NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Baker Mayfield


  • The Athletic’s Greg Auman writes the salary the Buccaneers gave RB Leonard Fournette suggests they envision him as their every-down back, but they could add depth on Day 3 of the draft. 
  • Auman points out the Buccaneers typically carry five or six tight ends on their training camp roster and they have just two right now. That could be a sign they expect Rob Gronkowski back but regardless there should be additions there. 
  • Guard or defensive line are the two most likely positions for the Buccaneers to address in the first round, per Auman. 
  • Auman says to keep an eye out for the team adding a linebacker, as it’s an under-the-radar need given LB Lavonte David‘s age and contract situation in 2023. 


Falcons QB Marcus Mariota is currently the projected starter yet has no idea if this will still be the case after the draft (the Falcons have the No.8 overall pick) or when the season begins. 

“There is nothing guaranteed,” Mariota said, via Steve Wyche of “This is just an opportunity. I feel like I have never been handed anything and I’m excited about this…If it’s not me, it’s okay too. I’ve been in this situation before. It’s a ‘control what I can control,’ mindset. I have no ego. I can be an ear and listen. Teams are going to do what they’re going to do. If they do draft someone, I’ll give as much advice and knowledge as I can. If not, I’m ready to roll. If things work out, hopefully, I’ll be here for the next few years.”


  • The Athletic’s Joe Person says Browns QB Baker Mayfield is among the options the Panthers are considering but he’s not the only one.
  • He adds the Browns would have to eat part of Mayfield’s $18.8 million salary to make a deal work, as Carolina is already on the hook for the same figure for QB Sam Darnold as both enter their fifth-year options.  
  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer writes Mayfield has been seen internally in Carolina as a sort of redundant gamble in the vein of their move for Darnold. 
  • NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport says the Browns could possibly trade Mayfield prior to the draft and believes the Panthers are the most likely landing spot.
  • Rapoport adds if the Panthers trade for Mayfield prior to the draft, they probably won’t draft a quarterback. Meanwhile, if Mayfield remains on the Browns he will most likely have to go to training camp with the team.
  • ESPN’s David Newton reports the Panthers continue to research quarterbacks, including Mayfield, yet nothing is imminent and there is no clarity on Carolina’s level of interest in the Browns quarterback.
  • The Panthers hosted North Carolina QB Sam Howell for the second time in as many weeks, this time for a private workout. (Newton)

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