NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Saints

     

Buccaneers

  • Regarding Buccaneers GM Jason Licht calling Blaine Gabbert a potential successor to Tom Brady, Greg Auman of The Athletic writes that it makes sense to have Gabbert as a “low-cost backup” but there would obviously be a “significant dropoff” from Brady for any backup quarterback option.
  • Auman does not think the Buccaneers can afford to re-sign impending free-agent RB Leonard Fournette after his impressive postseason performance.
  • If Fournette doesn’t return, Auman considers RB James White to be an “ideal veteran” to pair with RB Ronald Jones. 
  • As for the possibility of the Buccaneers trading for Patriots WR Julian Edelman, Auman thinks it’s more likely that Tampa Bay would increase the roles of WRs Scotty Miller and Tyler Johnson than giving up a draft pick for a veteran receiver with injury concerns. 

Falcons

For the second consecutive offseason, the bulk of draft scouting will be done virtually due to restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Falcons will need to rely on scouting more than most teams to fill out their roster with cheap rookie talent and HC Arthur Smith says they have lessons they’re going to try to apply from last year. Left unspoken was how much of a flop his team last year, the Titans, had in the first round with OT Isaiah Wilson.  

“I think you learn from every experience,” Smith said via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Just because that happened, there are so many factors and variables. Whether we were in [virtual] era or normal, there are things you can’t control. We are never going to be perfect, and I don’t think anybody is. . . . Certainly, you try to minimize risks in certain areas, but there are lessons learned in everything we do. In terms of how we adapted our teaching methods. You adapt it to how you interview. That certainly helped me when we were interviewing coaches. But you learn from everything. There are always exceptions. I don’t really want to comment on something going on in Tennessee.”

Saints

  • Reports have said for a few months now that Drew Brees will be retiring at some point. However, no official announcement has been made up to this point, which has raised questions about a potential return for 2021.
  • Brees’ fitness trainer Todd Durkin recently posted a video of Brees pushing a weighted sled, leading to even more questions about the quarterback’s NFL future. 
  • Nick Underhill reports that the expectation that Brees will retire hasn’t changed, but he’s taking his time to make an official announcement.
  • Assuming Brees does retire, Boston Globe’s Ben Volin writes that New Orleans may choose to re-sign Jameis Winston and start the season with Taysom Hill under center. If Hill doesn’t work out, the Saints can use him in a hybrid role while starting Winston at quarterback, says Volin.
  • If Winston’s free agent value proves higher than expected, Volin mentions that the Saints may look to sign someone like Teddy Bridgewater, Jacoby Brissett, or Ryan Fitzpatrick

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