NFC Notes: Kirk Cousins, Sterling Shepard, Buccaneers, Falcons, Saints


  • New Buccaneers WR Sterling Shepard on signing with Tampa Bay: “The Bucs wanted me to fly out the next day. Jo, I strapped my cleats on and hit that workout like I’ve been running routes all my life. The rest is history.” (Josina Anderson)
  • Shepard continued: “I’m so happy right now. I get to be with my brother again. Before this, I was in full daddy mode, but we got the contract done and now I’ll get back in Tampa Sunday for mandatory camp on Monday; but me and OBJ are going to get together and train for a couple days too. This is so crazy man, my whole mode just changed 180.” (Anderson)
  • OverTheCap points out the Buccaneers gained $1.9 million on June 1 with the release of LB Shaquil BarrettTampa Bay will split his $26.7 million in dead money with $9.27 million in 2024 and $17.4 million in 2025. 


Falcons QB Kirk Cousins said they were initially anticipating a late-July return from his torn Achilles but has been able to get “every rep” in OTAs. 

“When I first did it [suffered the injury], and I was in Minnesota the second half of last season, the conversation was, what will OTAs look like? And the answer I got back was, we won’t put you in the practice reps, it’s just not worth it,” Cousins said, via ProFootballTalk. “If it’s a walk-through, maybe, but the practice reps, you don’t need to be in there. I was planning on basically getting my first practice rep late July. I feel that I’ve gotten every rep there was to get in these OTAs, and I think that’s been a huge win for … building that continuity that we talk about.”

Cousins admits he’s still not 100 percent and is being cognizant of how his body feels. 

“I mean, I want it to be today. But you’ve just got to let your body tell you when,” Cousins said. “I’ll be able to feel that, OK, the strength is there fully or I’m not feeling anything in the ankle or Achilles. You just kind of let your body tell you. What I’ve learned is what you can’t do is ignore what your body tells you. I’ll tough it out. I’ll grind it out. And that’s the surest way to make sure it doesn’t heal as fast as possible. You just try to listen to your body.”

Cousins mentioned there have been times in spring practice where he’s had to hold himself back. 

“I think there have been moments like that at practice when your adrenaline gets going and you do maybe take off to run. And they’re like, you don’t need to do that right now. It’s OTAs,” Cousins said. “So that happens from time to time. But it’s a good problem if that’s happening.”

  • Falcons HC Raheem Morris on what Cousins has been able to do during offseason workouts: “It would be hard for me to say he can do anything more since he’s done just about everything.” (Terrin Waack)
  • Atlanta RB Bijan Robinson mentions he feels close to 100 percent: “It was just like kind of feeling weird, like on the side. So, I was just trying to make sure I don’t feel it at all before I come back in.” (Marc Raimondi)


  • OverTheCap points out the Saints gained $2.4 million on June 1 with the release of QB Jameis Winston and WR Michael Thomas. New Orleans deferred $9.18 million in dead money on Thomas’ contract to 2025 and they also deferred $7.36 million in dead money to 2025 on Winston’s deal. 

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