After trading down twice in Round 2, the Panthers planned to select BYU tackle Brady Christensenat No. 60 and add LSU wideout Terrace Marshall Jr.with a subsequent trade-up shortly after. However, the Saints eyed Marshall at No. 60, Darin Gantt of Panthers.com notes, prompting the Panthers to change course and select Marshall earlier than initially planned. Carolina drafted Marshall at No. 59, reuniting him with offensive coordinator Joe Brady. The Saints then took Ohio State linebacker Pete Wernerat 60. Marshall, who now joins Panthers vets D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson, played a key role for LSU’s national championship team alongside Justin Jefferson andJa’Marr Chaseand last season after those future first-rounders left. He totaled 23 touchdown grabs from 2019-20. New Orleans cut No. 2 receiver Emmanuel Sanders this offseason and has been unable to find a steady complement for Michael Thomas for a few years. The team still has Tre’Quan Smith, who is entering a contract year, and used a seventh-round pick on a wideout (South Alabama’s Kawann Baker). The Panthers ended up getting Christensen at No. 70, trading up three spots to land him.
Here is the latest from the NFC South:
Prior to the Bears trading up to No. 11 and selecting Justin Fields, they called the Panthers about the No. 8 choice, Gantt adds. While the Panthers discussed trading down with a few teams before the draft, the Bears called during Round 1. Carolina ultimately decided moving down 12 spots, to Chicago’s No. 20 slot, was too much. The Panthers selected cornerbackJaycee Horn in Round 1. The Broncos aided the Bears’ quarterback quest a pick later, taking Patrick Surtain IIover Fields.
This draft profiled as one of the weakest for defensive tackles in recent memory, and the class ended up influencing the Buccaneers to retain veterans at the position. While the Super Bowl champions completed a stunning effort of keeping their team together, GM Jason Licht said (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Jenna Laine) the thin D-tackle class moved the team to re-sign Ndamukong Suh, Steve McLendon and Rakeem Nunez-Roches earlier this offseason. The Bucs did not draft a defensive tackle this year.
The Saints are reuniting with C.J. Leak, a staffer who once worked as their Combine scout. The Texans dismissed Leak as their assistant director of pro personnel in February, but veteran NFL reporter Aaron Wilson tweets Leak will return to the Saints. Houston hired Leak in 2018. Leak previously spent two years with New Orleans.
Staying on the scouting subject, the Panthers are adding Jared Kirksey to their scouting staff, Neil Stratton of InsideTheLeague.com tweets. Kirksey was previously on the Jaguars’ staff and has previously worked as a Bucs and Texans scout.
The Buccaneers are on the verge of re-signing Ndamukong Suh. Once finalized, it’ll be a one-year, $9MM contract for the defensive tackle, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). Through incentives, Suh’s deal could be worth up to $10MM (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport).
Suh joined Tampa on a similar contract in 2019. They re-upped him in 2020 for a touch less — a one–year, $8MM deal. Suh may be past his prime, but he still managed six sacks in the regular season — his highest total since 2015 — plus 27 total stops. All along, Bucs GM Jason Licht has said that he’s wanted to bring Suh back for a third year in Tampa.
“I think he’s said it, that’d he’d love to come back here,” Licht said in February. “I know that there’s mutual respect for each other, and I’ve told him that we’d like to have him back. We’re just kind of letting the dust settle here for a couple days. We’ve got some time here…We’ll have to see how it all shakes out, but he’s definitely one that we want back.”
Suh, 34, is still among the league’s better interior tackles and the Bucs have managed to keep most of their stars together post-Super Bowl. Their recent re-up of Rakeem Nunez-Roches cast some doubt on the odds of a Suh return, but the Bucs pulled it off to keep their strong run defense in tact.
While it will not register on the level that Shaquil Barrett or Lavonte David‘s re-signings did, the Buccaneers brought another member of their Super Bowl champion roster Thursday.
They are re-signing defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches, with Sirius XM Radio’s Adam Caplan reporting the veteran interior defender will sign for two years and $5MM. Nunez-Roches, who can earn up to $6.5MM on this deal, has been with the Bucs since 2018. The former Chiefs draftee will collect $2.25MM in guarantees on his latest Bucs contract.
Nunez-Roches played a career-high snap rate last season, starting 11 games for the Bucs and playing 45% of Tampa Bay’s defensive snaps. The Bucs relied on Nunez-Roches more after Vita Vea‘s injury. Nunez-Roches does not have notable pass-rushing abilities, having recorded 1.5 sacks in six seasons, and Pro Football Focus graded him as one of the worst D-tackles last season. But the Bucs have now made him a priority under two coaching staffs, and he has been a part of two strong run defenses over the past two seasons.
The team has not yet re-signed Ndamukong Suh, though given its spree of re-ups, that certainly cannot be ruled out. Nevertheless, they have one of their D-line starters back on a low-cost deal. Suh, however, remains a priority to re-sign, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter).
February 11th, 2021 at 10:42pm CST by Zachary Links
Ndamukong Suh will be free to sign with any team in March. Buccaneers GM Jason Licht hopes that the defensive lineman will stay put.
“I think he’s said it, that’d he’d love to come back here,” Licht said (via Mark Cook of Pewter Report). “I know that there’s mutual respect for each other, and I’ve told him that we’d like to have him back. We’re just kind of letting the dust settle here for a couple days. We’ve got some time here. You never hit utopia, I guess, unless you win the Super Bowl, but a lot of things we want to try to do, I’m hoping we can do. We’ll have to see how it all shakes out, but he’s definitely one that we want back.”
