NFC Notes: Falcons, Lions, Panthers



  • Per Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, Falcons assistant GM Scott Pioli had discussed stepping down with Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff last year, but decided to work one more year. 
  • Breer says Dimitroff likely won’t hire another assistant general manager and will move toward a more traditional front office structure. 
  • The Falcons moved toward that by promoting Shepley Heard to director of pro personnel.



  • The Charlotte Observer’s Jourdan Rodrigue says the Panthers ideally would like to keep only two quarterbacks on the final roster and stash a third on the practice squad. 
  • However, if there are concerns about QB Cam Newton‘s shoulder, the Panthers could elect to keep one of Taylor Heinicke or Kyle Allen behind Newton and third-round rookie Will Grier
  • Rodrigue writes LB Shaq Thompson, who has had somewhat limited playing time since being drafted and will be a free agent after the season, can start making his case for an extension during OTA’s. 
  • Rodrigue also mentions CB James Bradberry as a potential extension candidate this offseason. 
  • Rodrigue adds that it’s a make-or-break year for DT Vernon Butler, who did not have his fifth-year option picked up and recorded only half a sack in 2018. 
  • Per Rodrigue, the Panthers will explore moving OT Daryl Williams to left guard because of OT Taylor Moton‘s strong performance at right tackle last season. 
  • Rodrigue also says to keep an eye on a late-summer signing at safety given the Panthers’ lack of depth there. 
  • The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin notes that the Panthers could free up $5 million in cap space by releasing or trading WR Torrey Smith
  • Volin mentions Smith as a veteran worth watching after Carolina signed WR Aldrick Robinson on Friday and added Chris Hogan last month.
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