South Notes: Panthers, Anderson, Titans, Bucs

Free agent signee C.J. Anderson will likely be the Panthers‘ lead “traditional back,” according to Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer. Anderson, who inked a one-year deal worth $1.75MM, is coming off a 1,000-yard season with the Broncos, but he struggled as an early-down rusher in 2017. Still, that’s the role he’ll take on in Carolina as 2017 first-round pick Christian McCaffrey performs in a passing game role. McCaffrey should keep up his receiving work after managing 80 receptions during his rookie campaign, but Rodrigue reports McCaffrey was never able to “find a rhythm” in the running game. Whether that can change during the upcoming season is unclear, but McCaffrey will now have limited reps thanks to Anderson’s presence.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two South divisions:

  • The Titans could be setting up a position battle at left guard, as Jim Wyatt of writes. Quinton Spain started 14 games a season ago and is back under contract after inking a second-round restricted free agent tender, but Tennessee also signed Kevin Pamphile and Xavier Su’a-Filo, and either could see snaps on the interior. Spain has a better track record than either player, but a camp battle appears likely, per Wyatt. Pamphile’s versatility could come into play, as his ability to play left tackle could keep the Titans comfortable if incumbent Taylor Lewan continues to hold out.
  • Given that they have vacant roster spots, the Buccaneers might aim to sign a long snapper before training camp opens next week, per Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter links). At present, Tampa Bay only has one long snapper under contract, and that player — Drew Ferris — has never made an NFL appearance. Still, the Buccaneers have yet to contact Garrison Sanborn, a nine-year veteran who snapped for Tampa in 2017.
  • In case you missed it, the Falcons are not open to giving wide receiver Julio Jones a new contract and are instead focusing on extensions for other players.
  • Veteran Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis now hopes to play behind 2018 after previously hinting he could be nearing his final season.
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