NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints

     

Buccaneers

  • The Athletic’s Greg Auman notes the Buccaneers will find it challenging to pay WR Chris Godwin given how much they already have committed to WR Mike Evans, but he’s such a big part of their offense it’s hard to see them letting him go. 
  • Buccaneers LB Lavonte David has been one of the franchise’s best players and is among the most underrated players in the NFL, but he’ll be 31 and Auman points out Tampa Bay has a history of abruptly cutting the cord with outstanding defensive players. 
  • Auman says the Buccaneers appear intent on keeping OLB Shaq Barrett but pass rusher is a big need in the draft given both Tampa Bay’s starters are older. 
  • If the Buccaneers bring back TE Rob Gronkowski, Auman writes it will likely have to be at a reduced salary. He also expects TE Cameron Brate to take a pay cut from his $6.5 million salary if he wants to return in 2021. 
  • Auman thinks there’s a decent chance the Buccaneers bring back WR Antonio Brown on a cheap deal, as he fits their win-now model and loves playing with Brady even if his production hasn’t quite been there. 
  • Auman doesn’t see RB Leonard Fournette as a priority to re-sign, while DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches is likely back only if 34-year-old DT Ndamukong Suh retires or doesn’t re-sign. 
  • Over The Cap’s Jason Fitzgerald lists the Buccaneers as one of the five teams with the least sunk costs and most financial flexibility in 2021. 
  • Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones is unlikely to clear the COVID-19 protocols in time to play this week given he tested positive. (Rick Stroud)
  • Buccaneers’ LB Jason Pierre-Paul has earned a $300,000 incentive for making the Pro Bowl this season. (Joel Corry)

Falcons

  • ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano think former Bengals HC Marvin Lewis makes the most sense for the Falcons head coaching vacancy. 
  • D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says the Falcons plan to interview interim HC Raheem Morris for the fulltime job after the season is over. 
  • Over The Cap’s Jason Fitzgerald lists the Falcons as one of the five teams with the most sunk costs and least financial flexibility in 2021. 

Panthers

  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer says Panthers GM Marty Hurney may have seen his dismissal from the team coming, as his contract was set to expire after the draft and it would have been a natural chance for the two sides to part ways.
  • Breer mentions 49ers’ VP of Player Personnel Adam Peters and Saints assistant GM Jeff Ireland as possible replacements for Hurney.
  • Panthers’ HC Matt Rhule hopes that RB Christian McCaffrey can practice Wednesday and if he is unable to then the reps will go to backups, Mike Davis and Rodney Smith. (Joe Person)
  • Rhule also spoke about the firing of Hurney: “Marty and I collaborated great. I have nothing but positive things to say about him.” (Person)
  • Rhule added he wanted to make it clear he does not want to be the next GM in Carolina: “I do not want to be the GM. As clearly as I can say that.” (Person)

Saints

Saints WR Michael Thomas had finally worked his way back on the field following a severe ankle sprain in the season opener. But he was still making weekly appearances on the injury report and it was clear the injury was still bothering him. With a playoff berth clinched and new injured reserve rules this year, the Saints decided to bite the bullet and try and get Thomas some real rest before bringing him back for the postseason. 

“He was grinding and productive, catching eight balls, nine balls, but it wasn’t going to get better until football stopped just by the nature of the ankle sprain,” Saints HC Sean Payton said via Luke Johnson of the New Orleans Advocate. “If it was win this one and you’re in, then our approach would’ve been much different.”

  • Over The Cap’s Jason Fitzgerald lists the Saints as one of the five teams with the most sunk costs and least financial flexibility in 2021. 
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