Zach Banner

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/16/21

The Week 6 Saturday minor move blitz:

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Football Team

Steelers Place DL Stephon Tuitt On IR

The Steelers will not have one half of their longtime defensive end duo to start the season. Stephon Tuitt will begin the year on IR.

Tuitt has battled a knee injury this summer. This move will sideline the eighth-year defensive lineman for at least the season’s first three games. The Steelers carried Tuitt through to their 53-man roster, but he will not be able to join Cameron Heyward and Co. in uniform until at least October.

Last season marked a return from a separate injury for Tuitt, who saw his 2019 slate end early because of a chest malady. Tuitt returned to have his best year as a pass rusher. The former second-round pick posted 11 sacks and 25 QB hits last season, helping the Steelers to an 11-0 start and the AFC North title.

Pittsburgh also placed offensive tackle Zach Banner and running back Anthony McFarland on IR Wednesday. After missing 15 games last season, Banner was in line to begin this year as the team’s right tackle starter. Those plans will be on hold. Banner began last season as the team’s right tackle but suffered a torn ACL in Week 1. Both players will also be eligible to return in Week 4.

To fill these roster spots, the Steelers brought back O-linemen B.J. Finney and Rashaad Coward, along with cornerback Arthur Maulet. Pittsburgh cut each on Tuesday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers To Re-Sign Zach Banner

Maurkice Pouncey has retired, Matt Feiler just signed with the Chargers, and the Steelers might be looking to move on from Alejandro Villanueva, so Pittsburgh’s offensive line is going to look a lot different next year no matter what.

But not everybody is walking out the door, as the team has agreed to terms on a deal to retain tackle Zach Banner, Aditi Kinkhabwala of ESPN.com tweets. It’s a two-year, $9.5MM deal with a $3.25MM signing bonus, she reports. Not too shabby for a player with only two career starts under his belt.

A fourth-round pick of the Colts back in 2017, Banner was cut before ever playing in a game for Indy. He then had brief stints with the Browns and Panthers before landing with the Steelers. He only started one game in 2019, but played in 14 and played 22 percent of the offensive snaps.

Last offseason he won the job to be the Steelers’ new starting right tackle, but tore an ACL during their Week 1 win over the Giants. The team clearly believes in him, and it seems like they envision him winning the starting job again. Since his ACL tear came so early in the year, the USC product should be ready to go for the start of the 2021 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC North Notes: Judon, Bengals, Steelers

After being franchise-tagged last year, Matt Judon appears closer to hitting the market for the first time. The free agent-to-be has said a return to the Ravens would require circumstances to align perfectly, providing a clear indication a hometown discount will not be in the cards. Judon, though, is not ruling out a Ravens return. If the veteran edge rusher is to leave Baltimore, however, he may not be willing to sign with one of the league’s rebuilding teams. Judon said he wants to land with a winning team, per veteran NFL reporter Josina Anderson (on Twitter). The 29-year-old defender joins teammate Yannick Ngakoue, who did not see full-time action for the Ravens in the playoffs, and Shaquil Barrett and Bud Dupree as edge rushers eager to cash in after being tagged last year.

Here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • Carl Lawson is on the precipice of free agency for the first time, separating him from a few of this year’s UFA edge rushers. But the Bengals may not be willing to let him go. The Bengals are prepared to use their franchise tag on Lawson, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes. While some believe the team would rather tag cornerback William Jackson, more buzz has emerged about the team keeping the four-year defensive end cog. Although Lawson only tallied 5.5 sacks last season, his 32 quarterback hits ranked second in the NFL.
  • With the cap-strapped Steelers unlikely to tag anyone this year, they would need to extend Dupree before March 17 to keep him off the market. GM Kevin Colbert did not indicate Dupree would be prioritized. “We have to adjust and know that he might be a possibility, he might not be,” Colbert said, via SI.com. “We’re never going to eliminate a great player like Bud Dupree, because we don’t know what Bud’s market is, and Bud doesn’t know what his market is at this point.” The legal tampering period begins March 15. It is possible the 2021 salary cap number will not emerge until shortly before that date, complicating matters for teams hoping to extend big-ticket free agents.
  • Despite Zach Banner suffering a torn ACL in Week 1, Mike Tomlin informed the offensive tackle he had a path to regain a starting job in 2021. “Coach T looked at me and said, ‘You are my answer for 2021, so I need you to focus on your knee, don’t worry about anything else,’” Banner said, via The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly (subscription required). “That was the best thing that I could’ve heard.” Banner, Pittsburgh’s Week 1 right tackle starter, re-signed with the Steelers on a one-year, $1.75MM deal. A similar contract may be in the cards for the four-year veteran. The Steelers may be leaning toward letting Villanueva, their six-year left tackle starter, walk in free agency. One season remains on right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor‘s rookie contract.

