NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Tom Brady, Falcons, Panthers


Buccaneers HC Todd Bowles said that they are not entering a rebuilding phase and wants them to focus on winning the division next season. 

“You never want to rebuild — you’re always reloading, no matter if you have new guys or not,” Bowles said, via Jenna Laine of ESPN. “You want guys to come in and play and compete for you to win the division.”

Buccaneers OLB Shaquil Barrett doesn’t think it’s possible to replace Tom Brady. 

“You can’t get another Tom Brady anywhere,” Barrett said. “No matter how hard you try. No matter how many years, I don’t think anybody will ever do what Tom did.”

As for backup QB Kyle Trask, Bowles praised the quarterback’s toughness, resolve, and inner strength. 

“Since he’s been here, every time I look out my window, he’s out there working on his own,” Bowles said. “He has the greatest resolve and toughness and inner strength almost [more] than any person I’ve seen. A young guy coming out — he prepares every day. When his time comes, he’s going to be ready.”


  • Jeremy Fowler of ESPN mentions that the Falcons liked Desmond Ridder‘s four-game stretch.
  • As for the idea of them pursuing a trade for Lamar Jackson, Fowler mentions that someone with the team pointed out that Atlanta spent three years getting out of salary-cap purgatory and now sits on an estimated $56 million in space. Trading multiple first-round picks for the right to spend $200-plus million may not be all that appealing for them.
  • A personal executive suggested Jimmy Garoppolo as a potential bridge starter for the Falcons.


  • The Athletic’s Joe Person says that while Panthers LB Shaq Thompson played well and didn’t miss any time in 2022, the cap savings from cutting him make him a logical release candidate, especially with a new defensive coordinator coming in. 
  • Person also expects the Panthers to cut C Pat Elflein, LB Damien Wilson, and K Zane Gonzalez, who have come up frequently as cap casualty candidates. One name who hasn’t is TE Ian Thomas, who Person notes could be a surprise cut candidate with a June 1 designation as the team revamps the tight end room. 
  • He mentions that new HC Frank Reich said he had already heard from former TE Eric Ebron, who was out of football this past season. Things ended on a sour note between the Colts and Ebron but he did catch 13 touchdowns in 2018. 

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