NFC South Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints


  • According to the Athletic’s Greg Auman, some of the “buzz” surrounding Chargers QB Philip Rivers potentially joining the Buccaneers could just be leverage floated by Tampa Bay for their negotiations with QB Jameis Winston who is also scheduled for free agency. 
  • Auman acknowledges that Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians has had high praise for Rivers from his time as a broadcaster and does seem to love his potential fit with the team. 
  • Anthony Treash of Pro Football Focus lists Rivers as a potential free-agent target for the Buccaneers. 


One of the Falcons’ top offseason priorities will be bringing back TE Austin Hooper despite having one of the least-flexible cap situations in the league. Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff said talks were still at the early stages and the team won’t have real updates until February.

“I’m sure you guys are waiting to ask more about Mr. Hooper. The reality right now is that we are trudging along,” Dimitroff said via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Once we get back from the Super Bowl, after the Super Bowl week we’ll continue to look and see how we are moving forward. But at this point there are no updates on Austin.”

  • With the franchise tag for tight ends set to be $10.7 million, Dimitroff said it was unlikely Atlanta would use it on Hooper. (Vaughn McClure)
  • Despite shopping DE Vic Beasley at the trade deadline, his strong push of four sacks in the final four games has left the Falcons and Dimitroff unsure of how to proceed: “We’re not exactly sure of the direction we’re going to go with it. I thought Vic had a nice push down the stretch. and I know he impressed a lot of people in the organization.” (McClure)

  • Anthony Treash of Pro Football Focus lists Panthers S Tre Boston as a potential free-agent target for the Falcons. 


  • Per NFL Media’s Chase Goodbread, South Carolina DT Javon Kinlaw said he felt strong positive vibes from the Panthers at the Senior Bowl after meeting with HC Matt Rhule and thinks they could be interested in him: “I know they like me, for sure. A whole lot. They have some free agency guys, so I definitely feel like I could go in there and make something happen.”
  • Anthony Treash of Pro Football Focus lists Saints QB Teddy Bridgewater as a potential free-agent target for the Panthers. 
  • The Panthers hired Damiere Shaw to their coaching staff. Shaw was an offensive quality control coach for two years at Baylor under Rhule. (David Newton)
  • Carolina also hired William and Mary RB coach E.J. Barthel, who is also a candidate to be an offensive QC coach. (Joe Person)


  • PEr ESPN’s Mike Triplett, Saints GM Mickey Loomis said they’d rather be in the position they are now, with multiple talented players in need of deals commensurate with their skill, than trying to find those guys: “There’s challenges when you’re not successful, and there’s challenges when you are successful. I prefer the latter.”
  • Anthony Treash of Pro Football Focus lists Buccaneers WR Breshad Perriman as a potential free-agent target for the Saints. 

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