“There’s not a lot I can say. We’re kicking the tires I guess,” Loomis said. “That’s the way to describe that. We’ll see how that process works.”
The Saints have presented the corner with a contract offer, but not an offer sheet. The Saints would like to work out a trade with the Patriots in which they can land Butler without forfeiting the No. 11 overall pick, but so far the Patriots are acting as though they will not play ball.
Here’s more on Butler and other news from the NFC South:
- Saints coach Sean Payton termed the Butler situation as “an exploratory mission,” (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). Payton, from Rapoport’s perspective, seemed to indicate that the team has hit pause on a potential deal.
- When asked about the possibility of signing Butler to an offer sheet and giving up the No. 11 overall pick, per the terms of the first-round tender, Payton said, “I know we’re not going to do that.” (Twitter link via Phil Perry of CSNNE.com).
- Saints head coach Sean Payton says the team will meet with Joe Mixon during the draft process (Twitter link via Holder). New Orleans previously met with Mixon in early March. This week, we learned that the Patriots and Dolphins have both ruled out the controversial Oklahoma running back.
- Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he’ll be at Leonard Fournette‘s LSU Pro Day and added that no spot is “too high” to take a running back (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). Recently, Panthers GM Dave Gettleman indicated that the team’s recent extension for Jonathan Stewart will not preclude the team from taking a running back early on in the draft. The Panthers own the No. 8 overall pick.
- Jonathan Stewart‘s extension with the Panthers is for one year, but the new deal affects both his 2017 and 2018 cap charges, as Field Yates of ESPN.com reports. Stewart accepted a slight paycut in 2017 in exchange for an effective guarantee of $3.6MM, while the base values of his next two seasons are $4.25MM and $3.75MM. The veteran running back can also earn up to $750K annually via rushing yards incentives.
- Even if Doug Whaley is forced out as the Bills‘ general manager, Panthers director of player personnel Don Gregory is not expected to be a candidate for the position in Buffalo, Vic Carrucci of the Buffalo News tweets. Last week, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com tossed out Gregory’s name in relation to a possible Bills vacancy, but the CBS scribe was likely speculating rather than reporting. On paper, Gregory could make sense for the Buffalo position given his ties to Bills head coach Sean McDermott, who was the Panthers’ defensive coordinator from 2011-16.
Offensive lineman Forrest Lamp is starting to look like a Round 1 lock, according to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com. Lamp, a Western Kentucky product, will likely play guard in the NFL after playing tackle in college, but he offers versatility that intrigues clubs, as he could slide to the blindside or even to center if needed. The Packers and Vikings both have interest in Lamp, per Pauline, as do the Seahawks. The Falcons, Panthers, and Titans have all put Lamp through a workout, reports Pauline.
- Miami tight end David Njoku visited with the Panthers, as Njoku told the Rich Eisen Show (video link) earlier this week. Njoku, who registered 43 receptions and eight touchdowns last season, is expected to be one of two first-round picks at tight end, joining Alabama’s O.J. Howard. The Buccaneers and Giants are also reportedly eyeing Njoku, who is just 20 years old.
- The Panthers essentially moved up eight spots when they dealt defensive end Kony Ealy to the Patriots, and general manager Dave Gettleman was perfectly happy with making that move. “It’s a heavy draft and it was an opportunity for us to move up. To you guys, eight spots doesn’t seem like much. But to me, it’s gold,” he said (via Conor Orr of NFL.com). “You’ve got to give up something to get something. You’re not fooling anybody anymore. There’s too much film available. We just wanted to move up and get another second-round pick. I think it gives us more flexibility.”
We learned earlier this week that Newton was set to undergo surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff on his throwing shoulder. The former MVP is expected to miss offseason workouts, but he should be recovered for the start of training camp. Besides Newton (and Gilbert), the Panthers are currently rostering quarterbacks Derek Anderson and Joe Webb.
Gilbert, a former sixth-round pick, entered the league in 2014. The Southern Methodist product has spent time with the Rams, Patriots, Lions, Raiders, and Panthers. The 25-year-old has yet to make an appearance in a regular season contest. He was on New England’s practice squad during the 2014-15 season, so he is the owner of a Super Bowl ring.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Earlier today, the Panthers extended Jonathan Stewart through 2018, what would be an 11th year in Charlotte for the running back. However, this transaction won’t preclude the team from drafting a running back high next month, GM Dave Gettleman said (via Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, on Twitter). Viewed as a landing spot for Leonard Fournette or Dalvin Cook at No. 8, Carolina won’t use Stewart’s latest agreement as a reason to avoid the position in Round 1. While the Panthers have some other needs, Stewart turned 30 this week and hasn’t played 16 games in a regular season since 2011. Taken at No. 13 in 2008, Stewart represents the most recent Panthers Round 1 running back investment.
- Panthers GM Dave Gettleman indicated that team didn’t know the full extent of Charles Johnson‘s back injury when they re-signed him this offseason, Joseph Person of The Charlotte Observer tweets. Still, he indicated that wouldn’t have changed the team’s thinking. Johnson had back surgery earlier this week but is not expected to miss regular season time as a result.