NFC Notes: Falcons, Panthers, Saints


  • ESPN’s Michael Rothstein writes that to replace Julio Jones, the Falcons will rely on WR Calvin Ridley to continue to step up as the team’s No. 1 option. He added WR Russell Gage flashed some promise last year filling in for Jones. 
  • Rothstein also notes the offense is obviously expected to become more tight end-centric with No. 4 overall pick Kyle Pitts coming in and former first-round TE Hayden Hurst still on the roster. 
  • Falcons WRs Olamide Zaccheaus, veteran signing Tajae Sharpe and sixth-round rookie Frank Darby will compete for roles behind Ridley and Gage, per Rothstein. 


  • Panthers owner David Tepper said he is still interested in building a new stadium, but there is “no way in hell” there will be a dome because of the pandemic. (Joe Person)


Saints CB Marshon Lattimore is entering the final year of his contract and playing out 2021 on the fifth-year option. He’s in line for an extension and at times has played like one of the best cornerbacks in the league, especially against the NFL’s best receivers. However, at other times he’s let less-heralded receivers get the better of him, which combined with an offseason arrest on gun charges injects some risk into a huge extension.

Lattimore didn’t want to talk about the arrest or extension talks but he did feel like addressing the inconsistency narrative. 

“I’ve always got room to get better, so I’m never satisfied with what I did the past year. I think I gave up too much (last season), to me, in my eyes. But that’s just me wanting to be great. I don’t like giving up anything,” Lattimore said via ESPN’s Mike Triplett. “I feel like the consistency is there. I think a lot of people just ran with that, ‘I was inconsistent.’ Plays happen. We’re all in the league for a reason.”

  • The Saints added four void years to Lattimore’s contract in a restructure this week that were worth $120 million. While Lattimore will never see that money, at least as the deal is currently constructed, the reason the Saints did that is to get around the NFL rule that a second contract renegotiation within 12 months cannot involve a raise, per ESPN’s Field Yates
  • Now if or when they sign Lattimore to another extension before he hits free agency in nine months, they have the flexibility to do any amount under $30 million a year. The Saints did something similar with large values on the void years for QB Taysom Hill and LT Terron Armstead
  • According to Nick Underhill, the Saints waived and re-signed undrafted S Eric Burrell to add an injury waiver to his deal. He had a lumbar spine injury that was discovered during his entry physical. 

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