Vernon Butler

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/24/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here. Teams had until 3pm today to cut their rosters down to 80 players.

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

  • Waived: QB Kenji Bahar

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Released from IR via injury settlement: OT Casey Tucker

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: K Ryan Succop
  • Waived/injured: OT Chidi Okeke

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Bills Release WR John Brown, DL Quinton Jefferson

The Bills have released wide receiver John Brown and defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson, per a club announcement. The release of Brown will save $7.9MM against the cap with $1.6MM left in dead money. Meanwhile, Jefferson’s release will save $6.5MM with no dead money left over.

Brown started his Bills tenure with a bang, compiling 72 receptions for 1,060 receiving yards, both career highs. Last year, knee injuries, ankle issues, and a stint on the COVID-19 list limited him to just nine games. The 30-year-old (31 in April) finished 2020 with just 33 grabs for 458 yards and three touchdowns, so his release doesn’t come as a huge surprise. All in all, Brown totaled 105 catches, 1,518 receiving yards and nine TDs for Buffalo across two seasons.

Jefferson, meanwhile, was set to enter his second year with the Bills. Last year, he scored a two-year, $13.5MM deal — higher than most expected after serving as a part-time starter in Seattle. His final two years with the Seahawks saw a total of 51 tackles and 6.5 sacks. In Buffalo, he notched 23 stops, three sacks, and one forced fumble.

In a related move, defensive lineman Vernon Butler has agreed to a pay cut in order to keep his spot on the roster (Twitter link via’s Ian Rapoport). Originally, Butler was set to count for $7.8MM against the cap with $5.5MM in base pay. Terms of the new deal have not been disclosed.

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Bills Sign DT Vernon Butler

Buffalo’s been busy, and they’ve just added another defensive lineman.’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the Bills have signed defensive tackle Vernon Butler.

It’s a two-year deal worth around $16MM, including $9.3MM guaranteed. The deal can be worth up to $18MM via incentives.

The 2016 first-round pick spent his first four years in the NFL with the Panthers, although the organization declined his fifth-year option for 2020. Butler served as mostly a rotational defensive lineman during the first three seasons of his career. In 2019, he started a career-high nine games, finishing with 32 tackles, six sacks, and three forced fumbles.

The Bills have seemingly focused on revamping their defensive line this offseason. The team has already signed both defensive end Quinton Jefferson and defensive end Mario Addison.

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Panthers Decline Vernon Butler’s Option

The Panthers announced that they have declined their fifth-year option on defensive tackle Vernon Butler. The former first-round pick is now slated for unrestricted free agency after the 2019 season. 

The Panthers picked up the fifth-year option of every first round pick from Cam Newton (2011 draft) all the way through 2015. Today, that streak ends with Butler’s extra year being turned down.

Butler was drafted No. 30 overall under the Dave Gettleman administration. The Panthers had high hopes for the Louisiana Tech product, but he’s amassed just 45 tackles and two sacks as a bench player over the last three years. And, last year, Butler was a healthy scratch for two straight games. In short – the decision to turn down Butler’s additional year was widely expected.

NFL teams have until Friday to make the call on the fifth-year options for 2016 first-round picks, but most clubs have already made their decisions.

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Panthers’ Vernon Butler Accused Of Assault

Panthers defensive tackle Vernon Butler has been accused of assaulting a woman at a Dallas night club earlier this month, according to a report from WSCOTV in Texas.

Butler had reached out to the woman via Instagram, but she’d rejected his advances, the woman’s attorney tells Morgan Fogarty of WCCB Charlotte (Twitter link). When the two met at a Dallas night club two weeks ago, Butler was once again spurned, and allegedly responded by throwing ice at the woman’s face. After the woman fell down stairs, Butler reportedly pushed her again, and though WSCOTV’s report states the woman was escorted out of the club with a bruised face, her attorney tells Fogarty the woman had no visible injuries.

