NFC South Notes: Buccaneers, Panthers, Saints



  • Buccaneers DL Vita Vea said he is “slimming down” and believes a lighter weight will help him play both defensive end and defensive tackle and lead to more playing time. (Greg Auman)


Being close to his family’s home in Long Island was a priority for WR Chris Hogan this offseason, but after signing with the Panthers, the veteran says he’ll be able to make it work. 

“It’s something we obviously put a lot of thought into,” Hogan said via ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “People want to talk about the stuff that I do, but my wife is the engine that makes it all go. It will be tricky. There will be some tough times, especially with the kids getting older [twins turned 2 in March], but we’re in this together, and we make it work. It will be more flights than driving on [Interstate] 95, but luckily it’s a short flight, and we’re both excited about this opportunity.”

Hogan and his wife Ashley are also expecting another child on October 6, which happens to be a Sunday. 

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, but I plan to be there for the birth of my child,” Hogan said. “That’s something very special to me, and I know I want to be there for my wife and all she does for me and our family. So that would mean a lot to me to be there. For now, I’m going home [every weekend] and trying to be ‘Super Dad’ and take care of all my chores and try to take a little bit off her plate.”

  • A league source characterized the Panthers’ interest in DT Gerald McCoy as “kick-the-tires mode,” per the Athletic’s Joe Person.
  • After June 1 when the money from cutting OT Matt Kalil kicks in, Person writes the Panthers will have $16 million in cap space, which could accommodate McCoy‘s potential $11 million salary.
  • However, the Panthers aren’t expected to be serious bidders for McCoy. 


Saints QB Drew Brees has been impressed so far with free agent addition TE Jared Cook.

“I’d read a lot of good things about him before he got here, but he’s certainly impressed us these first couple of days,” Brees said via Nathan Brown of the New Orleans Advocate. “He’s got a great feel for the game, and I think he’s going to fit very well in our offense. He’s got great length, so he’s got a big catch radius. You feel confident with those 50-50 balls. You feel like there’s a lot of places where you can throw if where he can get it and the other guy can’t. Anytime you have a target like that, you feel like that’s a good matchup.” 

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