NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers


  • The Buccaneers released S Justin Evans after years of him being unavailable due to injury but his agent tells ESPN’s Jenna Laine that Evans is looking to continue his career with multiple teams interested: “He does intend to continue playing. He’s excited about his next opportunity and thanks the Bucs for giving him the opportunity to be part of their team for the last four seasons.” 


  • Per the Athletic’s Jeff Schultz and Tori McElhaney, Falcons president Rich McKay said he’s not interested in taking too big a role in football operations and will tell the new general manager the same: “Hey, listen: You’re the GM. Whatever (part of the job) you can take, you take. Whatever you can’t take, I’ll help.”
  • McKay says Atlanta vetted 20-25 candidates for the position, 11-12 of which were legitimate contenders. The team will interview five or six and owner Arthur Blank will make a final decision about two weeks after the end of the regular season. 
  • The Falcons won’t conduct any more interviews until after the season. Schultz and McElhaney point out Atlanta has already interviewed former Texans GM Rick Smith and internal director of college scouting Anthony Robinson, meaning the other serious candidates likely work for teams and don’t include ESPN analyst Louis Riddick.
  • The two write Smith is friends with McKay and perceived to be the favorite for the job. Other candidates the Falcons are believed to be interested in include Rams director of college scouting Brad Holmes, Chiefs assistant director of player personnel Ryan Poles and Saints director of pro scouting Terry Fontenot.
  • As to the future of Falcons QB Matt Ryan and WR Julio Jones, McKay said they would be open to the next GM moving on from the two if he had a clear plan: “Give us a plan. Show us what you want to do and show us why. Show us how this gets us to Ws and make sure you actually execute the plan.”
  • Falcons interim HC Raheem Morris said Jones is “a little bit closer” to potentially playing this week but they’ll give his hamstring through the week before determining his game status. (Jason Butt)
  • Falcons S Ricardo Allen hasn’t cleared the concussion protocol but he will return to practice this week. (Butt)


Panthers owner David Tepper spoke with the media following his decision to dismiss GM Marty Hurney and it’s not hard to read between the lines of his comments and see more changes coming, especially at quarterback. Panthers QB Teddy Bridgewater has come up short eight times in one-score situations in the fourth quarter this year and with a likely top-five pick, Carolina could be in position to find an upgrade this spring. 

“The NFL, when you talk about quarterback and you think about what you’re doing there, it’s an ongoing process. It’s a question of who can be that guy that can help you win? That’s the most important position on the field,” Tepper said via the Athletic’s Joe Person. “And unless you have that guy — for sure — that gets you to playoffs and Super Bowls, you have to keep re-evaluating that. Because that’s the only thing that matters, is Super Bowls. And until you have that guy, you’re evaluating, evaluating, evaluating every year.”

  • Panthers HC Matt Rhule said RB Christian McCaffrey is doubtful to play this week against Washington. (David Newton)
  • Based on what he knows from Wednesday’s practice, Rhule adds DE Brian Burns and fourth-round CB Troy Pride are also likely out. (Newton)
  • Burns will not need surgery, though, according to Rhule. (Newton)

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