The Dallas Police Department confirmed they’re investigating the claims, but no charges have yet been filed against Butler. Needless to say, Butler could face legal discipline if the allegations prove true, but Fogarty reports this offense would be classified as a “Type C” assault, the lowest level of assault. Butler could clear that charge by paying a fine, but the NFL itself could also issue punishment against Butler, regardless of whether he’s found guilty.

Butler, 24, was a first-round pick out of Louisiana Tech in the 2016 draft. During his two-year stint with the Panthers, he’s appeared in 24 total games but made no starts. Last season, Butler played on roughly a third of Carolina’s defensive snaps, managing eight tackles in the process.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 8/12/17

Here are today’s minor moves.

  • Ryan Tannehill‘s season is officially over. The Dolphins placed the quarterback on IR and signed linebacker Junior Sylvestre. Tannehill, who will have knee surgery next week, is expected to be ready for the 2018 season. Sylvestre spent time with the Ryan Grigson-era Colts for two years but was cut after Indianapolis’ 2016 training camp. He signed with the Bills earlier this year but was cut after a month.
  • The Panthers signed defensive lineman Connor Wujciak, Ian Rapoport of tweets. Wujciak was an Eagles UDFA signing on in 2016, but an injury wiped out his would-be rookie season. The Chiefs worked out Wujciak last week. Panthers defensive tackle Vernon Butler will miss some time, Ron Rivera revealed Friday — via David Newton of — opening the door for an extra defensive line opportunity. Rivera said Butler’s target date for a return is Week 1. The Panthers waived defensive tackle Drew Iddings with an injury designation to open a roster spot, Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer reports (on Twitter).
  • Carolina also brought back offensive lineman Brian Folkerts, Person reports. The Panthers made room by cutting offensive lineman Tyrus Thompson, who had spent time with them since last season (Twitter links). A three-year backup blocker who played in 16 games for the 2014 Panthers, Folkerts last played for the 2015 Rams. Los Angeles cut him when paring its roster down to 75 players last summer.
  • Cornerback Jumal Rolle signed with the Bills and will replace Charles James, whom the team released, Joe Buscaglia of WKBW reports (on Twitter). Both players have at least two years’ experience and both previously played for the Texans. The 27-year-old Rolle was a Houston UDFA in 2014 and has played in 18 games. Rolle also intercepted three passes as a rookie before becoming mostly a special teams player in the time since. James played in 21 games with Houston between the 2015-16 seasons; Buffalo claimed him on waivers in May.
  • The Broncos relocated defensive lineman Billy Winn to IR after his ACL tear diagnosis emerged Friday. They signed linebacker Nelson Adams, Jeff Legwold of reports.
  • Linebacker Reshard Cliett negotiated an injury settlement with the Chiefs, becoming a free agent after being removed from Kansas City’s IR list, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports (on Twitter).
  • The Giants waived linebacker Jimmy Herman, whom they signed Friday. James Kratch of tweets Herman was given a “left squad” designation.
  • The Saints and linebacker Sae Tautu agreed on an injury settlement to trigger Tautu’s release from New Orleans’ IR, Josh Katzenstein of tweets.
  • Rookie wide receiver Keevan Lucas signed a three-year contract with the Eagles, the team announced. Philadelphia waived linebacker Steven Daniels to make room. A Tulsa product, Lucas declared early but was not signed by a team after the draft.
  • Washington signed wide receiver Jamari Staples and waived/injured left tackle Kevin Bowen, per John Keim of The Chiefs waived Staples in June after initially signing him in May. The Redskins also placed Trent Murphy on IR. Murphy tore his ACL in Washington’s preseason opener Thursday night.

