NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints

     

Buccaneers

  • According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Buccaneers expect OT Donovan Smith to report to camp despite some speculation the veteran would opt out of the 2020 season based on his comments earlier this summer. 
  • Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians says QB Tom Brady is ahead of the curve and “in a great spot” in terms of learning the new-to-him playbook. (Greg Auman)
  • He also is apparently very high on Buccaneers CB Carlton Davis, calling him a top-10 corner in the NFL right now. (Auman)
  • Arians told reporters there’s no way he’ll coach from the press box this year and he plans to wear a mask and face shield on the sidelines: “There was never a doubt I was going to coach.” (Michael Giardi)
  • Arians mentioned undrafted rookie John Franklin, who played DB in college and will work as a wide receiver for Tampa Bay, can also be an emergency quarterback if he makes the team. (Auman)

Falcons

  • Per William McFadden of the team website, Falcons HC Dan Quinn said the team won’t keep starting QB Matt Ryan isolated from the team to try and prevent him from catching the virus: “That’s not Matt, that’s not us.”
  • Quinn confirmed Falcons RB Todd Gurley is looking good as he reports to the team: “You’re right about him being in fantastic shape.” (D. Orlando Ledbetter)
  • Falcons placed S Jaylinn Hawkins on COVID-19 list.

Panthers

  • The Athletic’s Joe Person projects Panthers RB Jordan Scarlett‘s experience and role on special teams giving him an edge over veteran Mike Davis and UDFA Rodney Smith, especially given the former’s $3 million cap hit. 
  • Person expects the Panthers to add another tight end at some point given they’re thin after needing to release free agent pickup Seth DeValve.
  • Person thinks Panthers WRs Brandon Zylstra, Keith Kirkwood and UDFA Omar Bayless are the contenders for the last spot at receiver, with the edge going to Zylstra at the moment. Pharoh Cooper‘s return ability should help him stick. 
  • Person predicts one undrafted offensive lineman sticks on the final roster, picking former Ohio State OT Brandon Bowen. He also thinks a UDFA will make the team at linebacker, selecting former Florida LB David Reese.
  • On the defensive line, Person writes Panthers DL Chris Smith will be competing with Marquis Haynes and 2019 EDGE Christian Miller for one of the final roster spots. 
  • He notes sixth-round rookie Bravvion Roy and veteran Zach Kerr appear to be the favorites for the backup roles at defensive tackle. 
  • Person writes there could be a lot of turnover in the secondary, with holdovers Corn Elder, Cole Luke and Natrell Jamerson being cut for the rookie class and 2019 waiver claim S T.J. Green
  • Person thinks the Panthers go with the younger, cheaper option at kicker and take Joey Slye plus $2.8 million in cap space over veteran Graham Gano, who is coming off knee surgery. 
  • The NFL and NFLPA are discussing a 2021 salary cap floor of $175 million, which is down from the $198.2 million this year. It’s possible that the figure could be pushed higher, depending on the revenue losses incurred by the league from the 2020 season.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com projects the Panthers to have $9,371,349 of cap space next year, assuming the cap is set at $175 million.

Saints

  • Per the Athletic’s Mike Sando, one coach who faced Saints QB Drew Brees last year still has a lot of respect for him, but echoed a lot of people around the league who think his arm strength could be declining: “The dude is deadly. His football acumen, his ability to see the field, to read defenses. When he came off the injury with the thumb, he did not have the same velocity on the ball, but when you play them dudes, you’re scared to death, because of him.”
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