Saints sign CB DaMarcus Fields from their practice squad to the 53-man roster

Saints sign CB DaMarcus Fields from their practice squad to the 53-man roster, taking the spot vacated by Alontae Taylor going on injured reserve:

Here’s the next man up. The New Orleans Saints had a spot open on their 53-man roster with rookie cornerback Alontae Taylor going on injured reserve (he injured his knee in practice on Sept. 22), so they’ve signed first-year corner DaMarcus Fields up from their practice squad. Initially picked up as an undrafted free agent out of Texas Tech, Fields was elevated for last week’s game with the Carolina Panthers in Taylor’s place. Now, instead of earning $13,803 a week on the practice squad, Fields will now reel in $41,470 as a member of the 53-man roster.

He’s also won a path to getting on the field in Taylor’s role with the special teams units; he ran with the punt return and punt coverage squads last week, as well as the field goal blocking team. Marshon Lattimore, Bradley Roby, and Paulson Adebo are still ahead of Fields on the defensive depth chart, but if he can continue to work for reps in the kicking game he could stick around.

As for Taylor: it’s still unclear whether this is a season-ending injury, and the decision to promote Fields now doesn’t really give us an idea of his timetable. Players must sit out at least four weeks on the injured reserve list before being reactivated, and teams are allowed to elevate a practice squad player for three games each season before being forced to sign them to the 53-man roster. Those two time limits don’t really mesh. We’ll keep an eye out for updates on Taylor’s status.

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Chiefs K Harrison Butker restructures contract to free up cap space

The #Chiefs restructured Harrison Butker’s contract to free up needed cap space to make recent roster moves.

The Kansas City Chiefs had very little salary cap space entering Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season.

We expected that the team might make a cost-cutting move by the way of an extension or a contract restructure. They went the route of making a deal with a player currently on the roster.

As first reported by ESPN’s Field Yates, the Chiefs have restructured Harrison Butker’s contract. They converted approximately $2.2 million of his salary into a signing bonus, which creates nearly $1.5 million in cap space for the team in 2022. This should allow them to make the recent 53-man roster and practice squad signings without risking going over the salary cap.

This is really only a quick fix for Kansas City. Despite creating nearly $1.5 million in salary cap space, they likely still have less than $1 million in space. That’s from sending Trent McDuffie to injured reserve, signing Elijah Lee and Jack Cochrane to the 53-man roster and signing Corey Coleman, Dicaprio Bootle and Matt Ammendola to the practice squad. They’re all contributing factors to the team’s salary cap total.

As for Butker, he remains under contract through the 2024 NFL season. His cap hit will be slightly bigger in each of the next two seasons.

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Which Saints players could be next for an extension after Erik McCoy?

Which Saints players could be next for an extension? Starting defensive linemen Marcus Davenport and David Onyemata are among 27 pending free agents in 2023:

A lot has changed since we last examined the list of New Orleans Saints players headed for free agency in 2023. The top two players on our list have seen things go in vastly different directions — starting center Erik McCoy reached an agreement on a five-year contract extension, while fan-favorite nickel corner C.J. Gardner-Johnson was traded to the Eagles after talks broke down. So what’s next for everyone else?

Many of these players are going to be unrestricted free agents who can field offers from other teams, unless the Saints sign them to an extension ahead of time (or issue the tag for a franchise or transition player). Some of them will have restricted status, which basically ensures New Orleans will get the right of first refusal on opposing offers, and maybe bring in some compensation should the player leave. And a few are stuck as exclusive-rights free agents who will have to choose between playing for the Saints or not playing at all, unless the team relinquishes the opportunity.

And a handful of pending Saints free agents will be in position to cash in. Market value estimates from the team at Spotrac suggest defensive end Marcus Davenport could reel in as much as $23.2 million per year on the open market; others like wide receiver Deonte Harty ($9.8 million per year), defensive tackle David Onyemata ($7.8 million per year), and defensive lineman Shy Tuttle ($6.3 million) are also seeing high estimates. But those are just one projection from a single outlet, and a lot can change in the months ahead. So don’t take those numbers as facts. They’re just something to note in looking ahead.