Extra Points: Pats, Cowboys, Panthers, Bills

Newly-acquired defensive end Kony Ealy is in a “legitimate fight” to earn a place on the Patriots roster, opines Mike Reiss of Thought to be a contender for a starting job (especially following Rob Ninkovich‘s retirement), Ealy has been practicing with New England’s reserves, per Reiss, who indicates Ealy simply “hasn’t clicked” since joining the defending Super Bowl champions. The Patriots essentially got Ealy for free from the Panthers, as they moved down only eight picks in the draft to pick up the 25-year-old. He’s signed through the 2017 season, but his $800K salary isn’t guaranteed.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Alfred Morris played ahead of Rod Smith during the Cowboys‘ Hall of Game exhibition last week despite having seen fewer carries than Smith during training camp, leading Todd Archer of to wonder if Dallas was showcasing Morris for a potential trade. Reports in March indicated the Cowboys were likely to shop Morris, who is behind Ezekiel Elliott, Darren McFadden, and Smith on the backfield depth chart, but his salary ($1.2MM) could prove a hindrance. Plus, with Elliott likely to serve a league-mandated suspension, Morris’ presence on the roster could become all the more important. In his first season in Dallas, Morris managed 69 carries for 243 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Second-year defensive tackle Vernon Butler is believed to have escaped with only a knee sprain after leaving the Panthers‘ first preseason game on Wednesday, tweets Ian Rapoport of Butler will undergo an MRI today, but even a sprain could lead to a multi-week absence, meaning Butler may not be ready for the regular season opener. The 30th overall pick in the 2016 draft, Butler is expected to serve as Carolina’s third interior defender behind Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei. Butler played 21% of the Panthers’ defensive snaps a season ago.
  • Expected to battle for a starting role, Bills linebacker Reggie Ragland is now playing with the club’s third-team defense, and is now behind both Preston Brown and free agent addition Gerald Hodges on Buffalo’s depth chart, according to Mike Rodak of As such, it’s conceivable the 2016 second-round draft pick could become a trade candidate, Rodak opines. Ragland not only missed the entirety of his rookie campaign with a torn ACL, but was selected by the Bills’ prior regime. Neither general manager Brandon Beane nor head coach Sean McDermott has any link to Ragland, so the 23-year-old could be on the block.
  • The Cardinals worked out punter Brock Miller on Wednesday, reports Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link). Miller, a former undrafted free agent out of Southern Utah, has been on the NFL workout circuit for much of the past three years. He signed a reserve/futures contract with San Francisco earlier this year, but was waived in May. Arizona sifted through three punters in 2016, and while Matt Wile is currently the incumbent, Richie Leone is also on the roster.

Impact Rookies: Carolina Panthers

The old adage that defense wins championships may or may not be true, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a title-winning team that didn’t build heavily through the draft. Rookie classes, naturally, are evaluated on the perceived upside of the NFL newcomers, but which rookies are ready to contribute right out of the gate? And, how do they fit in with their new team schematically?

To help us forecast the immediate future of these NFL neophytes, we enlisted the help of draft guru Dave-Te Thomas who has served as a scouting personnel consultant to NFL teams for multiple decades.

First Round – Vernon Butler, DT (Louisiana Tech, No. 30 overall)

While Butler is certain to play an important role in the defensive tackle rotation this year, his arrival holds even further importance. With the first round pick showing flashes in camp, the Panthers have not yet embraced the idea of giving right defensive tackle Kawann Short the long-term deal the player wants. They could let Short walk after the season, if Butler shows he is ready to step in and contribute this season. Vernon Butler

Before his junior season, Tech coaches were seriously considering moving Butler to the offensive line – reasoning that his burst off the snap might be a better fit trap blocking from the guard position. Instead, they kept him on the D-Line and watched his draft stock soar.

Butler is a highly competitive sort who relishes his role as the defense’s “garbage man,” taking on multiple blockers constantly to free up a fellow Bulldog defender to make the play. He is simply unstoppable when he charges through the gaps and uses his hands with tremendous force when facing constant double teams. Some scouts were concerned about his gas tank late in games, but he worked hard during the 2015 offseason to get his weight down in order to eliminate his “tired legs” issue.

