NFC South Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints

     

Buccaneers

  • Per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, most around the league expect the Buccaneers to place the franchise or transition tag on QB Jameis Winston
  • Fowler adds Winston is an interesting case because personnel evaluators are legitimately torn on Winston, who threw for more than 5,000 yards in 2019 but also threw 30 interceptions. 
  • NFL Media’s Gregg Rosenthal lists Buccaneers LB Shaq Barrett as an obvious candidate for the franchise tag. 
  • Rosenthal says Winston is a strong candidate for the transition tag as he might have less of a market than Barrett. 
  • Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin changed agents and is now represented by CAA Sports with potential extension talks looming later this offseason. (Greg Auman)
  • The Buccaneers hired Mississippi State strength coach Cory Bichey as their new assistant strength coach. (Auman)

Falcons

  • NFL Media’s Gregg Rosenthal says right now the Falcons don’t have the cap space to be able to franchise tag TE Austin Hooper, though that could change.  

Panthers

  • The Athletic’s Joseph Person says he gets the sense the Panthers would like to bring back S Tre Boston if the price is right as he was a strong stabilizing force in the locker room down the stretch. 
  • Person writes that targeting Jets WR Robby Anderson in free agency would make sense if the Panthers decide to trade WR Curtis Samuel
  • Another potential option for the Panthers could be Colts TE Eric Ebron, though it would likely be at a discount considering Ebron’s less-than-amicable breakup with both his NFL teams so far.
  • Carolina could also consider Seahawks TE Ed Dickson if released as a cap casualty as a veteran option alongside Ian Thomas
  • While Saints QB Teddy Bridgewater could be a free-agent option, if his deal approaches $25 million, that might be more than Carolina is willing to spend on a “bridge” quarterback, according to Person. 
  • On defense, Person lists Browns LB Joe Schobert, Vikings CB Mackensie Alexander, Bills DT Jordan Phillips and Steelers LB Tyler Matakevich as free-agent options. 
  • Person points out that XFL QB P.J. Walker of the Houston Roughnecks, who has been a breakout star of the new league, played for Panthers HC Matt Rhule at Temple, which could give Carolina an edge to sign the former Colts practice squad quarterback. 
  • Per NBC Sports’ JP Finlay, while Panthers CB James Bradberry said during an interview before the Super Bowl his “dream scenario” would be returning to the Panthers, he added the idea of rejoining HC Ron Rivera in Washington was enticing, calling Rivera a “great man and a great coach.”
  • NFL Media’s Gregg Rosenthal lists Bradberry as a strong candidate for the franchise tag. 
  • Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio points out another team would be able to give Panthers QB Cam Newton a physical before trading for him as long as Carolina gives permission. 

Saints

Saints’ restricted free-agent QB Taysom Hill tells Adam Schefter that he expects there to be opportunities for him to make plays, despite Drew Brees announcing that he’s returning for the 2020 season. 

“At the end of the day, I look at Drew coming back and maybe I’m not playing quarterback, which is ultimately where I want to have an opportunity to play in the NFL, but there are still going to be opportunities for me to make plays. I can tell you a unique experience for me that most backup quarterbacks don’t get is I’m in the huddle with Drew on game day. . . . That to me is invaluable,” Hill said, via Adam Schefter.  

Hill mentioned that he’s still going through the process of being a restricted free agent and is in “no hurry” to leave the Saints. 

“I think there’s a process of being a restricted free agent,” Hill said. “My agent and I are going through the process, and we’ll see what happens. But I’m in no hurry to leave New Orleans. As I look at my career, I have goals, and I have a vision for myself as to what I can do in the NFL, and there has been nothing that has been said, or I’ve never been treated in any way that would lead me to believe that the vision I have for myself is not the same vision that coach [Sean] Payton has for me, as well as the other guys on the staff. So I’m in no hurry, but I also think that there’s an important element of being a free agent. You finally have the opportunity to sit down and say, ‘What are my goals? What are my visions for myself?’ And then see who shares those same thoughts as you do.”

Hill added that he is still “super early” into the offseason and will “see what happens” going forward. 

“We’ll go through that process. It’s super early, so I have no idea what is going to happen. But we’ll go through that process and see what happens.”

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