Tavierre Thomas

Contract Details: Dunlap, Bills, Texans, Burns

Let’s catch up on some of the latest contract details from around the league:

  • Seahawks DE Carlos Dunlap: Two-years, $13.6MM. This had previously been reported as $16.6MM, but it turns out Seattle got Dunlap back for a few million cheaper than that, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. It’s actually a five-year pact with three years that automatically void for cap spreading purposes. As previously reported, it has $8.5MM in guaranteed money. Dunlap was set to have a $14.1MM cap charge for 2021 before the Seahawks cut him and then re-signed him to this less expensive deal.
  • Bills LB Tyler Matakevich: One-year extension. Buffalo gave their special teams ace a one-year extension through the 2022 season, which lowered his 2021 cap number to $2.95MM from $3.7MM, Matthew Fairburn of The Athletic tweets. His base salary for 2021 is now fully guaranteed. He’ll count for $3.25MM against the 2022 cap, but there will only be $750K in dead money if he’s released.
  • Texans CB Tavierre Thomas: Two-years, $4MM. We now have details on this contract, as Thomas will be getting $2MM in guaranteed money, Wilson tweets. Not bad for a player who prior to 2020 was mostly a special teams guy. He ended up playing almost 20 percent of the defensive snaps for the Browns last year as they dealt with injuries in their secondary. He got a $1MM signing bonus, a $1MM guaranteed salary for 2021, and a non-guaranteed $1.5MM salary for 2022 with $250K in per game active roster bonuses for each season.
  • Bears CB Artie Burns: One-year, $990K. The financial terms on this one were previously not reported, and it turns out the former first-round pick only got the veteran’s minimum from Chicago, Wilson tweets. The 25th pick of the 2016 draft by the Steelers got over $1MM to sign with the Bears last offseason, but then tore his ACL in August before playing a down for the team.

Texans Sign CB Tavierre Thomas

Tavierre Thomas is off to Houston. The Texans have signed the cornerback/special teamer to a two-year deal, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). The deal is worth $4MM, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter).

The 25-year-old had spent the majority of his three-year career with the Browns. After serving in mostly a special teams role in 2018 and 2019, Thomas took on more of a defensive role in 2020. The defensive back ultimately appeared in 19 percent of Cleveland’s defensive snaps this past season, finishing with a career-high 30 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble.

The Texans have been busy adding to their secondary this week. The team signed Terrance Mitchell to a two-year deal, and they also added cornerback Tremon Smith and safety Terrence Brooks. The team has also added a handful of notable special teamers, including Andre Roberts.

AFC North Notes: Conner, Ravens, Browns

No notable extension talks between the Steelers and James Conner transpired ahead of his contract year, which doubled as a brutally ineffective season for Pittsburgh’s ground game. The team is not expected to re-sign Conner, Brooke Pryor of ESPN.com notes. Considering the Pittsburgh native’s history of nagging injuries and the Steelers’ salary cap issues, this should not be especially surprising. Conner has played well in spurts, initially starting the Steelers’ post-Le’Veon Bell era so strong he made the Pro Bowl as an original invitee. However, an injury slowed Conner late in that 2018 season. He battled maladies in 2019 and ’20 as well; the cancer survivor also contracted COVID-19 last year. This will create a clear need at running back in Pittsburgh, even with the likes of Benny Snell and Anthony McFarland still under contract.

Conner may need to accept a one-year deal in order to re-establish his value, perhaps putting him in the same boat as fellow 2017 draftee Marlon Mack. These two will join Chris Carson and Kenyan Drake, barring extensions commencing before March 17, in free agency. The Packers have four days to use their franchise tag on Aaron Jones.

Here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • Financial issues likely contributed to the Steelers not adding J.J. Watt to their stable of Watts. Although the Steelers have standout defensive ends Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt, they were in the mix for the eldest Watt until the end, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. The Steelers were one of the teams mentioned as a landing spot hours after the Texans released Watt. The five-time All-Pro would have welcomed the opportunity to join his brothers, per Fowler, despite the Steelers being stacked at his position. But the former Texans superstar signed with the Cardinals, who took a clear lead in the final few days of this process.
  • Ravens GM Eric DeCosta did not seem to view the addition of a No. 1-type wide receiver as critical this offseason, and Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com adds that the team is not expected to spring for one. The Ravens have young players Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin under contract, but Hensley notes the team is unlikely to bring back Willie Snead. Signing a second-tier wideout does not sound out of the question, with several intriguing names available and more potentially coming via the cap-casualty route soon. But Baltimore’s run-oriented offense will make going the free agency route at this position more complicated. The team ranked last in wide receiver receptions (137) last season.
  • The Browns are not planning to use an RFA tender on backup defensive back and key special-teamer Tavierre Thomas, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. With the cap going down, teams may be stingier with their tender offers. Thomas could be brought back at a lower rate than what the low-end tender will cost (roughly $2.1MM), but the fourth-year player may hit the market.

Sunday NFL Transactions: AFC North

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four AFC North 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 Ravens, Bengals, Browns, and Steelers are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. 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 AFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Baltimore Ravens

Practice squad:

Cincinnati Bengals

Signed:

Practice squad:

Cleveland Browns

Claimed:

Cut:

Pittsburgh Steelers

Practice squad:

* = international player
** = practice squad exception

Cardinals Cut Brice Butler, Others

The Cardinals have moved their roster to 53 players by making the following transactions:

Cut:

Placed on injured reserve:

Waived from injured reserve:

Additionally, the Cardinals activated both tight end Jermaine Gresham and linebacker Marcus Golden off the physically unable to perform list.

Cardinals Sign 24 UDFAs

The Cardinals have signed enough undrafted free agents to fill a starting lineup. Of course, it’s likely that only a few will actually make Arizona’ final cut. The complete rundown of Arizona’s UDFA class is as follows:

  • CB Elijah Battle (West Virginia)
  • TE Alec Bloom (Connecticut)
  • LB Dennis Gardeck (Sioux Falls)
  • LB Frank Ginda (San Jose State)
  • OL Will House (Southern Nazarene)
  • S A.J. Howard (Appalachian State)
  • DE Alec James (Wisconsin)
  • QB Chad Kanoff (Princeton)
  • K Matt McCrane (Kansas State)
  • LB Mike Needham (Southern Utah)
  • CB Deatrick Nichols (South Florida)
  • DT Owen Obasuyi (Hampton)
  • OL Austin Olsen (Southern Illinois)
  • LB Matthew Oplinger (Yale)
  • S Jonathan Owens (Missouri Western)
  • FB Austin Ramesh (Wisconsin)
  • WR Trent Sherfield (Vanderbilt)
  • CB Tavierre Thomas (Ferris State)
  • WR Jalen Tolliver (Arkansas-Monticello)
  • WR Jonah Trinnaman (BYU)
  • S Zeke Turner (Washington)
  • TE Andrew Vollert (Weber State)
  • OL Brant Weiss (Toledo)
  • WR Corey Willis (Central Michigan)

The Cardinals also have six drafted rookies to account for, meaning that they presently have 99 players in total. The Cardinals will be laying off at least nine players in the coming days in order to sign the aforementioned UDFAs to contracts.

Kicker Phil Dawson inked a two-year, $6MM deal with the Cardinals last year, but the team could save $2.5MM with just $1MM in dead money by releasing him. In theory, McCrane could have an opportunity to unseat him, especially since he would represent a cheaper option. Last year, Dawson connected on 80% of his field goal tries, including 4-of-5 from 50+ yards. He also nailed the longest field goal try of his NFL career when he sank a 57-yard game winner against the Jaguars.