NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints


Buccaneers QB Tom Brady just won his seventh Super Bowl, his first with a new team, at the age of 43. He showed no signs of slowing down and only got better as the year progressed. He has an iron grip on the title of the NFL’s greatest player of all time and potentially of any sport. And he’s nowhere close to retiring and calling it a career. 

“A lot of people would drop the mic after the fourth or fifth or sixth Super Bowl,” Brady’s father told Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. “It’s not about dropping the mic and getting a Super Bowl; it’s about the process that you continue. You don’t stop. If you’re a great songwriter and you’ve got six hits, just because you’ve got six No. 1s, you don’t stop writing because you’ve got that. If you have a joy of writing songs, then you’ll just keep doing it. And he’s got a joy of playing football.

“Lot of people are waiting to get to 37 or 38, whatever it might be. Age is not an issue with him. It’s a process of working with guys, mentoring guys, and getting all of the other necessary ingredients to have a team thrive.”


  • The Athletic’s Tori McElhaney writes the Falcons seem unlikely to bring back RB Todd Gurley in 2021 after replacing him as the lead back down the stretch and will look for a new starting back in either free agency or the draft. 
  • Safety is another area of need, as McElhaney points out Damontae Kazee is coming off an Achilles injury and is a free agent, Keanu Neal is a free agent and Ricardo Allen is a strong cap cut candidate. 
  • Other players who could be leaving Atlanta include C Alex Mack, DE Steven Means, CB Darqueze Dennard and DE Charles Harris.
  • To address their need at edge rusher, McElhaney thinks the Falcons could try and target Steelers OLB Bud Dupree on a one-year deal, though he might have more lucrative offers despite coming off a torn ACL. 
  • Another possibility is Saints DE Trey Hendrickson, who new Falcons GM Terry Fontenot knows well after drafting him with New Orleans. Saints S Marcus Williams could also be an option. 


  • The Athletic’s Joe Person writes the Panthers seem likely to use the franchise tag on RT Taylor Moton at about $13.6 million to prevent him from reaching the market if they can’t agree on a long-term deal. 
  • Person says the Panthers offered WR Curtis Samuel an extension late last season but he decided to see what the open market holds since he was so close to free agency. If he has a cooler than expected market, Person doesn’t rule out him coming back. 
  • Both Panthers Gs John Miller and Chris Reed are set to be unrestricted free agents but Person notes Miller appears to be the priority to retain ahead of Reed. Carolina is hopeful OL Dennis Daley can lock down the other starting guard spot. 
  • Other priorities include DE Efe Obada (RFA), TE Chris Manhertz, OL Trenton Scott (RFA) and LB Julian Stanford
  • Players who are likely headed elsewhere include LT Russell Okung, LB Tahir Whitehead, CB Rasul Douglas, FB Alex Armah and OL Michael Schofield


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