NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints

     

Buccaneers

  • CBS Sports analyst and former agent Joel Corry notes a second consecutive franchise tag for OLB Shaquil Barrett would cost the Buccaneers $18.993 million. It would also prevent them from tagging WR Chris Godwin
  • Franchising Godwin would cost Tampa Bay $15.326 million. Corry adds a long-term deal for Godwin would likely need to top the $16.5 million per year the Buccaneers gave WR Mike Evans
  • We have them included in our Top 50 – 2021 Free Agents list.

Falcons

When he took over the Falcons interim job, HC Raheem Morris was told he’d have a chance to prove he should be the guy going forward. He’s made a compelling case. Atlanta is 4-2 since Morris took charge and has improved dramatically in a number of statistical categories, especially on defense. In the past 15 years, seven of 27 interim head coaches have gone on to take the full-time job. Morris has support in the locker room to be the eighth. 

“We all support him,” Falcons QB Matt Ryan said via ESPN’s Michael DiRocco. “I mean, there’s no doubt about it. He’s been with us; [he’s] in his sixth year with our organization. Coached on both sides [of the ball]. So he’s got a tremendous amount of respect from everybody in our locker room. We think he’s a great coach and he’s done a great job the last six weeks.”

  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer says he knows the Falcons have already taken a close look at Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy as they prepare for a coaching search at the end of the month. 
  • Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline writes that he’s heard one of the reasons Bieniemy was passed over for a head coaching job this offseason is because he didn’t interview well.
  • Pauline adds this has happened with other coaches, including Dolphins HC Brian Flores who was passed over by the Cardinals in 2018 for Steve Wilks.
  • Pauline thinks the two most likely landing spots for Bieniemy this coaching cycle are either the Falcons or Texans.
  • Falcons DC Jeff Ulbrich called CB Isaiah Oliver a “Swiss Army knife” with how much he plays at safety and nickel. He added Oliver could have a future at safety. (Jason Butt)

Panthers

  • According to the Athletic’s Joe Person, there haven’t been any recent extension talks between the Panthers and RT Taylor Moton, who has been excellent in 2020 and is eyeing $15 million a year in his next deal.
  • Person doesn’t think that will come from Carolina and adds a franchise tag that would be $14.8 million would be a huge chunk of the Panthers’ available cap space. 
  • CBS Sports analyst and former agent Joel Corry projects the franchise tag for offensive linemen in 2021 to be just $13.188 million, however. 
  • Person adds it could be challenging for the Panthers to keep WR Curtis Samuel as their No. 3 receiver, as another team in free agency could be willing to give him more money and a bigger role. 
  • Panthers LT Russell Okung has played well when in the lineup but he’s missed half of the possible games so far and is on the wrong side of the youth movement at 32, per Person. 
  • Person also thinks Panthers DT Kawann Short has played his last snap for the team unless he takes a big pay cut given his bad run with injuries the past two seasons. 
  • Other players not likely to return include LB Tahir Whitehead, DE Stephen Weatherly and C Tyler Larsen.
  • Person expects Carolina to bring back TE Chris Manhertz, DE Efe Obada, OL Trenton Scott, K Joey Slye and LS J.J. Jansen. He’s a little more unsure about RB Mike Davis, CB Rasul Douglas, CB Corn Elder and FB Alex Armah.

Saints

The Saints may be without QB Drew Brees for another few weeks but the defense has stepped up in a major way after some inconsistency to start the year. Facing a quarterback-less Broncos team certainly helped, but New Orleans has allowed just one touchdown in the past four weeks in a year where NFL offenses are on pace to score more than ever. 

“I think we’ve put together a stretch where our secondary, our linebackers, our defensive line have really elevated our play. So it’s not more of an ‘I’ thing, it’s more of a ‘we’ thing, where we’re all elevating our play at the right time,” Saints DE Cameron Jordan said via ESPN’s Mike Triplett.

  • Saints DE Marcus Davenport did not practice on Thursday and is in the concussion protocol. (Nick Underhill)
  • The Saints are bringing in OTs Brady Aiello and O’Shea Dugas for workouts this week. (Aaron Wilson)
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