- ESPN’s Jenna Laine reports the indication seems to be that the Buccaneers are leaning toward using the franchise tag on LB Shaq Barrett by Monday’s deadline.
- Laine says the tag for Barrett will cost about $16.27 million. She adds an eventual long-term deal for Barrett will be at least $18 million per year and could even come in at $20 million AAV.
Falcons’ new secondary/defensive passing game coordinator Joe Whitt believes that CB Isaiah Oliver improved over the final eight games of the 2019 season.
“I thought over the last eight games he did a good job of connecting his feet and his hands together in his press game,” Whitt said, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He stayed more square and that gave him the ability once he got up the field to connect at the top of routes. Early on in the year, he was doing some things that didn’t connect his feet and his hands. That cleaned up during the year. I think (defensive coordinator Raheem Morris) and those guys did a very nice job with that.”
Whitt added that they want to be sure Oliver fits the Falcons’ defensive system going forward.
“The first thing is, we are going to make sure that we are doing exactly what Raheem wants,” Whitt said. “He has to make sure that he can fit in the scheme. After we get that scheme-understanding down, we are going to make sure that we can pull the ball off of people.”
Falcons’ new DL coach Tosh Lupoi feels that DE Takk McKinley still has “tremendous potential” and is pleased with McKinley’s progress from a shoulder injury.
“Takk has tremendous potential,” Lupoi said. “I think the first thing that he’s doing, is that he’s already committed to is improving his shoulder. … I’ve had some good conversations with him already. (Coach Dan Quinn) has personally gone out there and seen him. He’s really proud of his progress and the way he’s attacking his health.”
- Kelsey Conway of the team’s official site names three free-agent cornerbacks who fit the Falcons’ system to keep an eye on, including Vikings CB Mackensie Alexander, Texans CB Bradley Roby, and Titans CB Logan Ryan.
- The Athletic’s Joseph Person mentions Colts DE Jabaal Sheard as a potential free-agent fit for the Panthers given his familiarity with new Carolina DL coach Mike Phair from their time together in Indianapolis.
- Person also mentions Panthers S Tre Boston as a player who could re-sign with Carolina, as he can help step into the leadership void on the team and played well in 2019.
- The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue adds Carolina could also re-sign G Greg Van Roten if he’s willing to come back on a team-friendly deal. Panthers CB Ross Cockrell is another strong candidate to re-sign given his versatility.
- Person mentions he would look at signing Bills CB Kevin Johnson who is unlikely to stay in Buffalo after the signing of CB Josh Norman.
- If the Panthers are able to make a splash signing, Rodrigue mentions Steelers DT Javon Hargrave as a potential candidate. He would fill a big need and happens to share an agent with former high school teammate and new Panthers DL Chris Smith.