NFC South Notes: Falcons, Panthers, Saints

     

Falcons

  • Per Kelsey Conway of the team website, Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff acknowledged the team would need to make some difficult moves to create cap space this offseason. 
  • Dimitroff said he would like to see DE Takk McKinley take another step forward in 2020: “He has so much ability and upside for us. His fire and passion are what we’re looking for. I can’t wait for him to get into this season and get healed up after his surgery, that’s going to be an important thing for us.”
  • He also mentioned CB Isaiah Oliver, S Damontae Kazee and CB Kendall Sheffield as players they wanted to see more growth from: “They need to continue to wreck games and make big plays, bat balls down, pick off balls.”
  • While the Falcons have said they’re still working on an extension for TE Austin Hooper, the tight end says that progress hasn’t translated into an offer yet: “I did my part, ended up here at the Pro Bowl. If the organization wants me, they’ll offer me. I still haven’t received an offer from them.” (92.9 The Game)
  • The Falcons plan to tender K Younghoe Koo as an exclusive rights free agent this offseason but will also bring in competition for him this offseason. (Jason Butt)
  • Atlanta could also move on from P Matt Bosher as he’s expected to command a top-15 salary for a punter as a free agent this offseason. 

Panthers

  • The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue mentions Browns LB Joe Schobert, Jets WR Robby Anderson, Saints QB Teddy Bridgewater and Steelers LB Tyler Matakevich as free agents who would have familiarity with the new coaching staff. 
  • She also tosses out Baylor DL James Lynch, LSU WR Justin Jefferson, C Lloyd Cushenberry and TE Thaddeus Moss, and Penn State WR K.J. Hamler as potential draft targets given the strong college flavor of Carolina’s new coaching staff. 
  • Panthers HC Matt Rhule said he hopes former LB Luke Kuechly returns to the organization as a coach at some point, mentioning he has already watched film with the new coaching staff. (Alex Marvez)
  • While Kuechly would obviously be a natural fit if he wants to coach, he’s also exploring broadcasting opportunities. (Joe Person)
  • Rhule added he still has a couple of positions on his staff he’s looking to fill. (Marvez)

Saints

The Saints enter the 2020 position in the unique position of having no quarterbacks currently under contract. That of course will change, and one of the players New Orleans is expected to bring back is QB/all-purpose Taysom Hill. Hill is a restricted free agent and the first-round tender is expected to be $4.5 million. However, if the Saints want to sign him to a longer deal, Hill’s unique role — backup quarterback, receiver, runner, special teamer — will make for unique negotiations. 

“In terms of valuing and contract and all that, that remains to be seen,” Saints GM Mickey Loomis said via Luke Johnson of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “But he’s unique. So if something’s unique, you have to approach it a little differently.”

  • Saints QB Drew Brees didn’t commit to returning in 2020, but he did mention his kids want him to play “forever” at an interview at the Pro Bowl: “I wanted to give it at least a few weeks, months, postseason, just to take a deep breath and decompress a little bit and get some time with the family and then just reassess.” (Pro Football Talk)
  • Saints assistant LB coach Michael Hodges is an option to be promoted to replace departed former LB coach Mike Nolan. (Katherine Terrell)
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