NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints

     

Buccaneers

  • Per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, Buccaneers WR Mike Evans said he’s feeling better than he was going into last Thursday’s game after rolling his ankle: “Still some soreness, but nothing I can’t play through.”
  • The Buccaneers are hosting DB Mazzi Wilkins for a visit this week. (Aaron Wilson)

Falcons

Falcons CEO Rich McKay told the media that the new GM and head coach in Atlanta will have “great control over the roster.”

“We like a lot of the players we have on this football team,” McKay said, via Pro Football Talk. “You never try to tie their hands. You’ve got to give your people that you brought in to run your franchise. You’ve got to give them the leeway to do what they think is best.”

McKay also said that he realizes the salary cap is somewhat problematic but dismissed it as “not a big huge problem.”

“We have constraints based on the current roster set up,” said McKay. “And that’s because we have some players that are really good players, and they’re paid at an elite level. We should be a very appealing job.”

  • Per Fansided’s Matt Lombardo, former NFL GM Jeff Diamond doesn’t think the Falcons can realistically move on from QB Matt Ryan anytime soon because of his contract: “Ryan is there for two more years and carries way too much dead money. They can’t feasibly get out of his deal by cutting him or trading him until 2023. So, it all starts with getting him back to playing at a higher level.”
  • Diamond adds he would focus on building around Ryan and WR Julio Jones for the next two seasons still: “It starts with keeping Ryan and Jones healthy. Then, they have to rebuild around them. Especially along the offensive line, at running back, and on defense.”
  • The Athletic’s Ed Bouchette notes Steelers secondary coach Teryl Austin made a favorable impression on Falcons owner Arthur Blank when he interviewed twice for the job as the Lions defensive coordinator in 2015. 
  • Ryan said he’s not thinking about a potential rebuild and his role in it, instead focusing on finishing out the rest of the season: “I can’t worry about that yet. It’s not like we’re making this transition…we have 11 games in front of us.” (Michael Giardi)

Panthers

  • The Athletic’s Joe Person writes that Panthers DT Kawann Short is a likely salary cut this coming offseason after his second season-ending shoulder injury in as many years, this time to his other joint. 
  • Person notes Carolina will free up $9.8 million in cap space by releasing Short in 2021, though it will create $11 million in dead money. 
  • Panthers HC Matt Rhule raved about WR Curtis Samuel, who is fourth on the team in receptions but leads the league with eight catches on third down: “On our team, he is the player — and I respect them all — but I have infinite respect for him. He does the dirty jobs. He does the odd jobs. DJ catches the ball, (Samuel) turns up, he blocks, it’s a touchdown. He does everything.” 
  • Panthers DE Brian Burns (concussion) returned to practice in a non-contact jersey while CB Eli Apple (hamstring) shed his non-contact jersey. (Myles Simmons)

Saints

  • ESPN’s Bill Barnwell outlines a potential trade between the Saints and Jaguars. Jacksonville would send WR Dede Westbrook to New Orleans in exchange for a 2021 seventh-round pick. 
  • Westbrook has fallen deep in the pecking order in the Jaguars’ receiving corps but would still represent an upgrade in the slot for New Orleans as depth behind Michael Thomas.
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