linval Joseph, Everson Griffen and Xavier Rhodes this offseason.
  • Mitch Trubisky‘s ability to process an NFL offense surprised the Bears, J.J. Stankevitz of CSNChicago.com notes. This led to the No. 2 overall pick — a one-year starter at North Carolina — commandeering the Bears’ backup job and prompting John Fox to declare him “ready to play” if needed Sunday.
  • Rick Spielman is entering his 12th season making Vikings personnel decisions, but he’s only overseen one playoff victory — a Brett Favre-led divisional-round win over the Cowboys. The Vikings are again expected to compete for a playoff spot but Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune writes ownership will have to weigh the GM’s status if another season ends short of a playoff triumph. Illustrating Spielman’s effectiveness while showing obvious difficulty in establishing consistency, Minnesota has made the playoffs with four different quarterbacks — Tarvaris Jackson, Favre, Christian Ponder and Teddy Bridgewater — in the decision-maker’s tenure. The Vikings likely have to do so with a fifth, Sam Bradford, if they’re to return this season.
  • The Bears’ Akiem Hicks extension followed Tuitt’s by a few hours Saturday, and he will be just shy of the Steelers defensive end on the AAV spectrum.
  • The Browns once again have a new starting quarterback, but they’ll again trot out a new No. 2 man. Kevin Hogan will be the next man up behind DeShone Kizer on Sunday.

Steelers Sign DE Stephon Tuitt To Extension

Stephon Tuitt will remain in Pittsburgh for the foreseeable future. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter), the Steelers have signed the talented defensive end to a five-year extension. Schefter adds that the deal is worth $61MM. The deal is effectively for six years, as the team ripped up the final year of Tuitt’s contract. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that the defensive end will now earn $15MM in 2017.

Stephon TuittWe heard yesterday that the two sides were nearing a deal. Considering the team’s policy to not discuss new deals during the regular season, today appeared to be the unofficial deadline for negotiations. The team previously had $7MM in cap room, and with Tuitt set to earn a $12MM average annual salary, we can only assume that that number has been reduced. The defensive end was set to hit free agency following the season, and he was scheduled to earn $1.094MM in 2017. Our own Dallas Robinson noted that the going rate for similar defensive ends was around $10MM a year, and it looks like Tuitt will come in right above that mark.

The 2014 second-round pick has spent his entire three-year career with the Steelers. Following a solid rookie season, Tuitt broke out in 2015, finishing with 54 tackles and 6.5 sacks in 14 games (14 starts). The 24-year-old was equally productive in 2016, compiling 37 tackles, four sacks, three passes defended, and two forced fumbles. Pro Football Focus was especially favorable of his performance, as he ranked 20th among the league’s eligible interior defenders.

Considering the Steelers relative lack of depth at defensive end, Tuitt will be especially leaned on during the upcoming season. Besides fellow starter Cameron Heyward, the team is rostering a pair of backups in Tyson Alualu and Leterrius Walton.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers, DE Stephon Tuitt Nearing Extension

The Steelers and defensive end Stephon Tuitt are close to inking a contract extension, according to Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.Stephon Tuitt (Vertical)

[RELATED: Le’Veon Bell Signs Franchise Tender]

Pittsburgh has a team policy not to negotiate new deals once the regular season gets underway, so the club will cease talks after Saturday. The Steelers are tight on cap space — just under $7MM, per Over the Cap — and that’s accounting for fellow defensive lineman Cameron Heyward‘s contract restructure, which opened ~$3.1MM. An extension for Tuitt would likely cut into those reserves, as Pittsburgh nearly always relatively large signing bonuses.

Tuitt doesn’t have to worry about a fifth-year option given that he was selected in the second round of the 2014 draft, so he’ll hit the open market next spring. Scheduled to earn just $1.094MM in 2017, Tuitt posted four sacks a season ago while grading as Pro Football Focus’ No. 20 interior defender. The going rate for non-Muhammad Wilkerson/J.J. Watt 3-4 defensive ends is around $10MM annually, and given his age (24), Tuitt could reach or surpass that mark.

The 2018 franchise tag for defensive ends figures to come in north of $17MM, a figure that’s probably untenable for a 3-4 end like Tuitt. As such, the Steelers will need to hammer out an agreement with Tuitt or risk losing him to free agency next year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers Want To Sign Stephon Tuitt To Extension Before Week 1

The Steelers are working to sign defensive end Stephon Tuitt to an extension before the start of the season, owner Art Rooney II said (Twitter link via Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). Tuitt made it clear back in June that his goal is to remain in Pittsburgh for the long haul.

Stephon Tuitt

“I would love it here,” he said. “It’s a blessing if they see me being here for the long term. I love the organization.”

Tuitt was a second-round pick in the 2014 draft, so the Steelers did not have the ability to retain him by way of a fifth-year option. As such, they’re currently at risk of losing the 24-year-old at season’s end. Tuitt’s departure would be a significant blow for the Steelers, who saw him burst on the scene as a full-time player over the previous two seasons. The ex-Notre Dame standout has started in all 28 appearances dating back to 2015, and he amassed 10.5 sacks during that period. Four of those sacks came last year for Tuitt, who graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 20 interior defender.

