NFC South Notes: Buccaneers, Panthers, Saints

     

Buccaneers

The Buccaneers are like most of the NFL world right now — still trying to come to grip with the fact that Tom Brady will be suiting up in Tampa Bay in 2020. Buccaneers WR Mike Evans, who was one of the factors that drew Brady to Tampa, still can’t believe it. 

“It’s surreal,” Evans said in a live-stream while playing Fortnite, via Eduardo Encina of the Tampa Bay Times. “He’s about to be my quarterback, man. I know you don’t know football like that, but I’ve played six years in the NFL, and I haven’t been to the playoffs yet. Tom Brady has won six Super Bowls.”

  • NBC Sports’ Peter King writes the Week 6 loss to the Panthers in London, in which Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston threw five interceptions and fumbled twice, prompted the Buccaneers to have their scouts start analyzing any quarterback who might be available after the season. 
  • Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians and GM Jason Licht felt good enough about their chances of landing Brady on Tuesday that they allowed their No. 2 target, QB Teddy Bridgewater, to sign with the Panthers. 
  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer writes that Arians and Brady agreed it would be easier for the quarterback to learn the terminology already in place. However, the two will collaborate on concepts to make Brady feel comfortable. 
  • Breer points out Brady is expected to attend OTA’s if they end up happening after skipping the past two years in New England. 
  • Brady’s deal includes a $10 million roster bonus and $15 million base salary in both 2020 and 2021. He also has $4.5 million in incentives each season. 
  • Brady can make $562,500 each by finishing in the top five for passer rating, yards, touchdowns, completion percentage and yards per attempt, though the total incentive is capped at $2.25 million.
  • He also can make $500,000 if the Buccaneers make the playoffs, $750,000 for a playoff win, $1.25 million for making the NFC title game, $1.75 million for making the Super Bowl and $2.25 million for winning the Super Bowl.
  • Tampa Bay is likely to go with someone like Blaine Gabbert or Drew Stanton as a backup for Brady. (Greg Auman
  • Buccaneers TE Cameron Brate is happy to have the chance to play with Brady and chase a ring after restructuring his contract: “I’m extremely grateful to have the opportunity to return to Tampa for my seventh season. I look forward to getting back to work with my teammates in pursuit of a Super Bowl title here in our home stadium. Go Bucs!” (Rick Stroud)

Panthers

  • Per Fox Sports’ Mark Berman, new Panthers QB P.J. Walker said he’s excited to join the team and compete for a role after a strong stint in the XFL. He added his familiarity with Panthers HC Matt Rhule, who was his head coach in college at Temple, played a big role in choosing Carolina: “Probably being comfortable, more than anything, being comfortable with the staff, knowing what’s at stake. The system fits me well as well.”
  • Walker, who has the lead for the backup position after the team traded away Kyle Allen Monday, is excited to get started with the team: “This is definitely one of the top (moments). To go play for a great franchise in Carolina, it’s going to be exciting…I hope to bring them a lot of great joy and a lot of fun and a lot of competitiveness.” (Berman)
  • Walker signed a two-year deal with a signing bonus of $150,000. (Aaron Wilson)
  • Panthers LB Tahir Whitehead‘s one-year deal is worth $2.5 million, including a $1.45 million signing bonus and $1.05 million base salary. (Tom Pelissero)

Saints

  • The Athletic’s Katherine Terrell says missing out on LB Jamie Collins, who signed with the Lions, will likely force the Saints to move linebacker higher on their draft needs list. 
  • Terrell notes that an extension or some kind of restructure for CB Janoris Jenkins also becomes more of a priority as the Saints are likely hard up against the cap. 
  • Saints signed DB Deatrick Nichols. (NFLTR)
  • Saints signed DE Noah Spence. (NFLTR)
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