NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints

     

Buccaneers

  • ESPN’s Jenna Laine notes that while Buccaneers LT Donovan Smith is under contract through 2022, the team faces a decision on him this offseason given his sizable contract with few guarantees. 
  • Over The Cap’s Nick Korte released updated compensatory pick projections. Typically Korte’s projections are the most accurate available, but he acknowledges this year will be potentially less accurate because of changes to the league’s confidential formula stemming from the new CBA and the pandemic. 
  • Nevertheless, Korte projects the Buccaneers to receive a fifth-round pick for the loss of WR Breshad Perriman.
  • According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Buccaneers will roll over approximately $4,582,058 in cap space to 2021, with the final amount pending an audit by the NFL. 
  • Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians said it’s “too early to tell” about WR Antonio Brown‘s availability this week. (Laine)
  • Arians is happy to have the combination of RBs Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones healthy and to lean on: “It’s a heck of a 1-2 punch and having fresh legs in there all the time.” (Rick Stroud)

Falcons

Falcons’ new HC Arthur Smith stressed the importance of being accountable when talking about how intends on coaching with Atlanta. 

“I have to earn my job every day,” Smith said, via Kelsey Conway of the team’s official site.

Regarding the principles he plans to install into his team, Smith mentioned that he wants to be “great up front” with his offensive and defensive lines. 

“We want to be great up front,” Smith said. “We want to have a fast team; we certainly want to be physical on both sides of the ball. We want to have guys who are great teammates. We want to hold our best players accountable. We’re going to drop the entitlement, not to say there was here, that will be a big message in the locker room.”

Smith plans on overseeing the entire Falcons’ organization and intends on calling their offensive plays. 

“My No. 1 job is to be the head coach of the team, that includes all three phases and every player on the roster,” Smith said. “I understand what my job is, my job is to coach the entire team. Also to do that to call plays and there’s precedence there that it’s been done and done at a high level. So very confident if you hire the right people, it will be a collaborative effort. I will coach the entire team.”

As for the Falcons’ roster, new GM Terry Fontenot said they will not make decisions focused solely on the 2021 season. 

“We’re not gonna make decisions that are gonna help us in 2021 but are gonna hurt us in ’22 and ’23,” said Fontenot, via Mike Triplett of ESPN. “I know there’s a lot of good players on this roster and I know there’s some areas we need to address.”

Fontenot called Smith a “good communicator” and feels he’ll “connect with everyone” around the Falcons’ organization. 

“I couldn’t be more excited about Arthur Smith. He’s special,” Fontenot said. “I think the most important thing, the most critical factor with the right head coach is to have the right leader of men. He’s a good man, he can connect to players, he can connect with everyone in the building, he’s gonna be a good communicator. He’s highly intelligent and he’s adaptive.”

Panthers

  • ESPN’s David Newton thinks the Panthers will prioritize re-signing OT Taylor Moton over WR Curtis Samuel, as the latter will be easier to replace despite being a talented player in his own right. 
  • Over The Cap’s Nick Korte released updated compensatory pick projections. Typically Korte’s projections are the most accurate available, but he acknowledges this year will be potentially less accurate because of changes to the league’s confidential formula stemming from the new CBA and the pandemic. 
  • Nevertheless, Korte projects the Panthers to receive fifth and sixth-round picks for the loss of DT Vernon Butler and OT Daryl Williams.
  • According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Panthers will roll over approximately $4,270,682 in cap space to 2021, with the final amount pending an audit by the NFL.
  • ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler talked to NFL executives to paint a full picture of the situation the Texans find themselves in with QB Deshaun Watson. The consensus is that Watson is worth at least three first-round picks and probably another high pick for good measure. Washington is mentioned by league executives as a team that could pursue a deal for Watson.

Saints

  • The Athletic’s Larry Holder would not be surprised if Saints’ QBs coach Joe Lombardi signs with the Los Angeles Chargers as its next offensive coordinator. 
  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reports that Saints DL coach Ryan Nielsen, who was just promoted to assistant head coach in part to keep him from bolting to LSU, has “elicited interest in the past” and is viewed as a future head coach candidate among league circles. 
  • Saints QB Drew Brees‘ wife revealed on Instagram that he played through a torn rotator cuff, a torn fascia in his foot and of course the 11 broken ribs and collapsed lung. The foot injury was never on the weekly report and the team was sketchy about his shoulder issue. (Andrew Doak)
  • ESPN’s Mike Triplett writes Saints DE Trey Hendrickson has likely priced himself out of New Orleans with his breakout 13.5 sack season. He adds his market will be interesting, as Hendrickson’s previous career-high was 4.5 sacks in 2019. 
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