NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Cam Newton


  • The Buccaneers have hired Emmett Clifford and Korey Finnie as scouting assistants. (Greg Auman


Falcons HC Arthur Smith praised S Richie Grant for his impact last season despite being behind Erik Harris and Duron Harmon in the depth chart. 

“We knew that, in Year 1, he would be in a new scheme that was completely different than what he did at Central Florida,” Smith said, via Scott Bair of the team’s official site. “We had two veterans in here for the short term – Erik Harris is back, and Duron Harmon did a terrific job for us – but Richie still had an impact even though he wasn’t an every-down safety. If one of those guys got hurt and he had to go – Jaylinn Hawkins also had good development – but Richie was a big contributor last year. He got his feet wet. He helped on fourth down. He played over 600 snaps for us.”

Smith added that the goal for Grant in 2022 is to become an “every-down starter at safety.

This year the objective for Richie – now, he has to go earn it – is to be an every-down starter at safety,” Smith said. “That doesn’t mean he had a bad rookie year. Richie had an impact and he helped us. He developed the right way. That was part of the strategy last year when we took him. We didn’t envision him as a Day 1 starter. We envisioned him to become a starter and an impact player.”


  • Jonathan Alexander of the Charlotte Observer has heard the Panthers wanted the Browns to take on $13-$14 million of QB Baker Mayfield‘s $18.858 million 2022 salary, which is why talks broke down during the draft. 
  • Sources tell Alexander the Panthers are more likely to wait for the Browns to cut Mayfield at this point. 
  • Alexander believes Mayfield is more likely than 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo if the Panthers acquire a veteran, as Garoppolo is more expensive and San Francisco has shown little inclination to eat some of his deal to facilitate a trade so far. There are people with the team concerned about his shoulder injury as well. 
  • As for Cam Newton, Alexander writes the Panthers are open to bringing him back but it would have to be for less than he signed for last season and with the understanding he would not enter camp as the starter.  
  • Alexander mentions two sources told him Carolina considered taking QB Sam Howell even after trading back into the third round for QB Matt Corral. He adds neither Kenny Pickett nor Malik Willis were serious considerations for the Panthers.
  • Panthers QB Sam Darnold thinks he’ll improve in 2022 given his running ability and understanding of the system: “It’s just having confidence in my feet and the system to go out there and put the ball where it needs to be.” (David Newton)
  • Panthers communications assistant Jordan Trgovac was moved into a scouting assistant role. She’s the daughter of former Panthers DC Mike Trgovac. (Joe Person)

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