NFC Notes: Tom Brady, Buccaneers, Falcons, Saints, Sean Payton


Former Buccaneers QB Clyde Christensen said he is sad to see Tom Brady officially announce his retirement from the NFL. 

“My initial thought is probably a little bit of sadness,” Christensen told OutKick’s Armando Salguero. “It’s like an emptiness. Because, for many of us, the NFL and Tom Brady are kind of synonymous. And the NFL without Tom Brady, I don’t understand what that looks like. He’s been around for so long and, gosh, I’m sad to think he’s not going to play football anymore. I think he still can play. No one questions if he can still play. He can play. But I think he’s doing the right thing and I’m excited for him.”

Christensen isn’t surprised to see Brady walk away from the game and is aware he wants to spend time with his children.  

“I thought it was 50-50 and so I’m not surprised because he really does want to do what’s right by the kids,” Christensen said. “He’s committed to doing what’s right by the kids and I just couldn’t see him going far out west or doing something like that.”

Christensen praised Brady for playing through personal issues and providing an unwavering presence throughout the season. 

“Never complaining. He stayed positive,” Christensen said. “I think sometimes he was feeling like, ‘Gosh, what else can go wrong?’ It was all new, there were new things for him and I think it was circumstances he had to deal with that he never had to deal with in the middle of a football season. And I think that between football and personal things, all those things and still coming in week in and week out and doing his job, it’s amazing how tough that is … And we never hit full stride like I think we were all hoping to, but no one would question whether he showed up every Sunday, laid it on the line and played some good football.”

  • Brady’s retirement, should he remain committed to this course of action, will enable the Buccaneers to split the remaining $35 million in dead money on his deal between this season and next. Had he returned and played elsewhere, they’d have been stuck with the full amount in 2023. 
  • By waiting to process Brady’s retirement until after June 1, Tampa Bay will have $11 million in dead money this season and $24 million in dead money in 2024.
  • His contract is currently set to void on March 17 but that could also be pushed back to allow the Buccaneers to have access to most of that $24 million difference in savings before June 1 when it’s more useful. 


Falcons GM Terry Fontenot said they are getting “really valuable information” on the 2023 NFL Draft class at this year’s Senior Bowl. 

“It’s a touchpoint with the players and again, the access that we have and time that we get to spend with them here,” Fontenot said, via Ashton Edmunds of the team’s official site. “You get really really valuable information, so it makes a huge difference.”

Fontenot said the offseason is a pivotal time to develop their roster. 

“I think every offseason is pivotal,” Fontenot said. “I think every day you come in the building is pivotal. The first offseason we had here was critical and, obviously, we had a different level of resources the first year, second year and now this year. Yet, you have to look at every offseason [like this]. That is critical and you’re going to do the best you can to improve this football team.”

Fontenot said they are in the process of evaluating the roster. 

“Really quickly here, we’re going to be getting into free agency and into our draft meetings,” Fontenot said. “So we’re going through it while we do everything else.”

  • Western Kentucky CB Kahlef Hailassie seemed to catch the eye of the Falcons coaching staff at the Shrine Bowl. (Josh Kendall)


  •’s Jeff Duncan writes that new Broncos HC Sean Payton told him and others in his inner circle multiple times that he would have been open to a return to the Saints in 2023 if things had worked out that way.
  • However, Duncan adds Payton wasn’t going to steamroll current HC Dennis Allen, who was his former defensive coordinator before being promoted, to get the job. The Saints also didn’t want to give up on Allen after just one season. 
  • ESPN did an offseason quarterback landing spot simulation with beat reporters standing in as the GMs of their respective teams. The Saints pursued a number of free-agent quarterbacks, including a potential trade for Raiders QB Derek Carr and a free-agent deal with 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo.
  • Ultimately though, they had to settle on a one-year, $10 million deal to bring back Andy Dalton. They used a second-round pick on Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker to give them a developmental option for the future. 
  • Regarding his interview for the Buccaneers’ offensive coordinator job, Saints QB coach Ronald Curry said he also had a few interviews last offseason but wanted to be a coordinator “when the time is right.” (Katherine Terrell)
  • In the end, Curry thinks his interview with Tampa Bay went well. 
  • Curry reiterated that he would like the opportunity to become an offensive coordinator: “There’s a lot of jobs out there and you sit back and look at some of the guys getting interviewed and just like anybody that’s competitive, you just want a shot to go out there and show what you can do.” (Katherine Terrell)

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