OFF-SEASON TRACKER: NFC SOUTH – UPDATED

Our off-season trackers cover all of the important moves that each team makes between the end of the 2016 season and the start of the 2017 one.

Logo Falcons ATLANTA FALCONS

ALSO SIGNED: Hugh Thornton (ex-Colts G)

SIGNED: Jack Crawford – Two-thirds of the NFL’s Brits found themselves with new teams in free agency and Crawford will be in the odd position of being one of the senior players in the defensive locker room now he’s in Atlanta.

SIGNED: Dontari Poe – Poe was looking for a one year deal and the Falcons obliged by adding him to an already fearsome – if inexperienced – defense. (16/3)

SIGNED: Andre Roberts – The Falcons added to their already stacked receiver corps by adding former Lions wideout Roberts to compete for a spot. (14/3)

SACKED: Richard Smith – The Falcons’ defensive failings in Super Bowl LI have cost Smith his job.

APPOINTED: Steve Sarkisian and Marquand Manuel – Sarkisian, who many thought would never work in football again after he entered treatment for alcoholism, replaces Kyle Shanahan as offensive coordinator. Manuel takes over as defensive coordinator from Smith.

ALSO: Quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur has resigned to become the offensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams.

Logo Panthers CAROLINA PANTHERS

ALSO SIGNED: Russell Shepard (ex-Buccaneers WR) Mike C Adams (ex-Colts S)

SIGNED: Captain Munnerlyn – The Panthers look to revive the secondary which became so lacklustre in 2016 by adding the veteran Viking.

SIGNED: Matt Kalil – The Panthers swap one Kalil for another as Ryan leaves and Matt arrives. He’ll be a solid addition to the offensive line, albeit one who is both injury-prone and inclined to take the odd play off.

TRADED: Kony Ealy – In a surprise move, the Panthers shipped Ealy, one of their best players in 2016, to the Patriots along with an exchange of picks. If nothing else this suggests that the Panthers are having just as hard a job resolving their cap space issues this year as they did last, when the problem caused them to lose Josh Norman.

SIGNED: Julius Peppers  Peppers is going back where he began. Many expected him to retire this season, but instead he’s headed back to the Panthers for what he hopes will be a big farewell. Carolina will hope that the veteran can bring to the franchise the same experience and work ethic as Jared Allen did in 2015. (11/3)

FRANCHISE: Kawaan Short – No real surprise that the Panthers want to hang on to a player who ranked third in sacks by defensive linemen over the past two years. (28/2)

CUT: Mike Tolbert and Paul Soliai – Two veteran cuts which save around $4m in cap space. Both are the wrong side of 30 and will struggle to catch on elsewhere in the NFL now (21/2).

Logo Saints NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

ALSO SIGNED: Chase Daniel (ex-Eagles QB) Rafael Bush (ex-Lions S)

SIGNED: Larry Warford – Warford was the best player on the Lions’ offensive line in 2016 and they will feel his loss just as much as the Saints will gain a boost from his arrival

SIGNED: Manti Te’o – Whether Te’o is the same player after the injury that ended his 2016 so early remains to be seen, but if he is even 90% of that guy he’ll be an upgrade for New Orleans.

SIGNED: Ted Ginn Jr – Ginn is no Cooks, but the Saints need all they can get at wideout and the veteran still has speed, as well as being a threat in the return game.

SIGNED: Alex Okafor – The Saints have had one of the worst defenses in the NFL over the past couple of years, but the former Cardinals linebacker should certainly help to improve that. (14/3)

TRADE: Brandin Cooks – The offer of a first round pick from the Patriots was too hard to resist, as New Orleans pull the plug on a promising player who arguably hasn’t yet lived up to the hype (11/3)

 

Logo Buccaneers TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

SIGNED: Nick Folk – Who would be Folk? He’s been signed to compete with last year’s second round pick Roberto Aguayo and his only chance of a job in the long run is to prove how wrong Tampa were to spend so much Draft capital on a kicker. You’ll do well to get even money on him being with a different team come September.

SIGNED: Chris Baker – Baker believed that the Redskins ought to have kept him and he gets a chance to prove that on the Bucs’ defensive line.

SIGNED: Garrison Sanborn – The veteran long snapper was unlucky to lose his job in Buffalo and will contend for the role down in Tampa. (14/3)

SIGNED: DeSean Jackson – The Bucs pulled off one of the bigger free agency deals in prizing Jackson away from Washington. It will be intriguing to see what sort of relationship he can strike up with Jameis Winston. (09/3)

CUT: Alterraun Verner – This is not all that unexpected. Verner was once a big free agent signing but had fallen well behind Vernon Hargreaves and Brett Grimes on the depth chart and would have carried a $6.5m cap hit had the Bucs retained him. (23/2)

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Richard O'Hagan
Writer on such diverse topics as sport, music, theatre, law and politics. Author of 'Eddie the Sheep'. Supporter of underachieving teams, including the Chicago Bears from before that brief, heady, period in the mid-1980s when they were actually any good. All I want for Christmas is a Jim McMahon away shirt.
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