But that’s all a story for another day. Here is the full list of 27 pending Saints free agents for 2023:

Details on Saints’ landmark contract with Erik McCoy

The Saints reached agreement with Erik McCoy on a landmark contract extension, which brings in the second-highest guarantees for a center in NFL history:

Whew: Erik McCoy just became a very wealthy man. The New Orleans Saints’ starting center reached an agreement with the team on a long-term contract extension, which NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reports will run five years. Garafolo adds that the deal is valued at up to $63.75 million, carrying more than $40 million in guarantees. It’s a big deal for a top-five center in the league.

That total amount includes incentives, which means that the actual annual payout may clock in lower than the $12.75 million it averages out to. But if that’s an accurate number, it clocks in as the fourth-best return for centers around the league — only Eagles veteran Jason Kelce ($14 million per year),  Lions Pro Bowler Frank Ragnow ($13.5 million), and Buccaneers cheap-shot artist Ryan Jensen ($13 million) are getting more. And of that group, only Ragnow is receiving higher guarantees at signing ($42 million).

How does this impact the salary cap? We’re still waiting on exact details and the structure of the deal, but it’s likely going to open up a little room for New Orleans in 2022. McCoy’s salary cap hit was north of $3.4 million prior to agreeing on this extension, most of which came from his $2.79 million base salary. The Saints can now kick a lot of that into future years and create some more room for 2022 by lowering his base salary to the veteran minimum ($965,000) and paying him back the difference in his signing bonus. That would free up as much as $1.8 million in cap space and help facilitate minor moves throughout the season. New Orleans was under the cap by just $2.89 million on Thursday prior to the new deal.

So good for McCoy, and for the Saints in reupping a homegrown talent. McCoy just turned 25 in August and will be well positioned to cash in again by the time he turns 30. Jensen signed his new contract earlier this year just months before his 31st birthday. Kelce will be 35 in November. If McCoy sustains his impressive level of play, he’ll have another opportunity to secure a big payday.

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Erik McCoy agrees to long-term extension with the Saints

Erik McCoy has agreed to a long-term extension with the Saints, per his agents:

This is big: the New Orleans Saints have agreed to a long-term contract extension with starting center Erik McCoy, his agents at Apex Sports Group announced Thursday. McCoy was drafted in the second round of the 2019 NFL draft out of Texas A&M and has become one of the steadiest members of the Saints offensive line. It’s a big win for the team to sign a young homegrown talent to a multiyear deal. Contract terms are forthcoming.

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This is a developing story.

Collin Sexton lands massive contract from Utah Jazz

Collin Sexton just got PAID, here are the details.

In part of a league-altering move that resulted in Donovan Mitchell being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, former Crimson Tide superstar, [autotag]Collin Sexton[/autotag], found himself as part of the trade package for Mitchell and is headed west to join the Utah Jazz.

Immediately after the trade, Sexton signed a massive deal with the Jazz for four years worth $71 million. As shown below, Sexton’s contract will start at $16.5 million and it increases 5% each year.

Sexton, unfortunately, missed a majority of the 2021-2022 NBA season due to a torn meniscus suffered in November. In the 11 games he appeared in prior to the injury, Sexton was averaging 16.0 ppg, 3.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists.

However, Sexton has been incredibly promising as he was named to the NBA All-Rookie second team in 2019 and has only gotten better from that point. Through four seasons, Sexton’s career averages are 20 ppg, 3.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and just shy of one steal.

The trade to Utah should result in Sexton getting a lot more looks as the Jazz’s new No. 1 option. It will be fun to see if Sexton can make his first All-Star game appearance this upcoming season.

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Russell Wilson wants to make the Broncos ‘a destination location’

Russell Wilson aimed to leave enough cap space after his deal so the Broncos can become a “destination location” for future free agents.

For at least the next three years, Russell Wilson will have an extremely team-friendly contract with the Denver Broncos.

And with the NFL’s salary cap continuing to rise and other quarterbacks set to get big extensions in the coming years, Wilson’s contract should age well even after his cap hits begin to top $50 million in 2025.

Wilson is a not the NFL’s top-paid quarterback (his average salary ranks sixth), and he didn’t ask the team to reset the QB market.

