NFC Notes: Falcons, Panthers, Frank Reich, Saints


Falcons GM Terry Fontenot said they will continue to have the same approach to roster building this offseason despite having $56 million in cap space. 

“It’s the same process,” Fontenot said, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “You never want to adjust the process at any point. You adjust it and yet, whether you have a lot of cap space or not a lot of cap space, it’s no different than if you didn’t have a draft pick in the first round. You’re still going to go through all of those players. The process hasn’t changed at that point, but we are continuing to look.”

When asked about the quarterback position, Fontenot said they want to “add competition.”

“It’s like any other position,” Fontenot said. “You want to bring in good players, and you want to develop the people in your building and add competition.”

Fontenot added that they are still excited about Marcus Mariota and Desmond Ridder, but reiterated that they intend on bringing in another quarterback. 

“We have two quarterbacks on the roster,” Fontenot said. “We’re excited about where we are, but yet, we are going to add players. You have teams that put a lot of cap space at that position and some teams that don’t. But I will say that we always want to keep adding to the (group).”

  • The Athletic’s Josh Kendall says no one has a good bead on what the Falcons will do because no one in the building is tipping their hand. That said, Kendall wouldn’t be surprised if they go with Ridder in 2023 based on what they’re saying so far. 
  • Kendall mentions the Falcons will likely re-sign WRs Olamide Zaccheaus and KhaDarel Hodge. Neither should cost much.
  • Greg Auman asked several players who the most underrated offensive player in the league was this season, and the only player to receive two votes was Falcons G Chris Lindstrom.
  • Oregon State OL Brandon Kipper met with 22 teams at the NFLPA Bowl, including the Falcons. (Justin Melo)
  • Falcons DC Ryan Nielsen on retiring DC Dean Pees and what he built in Atlanta: “We’re not going to blow it up and start over.” (Scott Bair)
  • Nielsen on LB Troy Andersen: “His skill set allows him to do a lot of different things that fit certain things that we are going to want that position to do.” (Josh Kendall)


  • The Athletic’s Joe Person writes Panthers owner Dave Tepper came into the search wanting to hire a coach with a background in offense, as he thinks it can give teams an edge with the way football is trending: “Every year they put some new rule to benefit the offense, every single year. And it’s never gonna end. And the reason is scoring brings eyeballs. That’s what the league’s about — getting eyeballs to watch the thing.”
  • Person mentions the early word was Tepper was smitten with Lions OC Ben Johnson, but once he withdrew from consideration former Colts HC Frank Reich started to separate himself from the pack. 
  • He notes the Carolina search committee was particularly impressed with Reich’s attention to detail with his staff in the second interview when he came back with options even more thorough than he had mentioned the first time around. 
  • Person and Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer both say interim HC Steve Wilks was a compelling candidate and had planned to pursue Eagles QB coach Brian Johnson as his offensive coordinator. 
  • Breer mentions Reich wasn’t on Carolina’s initial list, which included Johnson, Wilks, former Lions HC Jim Caldwell, Giants OC Mike Kafka, and Eagles OC Shane Steichen.
  • They ended up doubling back to Reich and he was one of the first coaches they talked to. Breer adds Reich’s experience quickly made an impression, particularly compared to some of the other younger options they were considering. Everyone on the Panthers’ search committee had him ranked as their No. 1 choice. 
  • The Charlotte Observer’s Mike Kaye writes that it would make sense for the Panthers to at least look into the market for Raiders QB Derek Carr if he’s ultimately released. 
  • However, unless they’re getting a great bargain Kaye adds it makes far more sense for the Panthers to pursue finding a potential long-term answer at quarterback in the draft. 
  • Panthers WR Laviska Shenault has signed with agent David Canter of GSE Worldwide.


  • According to Tom Pelissero, assistant secondary coach Cory Robinson is a free agent, and his contract with the Saints has expired.

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