NFC Notes: Tom Brady, Buccaneers, Panthers, Saints


For a few years now, the benchmark for Buccaneers QB Tom Brady has been playing until the age of 45. That’d give him two more seasons and extend what already is an incredible run possibly unlike anything in sports. And Brady hasn’t ruled out playing even beyond that. 

“I’ll know when the time’s right,” Brady said via NBC Sports’ Peter King. “If I can’t . . . if I’m not a championship-level quarterback, then I’m not gonna play. If I’m a liability to the team, I mean, no way. But if I think I can win a championship, then I’ll play.”

  • Buccaneers’ HC Bruce Arians says that S Jordan Whitehead is “really, really close” to returning. He also notes that Chris Cooper has impressed on special teams and is currently challenging Javon Hagan for a backup spot. (Greg Auman)
  • Arians was asked if TE Tanner Hudson has earned a spot on the 53 man roster: “We are still evaluating. There is a lot more than just catching the football (as a tight end).” (Auman)
  • Arians also said that RG Alex Cappa is in a battle for his starting job with G Aaron Stinnie, but added that the job is still Cappa’s job to lose. (Rick Stroud)


  • In his 53-man roster projection, the Athletic’s Joe Person notes neither Will Grier nor P.J. Walker has really separated themselves from the other in the competition to be the backup quarterback. For now, he has both making the team. 
  • At running back, Person says Rodney Smith and Reggie Bonnafon haven’t been healthy recently, which could hurt their chances given they’ve had fewer opportunities to show what they can do. 
  • Person points out Panthers OLB Christian Miller got more than 90 percent of the reps against the Ravens as Carolina tries to figure out if it can make room for him in a deep edge-rushing group. He doesn’t think they will. 
  • Panthers LB Denzel Perryman has missed a ton of time with a soft tissue injury and Person writes it’s not out of the question he’s cut despite the $3 million in dead money Carolina would have to eat. 
  • Person predicts veteran LS J.J. Jansen will ultimately retain his job and roster spot over sixth-round rookie challenger Thomas Fletcher.


  • Per NBC Sports’ Peter King, Saints HC Sean Payton would like to name a starting quarterback before next week’s third preseason game against the Cardinals. 
  • Saints QB Jameis Winston is slated to start for New Orleans Monday night against the Jaguars after QB Taysom Hill started the previous week against the Ravens. 
  • According to Pro Football Talk, Saints DL Jalen Dalton was fined $3,667 for unsportsmanlike conduct.
  • Saints S Malcolm Jenkins said the team is thrilled to have LB Kwon Alexander back: “But I think he’s entering into a unit that’s probably had the strongest camp out of any position group out here. Our linebackers from top to bottom have been lights out, phenomenal.” (Mike Triplett)

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