NFC South mailbag

Eric in Jackson, Miss., writes: Pat I love your blog. What are the chances the Saints trade a WR for a LB with the injury to Jonathan Casillas?

Pat Yasinskas: I think you almost certainly will see the Saints make some sort of move to get a linebacker. They might fill the need by signing someone who’s been released by another team. But, if they really want someone off another roster, they’ve got enough depth at wide receiver that they could spare one. Not sure who it would be, but they’ve got a bunch of receivers that other teams would like to have.

Andy in Wilmington, N.C., writes: I realize I'm asking you to be a bit of a mind reader about one of the most guarded organizations in the NFL, but give it a shot: Do John Fox, Marty Hurney, and Jerry Richardson view this as a rebuilding year in Carolina? I ask because of the possibility of signing a receiver like T.J. Houshmanzadeh. Watching the Panthers in the preseason, their defense has easily outperformed expectations, and I'm hoping the run game comes back to life in the regular season (I see no reason it shouldn't). It seems the only big question mark, outside special teams, is the second receiver position. I feel like an improved passing game easily makes Carolina a postseason contender. I know they like to build from the ground up and don't sign flashy free agents, but if they thought Houshmandzadeh would help them win this year, would they sign him?

Pat Yasinskas: Tons of Carolina fans are asking about Houshmandzadeh, and I’ve got no indication right now that the Panthers are interested. Your points all make sense, and a proven No. 2 receiver like this could be just what the Panthers need. But the Panthers seem pretty committed to their youth movement. My best guess is, if they pursue Houshmandzadeh, they will only do it if the price is very low.

Rob in Houston writes: If not Houshmanzadeh for the Panthers, what do you think are the chances of them signing Michael Clayton now that the Bucs have let him go?

Pat Yasinskas: The price tag might be cheaper for Clayton. Now, he hasn’t been as productive as Houshmandzadeh, but he could be a nice fit in Carolina’s offense. I’m not saying Clayton’s as good as Muhsin Muhammad was in his prime, but he reminds me of Muhammad in terms of size and blocking ability. But, again, I just don’t know if the Panthers will bend their rules on sticking with youth. We’ll see.

Yasha in parts unknown writes: Just for the sake of completeness, the Saints also have K.C. Asiodu on the roster at LB. Most likely will play primarily special teams, but he is a LB. Thanks for all the great posts & articles.

Pat Yasinskas: Yep, you are correct. Asiodu is a linebacker, but I left him off the list because I don’t think he’s a real candidate to start. I think he’s a special-teams player.