“For me, it wasn’t really about how much [money], necessarily,” Wilson said Thursday. “It was about how many Super Bowls we can win. That’s really the focus.”

With cap flexibility going forward and a franchise QB under contract, the Broncos can be aggressive, similar to when they signed stars like DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib, Emmanuel Sanders and T.J. Ward during the Peyton Manning era.

“I had such an amazing first decade of my career, and the next decade, I’m really excited about,” Wilson said. “To me, what it [the extension] was really about was being able to win championships and being able to have enough space in the salary cap so George can make his magic and we can get guys like Randy Gregory when he comes on the team or other great players. We want to make this a destination location.”

Denver reached two Super Bowls during Manning’s four-year window with the team. The Broncos now has a seven-year window with Wilson’s new deal, and it leaves enough cap space for other additions in the coming years. It’s Super Bowl or bust time in Denver.

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Here are Russell Wilson’s salary cap hits with the Broncos through 2028

Russell Wilson’s cap hit with the Broncos will be just $17 million this year and $22 million in 2023.

Russell Wilson’s five-year, $245 million extension has him under contract with the Denver Broncos for the next seven seasons, and the team is getting a franchise quarterback at a relative bargain price.

The deal includes $124 million guaranteed, including a $92 million bonus that will be prorated over the next seven seasons. Wilson will also have a $5 million roster bonus this year.

The simplest way to break down the contact is by Wilson’s salary cap hits each season. Here’s a look at those totals, courtesy of OverTheCap.com:

2022: $17 million
2023: $22 million
2024: $35.4 million
2025: $55.4 million
2026: $58.4 million
2027: $53.4 million
2028: $54 million

By today’s quarterback market standards, Wilson will have very team-friendly cap hits over the next three years. And by the time his cap hit jumps above $50 million in 2025, the NFL’s salary cap ceiling will likely have increased significantly.

Thanks to the bonus and structure of the contract, Wilson will receive $57 million this year. It’s a win-win for both sides as the quarterback gets a big payment now while the Broncos get cap flexibility.

And in addition to the cap going up in the coming years, other quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow will be seeking massive extensions that could make Wilson’s look like a bargain.

Denver had to pay up for Wilson, but the QB’s contract should age well.

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Russell Wilson’s new contract runs through his age-40 season

Russell Wilson has said in the past that he wants to play in the NFL until he’s 45.

Russell Wilson has hinted that he wants to play as long as Tom Brady, suggesting that he would like to play in the NFL until he’s 45.

Wilson has a strict diet and a rigorous fitness routine, so it’s possible that he might be able to have a lengthy career like Brady. It’s also possible that Brady is an outlier, not just in on-field accomplishments but also in longevity.

For the fans who don’t believe Wilson will be able to play as long as Brady, perhaps they’d consider a Peyton Manning-lengthed career a good consolation.

Manning retired just a few weeks before his 40th birthday in 2016, and the Denver Broncos clearly believe Wilson will be able to play at least that long.

Denver agreed to terms on a five-year extension with Wilson on Thursday. Those five years will be added on to Wilson’s existing two-year deal, making it a seven-year contract in total.

Wilson is 33 now but he’ll turn 34 during the season. He will later turn 40 years old during the final year of his current deal in 2028.

There’s no guarantee that Wilson’s body will hold up as long as Brady’s, but playing the next seven years with the Broncos is a very attainable start.

Manning only played four seasons in Denver and the Broncos reached two Super Bowls during that time, winning one of them. Fans in Denver would love to have similar results with Wilson, even over a seven-year period.

The goal is to win the Super Bowl, and the Broncos now have a franchise quarterback who can help them get there. We don’t know how long Wilson will end up playing, but Denver now has at least a seven-year window to compete for championships, health permitting.

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George Paton, Greg Penner comment on Russell Wilson’s new contract with Broncos

“Our organization is fully committed to winning and competing for Super Bowls with Russell [Wilson] as a Bronco for many years to come.”

The Denver Broncos have agreed to terms on a new five-year contract with quarterback Russell Wilson, the team announced Thursday.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed by the team, but multiple outlets have reported that the five-year extension is worth $245 million. After the team announced the deal on Thursday afternoon, general manager George Paton and owner/CEO Greg Penner both released statements on the contract.