Torn ACL For Steelers’ Zach Banner

Steelers right tackle Zach Banner has been diagnosed with a torn ACL in his right knee, according to a source who spoke with NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). Once confirmed by a second opinion, Banner will be placed on injured reserve and sidelined for the remainder of the season. 

Banner, an absolutely mammoth human being at 6’9″, 360 pounds, was selected by the Colts in the fourth round of the 2017 draft. However, the USC product didn’t make it through final cutdowns in Indianapolis, and became the highest rookie draft choice to be waived that year. Banner later hooked on with the Steelers and went on to flatten the opposition as a reserve in 2019. This year, Banner re-upped on a one-year, $1.75MM deal and won the starting right tackle job. Before the injury, he seemed destined for a big pay day in 2021.

Chukwuma Okorafor – nearly as imposing at 6’6″ and 320 pounds – will likely replace Banner in the starting lineup. Beyond that, the Steelers may survey out-of-house options for depth. After downing the Giants on Monday night, they’ll take on the Broncos in Week 2.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/17/20

Tuesday’s restricted free agent and exclusive rights free agent tender decisions will be posted below. Deals will be updated throughout the day.

RFAs

Tendered at second-round level: 

Tendered at original-round level:

ERFAs

Tendered:

Non-tendered:

Steelers Sign OT Zach Banner

The Steelers have signed free agent offensive tackle Zach Banner, the club announced today. In a corresponding roster move, Pittsburgh has waived/injured offensive lineman Kyle Meadows.

Banner, an absolutely mammoth human being at 6’9″, 360 pounds, was selected by the Colts in the fourth round of the 2017 draft. However, the USC product didn’t even make it through final cutdowns in Indianapolis, and became the highest rookie draft choice to be waived last year.

Claimed off waivers by the Browns, Banner played just 27 offensive snaps in eight games for Indianapolis before going on waivers again. He was acquired by the Panthers in March, but spent only two months on Carolina’s roster before being cut in May.

At present, the Steelers don’t appear to have any room for another offensive tackle on its 53-man roster. Alejandro Villanueva and Marcus Gilbert are locked in as Pittsburgh’s starters, while Matt Feiler and third-round rookie Chukwuma Okorafor will serve as backups. Banner’s chances with the Steelers, then, likely hinge on whether the club suffers any injuries over the next few weeks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/16/18

Here are today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Jacksonville Jaguars

Minnesota Vikings

  • Re-signed: DT Dylan Bradley

Oakland Raiders

  • Signed: P Colby Wadman

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Browns Release Eight Players

Cornerback Jason McCourty and wide receiver Sammie Coates aren’t the only players on their way out of Cleveland. The Browns have also cut cornerback B.W. Webb, defensive lineman Ricky Ali’ifua, offensive lineman Zach Banner, defensive lineman Collin Bevins, linebacker Jeremy Cash, offensive lineman Joseph Cheek, defensive back Trevon Hartfield, and running back Josh Rounds.

Banner figures to draw interest from teams given the lack of quality tackles available. A USC product, Banner was selected by the Colts in the fourth round of last year’s draft. When he missed Indianapolis’ final cut, the Giants tried to claim him off waivers before the Browns scooped him up. He saw time in eight games for the Browns last season.

Rounds, 25 in October, re-upped with the Browns on a futures deal in January. Same goes for Hartfield and Webb, but they’re now in search of new teams.