NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Cam Newton, Panthers, Saints


Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians said they expect TE Rob Gronkowski (ribs) to recover in “2-3 weeks” and mentioned TE Darren Fells as a player they may lean on. 

“We think in about two or three weeks he’ll be back to normal,” Arians said. via SiriusXM NFL Radio.Darren Fells coming in this week, veteran player who’s played good for us in the past and love where we’re at that way. Gronk is gonna get better and we’ll just make sure he’s good when he comes back.”

  • Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin (foot) did not practice on Wednesday. He also missed practice again on Thursday (Greg Auman)
  • Arians confirmed Tampa Bay had no interested in signing free-agent WR Odell Beckham Jr: “No. We’ve already got AB, we don’t need OBJ. Too many letters.” (Rick Stroud)


  • NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reports new Panthers veteran QB Cam Newton had a good meeting with owner David Tepper, GM Scott Fitterer and VP of Football Operations Steven Drummond prior to signing his contract with Carolina on Thursday. 
  • Rapoport adds they “cleared the air and will move forward.”
  • NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero notes that Newton’s deal is for the rest of 2021. 
  • Pelissero adds Newton will “realistically” make $6 million of his $10 million max value given he must win the Super Bowl and earn MVP to achieve his full earnings.  
  • Panthers HC Matt Rhule said Newton’s signing is an indication they are looking to win now: “This isn’t about anything other than winning. That’s why Cam is coming here, because he wants to win.” (Joe Person)
  • Rhule said they are now focusing on getting Newton up to speed: “We have to get Cam up to speed. Can’t say when that will happen.” (Joe Person)
  • Rhule said the decision to release Newton in 2020 was related to his health: “Well, he’s healthy now.” (Joe Person)
  • Rhule reiterated that Newton is a “special player” when healthy: “We brought him here because he can play. A healthy Cam Newton is a special player.” (Darin Gannt)
  • Rhule announced that QB P.J. Walker will start Week 10 as they work to get Newton up to speed. (Joe Person)
  • Rhule indicated that he contacted Newton on Monday night to ask whether he was interested in returning to Carolinda: “He emphatically said yes.” (Joe Person)


  • According to Jordan Schultz, Saints HC Sean Payton personally tried to recruit WR Odell Beckham Jr. to sign with New Orleans.
  • New Orleans Dot Football’s Nick Underhill notes that Saints RB Alvin Kamara (knee) did not practice on Thursday and is probably doubtful at this point to play in Week 10.
  • Underhill adds DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson also remained out at practice and is also likely doubtful to play.  

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