Time for a look at Wednesday morning’s top headlines from around the NFC South.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have about $60 million in 2012 salary-cap space, in part because they’re carrying over unused cap room from 2011. General manager Mark Dominik pledged the team will be more active in free agency than last year when punter Michael Koenen was pretty much the only player brought in from outside. But I don’t think fans should be expecting a complete frenzy in free agency. Yes, the Bucs are going to be active, but that doesn’t mean a complete overhaul. They’ve started a process of building with young players and they’re not going to completely abandon it. They’re going to look to supplement those young players.
Speaking of free agents, the Saints already have brought in one for a visit. That’s linebacker Lofa Tatupu, who isn’t subject to the March 13 start of free agency because he sat out last season. Tatupu was a star in Seattle before injuries caught up to him. He plays middle linebacker like Jonathan Vilma, who is coming off a season that was interrupted by a knee injury. Vilma is carrying a high cap figure and the Saints could be exploring possible replacements or they could just be looking at Tatupu to add depth. But there’s no indication the Saints offered Tatupu a contract. They may have been gauging his health as they prepare to move forward in free agency.
Atlanta’s Thomas Dimitroff was named to the NFL’s general managers advisory committee. The Falcons have plenty of clout on high-ranking league committees. Team president Rich McKay is the chairman of the competition committee. The NFC South is particularly powerful on the general managers advisory committee, with Carolina’s Marty Hurney and New Orleans’ Mickey Loomis also as members.