NFC South Notes: Falcons, Coleman, Bucs

Here’s a look at the NFC South:

  • Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff says that he has no interest in trading running back Tevin Coleman this offseason (Twitter link via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com). Previously, Dimitroff indicated that he could see a scenario of extending Coleman even though the team has already paid Devonta Freeman. Last year, Coleman totaled 628 rushing yards and four touchdowns plus 27 catches for 299 yards. For what it’s worth, that’s 122 less receiving yards than he had in 2016 and his 4.0 yards-per-carry average was down from 4.4 over the previous two seasons.
  • Pending Buccaneers free agent T.J. Ward is a player to watch in free agency, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Ward started only five of his 12 games for the Bucs last year and graded out as the No. 58 ranked safety in the NFL per Pro Football Focus. That’s a big dropoff from his three straight Pro Bowls from 2013-2015 and his January arrest doesn’t help matters either. Still, in a shallow safety pool, Rapoport expects Ward to draw interest. Whether that comes to fruition or not, it’s not expected that Ward will be back with the Bucs.
  • The Falcons know that they’ll have some tough choices to make as they create room for quarterback Matt Ryan‘s next deal. “We all know that as we start nearing the signing of quarterbacks in this league, and especially quarterbacks of Matt Ryan’s status, you have to be very creative,” Dimitroff said on 680 The Fan (via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution). “There are going to be some difficult moves for us to make probably early next week and into next week.” Ledbetter notes that left guard Andy Levitre ($7MM in savings) and defensive end Brooks Reed ($3.6MM in savings) are both cap casualty candidates. Other cap casualty candidates include quarterback Matt Schaub ($3.25MM), defensive tackle Derrick Shelby ($3.2MM), wide receiver Mohamed Sanu ($3.1MM,) and tight end Levine Toilolo ($2.5MM).
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