NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Panthers, Saints


  • According to the Athletic’s Greg Auman, Tampa Bay is giving QB Blaine Gabbert a $2 million contract worth up to $2.5 million with incentives.
  • Gabbert can earn $125,000 for each playoff game he wins and plays in 55 percent of the snaps for. 


Bills GM Brandon Beane was sad to lose executive Dan Morgan to the Panthers but not surprised. He would not be surprised if Morgan quickly makes the leap from assistant GM in Carolina to the full-time role somewhere else. 

“He’s the same guy he was as a player, a grinder, always working, super competitive,” Beane said via Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. “He fit in right away with us. And he got here Year 2 with [assistant GM] Joe [Schoen] and I. He meshed well with everyone immediately. Sometimes you bring a guy in like that and there’s some jealously, some tensions, some issues. He did a great job of knocking that stuff down right away, and I think that was the guy he was. We hate to lose him, but he’ll get his chance to be a GM soon, I’m sure of that.” 


Saints assistant GM Jeff Ireland offered some insight into New Orleans’ draft class. The Saints took former Houston DE Payton Turner at No. 28 overall when most mocks had him as a second or third-round prospect, albeit one with the traits teams could covet and select much higher. Ireland said Turner had pretty close to a first-round grade their first time through the tape. He also fit all of their physical prototypes for the position and was a high-character player, which made them confident in the pick even if it was viewed as a reach. 

“We just felt at the end of the day, man, he is exactly what we think he is. Because we’re trying to criticize (second guess) our own selves and say, ‘Hey, look, we don’t see him in the mocks,’” Ireland said via the Athletic’s Larry Holder. “… At some point I started looking at the mocks. I don’t really pay a lot of attention to them, but I also want to manage the draft the way I need to manage the draft, and don’t want to take a player too early if I thought I could get him later. And I’m looking at our grade versus the pundits, and I’m thinking they’re wrong. At the end of the day, I’m like, ‘They don’t see what we’re seeing.’”

New Orleans reportedly worked the phones hard to trade up for a cornerback but Ireland said by the time they picked they didn’t have a higher grade on any of the cornerbacks who were available than the one they had on Turner. 

“…I think the stack was (Jaycee) Horn, (Pat) Surtain. Or Surtain, Horn. Flip a coin. And then the next level was probably (Greg) Newsome and (Tyson) Campbell. And I think (Eric) Stokes and (Paulson) Adebo were kind of in that next group,” Ireland said. “And we felt like those were all compete to start (players). We didn’t feel like it really necessarily checked that “must” box off like maybe Horn and Surtain did.”

The Saints ended up getting former Stanford CB Paulson Adebo in the third round and Ireland believes he can eventually become a solid starter. 

“We felt like we could fix some of the mistakes that you see on the tape,” he said. “When we broke him down zone versus man, his zone snaps, at times his zone eyes got him in trouble. He would try to make a pass break-up or an interception every single play, rather than just, ‘Hey, let’s just play the man.’ Sometimes you’ve got to understand how to play the man or play the ball and when to do that. Sometimes he would mix that up in zone coverage, and he would go for the big play. Sometimes on the other end of that was a touchdown, specifically two games in ’19. But when you saw him in press, he was very good. You saw him in off-man. He was very good. He’s certainly got the skill set that we’re looking for.”

  • Horn and Surtain were the only two players the Saints were willing to move up for, per Duncan. The Saints were connected to former Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley, who went at No. 22 to the Titans, and former Alabama QB Mac Jones, who was drafted by the Patriots at No. 15. 

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