NFC South Notes: Gonzalez, Graham, Panthers

Former Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano was in the news again today, with a report suggesting that his candidacy in the Browns’ coaching search contributed to the rift between CEO Joe Banner and owner Jimmy Haslam. The Bucs themselves aren’t making headlines at the moment, but here are a few of the latest items on their division rivals in the NFC South:

  • In a recent ESPN The Magazine interview, retiring tight end Tony Gonzalez left the door slightly open for a possible return to the Falcons later in the 2014 season, “if the team is hot in November, 9-2 or something.” However, it doesn’t sound like GM Thomas Dimitroff is anticipating having Gonzalez back. Speaking to Vaughn McClure of, Dimitroff simply said, “I believe Tony Gonzalez has retired and he’ll have a fantastic career in the media business.”
  • While Jimmy Graham was split out as a receiver for about two-third of his snaps in 2013, that fact alone doesn’t tell the whole story about his position, writes John McTigue of (Insider link). In McTigue’s view, Graham will still be considered a tight end if and when the Saints designate him as their franchise player, but when he eventually receives a long-term deal, he should get wide receiver money.
  • When I asked earlier in the week whether Graham should be viewed as a tight end or wide receiver for franchise salary purposes, over 60% of you went with TE.
  • With three of the four defensive backs who finished the season as starters eligible for free agency, the Panthers will have to make their secondary an area of focus this offseason, writes David Newton of As Newton suggests, this year’s cornerback class is strong enough that Carolina could likely find a starter in the second round of the draft.
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