NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers


  • Mike Sando of The Athletic reminds Buccaneers fans that GM Jason Licht has already publicly committed to picking up the fifth-year option on DT Vita Vea, who helped anchor Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl win.
  • The fifth-year option will run the Buccaneers $7,638,000 for the 2022 season. 


  • NBC Sports’ Peter King writes that he doesn’t think the Falcons will take a quarterback just for the sake of taking one this year with a high pick in what’s supposed to be a strong class. 
  • He says he could absolutely see Atlanta going in that direction but only if they really love one of the quarterbacks available. Otherwise, he thinks they’ll trade down or sit and take Florida TE Kyle Pitts.


New Panthers QB Sam Darnold is excited to start fresh in Carolina after this offseason initially brought a lot of unknowns.

“There’s a little bit of both — relief and excitement,” Darnold said, via “There’s been so much uncertainty this offseason, not knowing what your future was going to look like, that was hard. But now that I’m in Charlotte, I’m excited, and yeah, I guess I am kind of relieved to be here.”

Darnold sees a lot of similarities between the Panthers’ offensive scheme and what the Jets did in his rookie season.

“For sure, there are some similarities to what I did my rookie season. The system was good for me, and I felt like I settled in nicely.”

  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer says that the Panthers decided early on the cost to move up in the draft for a quarterback was probably going to be prohibitive and San Francisco’s deal for the No. 3 pick confirmed that. 
  • Initially, Carolina was pushing for the deal for Darnold to include fifth and sixth-round picks this year and a second in 2022, but agreed to turn the fifth into a fourth in 2022 in exchange for giving up the lowest of their sixths this year. 
  • Breer points out it was important to the Panthers that they keep each of their first three picks this year.
  • Breer mentions the relationship between the Panthers and QB Teddy Bridgewater is obviously strained but HC Matt Rhule has left the door open for him to come back and compete with Darnold. 
  • Breer adds the trade for Darnold does not preclude Carolina from taking a quarterback if one they like falls to their pick. 
  • He also mentions Panthers OC Joe Brady‘s system should be a much better fit for Darnold than what he was previously in under Adam Gase, who refused to simplify aspects of the system to get Darnold playing faster. 
  • Rhule admitted the Panthers gave Bridgewater permission to seek a trade following the Darnold deal: “Teddy’s still a member of this team … We’re going to have to wait and see how things play out.” (Andrew Siciliano)
  • Rhule also said that they will look at all options with the No. 8 overall pick, including quarterbacks: “At the eighth position, we’ll be flexible. We’ll look to take the best player available. We’ll continue to look at quarterbacks. We’ll look at anything and everything.” (Joe Person)
  • Rhule said he has “has no doubt” RB Christian McCaffrey will be fully healthy for training camp. (David Newton)

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