NFC Notes: Falcons, Panthers, Saints


Falcons HC Arthur Smith wouldn’t comment on his plans for QB Desmond Ridder or how they will approach free agency this offseason. 

“I know everybody wants to know everything right now, but there are a lot of moving parts to it,” Smith said, via Josh Kendall of The Athletic. “I don’t think it’s smart business strategy ever to give away what your plan is. Everybody is trying to look at their free-agency boards, and there are a lot of decisions to be made. I think you’re in a bad organization if every day-to-day thing (you think) is out there.”

Falcons GM Terry Fontenot said they’ve been impressed by Ridder’s mindset and are confident he’ll have a productive offseason. 

“We keep talking about Desmond’s mindset and the way he carries himself and the way he works, so we know he’s going to look at the good things he did and the things he needs to improve and have a great offseason and be ready to roll when it’s time to start playing ball again.”

As for the potential decision to cut Marcus Mariota to save $12 million in cap space, Smith said they have a “pretty good idea” of how they’ll progress. 

“We have a pretty good idea. That’ll all play out,” Smith said. “We will make those moves before or right after the league year.”

Smith said they “feel pretty good” about TE Kyle Pitts‘ recovery from a torn MCL. 

“It’s an ongoing process every day,” Smith said. “Ultimately, what matters is getting ready for training camp. Feel pretty good about where he’s at.”


  • Jeff Howe of The Athletic notes that Steve Wilks is still under contract with the Panthers. However, Howe says it feels “highly unlikely” he will return to the team after they hired Frank Reich as head coach.
  • Howe adds that the Panthers will clear Wilks to take another job if he chooses.


Saints assistant GM Jeff Ireland said they are looking for the “right guy” to become their next quarterback.

“It has to be the right guy,” Ireland said, via the team’s Youtube. “You don’t want to be throwing darts… Gotta have the right traits, gotta have the right intelligence. In the history of the game, generally you have to take one early.”

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