NFC Notes: Falcons, Panthers, Saints


Falcons QB Marcus Mariota likes that the team designed its offense around big-bodied pass catchers that can extend the catch radius and create extra opportunities on balls that aren’t perfectly placed.

With those guys in there, they make you look good,” Mariota said, via the team’s official website. “You don’t always have to be perfect with your throws. Being able to have these guys whether it be their catch radius, whether it’s their ability to get in and out of cuts, the receivers have really made all of us quarterbacks look good this offseason.

Mariota is excited to be reunited with Falcons HC Arthur Smith, after the two spent time together in Tennessee. 

There are some similarities, but there are obvious differences, and I think that has to happen,” Mariota said. “Over the course of a couple years, Art has learned some things, has gone through some different situations, different experiences. Being around it now, I like where the system’s at. I think it really tailors to the people and the players that we have here.

Falcons WR Bryan Edwards, who the team traded a fifth-round pick to the Raiders for, noticed a common similarity in Smith’s system after diving into the playbook and personnel.

This system is built for big-body receivers, and we have a lot of those,” Edwards said. “… I knew (Smith) likes bigger receivers, and they run a lot of in-breaking routes where guys can get the YAC and make big plays off of it.

Edwards believes he can thrive in Smith’s system.

When I heard I was coming here, I thought it was a really good fit,” Edwards said, “about as good as it can get.


  • Jonathan M. Alexander of the Charlotte Observer, citing two sources with knowledge of the situation, reports that the Panthers discussed a potential trade to acquire Browns QB Baker Mayfield during the 2022 NFL Draft but conversations progress far due to Cleveland’s asking price.
  • According to Alexander, the Panthers wanted Cleveland to pay around $13-14 million of Mayfield’s $18.9 million guaranteed salary. In the end, discussions stalled after Carolina moved to select third-round QB Matt Corral
  • Alexander also reports that the Panthers “strongly considered” Commanders’ rookie QB Sam Howell after drafting Corral. However, Carolina never seriously considered Steelers’ first-round QB Kenny Pickett or Titans’ third-round Malik Willis.


Saints HC Dennis Allen said that S Tyrann Mathieu indicated that he’d be a full participant in OTAs after signing with the team. 

“When he signed, that was the first thing – it was like, ‘Yeah, I’m going to be there,'” Allen said, via John Deshazier of the team’s official site. “So that was really cool to see. I think he understands that it’s a new system, a new place.”

Mathieu believes that attending OTAs is helping him learn Allen’s system. 

“Just being around teammates, being around the coaches, getting in the playbook,” Mathieu said. “I’m a player that, once I understand the playbook and the scheme, I can kind of let my anticipation, my personality show. I think it was just a big positive for me to be here, get to know my teammates, get to know the coaches and how everybody likes to roll.”

Dennis had high praise for Mathieu’s presence since joining the organization and thinks he’s showing leadership qualities. 

“I’m seeing a guy that comes to work every day as a pro, and that’s what I like about him,” Allen said. “That’s what I thought coming in, that’s what he’s shown me in the first three days. It’s hard to come in and say a guy’s a leader for you when he’s been here for three days. I think he’s got those qualities, and really, I can see with the way that he comes and does his job, that if people follow that example, I think that’s going to benefit us.”

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