As expected, the Falcons applied the franchise tag to free agent cornerback Brent Grimes over the weekend. But in a not so expected development, he’s stated that he will not sign the tender. In my estimation, just like his teammate Dunta Robinson did in Atlanta, he’ll buckle towards the end of training camp when the risk of missing game checks comes into play.
The team is expected to re-sign free agent defensive end Kroy Biermann, but defensive end John Abraham and linebacker Curtis Lofton are expected to hit the market in just under two weeks. With Harry Douglas on that list as well, it’s time for the Falcons to make some tough decisions. No new developments on the reports of a contract extension for quarterback Matt Ryan.
Other than sterling predictions about the future of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, all is really quiet on the Carolina front. Clearly the team is looking forward to the draft as free agency and franchise tag talk is next to dead silence.
Free agent tight end Jeremy Shockey has hinted with the idea of retirement at 32 years old, but has not ruled out a return to Carolina. Backup quarterback Jimmy Clausen, who many predicted to be cut before his $920k roster bonus is due next month, is still on the team and Ron Rivera has not ruled out his return.
New Orleans Saints
In easily the biggest story in football right now, the Saints are in big, big trouble. The NFL is considering severe disciplinary measures in the Saints’ bounty case that could include lengthy suspensions of Coach Sean Payton, General Manager Mickey Loomis, former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and player leaders of the scheme. No one can stress just how big of a deal this really is and with the player safety king, commissioner Roger Goddell, this is likely to be severe and will include draft compensation.
In other Saints news, the contract negotiations with star quarterback Drew Brees seems to have gotten nasty and ended with the team placing the franchise tag on him. The rumor was that the team had a deal in place to make Brees the highest paid player in the league, but the two sides were still far off. This led Mickey Loomis to make the comment that Brees is “very good” but not quite “great.” It’s been a rough weekend for the franchise and could get worse if guard Carl Nicks walks in free agency.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
News out of Tampa Bay is leaking this morning that the team is working on finalizing a deal to keep stud offensive lineman Jeremy Zuttah in a Bucs uniform for the foreseeable future. Great move, as Zuttah would have fetched a fine price on the market with his diversity and ability to play all positions on the line.
The Mario Manningham to the Bucs rumors have slowed in the past week. Many have refuted the story that Clark Judge of CBS Sports reported in saying that the free agent wide receiver was done with the Giants and was a slam dunk to sign in Tampa. While the link to Bucs offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan is an obvious one, there’s no telling if Manningham would be comfortable in Sullivan’s offense.
Keep an eye out for NFC South division roundups every Monday on The Pigskin Report