NFC South Notes: Buccaneers, Panthers, Saints


  • According to the Athletic’s Greg Auman, the Buccaneers elected to go without a true backup center on the roster, having G Earl Watford practice taking snaps, though he’s never played center in college or the NFL. 
  • Auman says if starting C Ryan Jensen were to be injured, Tampa Bay could shift over G Ali Marpet who has played an entire season at center before. 


Panthers QB Cam Newton said he feels “like a rookie again” and is still having fun with his NFL career. 

I feel like a rookie again. I’m having fun, feeling good and the thrill is still there, man,” Newton said, via Jeremy Bergman of Around The NFL. “I’m blessed, just knowing that, man, you just got to sometimes put things into perspective. Just two or three weeks, two or three days ago, grown men cried, you know what I’m saying? People getting unexpectedly cut, released, traded or whatever. I’m just lucky to be a part of a fan base and organization for the same nine years. A lot of people can’t say the same.”

Regarding his sprained foot, Newton called the injury “irrelevant” and did not elaborate on the subject. 

“I’m focused on the Rams,” Newton said. “I don’t want to dwell on something that’s irrelevant or what doesn’t need to be talked about. Excited about the matchup on Sunday. Really looking forward to playing four quarters of football.”

  • Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio points out how underpaid Newton is in relation to his peers. Newton signed an extension in 2015 that paid him an average of $20.76 million per season and kept him under contract in Carolina through the 2020 season. 
  • Meanwhile, the quarterback market has exploded, with Seahawks QB Russell Wilson currently pacing the market at $35 million per year and Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes potentially set to break the $40 million per year barrier when he’s eligible for an extension in 2020. 
  • Florio adds the Panthers will likely make a decision about Newton’s next contract following the 2019 season, especially considering he’s had two recent shoulder surgeries. There’s a chance if Newton is injured again he could be asked to play out the 2020 season without a new deal as well. 
  • Panthers LB Bruce Irvin (hamstring) and second-round OT Greg Little (concussion) remained sidelined from practice Thursday. (Jourdan Rodrigue)
  • First-round LB Brian Burns would be in line to start if Irvin can’t play. However, Panthers HC Ron Rivera said it was too early to rule out Irvin. (Joseph Person)


  • Per’s Herbie Teope, the Saints plan to announce second-round C Erik McCoy as the starter for Monday night’s season opener against the Texans. 
  • Saints HC Sean Payton said rookie UDFA DT Shy Tuttle finished camp and the preseason strong, and because he plays a hard position to find the Saints wanted to keep him on the roster. (Mike Triplett)
  • Saints released LB Will Compton from injured reserve with a settlement. (NFLTR)

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