NFC Notes: Bucs, Sproles, Simpson, Lions

One of the NFL’s biggest spenders in the offseason, the Buccaneers made a significant splash in free agency, adding Josh McCown, Anthony Collins, Michael Johnson, Alterraun Verner, and others. So far, that spending spree hasn’t had much of an impact on the field, as the Bucs head into tonight’s game in Atlanta with an 0-2 record. As John Clayton of observes, that’s not unusual. In recent years, any of the teams that spend most lavishly in free agency don’t see their records improve much – or at all – the following season.

Here’s more from around the NFC, as look forward to tonight’s matchup of NFC South squads:

  • Redskins head coach Jay Gruden confirmed this week that his team had some interest in acquiring Darren Sproles when the Saints shopped him earlier this year, adding that Washington was disappointed to see the versatile back land with a division rival (link via Rich Tandler of “It didn’t work out for us, and when you find out it’s not going to work out with us, you dang sure want him to go to the AFC somewhere,” Gruden said. “But unfortunately he went to Philly.”
  • Vikings wideout Jerome Simpson is on track to return from suspension next week, but he’s dealing with additional legal issues, writes Ben Goessling of Simpson has a November arraignment scheduled for misdemeanor charges of marijuana possession, driving with an open bottle and violating limited license restrictions, related to a July incident in Bloomington, Minnesota.
  • As Kyle Meinke of explains, the Lions could have opted to sign Champ Bailey or another notable free agent defensive back, but added cornerback Danny Gorrer instead for two reasons — he’s familiar with the team’s scheme, and he’s versatile enough to play both inside and outside.
  • When the Packers elected to lock up Sam Shields to a $39MM contract during the offseason, games like this week’s contest against Calvin Johnson and the Lions were the ones the club had in mind, writes Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
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