Per the Athletic’s Greg Auman, Buccaneers HCBruce Arians is much more confident about Tampa Bay bringing back LB Shaq Barrett, either via extension or franchise tag, than QB Jameis Winston: “One is the sack leader. They’re hard to find … The other is an unknown quantity to me still.”
Buccaneers GM Jason Licht says the coaches are “more than excited” about TE O.J. Howard‘s potential in the second year in the system and are “very high” on him. (Auman)
Licht didn’t commit to exercising Howard’s fifth-year option but did say it was looking good. (Auman)
Licht added DT Ndamukong Suh has told the Buccaneers he intends to play in 2020 and wants to re-sign in Tampa. (Rick Stroud)
Arians sounded doubtful about Tampa Bay’s chances of re-signing WR Breshad Perriman: “We would love to have Breshad back, because he fits what we’re looking for, but not at a price when you have all these receivers in the draft.” (Auman)
Arians said Buccaneers G Alex Cappa seems to have found a home at right guard and doesn’t anticipate shifting him out to tackle. (Auman)
Arians didn’t mention pending free-agent RB Peyton Barber when discussing the position with reporters. (Auman)
Retaining RFA TE Antony Auclair, who Arians called one of the best blocking tight ends in the league, is a priority for Tampa Bay this offseason. (Auman)
Though April 1 was the initial target, Arians said it will now be June 1 before S Justin Evans can return following multiple foot surgeries that caused him to miss the entire 2019 season. (Auman)
Per Kelsey Conway of the official team website, Falcons HC Dan Quinn said S Keanu Neal is progressing well in his rehab from a torn Achilles last season: “Keke is doing good. He’s exactly where he should be. We’re excited for him, he’s making great progress.”
Quinn added he and the defensive coaching staff were working on ways to feature all three safeties — Neal, Ricardo Allen and Damontae Kazee: “Having more than enough good players is way better than the alternative. Between myself, [Raheem Morris] and Jeff Ulbrich, we’ll have more than enough ways to feature them.”
Falcons HC Dan Quinn initially said Atlanta wouldn’t be picking up DE Takk McKinley‘s fifth-year option before backtracking. (Jason Butt)
Quinn went along with Dimitroff, who said the team is “still deciding” on McKinley’s option. (Butt)
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Panthers plan is to bring QB Cam Newton into offseason workouts in May and June but will keep their options open.
Fowler notes new Panthers HC Matt Rhule is excited to see where Newton is in March. He also says the team is intrigued by the quarterbacks available in 2021.
Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson points out that Newton’s questionable health status would have made it extraordinarily difficult to trade him, particularly with how flooded the QB market is this offseason.
At the Combine, Rhule came out with the strongest statement of support any member of the team has given for Newton since the season ended: “I really want him on the team.” (Max Henson)
Rhule added he was “unbelievably excited” to work with Newton. (David Newton)
He “absolutely” expects Newton to be on the roster in September. (Joe Person)
Rhule did wait to name Newton the starter, saying he didn’t want to promise any player a job in his first year and health was still of critical importance to Newton. (Person)
Rhule mentioned they wouldn’t hesitate to take trade calls on any player on their roster if they felt it would make the team better long-term. (Jourdan Rodrigue)