NFC Notes: Tom Brady, Buccaneers, Falcons, Frank Reich, Panthers


  • According to ESPN’s Jeff Darlington, Tom Brady previously implied to those close to him that he would either return to the Buccaneers or retire this offseason. 
  • Darlington mentions Brady has been contemplating retirement since the season concluded. 
  • When speaking to those close to Brady, Darlington explains he came away with the impression that the quarterback is “exhausted” by the past six months including his life outside of football and is ready to move on to the next phase.
  • ESPN did an offseason quarterback landing spot simulation with beat reporters standing in as the GMs of their respective teams. The Buccaneers re-signed veteran QB Blaine Gabbert to compete for the starting job and drafted Florida QB Anthony Richardson with the No. 19 pick. 
  • Tampa Bay would also still have former second-round QB Kyle Trask under contract. 
  • Agent David Canter announced his company is now representing RB Leonard Fournette, who is entering the second year of a three-year, $21 million deal. 


Falcons HC Arthur Smith defended the team’s hiring of DC Ryan Nielsen despite him having a different defensive scheme with the Saints. Smith downplayed those differences, noting they are excited about the plans he has for the team’s defense. 

“I don’t care what system you are running, you have to be able to adapt,” Smith said, via Josh Kendall of The Athletic. “I was impressed with (Nielsen’s) plan for that. Everybody’s got great ideas and plans, but how are you going to implement it? I really liked his plan. Excited about the future and where we will go.”

“We have a good idea of how he is day to day as a person,” Smith added. “He’s been a pretty good adversary, and love the plan he has. It was the right fit for us. He’s a heck of a coach, and we’re excited to have him on board.”

  • ESPN did an offseason quarterback landing spot simulation with beat reporters standing in as the GMs of their respective teams. The Falcons dabbled with offers to a couple of veteran quarterbacks but ultimately elected to stick with 2021 third-rounder Desmond Ridder


Panthers HC Frank Reich had much to say during his introductory press conference with the team, especially about the team’s quarterback job.

“You got to have stability at quarterback,” Reich said, via “You know, you want to have stability at quarterback, so the good thing that I’ve learned in my past experience here, in the past experience in the few years, is we’ve learned how to adapt different to styles of quarterbacks, but that’s not the ideal situation, right? So, we, Mr. (David) Tepper, Scott (Fitterer), and I, have to commit to what’s our blueprint? How are we going to maintain stability at quarterback? Make a plan and then execute that plan.”

Reich also discussed what exactly he’s looking for from the position, acknowledging that mobility is more important than ever while winning from the pocket remains paramount. He adds that the importance of the run game can’t be dismissed either. 

“We all know the way the game’s going, right?” Reich said. “We all know the game is going to a more movement-style quarterback. I embrace that. I love that. We worked with some in Philadelphia, worked with Carson Wentz, and did a lot of good things with movement, RPOs, play-action, and all that stuff. Same thing in the years in Indy. We had some dropback and some movement guys. Ultimately, we can adapt to whatever, but where the game is going, most of the guys coming out in college have more movement, right? That has some advantages.”

“It’s a passing league, but you have to run the ball to be a championship team,” Reich added. “There are exceptions to that, but when you look at the analytics, the statistics over the years, you have to be effective and efficient running the football. That’s one of the reasons why I’m excited about this roster — I know we can do that. We will get the passing game right, but I know we can run the football and we’re gonna run the football because that just builds off the play action, off the RPO stuff, all the movement stuff. That’s what you want to build.”

Regarding how the Panthers will address their glaring need at quarterback, GM Scott Fitterer said the ideal situation is obviously to draft a starter but he didn’t want to box them into just one option. 

“I don’t think you ever want to box yourself in and say we’re going to strictly draft,” he said. “I’ve always kind of said that’s the proper way to do it. To draft and develop from a cost-effective standpoint. But if we don’t believe that guy is there this year — and we haven’t even started that process, our scouts have. We’ll look at all options. But in an ideal world, we’d be draft and develop.”

  • NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport mentions several veteran quarterback options for the team including Raiders QB Derek Carr, Titans QB Ryan Tannehill and 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo.
  • Justin Rogers of the Detroit News notes it’s still unclear what former Lions RB coach Duce Staley‘s role will be with the Panthers, but it’s possible for him to become the Panthers’ new offensive coordinator. 
  • Rogers mentions Detroit allowed Staley to leave in order for him to be closer to his mother, who is dealing with some health issues. He’s from Columbia, South Carolina. 

Looking for the latest NFL Insider News & Rumors?

Be sure to follow NFL Trade Rumors on TWITTER and FACEBOOK for breaking NFL News and Rumors for all 32 teams!

Leave a Reply