NFC Notes: Panthers, Vikings, Saints, Falcons

Panthers coach Ron Rivera admits that Fletcher Cox‘s massive new deal with the Eagles doesn’t help the Panthers’ cause in trying to lock up Kawann Short, Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review writes.

This is the hard part right now is what’s going on in the league,” Rivera said. “I think some of these contracts are unbelievable as far as what I’m seeing and hearing.”

Word is that the Panthers may not be willing to go above $15MM/year for their standout defensive tackle. Cox, meanwhile, will average nearly $17.2MM per season on his new deal with a great deal in the way of guarantees early on in the pact.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • The Vikings can’t seem to find the right counterpart for Harrison Smith at safety, writes Ben Goessling of, who lists Michael Griffin, Andrew Sendejo, Anthony Harris, Antone Exum, and Jayron Kearse as contenders for the job. Right now, there’s no word as to whether the Vikings could look out-of-house to help bolster the group. Griffin, 31, is the most experienced of the bunch by far, and given that he excels in coverage, he might be the favorite to line up opposite Smith. “One thing I try not to do, especially in OTAs where we’re not in pads, is try to jump to some kind of conclusion of who should be the starter,” said head coach Mike Zimmer of the competition. “I’ll kind of let that play out in camp.”
  • Veteran defensive end Darryl Tapp tried out for the Saints on Tuesday, as Evan Woodbery of The Times Picayune tweets.
  • The Falcons are trying out wide receiver Donatella Luckett, according to Vaughn McClure of (on Twitter).
  • UDFA tight end Ben Braunecker has a real good shot to make the Bears‘ roster, Adam Caplan of tweets. Braunecker was seen working with Chicago’s second-team offense during OTAs.
  • The Bears are trying out tight end Ryan Taylor and defensive lineman Marquise Jackson, according to Brad Biggs of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link).
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