NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints

     

Buccaneers

  • Buccaneers RB Leonard Fournette called the free-agent process “difficult” this offseason after re-signing to a one-year deal: “It was a difficult process. I know what I deserve.” (Greg Auman)
  • Fournette said he expects to compete with Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones for the starting role in training camp: “It’s going to be a great one.” (Greg Auman)
  • Fournette added that he’s been working on his receiving this offseason and is catching “100 passes a day.” (Jenna Laine)
  • Buccaneers DT Ndamukong Suh‘s one-year, $9 million extension includes a $5 million roster bonus, a guaranteed base salary of $4 million, $1 million in incentives, and four automatically voidable years. (Albert Breer)

Falcons

Florida TE Kyle Pitts is going to go very high in April’s draft, perhaps as high as No. 4 overall to the Falcons, which would make him the first non-quarterback off the board. Pitts said he got that sense in his virtual meetings with the team. 

“I did talk to them on Zoom a couple times,” Pitts said via Pro Football Talk. “I talked to them again today. They said they have interest in me. After today we’ll get together on another Zoom and they’ll try to learn more about me. I feel like they’re pretty interested. It would be a dream come true to be Top 5 or be the first non-quarterback to come off the board, so that’s something I look forward to in the draft.”

Panthers

  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer says to keep an eye on the Panthers as a potential trade destination for Jets QB Sam Darnold, as they all of a sudden could have limited options at quarterback this offseason. 
  • The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec writes that Ravens OT Orlando Brown‘s reps have been quiet about how his trade market has developed but a number of teams still need a left tackle, including the Bears, Chargers, Chiefs, Colts, Dolphins, Panthers, Vikings and Washington. 
  • Of that group, though, Zrebiec points out the Panthers’ second-round pick at No. 39 overall might not be enough to pull Brown from the Ravens, though it is an intriguing offer.  
  • Florida State CB Asante Samuel Jr. has met virtually with the Panthers. (Justin Melo)

Saints

Saints QB Jameis Winston bluntly says what’s obvious from watching him play for five years — he shuns the label of game manager. Winston is the quarterback who wants to be the reason his team wins, not another obstacle to overcome. But as he looks to redefine an NFL career that’s been associated more with interceptions than positive plays, Winston is learning to embrace the game manager role in New Orleans. 

“I never wanted to be deemed a game manager,” Winston said on NFL Media’s Huddle and Flow podcast with Steve Wyche and Jim Trotter“… But really, that game manager is not a bad piece. That’s something that I think just comes with being a professional quarterback. Being able to not just only do the things that you can do, but being able to do the things that you should not do — like what not to do versus what can I do.”

Winston has been a prolific passer in the past. He threw for over 5,000 yards in 2019, his last full season as a starter for the Buccaneers, along with 33 touchdowns passes. The 30 interceptions that came along with it overshadowed things, though, and Winston himself isn’t quite sure what happened. 

“It may have been because of a new offense, it was maybe because I was trying to go out there and prove it, it’s maybe because I was playing for a lot,” Winston said. “It still puzzles me to this day. All I’m trying to do is focus on eliminating that. And what I came up with is — in the course of being an NFL quarterback, there are a lot of plays where when you have talent, you say I can do this, I can do that — but really learning how to manage the game.”

  • Winston’s contract is a one-year, $5.5 million deal with two void years tacked on. He receives a $4.5 million signing bonus and $1 million guaranteed base salary. An additional $7 million is available through various incentives for playing time, wins, playoff wins, team achievement, yards, completion percentage, passer rating and touchdowns. (Aaron Wilson)

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