NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints



  • Per ESPN’s Jenna Laine, Buccaneers WR Antonio Brown is undergoing an MRI on his knee on Monday. 
  • Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians said the hope is they get LB Kevin Minter back from the COVID-19 list to help their depth at linebacker. (Greg Auman)
  • Arians praised Buccaneers GM Jason Licht and lobbied for him as executive of the year: “Jason’s the main reason I got back into coaching. We shared the same vision. … I can’t say enough about what Jason’s done. To me, he’s the executive of the year.” (Laine)
  • Buccaneers QB Tom Brady earned another $500,000 incentive for Tampa Bay advancing to the NFC Championship game. (Peter Schrager)


  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer mentions Colts DB coach Jonathan Gannon as a candidate to be a co-defensive coordinator with the Falcons alongside former Titans DC Dean Pees


  • NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport says teams have started calling the Texans about QB Deshaun Watson to see if he’s available. Rapoport notes no one inside the Texans organization has said they would trade Watson, nor has Watson requested a trade yet. 
  • However, Rapoport says the Jets, Dolphins and Panthers are teams who would seem to have both the need and draft capital to potentially pull off a deal if Watson becomes available. 
  • The Athletic’s Joe Person writes that the Panthers would likely have to surrender a proven player in any theoretical trade for Watson to make up for having a lower pick and less draft capital than other teams. He mentions RB Christian McCaffrey and DE Brian Burns as examples. 
  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer writes that one of the factors that sold the Panthers on new GM Scott Fitterer was how he had a varied background in college and pro scouting, cap management and trade negotiation. He also worked in a similar structure to Carolina in Seattle and quickly meshed with HC Matt Rhule and owner David Tepper.  
  • He adds the Panthers could still make further additions to their front office and that adding an assistant GM is still on the table, potentially after the draft. 
  • Over The Cap’s Nick Korte analyzes how incentives have changed the compensatory pick formula and notes that the Panthers are now slated to receiver a sixth-round pick for the loss of OT Daryl Williams to the Bills. 


  • According to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, the Saints will make a concerted effort to re-sign QB Jameis Winston this offseason, as HC Sean Payton loves having the combination of a traditional dropback passer to pair with QB Taysom Hill
  • Per ESPN’s Mike Triplett, Saints QB Drew Brees said he will wait to make any official announcement about his retirement: “I’m gonna give myself an opportunity to think about the season, think about a lot of things, just like I did last year and make a decision.”
  • Brees added this year presented more challenges than any other in his career: “I’d say this season that I probably had to fight through more than I ever had in my career. … It was worth every moment of it. Absolutely.” (Katherine Terrell)
  • Saints DT Sheldon Rankins is set to be a free agent at the end of the season: “It’s crazy to think 1) That I’ve been here 5 years and 2) That I am a free agent.” (Triplett)
  • Saints DL coach Ryan Nielsen is finalizing a deal to take the defensive coordinator opening at LSU. (Jane Slater)
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