Chris Weatherd

NFC South Notes: Saints, Panthers, Short

Running back C.J. Spiller says he’s ready to live up to the billing he received when he inked a four-year, $16MM deal with the Saints last March, Joel A. Erickson of The Advocate writes.

When I’m 100 percent and able to do what I’m able to do, I know I can flourish in this offense,” Spiller said. “This offense is built for my type of skill set. I wouldn’t want to be in any other one — a great head coach that knows how to put players in position to make plays, and then you’ve got a quarterback that’s a future Hall of Famer, that knows how to win matchups and to take advantage of each and every play. I’m just happy that I have a chance to revamp or redeem myself and give this team hopefully 100 percent.”

Last season, Spiller amassed only 112 yards on a meager 36 carries and caught 34 passes at just 7.0 yards per reception before being placed on IR in December.

Here’s more from the NFC South:

  • Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short “checked in” at the beginning of minicamp, a source tells Joe Person of the Charlotte Observe (Twitter link). Short is skipping OTAs in the hopes of landing a new contract, but with those talks reportedly on hold, Short may have thought it wise to make an appearance with the team, especially given that head coach Ron Rivera has subtlety voiced his displeasure at Short’s absence.
  • Falcons defensive coordinator Richard Smith said that undrafted rookie outside linebacker Ivan McLennan has some pass rush ability and he’s a player to watch at minicamp, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. McLennan will be fighting for a roster spot at strongside linebacker and could push 2014 seventh-round pick Tyler Starr for a place on the team. The linebacker played two years of JUCO football before spending the past two seasons at Washington State. He racked up 15 sacks and 34.5 tackles for losses over his collegiate career.
  • More from Ledbetter who wonders if there is a sleeper in the Falcons‘ cornerback group. The most intriguing player fighting for a spot is C.J. Goodwin, a 6’4″ former basketball player and wide receiver who is looking to make it as a CB. Atlanta secondary/senior assistant Marquand Manuel praised Goodwin for his play so far in practice and noted that he was able to stay with Julio Jones in man-to-man coverage.
  • The Saints are trying out a pair of UDFAs today in outside linebacker Royce LaFrance (Tulane) and linebacker Chris Weatherd (Tennessee), as Evan Woodbery of The Times-Picayune tweets. Defensive tackle Lawrence Virgil is also in the house as a tryout invitee (link).

Extra Points: Baldwin, Ravens, Saints

Doug Baldwin had the best season of his career in 2015, finishing with 78 catches for 1,069 yards and 14 touchdowns (all career-highs). Despite the breakout season, the 27-year-old will be playing on only a $4MM base salary in 2016, the final year of his three-year, $13MM deal signed in 2014.

However, the wideout isn’t stressing an extension. In fact, he has faith in general manager John Schneider and the Seahawks front office to get a deal done in a timely manner. If it doesn’t? Baldwin’s still ready to perform.

“If I continue to work hard, if I continue to strive to get better and not focus on things money oriented, it’s eventually going to come,” he told’s Jim Trotter. “And even if it doesn’t, I’m fine with that, too, because at the end of the day, I’m controlling what I can control. That’s all God gave me, was the tools to control what I can control. If it doesn’t work out the way that I want it to work out, that to me is just God telling me that He has a better plan.”

Of course, Baldwin hinted that a deal could be coming soon.

“John pretty much told me that the offer was going to come after the draft,” he said. “Even if it doesn’t come, I’m not worried about it. Why not? Because there are other things I value in life. I don’t value worrying about that.”

Let’s check out some more notes from around the league on this Monday evening…

  • The NFL will investigate the Ravens use of full pads at a recent rookie minicamp, reports’s Jamison Hensley. While one team official said they were unaware of the reports, they did note that rookies used pads for a “non-contact punt protection drill,” which would seemingly contradict the collective bargaining agreement. However, the team official said the organization believed those rookie minicamp rules did not apply to OTAs.
  • Ravens star Terrell Suggs‘ pre-trial conference for his March one-car accident in Arizona was held today, tweets Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun.
  • Ravens outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith will now be represented by SportsTrust Advisors, according to Liz Mullen of SBJ (on Twitter).
  • Undrafted Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams is likely on his way to the CFL, as John Keim of writes. “I could be like a Warren Moon or Doug Flutie,” he said of former NFL quarterbacks who played in the CFL. “All I need is a chance. … If they can stop looking at my height and give me a chance they’d get a teammate with a lot of energy and a great leader.” Adams’ rights are owned by the B.C. Lions.
  • The Saints asked linebacker Chris Weatherd to participate in the team’s veteran’s minicamp in June, tweets Evan Woodbery of The Tennessee product participated in the organization’s rookie minicamp this past weekend.

Zach Links contributed to this post.