This year, Tuitt slated to make just $1.049MM. His next deal should give him a sizable pay bump, perhaps upward of $10MM per year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Ryan Shazier, Stephon Tuitt Talks

The Steelers will not reach an extension agreement with linebacker Ryan Shazier this summer, but could still negotiate a long-term deal with defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link).Ryan Shazier (Vertical)

That Shazier is unlikely to be extended prior to the regular season doesn’t come as a major surprise, as Pittsburgh controls the 24-year-old through the 2018 season thanks to his fifth-year option. Thus far, not a single 2014 first-round pick has agreed to a new deal, as clubs apparently don’t feel an urgency to act given that they have talented players under contract at cheap prices for at least two more seasons.

Shazier, notably, isn’t a fan of the fifth-year option, as he’ll earn only $1.716MM in 2017 and $8.718MM in 2018 before becoming an unrestricted free agent. While Shazier may not be able to match the $12.5MM annual salary recently scored by Browns linebacker Jamie Collins, he should be able to clear the $10MM threshold. Shazier, a 2016 Pro Bowler, graded as the league’s No. 31 linebacker, according to Pro Football Focus, earning excellent marks in run defense and as a pass-rusher. Health is question for the former Ohio State Buckeye, as Shazier has never played a full 16-game slate.

Unlike Shazier, Tuitt doesn’t have to worry about a fifth-year option given that he was selected in the second round of the 2014 draft. Tuitt posted four sacks a season ago while grading as PFF’s No. 20 interior defender, and will earn $1.049MM next year before hitting the open market. The going rate for non-Muhammad Wilkerson/J.J. Watt 3-4 defensive ends is around $10MM annually, and given his age (24), Tuitt could reach or surpass that mark.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Steelers, Fins, Ravens, Bills

The Steelers would like to sign contract-year defensive end Stephon Tuitt to an extension before the start of the regular season, reports Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The 24-year-old is clearly open to a new deal with the Steelers, telling Fittipaldo: “I would love it here. It’s a blessing if they see me being here for the long term. I love the organization.” Locking up Tuitt could cost the Steelers $8MM to $9MM per year, and it probably won’t become a priority until later in the summer, writes Fittipaldo. Tuitt, a second-round pick in 2014, started 14 games in each of the past two seasons and combined for 10.5 sacks in those 28 contests. He also impressed Pro Football Focus last season, receiving its 19th-best grade among 127 qualified interior defensive linemen.

More from the AFC:

  • With the Dolphins having exercised his fifth-year option for 2018, right tackle Ja’Wuan James said Wednesday that “it’s good to know that I’m secure in the aspect of being here.” However, as Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald points out, the $9.431MM option is only guaranteed for injury, meaning James isn’t a lock to be on the team in 2018. James is actually at risk of ending up on the chopping block next offseason if he doesn’t rebound from what the team believes was a “frustratingly unspectacular” 2016, according to Salguero. James has started all 39 of his appearances since going 19th overall in 2014, and is coming off a 16-game season in which he graded as PFF‘s 32nd-best bookend. But the Dolphins are going to want more out of him if he’s going to stick around in 2018 at a high cost, per Salguero.
  • The Ravens will have to revise wide receiver Eric Decker‘s contract if their trade talks with the Jets lead to a deal, notes Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link). Decker has two years and nearly $15MM left on his contract, including an $8.75MM cap hit for 2017. The Ravens only have $5MM-plus in spending room at the moment.
  • Thanks to the injury waiver he previously signed, tight end Dennis Pitta will receive no additional compensation following his release from the Ravens, Mike Florio of PFT writes. Typically, when a player gets injured during offseason practices, he gets paid until healthy or receives his entire salary if he’s out for the year. However, Pitta’s waiver cleared the Ravens of financial responsibility in the event of another hip injury. The tight end has dislocated his hip multiple times in recent years.
  • Bills running back Jonathan Williams was arrested in Arkansas last July on a DUI charge, but the 23-year-old was found not guilty on Thursday, according to Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. Assuming Williams dodges a suspension from the league, he’ll be in line to open the season as the Bills’ backup to LeSean McCoy. Mike Gillislee thrived in that role last season, but Buffalo lost him to the AFC East rival Patriots as a restricted free agent.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Maurkice Pouncey To Undergo Surgery

6:40pm: Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports (via Twitter) that Pouncey will miss at least six weeks.

3:54pm: Pouncey suffered a broken ankle, tweets Bouchette, while Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Twitter link) says the Steelers hope Pouncey can still return this season.

3:34pm: After leaving today’s preseason game with an ankle injury, Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey will indeed require surgery, head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters, including Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Twitter link). Tomlin did not give any indication as to how long Pouncey will be sidelined.

Earlier today, Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported (via Twitter) that early indications are that Pouncey suffered a high ankle sprain “at the very least.” That report has yet to be confirmed, but such an injury would keep Pouncey out for four-to-six weeks, meaning he would likely miss three regular season games at minimum. Obviously, Bouchette’s tweet leaves the door open for Pouncey to have suffered a more serious injury, meaning that timetable would need to be amended.

Pouncey, 26, has been bitten by the injury bug before, as he missed all of the 2013 season after tearing his ACL during Week 1. He signed a five-year, $44MM extension during the summer of 2014, and went on to start all 16 games last year, earning his fourth Pro Bowl nod. Currently, Cody Wallace is projected as Pouncey’s direct backup at center, and he’d see more playing time if Pouncey is out for an extended period.

Per Kaboly (Twitter link), the Steelers also suffered another injury, albeit one that sounds less serious, Tomlin announced that defensive end Stephon Tuitt will be out a few weeks after suffering a sprained ankle.