NFC Notes: Hawley, Lions, Cassel, Saints

Buccaneers center Joe Hawley feels like he got a raw deal from his former team, the Falcons. On a conference call, D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked Hawley if he felt that he was given enough time coming back from the injuries to win the starting job.

“Uh, honestly, no. I think they kind of used it as an excuse,” Hawley said. “When I got here I wasn’t 100 percent yet. But they gave me a chance. Now, I’m feeling like the knee is back to new. But it just took four or five more weeks that I thought it would. Yeah, I think they kind of cut me short of that.”

The Bucs (5-6) are set to host the Falcons (6-5) on Sunday.

  • With Matt Prater battling an illness, the Lions tried out free agent kickers Kyle Brindza, Billy Cundiff, and Garrett Hartley, according to Ian Rapoport of (Twitter links). However, Prater will be able to play tonight against the Packers after all, so the team didn’t sign anyone.
  • If Matt Cassel plays the final five games of the Cowboys‘ season, that extra playing time could earn him $1.2MM in incentives, as Todd Archer of explains. Cassel’s deal includes incentives for playing a certain percentage of the team’s snaps, and he’s projected to play over 55% ($1.2MM), but not up to 65% ($1.6MM).
  • The performance of certain players over the course of the Saints‘ final five games this year could help dictate some of the salary cap decisions the club makes in the offseason, writes Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. I examined the Saints’ cap outlook for 2016 earlier this fall.
  • Edge defender Willie Jefferson, a former Texan who spent the last two seasons with the CFL’s Edmonto Eskimos, will work out for two NFC teams next month, and is drawing a lot of interest, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post (Twitter link). Jefferson had six sacks this season for the Grey Cup champions.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

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