- Greg Auman reports the Buccaneers are giving new RB Giovani Bernard a base salary of $1.075 million with a $137,000 signing bonus. The contract will also cost $987,500 against the Bucs’ cap.
- The Athletic’s Mike Sando had an NFL general manager project the top 10 picks and he believes Atlanta will take Ohio State QB Justin Fields to sit behind Matt Ryan for a season or two: “If you told me Fields was going to be better than Trevor Lawrence in five years, I would say yes, that can happen.”
- Other executives were split, noting the team’s financial commitment to Ryan. One said the Falcons “could do anything” with the pick, including trading down to amass more selections or sitting tight and taking Florida TE Kyle Pitts.
- The Falcons had QBs coach Charles London, WRs coach Dave Brock on-hand at Ohio State for Fields’ second pro day on Wednesday. (Albert Breer)
- Breer notes that Falcons GM Terry Fontenot, HC Arthur Smith and OC Dave Ragone attended Fields’ first pro day earlier this month.
- The Falcons also had assistant director of college scouting Dwaune Jones in attendance of Ohio State’s Wednesday’s pro day. (Albert Breer)
Panthers HC Matt Rhule said that new QB Sam Darnold‘s age is a big reason as to why the team traded for him.
“With the way quarterback drafts are going right now … there’s a lot of guys coming out early, and so that first couple years in the NFL are like their junior, senior year of college,” Rhule said, via NFL.com. “It’s not like 10, 15 years ago, guys like Peyton Manning, who played a ton of football. Some of the guys that are coming out, they’ve been in the NFL for two, three years and they’re 22, 23. Some other guys coming out right now are 20, 21.
“I just think with Sam, he’s a young guy who came out early, and the football that he’s played up until now is kind of like his junior and senior year, except it happened at the National Football League level. We’re not getting a guy who’s 27, 28, not that there’s anything wrong with that. But we have a guy that’s still young, still has a lot of football left in him. If things work out the way we hope they work out, we have a young player who can hopefully be with us for a while.”
Rhule also said that Darnold’s natural throwing ability flashes on tape and enticed the team about the quarterback.
“I don’t think there’s a game that you watch where he doesn’t make a play that makes you say ‘There it is,'” Rhule said. “I think his arm talent and his movement are a great fit for the players that we have here that he’ll be playing with.”
As for being the new Panthers’ quarterback, Darnold said that he is excited for a fresh start after an offseason full of trade rumors.
“You go from being unwanted, and then all of a sudden the people in Carolina wanted me and obviously traded for me, and you go from being unwanted to wanted,” Darnold said. “When the trade went down, obviously like I said, things didn’t work out the way I wanted to in New York, but I was just so excited for a fresh start and a new opportunity. It was bittersweet, but meeting the people around here and getting to know everyone, what the agenda is around here, I’m just very thrilled and excited to get going.”
“For me personally, I believed I could make it work in New York. Now that the trade has happened, obviously that frame of thinking doesn’t do me any good anymore. I’m ready to start here at Carolina and hit the ground running.”
- Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap points out that the Panthers have the fifth-most workout bonuses in the NFL with potentially $1.9 million in commitments. A number of teams have announced that they don’t plan to attend the voluntary workouts next month, even though some players have these bonuses in their contracts.
- Panthers OC Joe Brady and QBs coach Sean Ryan were in attendance of Ohio State QB Justin Fields’ second pro day on Wednesday. (Albert Breer)
- Breer adds that Rhule, GM Scott Fitterer and director of pro personnel Pat Stewart attended Fields’ first pro day earlier this month. (Albert Breer)
Saints TE Adam Trautman had a steeper jump than most coming to the NFL, as he was Dayton’s first player selected since 1977. Trautman saw his snaps increase steadily as the year progressed and now he enters 2021 as the clear-cut No. 1 tight end on New Orleans’ depth chart. Trautman credits his improvement as a blocker for that, as he was PFF’s top-rated run-blocking tight end last year.
“You know, they kind of eased me into it. And I as I [got] more comfortable, and [played] better, my big thing was to gain their trust so that they feel comfortable with me out there,” Trautman said via ESPN’s Mike Triplett. “You could sit behind a computer in the offseason and learn virtually and learn from the playbook, look at it all you want. But getting used to how we game-plan, what they expect from me in the game plan … and reps for me more than anything.”