NFC South Notes: Buccaneers, Panthers, Saints

     

Buccaneers

Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians said DT Vita Vea‘s MRI on his knee revealed a “little fluid” and will undergo more testing on Friday. 

A little fluid in there, a little swelling. So we’ll do another one Friday. There’s nothing really to report on what it is yet or how much timetable as far as return. We’ll know more after Friday. But the original prognosis was good,” said Vea, via Rick Stroud.

  • Tampa Bay worked out Washington undrafted free agent DL Shane Bowman on Thursday. (Greg Auman)
  • Buccaneers safeties Orion Stewart and D’Cota Dixon has split contracts, meaning their base salary is different on injured reserve than it would be on the active roster. The split rookie minimum is $378,000 as opposed to $495,000. (Auman)

Panthers

Panthers HC Ron Rivera said a change in the types of players coming out of college played a role in his decision to transition the Panthers to more of a 3-4 defense. Rivera said traditional 4-3 defensive ends with the size to play the run and the explosiveness to rush the passer are becoming harder to find, while the number of “hybrid” defensive end/outside linebackers are proliferating. 

“There are not a lot of true defensive ends like there used to be,” Rivera said via the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs. “Most of the guys coming out are the hybrids and, who knows, maybe we will get lucky and find the next Khalil Mack. That’s what I think everyone is looking at. We watched the impact he made last year very, very quickly. All of the best pass-rushing teams are the ones that seem to have these hybrid rush ends. That helped prompt a decision to do it. And I’ve been watching a lot of things that the Bears have done. Vic Fangio had something special going there and I really liked it. Like I said, I am going to copy some of the things people are doing throughout the league. I see it as a challenge and I am excited about it.” 

Saints

In four games without Mark Ingram last year, Saints RB Alvin Kamara played in 82 percent of the team’s snaps. That number dropped to 61 percent once Ingram returned. With the veteran runner off to Baltimore, Saints HC Sean Payton says they still want to keep Kamara’s usage in that 60-percent range. New Orleans signed Latavius Murray with the idea of slotting him into Ingram’s role, though how much he’ll take Ingram’s reps in the passing game “is still to be determined.”

“Look, is one player taking exactly Mark Ingram’s reps? I can’t tell you that right now,” Payton said via ESPN’s Mike Triplett. “And yet I think there’s that presumption that Alvin’s going to get more. And I think our pitch count and how we’ve played and utilized him has been really good.”

  • Saints WR Michael Thomas‘ new deal has cap hits of $6.1 million (2019), $15 million (2020), $16.8 million (2021), $19.8 million (2022), $20.45 million (2023) and $19.7 million (2024). (Josh Katzenstein)
  • Thomas has guaranteed base salaries through the 2022 season. 

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