NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers


  • Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians changed his tune after the game on whether QB Tom Brady will play another season in the NFL: “That’s up to Tom.” (Sara Walsh)
  • Brady said he hasn’t put any thought into whether he plans to retire or play another season: “I haven’t put a lot of thought into it. I’ll just take it day by day and see where we’re at.” (Armando Salguero)
  • Arians added on Monday he will give Brady space to make a decision: “I haven’t talked to him yet. But take all the time he needs and we’ll see.” (Stroud)
  • Arians said if Brady does retire, the team will look into outside options: “We’ll be doing our homework, that’s for sure.” (Auman)
  • Arians said he’s proud of his team and the members of the locker room but also admits that he’s not proud of how the season ended: “It’s hard. The finality of this league’s a bitch. That locker room has been through hell and back this year, and I love ‘em. They stuck together through all the injuries and everything else. Really, really proud of the comeback — not the finish.” (Jenna Laine)
  • Buccaneers DE Jason Pierre-Paul said he wasn’t sure if he’ll play another season, whether that be in Tampa Bay, or elsewhere. Pierre-Paul is waiting until after he has shoulder surgery to decide on his playing career. (Greg Auman)
  • Pierre-Paul was away from the team this week as he mourned the death of his grandmother. Pierre-Paul spent time with his mother before returning for today’s game. (Auman)
  • Buccaneers RT Tristan Wirfs is expected to have surgery following the team’s loss to the Rams. Wirfs was diagnosed with a high-ankle sprain and also tore two ligaments, including one that ripped off of the bone. (The Athletic)
  • Buccaneers LB Lavonte David said the team has to address a lot of uncertainty: “We had a lot of turmoil going on in our organization.” (Rob Maaddi)
  • Bucs C Ryan Jensen mentioned he wants to re-sign with the team: “I love it here. It’s home. We’ll see what happens and figure out what’s going on. We’ve got a little time to figure things out and see what’s going to happen.” (Rick Stroud)
  • Jensen added he doesn’t know what Brady will do: “That’s going to be a decision for Tom and he hasn’t said anything to us yet. If it happens, if he comes back or retires, that decision is obviously up to Tom.” (Stroud)
  • Arians said the team will try to bring back as many guys as possible: “Each year is so different and so new.” (Greg Auman)
  • Arians doesn’t regret the blitz call on the final offensive play by the Rams: “It’s who you are. No regrets…everybody got the call. I was wrong about it, we got the call. You got to cover better, but when we do that, we’ve got to get to the quarterback.” (Stroud)
  • If OC Byron Leftwich gets a head coaching job, Arians said he will probably take over play-calling next year. (Auman)
  • Buccaneers TE Rob Gronkowski said his status next year isn’t necessarily tied to Brady: “I’ll never throw anything off the board.” (Auman)


  • Scott Bair of the team website thinks the Falcons could use help at wide receiver regardless of what happens with Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage this offseason. However, because of the team’s limited cap space, their best options in free agency might be lower-tier options like Bills WR Emmanuel Sanders or Cowboys WR Cedrick Wilson.
  • Bair is skeptical of the idea of moving RT Kaleb McGary to guard even though he hasn’t solidified his standing at right tackle. 


  • The Athletic’s Joe Person reports there has been no contact between Panthers HC Matt Rhule and Michigan regarding their head coaching job should HC Jim Harbaugh leave for the NFL. However, he adds the idea of Rhule going back to the college level at some point is certainly possible. 
  • Person notes Carolina would like to re-sign TE Ian Thomas but primarily as a blocker and depth piece. 

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