NFC South Rumors: Arians, Saints, Okung

Having battled three different types of cancer and being set to turn 68 in October, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians falls into the higher-risk category for potential coronavirus complications. But Arians will coach this season, and he is not planning to do so from the press box. The second-year Bucs HC will coach from the sideline while wearing a mask and a face shield, he said recently.

As far as on the field, I’ll maintain a mask and probably a shield just for personal use and coach like I’ve always coached,” Arians said. “I’m very confident. Like I said, the protocols that are in place are extremely safe.”

Arians has had cancerous tumors to be removed from his prostate, skin and kidney. He enters the season as NFL’s third-oldest head coach, behind Pete Carroll, who are both 68. Two head coaches — Sean Payton and Doug Pederson — have tested positive for COVID-19 thus far. The Eagles HC tested positive earlier this week. Players and coaches are currently being tested daily. This arrangement will continue for two weeks before the league reassesses.

Here is the latest from the NFC South:

  • Russell Okung dealt with a health scare last year but did not opt out of the 2020 season. However, the Panthers‘ recently acquired left tackle is considering retirement. But Okung will wait on a decision for now. The 11th-year veteran will keep his options open as he goes further into camp, advisor J.I. Halsell told NFL reporter Josina Anderson (Twitter link). It’s possible the 31-year-old blocker wants to learn more about what this season’s COVID-19-defined environment will bring. Okung has a $13MM salary awaiting him this season but has already made a considerable amount of money in his career.
  • Emmanuel Sanders made the initial contact between he and the Saints in free agency, the 11th-year wide receiver said, per The Athletic’s Katherine Terrell (on Twitter). The former Steelers, Broncos and 49ers wideout wanted to play with Drew Brees in New Orleans, and that helped lead to the two-year, $16MM deal he signed in March. Sanders also assisted the Saints with another free agent receiver, with a Brees-Sanders-Bennie Fowler workout in Denver leading to the latter’s signing this week (Twitter link via Terrell).
  • The Falcons plan to use recently signed cornerback Darqueze Dennard as a slot and boundary cornerback in training camp, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes. Dennard mostly worked as a slot defender in Cincinnati. Atlanta signed Dennard earlier last week. He will join a cornerback crew that features third-year player Isaiah Oliver and first-round rookie A.J. Terrell.
  • Given Brees’ year-to-year status, the Saints are obviously not eyeing a contract-year trade of Alvin Kamara. But no known extension talks have taken place between the Saints and their standout back. However, a deal that pays the three-down back just less than what Christian McCaffrey and Ezekiel Elliott make ($16MM and $15MM AAV, respectively) is a solution The Athletic’s Larry Holder envisions (subscription required). Kamara, one of several running back starters in contract years, has said he wants to stay in New Orleans.
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7 comments on “NFC South Rumors: Arians, Saints, Okung

  1. bradthebluefish

    Going to be interesting look for Arians, but what else can you really do? Him and Brady on the sidelines is going to make for interesting television.

    • wagner13

      Bruce wants to find the endzone in under 60 seconds. Brady wants drives to take at least ten plays. Who will win? The deep bomb ambassador or the checkdown master?

      • HubcapDiamondStarHalo

        Well, since Brady honestly doesn’t have much in the way of an arm or deep accuracy any more, I’d say the long drives have the better chance…

  2. dcahen

    So Pete Carroll is #’s 1 & 2? And “both are 68.” Split personality? Or are Pete & Carroll different people? Strange!

    • wolfgineer

      That part was confusing as hell.
      Pete is the oldest at 68, turning 69 this September
      Belichick turned 68 in April
      Bruce is 67, turning 68 in October.

      That one sentence made me want to help out for those who were confused like myself

  3. compassrose

    Okung waiting to see if he will play or get cut. Will probably retire if they are going to cut him. Not sure how he lasted so long in the league. Was glad to see him leave Seattle.

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