NFC South Notes: Buccaneers, Panthers, Saints

     

Buccaneers

Buccaneers HC Dirk Koetter admitted at the Combine that addressing the running back position is a “priority” for them this offseason.

“We only have two running backs under contract right now,” Koetter said, via NFL.com, “and you’re probably going to keep four on your team. … Of course running back is going to have to be [a priority], but that doesn’t mean we don’t like Peyton and Jacquizz. We do like them.”

Panthers

  • On Wednesday, Panthers HC Ron Rivera said that they would like to find a running back with similar characteristics to replace Jonathan Stewart, who was released on Tuesday: “Stewart has meant an awful lot to this team, setting the tone for the offense… We want to find a guy that has similar characteristics.” (Max Henson)
  • According to Rivera, replacing Stewart identically isn’t so much a priority as finding a dynamic back who can run both inside and outside. (Jourdan Rodrigue)
  • Rivera said that they’re evaluating a group of viable backup quarterbacks closely this week and discussing whether they will bring Derek Anderson back. (Jourdan Rodrigue)
  • Rivera referred to re-signing K Graham Gano as being “high on the priority list” but he deferred to GM Marty Hurney for further comment. (Jourdan Rodrigue)
  • Rivera admitted that re-signing free agent G Andrew Norwell is “going to be tough.” Although, Rivera added that Hurney is scheduled to meet with Norwell soon. (Max Henson)
  • The Panthers are deciding whether Devin Funchess will be the No. 1 or No. 2 receiver this season and if they’ll build a complementary receiving corps around that. (Jourdan Rodrigue)
  • Rivera said there’s no timeline regarding WR Curtis Samuel‘s recovery. (Jourdan Rodrigue)
  • Rivera appeared to be set on finding a veteran replacement for Kurt Coleman, who was released on Monday. David Newton mentions that free agent S Tre Boston could possibly be a fit for the Panthers.

Saints

  • Saints HC Sean Payton said Thursday that he’s confident they will get something done with QB Drew Brees before free agency and talks will take place at the Combine. (Joel A. Erickson)
  • Regarding Brees, Payton later told ESPN: “I don’t think about it much because I know it’s going to get done.”
  • According to Payton, they’re hoping for Mike Westhoff to return in 2018 as a special teams coach, but he recently had surgery and is recovering. (Josh Katzenstein)
  • According to Nick Underhill, Saints free agent OL Senio Kelemete will likely have a “healthy market” this offseason. The Saints are interested in retaining him depending on the price, but Underhill says that other teams are expected to offer him a chance to start.
  • A source tells Underhill that the Saints would like to re-sign DE Alex Okafor, but he too should have interest from a number of teams.
  • Saints free agent FB Zach Line is reportedly receiving “a little bit of interest”, according to Underhill.
  • Underhill says that the Saints could be in the market for an offensive tackle with Zach Strief reportedly prepared to retire.