NFC Notes: Falcons, Panthers, Saints


Falcons’ LT Jake Matthews wishes WR Julio Jones the best as he departs for Nashville and adds that Jones was always a great teammate.

“Having him on your team allows you to do so many crazy-good things because he’s that caliber of a player,” Matthews said, via Michael Rothstein of ESPN. “I have nothing but respect for him, and he’s been nothing but a great teammate to me. My entire career here has been having him here as well, and whatever happens, I’ve got nothing but respect.”

Falcons owner Arthur Blank also issued a statement on the departure of Jones, via Atlanta “I’m deeply grateful for what Julio has done for our team and what he has meant to our city and, in my mind, he will always be part of the Falcons family.”

  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer writes the Falcons are very comfortable with WR Calvin Ridley as their No. 1 and also are aware that he’ll be due for a major contract of his own soon. 


Panthers TE Ian Thomas had an opportunity to seize Carolina’s starting tight end job after the team moved on from Greg Olsen last year. He didn’t take advantage, though, and the Panthers made it a point to address the position this offseason by signing Dan Arnold and spending a third-round pick on Tommy Tremble. Still, Thomas isn’t out of a job yet and HC Matt Rhule praised the offseason he’s had so far which is much different than last year. 

“Doing the in-person rather than virtual was a big step for me, because virtually — I just wasn’t really feeling it,” he said via the Athletic’s Joe Person. “Staying in tune with being locked in through a computer or iPad and (not) getting reps. Learning the little things in the offense was a little off to me last year. This year’s a lot easier because I can actually hear it through someone face to face, and actually talk through it on the field.”


  • The Athletic’s Jeff Duncan writes the results of the Saints’ quarterback competition between Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill will have interesting ramifications for the rest of the roster. 
  • If Hill wins, Winston will be the primary backup and fourth-round QB Ian Book would presumably be inactive on game days as the third-stringer.
  • If Winston wins, though, Hill would likely resume his role as a Swiss army knife and the Saints would have to decide if Book is ready to be the primary backup or if they need to keep a fourth quarterback, veteran Trevor Siemian, around. 
  • Duncan reports the Saints have explored trades with other teams seeking to add more cornerback help. 

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