NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Panthers, Sean Payton, Saints


  • Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post writes “it’s been clear” to those close to Buccaneers QB Tom Brady that this is the end for him in Tampa Bay, and the organization is starting to accept that a reset is needed. 
  • It’s been said before, but La Canfora says the consensus among front-office evaluators is that the cliff is near for Brady. One GM told him: “He’s still a starter in the league, but maybe not the top half anymore.”
  • Most still expect Brady to play somewhere in his age 46 season, with a second GM saying: “He’s going to keep playing. I just don’t know where.” 
  • The Raiders were the team most thought made the most sense, along with the 49ers or Dolphins if either team was interested. 
  • However, while making an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times says he doubts Brady will sign elsewhere this offseason and instead expects the Buccaneers will address their issues on offense to help recruit Brady back.
  • Stroud points out there are other ties, like family, keeping Brady on the East Coast at least and would complicate any move out west.  
  • Although Buccaneers HC Todd Bowles believes K Ryan Succop was “very efficient” this season, he wants their kicking unit to convert 50-plus yard field goals as well: “Ryan was very efficient this year, but we’ve got to be able to kick longer field goals than we’ve kicked. I think we’ve got to get past 47 yards, be able to kick from 50, 55 yards as well.” (Greg Auman)
  • Bowles thinks OLB Anthony Nelson and CB Jamel Dean were the team’s most improved players this season. (Auman)
  • Auman notes that Nelson and Dean are impending free agents. 


The Panthers are interviewing former Saints HC Sean Payton, who would be the type of big-name hire with an offensive background a lot of people around the league think owner Dave Tepper craves. And if Payton is hired, the speculation about Buccaneers QB Tom Brady would be next. But FOX broadcaster and former Panthers TE Greg Olsen is doubtful his future FOX colleague will also have a stint in Carolina to his name by then. 

“It seems unlikely. It’s hard right now to predict anything that Tom’s gonna do. Selfishly, I hope he never retires,” Olsen said via the Athletic’s Joe Person. “To pull off things like that, so many things have to go your way. If you’re the Panthers and you’re a team that is looking to finally get stability at the quarterback position, I know he’s Tom Brady. But you bring in another veteran, it’s probably for one year. If you bring in Tom, you probably lose the ninth overall pick if you have Sean, so you’re not gonna draft your future (quarterback). So how are you gonna get your quarterback behind Tom? You’re not gonna get in the draft because you’re not gonna have a first-round pick. Hopefully, if you bring in Tom, you don’t have a top-10 pick next year. How far do you kick the can?

“Would it be great for the city? Would it be great for our franchise if Tom Brady came running out of the tunnel with a Carolina Panther uniform on? Hell, yeah. It’d be great for business. It’d be great for energy. He’s an iconic player in the history of the league, so I don’t wanna discount that. So if they can pull it off, more power to ‘em. I’m just not sure if it fits the young build for sustained success that I think is what the mindset of the organization is. But I could be wrong.”


  • According to’s Jeff Duncan, Saints GM Mickey Loomis believes if teams are willing to pay HC Sean Payton between $20 to $25 million a year, about half of what franchise quarterbacks make, they should be willing to fork over about half of the draft compensation required. Duncan says Loomis’ starting price is two first-round picks. 
  • This contradicts what Payton said in an interview this week that the trade price would be somewhere around a mid-to-late first-round pick. 
  • Loomis can always nix a deal if he doesn’t feel like he’s getting fair value, as the Saints will own Payton’s rights next offseason. They wouldn’t recoup a first-round pick this offseason but Duncan writes Loomis has told people he’s fine with that. 
  • Duncan adds Payton has countered the compensation would be far different in a year because Loomis would have less leverage. 
  • Per Duncan, Payton’s interviews have gone well. He’s been really impressed with the Broncos, and he likes the assets Houston has at its disposal and is comfortable with ownership. 
  • Though Payton was leaning at staying at FOX for another year going into the process, per Duncan, he’s been energized by the interviews, although there are still hurdles to clear. 
  • NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero says while the Texans are still alive, logically the Broncos make the most sense. They are willing to be aggressive and Pelissero thinks Payton would be able to work with GM George Paton.
  • The Saints parted ways with TE coach Dan Roushar on Thursday. (Duncan)
  • Saints DE Cameron Jordan won his appeal of the $50,000 fine for violating the league’s rule on faking an injury in Week 13 against the Buccaneers. Jordan’s fine is now rescinded. (Adam Schefter)

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