NFC Notes: Saints, JPP, Gore, Garrett

After questioning the Panthers’ decision to let Steve Smith go in the offseason, Saints outside linebacker Junior Galette dismissed the idea that the Saints made the same mistake with a handful of their veteran defensive players, according to Katherine Terrell of the Times-Picayune.

“The guys that replaced them are better than the guys we had. It’s not even close. Across the board,” Galette said, referring to a defensive unit that replaced Will Smith, Roman Harper, Malcolm Jenkins, and Jonathan Vilma earlier this year. “I’ll take Kenny Vaccaro any day over any safety. And I’ll take [Cameron Jordan] over any defensive end. Jairus Byrd over any safety.”

Here are a few more Friday updates from around the NFC:

  • Jason Pierre-Paul is eligible for unrestricted free agency this offseason, and the Giants defensive end recognizes that boosting his sack total will help him maximize his next contract, writes Jim Baumbach of Newsday. In our most recent 2015 free agent power rankings, we placed Pierre-Paul sixth, noting that his modest sack totals make him a different player to evaluate. After compiling 16.5 sacks in 2011, the 25-year-old has just 13.5 in the last three seasons combined.
  • According to Field Yates of (via Twitter), by being active for his 13th game this season, 49ers running back Frank Gore will earn a $750K roster bonus on Sunday.
  • Noting that the Cowboys will finish above .500 for the first time since Jason Garrett became the team’s head coach, Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News wonders if Garrett has earned himself a contract extension.
  • 2015’s period of head coach firings and hirings could be significantly affected the Giants‘ decision with Tom Coughlin, says Albert Breer of As Breer observes, “the head job for the Mara family’s team has long been seen as the Rolls-Royce of all football coaching jobs,” so if it’s available, it will have an impact on the rest of the market.
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