Around the NFC South

Things are moving at a furious pace, so let's use the headlines from around the NFC South to help us cover more ground.

Very accurate and concise statement by Steve Reed as he says the reality is that Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson “never has been cheap. It’s just that some folks have short memories." That sums it up nicely. Yeah, Richardson might have made some unpopular moves as he prepared his franchise for the lockout. But Richardson always has been willing to do what it takes to win and Wednesday’s spending spree shows that desire is still there.

When I first heard the Panthers had agreed to terms with Olindo Mare, my initial thought was that John Kasay must have decided to retire. It turns out, that's not the case -- at least not yet. The Panthers plan to release Kasay later Thursday and general manager Marty Hurney said he would be surprised if Kasay continues kicking in the NFL. It could happen. But I think there also is the possibility that, once reality sets in, Kasay could decide it's time to stop playing.

James Varney writes that the Saints are close to deals with draft picks Martez Wilson and Nate Bussey, but it’s unclear how close the Saints are with their other rookies. With practice starting Friday, I’d expect a flurry of activity today.

Scratch defensive end Jason Babin off Atlanta’s wish list, if he was ever on it. Babin is going to Philadelphia.

D. Orlando Ledbetter writes that tackle Tyson Clabo has had some talks with Buffalo. I think the Falcons are going to do their best to keep Clabo. Ledbetter also reports that Tampa Bay made a strong push for linebacker Stephen Nicholas before he re-signed with Atlanta. Makes me think the Bucs are probably still looking for linebacker help, even after re-signing Quincy Black.

New Orleans free-agent defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson has drawn interest from Seattle. However, he’s still talking to the Saints. It would be easy to view Wilkerson as expendable because the Saints have Will Smith, Alex Brown and rookie Cameron Jordan. But Smith could face a four-game suspension to start the season and that could prompt the Saints to keep Wilkerson.

Roy Cummings looks at five key issues facing the Bucs as they report to training camp. The first two deal with a defensive line that’s going to be very young.

As just about everyone expected, the Atlanta Falcons have told running back Jerious Norwood they don’t plan to re-sign him. Norwood showed a few flashes of brilliance through the years, but never was able to stay healthy.