NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers

     

Buccaneers

  • The Athletic’s Greg Auman writes that minor surgeries to Buccaneers DE Jason Pierre-Paul and DL Vita Vea have brought up Tampa Bay’s lack of depth in the front seven, even though both are expected back before the start of the season. 
  • The first man off the bench to replace Pierre-Paul would be 2019 fourth-round DE Anthony Nelson who had eight tackles as a rookie, while either veteran DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches or sixth-round rookie DL Khalil Davis would replace Vea.
  • Auman mentions the Buccaneers could consider EDGE Kareem Martin or LB Clay Matthews in free agency, but the team has just $4.2 million of available cap space right now not including the rookie class. 

Falcons

  • ESPN’s Vaughn McClure says Falcons veteran QB Matt Schaub will battle former UDFA QB Kurt Benkert for the backup job. Benkert flashed in the Hall of Fame Game last preseason before going on injured reserve with a toe injury.
  • McClure notes some teammates think Falcons RB Brian Hill deserves a shot at being a feature back based on his play in 2019.
  • Hill will work with RB Ito Smith, who tells McClure he’s been fully cleared from his neck injury, and former UDFA RB Qadree Ollison, who could carve out a short-yardage role, behind free-agent addition RB Todd Gurley
  • The Falcons signed WR Laquon Treadwell this offseason but he has to overtake Olamide Zaccheaus, Christian Blake and Russell Gage for playing time as the third receiver. McClure mentions Zaccheaus’ special teams ability as an edge for him. 
  • McClure adds the Falcons could use an extra offensive lineman when they need a blocking tight end given the NFL’s new gameday roster eligibility rules. 
  • Left guard is the only starting job up for grabs on the offensive line, per McClure, and the two leaders for the spot are James Carpenter and third-round rookie Matt Hennessy, with Jamon Brown and Matt Gono other options as depth. 

Panthers

Cam Newton posted a video to his YouTube page Monday evening titled, “Farewell Carolina, Hello New England.”

According to Newton, he never wanted to leave Carolina and it was ultimately a decision made by the team to move on from him. 

“Right now, I feel angry, I feel let down,” Newton said. “But at the same time, I’m not bitter, you know what I mean? I know since the first day that I came into this league, that this day was going to come.”

“Don’t believe the hype. I never once, and I’ll say this, never once wanted to leave Carolina. Don’t let them make you believe. It was their decision. I stuck with it and I knew that, so I asked for a trade.”

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