NFC South News Round-Up: Bucs, Falcons, Panthers, Saints
Every week, the Grits Blitz blog will be posting links, and usually derogatory comments, related to the rest of the NFC South. Welcome to NFC South Nuggets, the name likely somehow inspired by the firing of Albert Haynesworth. At least I did not go with, "NFC South McNuggets with Honey Mustard." Since I am never done with making fun of Haynesworth, check out the links.
Albert Haynesworth was cut, amounting to the least surprising transaction this offseason. Big Al continued to show why he should be unemployed through his terrible play, contributing to the league worst Tampa Bay Bucs run defense. He has been cut or traded three times in the last eight months after signing a 7 year, $100 million contract with the Redskins.
The Saints are dealing with a problem they have not had in years: some of their drafted players did not bust, and now they are having trouble resigning all of them. Marques Colston, the Saints only consistent wide receiver, is expected to become a free agent after the Saints have failed to approach him for a contract extension. It has been long reported that Drew Brees had expected his contract to be completed well before free agency (March 13th) but the lack of progress points towards Brees receiving the franchise tag and Carl Nicks become a free agent as well. Let us remember, this is the team that drafted a certain Reggie Bush 2nd overall, so it is not like the front office makes great decisions.
The Jimmy Clausen era may be over in Carolina. After drafting one of the most immediately unlikable quarterbacks in the past decade, Clausen is in danger of being cut prior to a $1 million roster bonus due in late March after failing to be active once after Cam Newton was drafted. Reports are that Peyton Manning is furious he may have to compete with Clausen in free agency.
Dan Connor is widely expected to leave Carolina. Despite being a solid middle linebacker, the run thumper should not return to Carolina with Jon Beason returning. Good for Atlanta, because he adds to an already deep level of middle/inside linebackers free agents that will drive down the price for Curtis Lofton.
Tampa Bay has hired Mike Sullivan as their new offensive coordinator, likely because he was the only person they were able to interview. Tampa has recently been denied permission to interview just about every single position coach in the NFL. Sullivan has been the quarterbacks coach for the Giants the past few seasons
While Tampa has failed to add top people to their coaching staff, they will apparently add some top players to their roster. Yes, it is likely no coincidence the Mayans predicted the end of the world as the same year the Glazers would finally open up their wallet. The Bucs have $60.5 million in cap space, with perhaps half likely to pay for Aqib Talib's legal bills. The Bucs have been linked to every top non-QB player on the market, including our own Brent Grimes and Curtis Lofton.
Get more great Atlanta Falcons news and analysis over at The Grits Blitz.