NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints

     

Buccaneers

  • The Athletic’s Greg Auman points out that while the Buccaneers’ $14.1 million in projected 2021 cap space ranks 10th in the NFL, Tampa Bay still could face hard decisions with a number of prominent pending free agents. 
  • Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin, LB Lavonte David, EDGE Shaq Barrett, TE Rob Gronkowski and DT Ndamukong Suh are all in contract years in 2020 and Auman writes Tampa Bay might not be able to keep all of them. 
  • Auman notes Buccaneers OT Donovan Smith, G Ali Marpet and C Ryan Jensen all run out of guaranteed money this year, but given how important the offensive line is to the team, they might not be cut candidates. 
  • Tampa Bay also could pick up $6 million by trading TE O.J. Howard before his fifth-year option guarantees and TE Cameron Brate is due $6.5 million without any guarantees. 
  • One the defensive line, DE Jason Pierre-Paul will be due $12.5 million with $5 million guaranteed and another $2.5 million becoming guaranteed in March. Buccaneers DL William Gholston is due $5.5 million with none guaranteed. 
  • Auman adds if Buccaneers P Bradley Pinion doesn’t improve this year, Tampa Bay will cut bait and find a cheaper alternative than Pinion’s $2.8 million. 
  • Brate revealed he had COVID-19 this offseason and is fully recovered. (Instagram)
  • The Buccaneers hired Jacqueline Davidson, previously the Jets director of football administration, as their director of football research. (Jenna Laine)
  • Buccaneers GM Jason Licht was thrilled about the move and believes Davidson will be a huge boost to Tampa Bay’s analytics department: “She’s brilliant. She’s brilliant with a lot of things, but she’s really brilliant with numbers and analytics. It was very important to get her in here. You can’t have enough smart people. … She’s gonna help us integrate analytics into our overall football decisions.”

Falcons

There was only so much teams could do to prepare rookies during the virtual offseason without on-field practice time. But Falcons first-round CB A.J. Terrell has been impressive so far with everything Atlanta’s thrown at him. Falcons DC Raheem Morris says Terrell’s grasp on the scheme from a mental side has been strong, which is promising given Terrell projects as a starter in 2020. 

“Going through a couple of weeks with us and listening to him talk to either [DB coach] Joe Whitt or [defensive assistant] Chad Walker, he was able to teach back the defense, whichever one was asked of him,” Morris said via ESPN’s Vaughn McClure. “I think A.J.’s attention to detail, his ability to listen and retain information and being able to spit it back out to coaches is what impresses us probably the most already. We all had tests. We all had different online things. We all had different ventures and different avenues of ways to test a guy, and his attention to detail was excellent.”

Panthers

  • Per the Athletic’s Joe Person, Panthers HC Matt Rhule says DT Kawann Short reported to camp at about 315 pounds and looks like he’s in “fantastic shape.” 
  • Rhule is challenging Panthers WR D.J. Moore to become the team’s dominant No. 1 receiver in 2020: “DJ has to take another step this year and be that physical, dominant, go-to receiver that on third-and-5 you’re going to.” (Person)
  • Rhule added the team loves WR Curtis Samuel and wants to take advantage of his versatility like Ohio State did his final year in college while also doing a better job of maximizing his ability as a deep threat. (Jim Szoke)
  • Rhule is also high on the potential for Panthers seventh-round CB Stantley Thomas-Oliver, who converted from receiver to corner in college: “Has great length and can run. Just hasn’t played the position long. The kind of guy team wants to develop.” (Person)
  • Panthers K Graham Gano was not placed on the active/PUP list, which presumably indicates he passed his physical after knee surgery last year. (Person)
  • The Panthers plan to wait until August 16 to trim their roster to 80 players and will operate in two groups until then. (David Newton)

Saints

  • Via the team website, Saints GM Mickey Loomis didn’t want to talk about the state of contract negotiations with RB Alvin Kamara: “Look, this is always a tough question. You guys always ask these questions about contracts. And I always say I don’t like discussing that. That’s really between the team and the player until we’re ready to announce something.”
  • Saints HC Sean Payton said LB Kiko Alonso might be limited as the team starts training camp. He’s coming off a torn ACL last year. (Nick Underhill)
  • Loomis said the team is still discussing when to reduce their roster down to 80 players. (Larry Holder)
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