Suh joined Tampa on a one-year, $9.25MM deal in 2019. They re-upped him last year for a touch less — a one–year, $8MM deal. Suh may be past his prime, but he still garnered the interest of teams, including the Cowboys, last time around. Suh responded with six sacks — his highest total since 2015 — and 27 total stops in the regular season.
Here are some updates on a number of players’ representation, all reported by Liz Mullen.
Ndamukong Suh chose not to sign with an agent prior to his most recent free-agency and instead represented himself when he agreed to a one-year, $8MM deal to stay with the Buccaneers (Twitter link).
Draft prospectJeff Thomas, a wide receiver out of Miami, has decided to change his representation as we approach the home stretch to the draft. Instead of going forward with First Round Management LLC, he will be represented by Drew Rosenhaus and Robert Bailey at Rosenhaus Sports (Twitter link).
Broncos defensive lineman Shelby Harris re-signed with the team on a one-year deal worth up to $3.25MM. However, that did not come before a recent game of musical chairs representing Harris. Ryan Williams of A1 NFL negotiated his re-up in Denver, but he had switched from the National Sports Agency to Rosenhaus Sports in January (Twitter link).
The Ravens made a couple of major additions to their defensive front this month, trading for Calais Campbell and agreeing to a three-year contract with free agent Michael Brockers. But according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, Baltimore has some concerns about Brockers’ medicals.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, teams cannot have free agents examined by their own doctors. Instead, physicals must be conducted by independent doctors in the player’s geographic area. As Zrebiec tweets, the independent evaluation turned up potential issues with Brockers’ ankle, which he injured late last season.
Baltimore is still expected to sign Brockers, but the club is considering its options (one of which, presumably, is backing out of the deal altogether). Zrebiec says the team — which has formally announced all of its other acquisitions — was also interested in Ndamukong Suh, but Suh re-signed with the Buccaneers earlier today (Twitterlinks).
Brockers is not the type of elite pass rusher the Ravens may have been hoping for when free agency opened, but he is capable of getting to the QB, and his versatility and run-stopping ability would serve as an excellent complement to Campbell and Brandon Williams. His presence would also help to free things up for edge rushers Matt Judon and Jaylon Ferguson, so Baltimore clearly wants to get him in the fold.
The free agent market has been mostly picked over at this point, and the Ravens recently traded Chris Wormley and saw Michael Pierce sign with the Vikings, so if the Brockers deal falls through, Baltimore may turn its attention to the draft for DL reinforcements.
The Buccaneers will bring Ndamukong Suh back for another season, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The defensive lineman is set to collect $8MM in 2020 on a deal that will allow him to stick with defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. Suh can collect another $2MM via incentives based on playing time, Tampa Bay’s team defensive performance, and a playoff berth, reports Greg Auman of The Athletic (Twitter link).
Suh came to Tampa last year on a $9.25MM agreement – this is a bit of a hair cut for Suh, though he’s made tons of money throughout his career. The former First-Team All-Pro has started in every game he’s ever played – including all 16 last year – and he’s set to play a featured role on the Bucs’ D-Line once again.
Suh is past his prime, but he still garnered outside interest from clubs, including the Cowboys. Earlier today, Dallas picked up Dontari Poe, a deal that may have led him back into the waiting arms of the Bucs.
With Tom Brady on the other side of the ball, Suh might just have an opportunity to win a Super Bowl ring this year. The Bucs’ D closed out ’19 strong, so there’s reason to believe that they can be among the league’s better defenses.
Dontari Poe may have a landing spot soon. The veteran defensive tackle is in discussions with the Cowboys on a deal, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, adding that a contract could be finalized by the end of the day.
In their hunt for defensive tackle help, the Cowboys are also examining the likes of Ndamukong Suh, Damon Harrison and Mike Pennel, NFL.com’s Jane Slater adds (on Twitter). The Cowboys lost Maliek Collins in free agency last week but already made a deal to sign Gerald McCoy. A Poe addition would make this a high-profile interior line and make for an interesting reunion for players who spent last season on Carolina’s defensive front.
The Panthers did not pick up Poe’s 2020 option, sending him to free agency. This Cowboys are the first team to surface as interested in the former first-round pick. A Pro Bowler with the Chiefs back in the 2013-14 seasons, Poe played the past two seasons with the Panthers.
The mammoth nose tackle registered four sacks last season — his most since 2014 — but only played in 11 games. He is recovering from quadriceps surgery. Before 2019, however, Poe had never missed more than one game in a season. He’s been one of the league’s most durable defenders since coming into the league.
It appears the Cowboys are serious about upgrading inside. The McCoy deal and the Poe talks come a year after Dallas drafted Trysten Hill in the second round. Poe played five seasons with the Chiefs before catching on with the Falcons in 2017, and his Atlanta season resulted in a three-year Carolina deal worth nearly $30MM. It will not cost the Cowboys that much to bring in Poe.
While impending free agent quarterback JameisWinston may be stealing headlines, Buccaneers head coach BruceArians is more focused on retaining his team’s top defenders.
“Oh, yeah. To me, it’s the whole defense,” Arians told ESPN’s Jenna Laine. “You can’t get ’em all, but … those young guys grew. We can’t let that go. I don’t care who’s my quarterback. We’ve gotta have a defense.”
On the offensive side of the ball, it doesn’t sound like Arians is all that concerned about who’s under center. The head coach did admit that it’s tough to have any clarity on the quarterbacks position considering the uncertainty of free agency.
“You don’t know who’s available,” Arians said. “You just sit there and wait to see, is there someone available. If not, is this a better option. That’s the problem. You get about two days to decide in the legal tampering period.”
One of the team’s options will naturally be Winston, who spent the first five seasons of his career in Tampa Bay. Winston set career-highs in passing yards (5,109) and touchdowns (33) in 2019, but he also set a career-high (and led the NFL) with 30 interceptions.