His strength at the point of attack is one of his best assets, as I have yet to see any blocker, or blockers, capable of riding him out once he anchors and establishes position in the trenches. He doesn’t use his violent hand punch as much as he should, but he can easily obliterate any blocker once he gets his hands into their body. He is the type that will rarely ever get bounced around by double teams, thanks to his overall strength and ability to remain at a low pad level. With his big, strong hands, body mass and aggression, Butler excels at shutting down the interior running game.

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NFC South Notes: Newton, Panthers, Short

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is a household name and widely considered to be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL today. But how do his divisional foes regard him? Jenna Laine of spoke with a few Buccaneers players who say that they respect him overall with one player admitting that tackling him is a “chore.” As for his touchdown celebrations, Tampa players don’t seem to be nearly as irked by his dancing as some of the country’s talking heads are.

Here’s more out of the NFC South:

  • Was firing Lovie Smith and hiring Dirk Koetter the right move for the Buccaneers? Vaughn McClure of doesn’t think that Smith was given enough time to fix what was broken in Tampa for a long time. Although Smith was criticized for pushing the Tampa 2 scheme to hard in his two years with the Bucs, McClure hears that Gerald McCoy‘s work ethic was suspect, and that may have been the culprit of some D-Line issues. Meanwhile, Koetter got a lot of credit for turning around the Bucs’ offense, but McClure notes that the team also emphasized offense with 12 of 13 draft picks coming on offense during the 2014 and 2015 drafts, which surely helped. Smith may have been behind the 8-ball from the start as one source told McClure that he inherited a team “in disarray” in Tampa with “a lot of guys who didn’t love football.”
  • Bill Voth of Black And Blue Review wondered whether Panthers GM Dave Gettleman was thinking about Kawann Short‘s contract situation when he drafted Vernon Butler with the No. 30 overall pick. When asked about his overall philosophy on that, Gettleman didn’t specifically say whether he consider contracts of current players when prepping his boards. However, he did make it clear that he sees a difference-maker in Butler and was willing to take him even though he didn’t fill a need position-wise. “Looking at the roster, did we need another defensive tackle?” Gettleman asked rhetorically. “People can argue ‘no.’ But you know how much I believe in the front. You know how much I believe it’s a big man’s game and [coach] Ron [Rivera] is right there with me.”
  • There are a lot of people in the NFL who are breathing a sigh of relief now that the Saints ownership battle appears to be settled, according to Jason La Canfora of

Panthers Sign Vernon Butler

The Panthers have completed signing their 2016 draft class, announcing today that first-round defensive tackle Vernon Butler has officially put pen to paper on his rookie contract. Butler had been the last of Carolina’s five draftees to formally sign his new four-year deal.Vernon Butler

Of course, unlike the rest of the Panthers’ draft picks, Butler’s four-year pact will include a fifth-year option for 2020. His deal will also be the richest of any of Carolina’s rookie contracts — per Over the Cap, it will be worth nearly $8.397MM, with a signing bonus of about $4.307MM and a first-year cap charge of approximately $1.527MM.

For the Panthers, Butler will add another imposing presence on the interior of a defensive line that already looks strong at that spot. The former Louisiana Tech lineman will join a rotation headed by Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei, with Paul Soliai and others also in the mix.

With their draft picks secured, the Panthers will be able to focus on other things during this weekend’s rookie minicamp. As David Newton of details, the club still has five openings on its 90-man roster, and with 35 tryout players in attendance at the minicamp, there’s a good chance that a handful of those players will earn contracts within the next few days.

This weekend also represents the first opportunity the Panthers will have to see if any of their young players are capable of handling some of the snaps that went to cornerback Josh Norman in 2015, Newton writes in a separate piece. Noting that GM Dave Gettleman used three of his five picks on corners, Newton examines that subplot, along with a few others to keep an eye on in Carolina.

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