Around the NFC South

As we get ready for Tuesday afternoon’s start of free agency, let’s take a look at the top morning headlines from around the NFC South.

After staying silent while dealing with Drew Brees and the bounty program, the New Orleans Saints finally got around to offering a contract to guard Carl Nicks on Monday night. Nicks termed the offer “respectable," but hasn’t decided whether to accept it or test free agency.

D. Orlando Ledbetter writes that the Falcons might not be very active in free agency because of salary-cap constraints. It’s true the Falcons don’t have a lot of room at the moment. But they still could make some roster moves and restructure some contracts. I have a tough time seeing the Falcons sit totally still when it has been made so clear by owner Arthur Blank that they have to win big next season.

Roy Cummings takes a look at Tampa Bay’s needs in free agency and there are lots of them. But the good news is the Bucs have about $43 million in cap space and have pledged to be more active in free agency. One name Cummings includes as a possible target is Dallas tight end Martellus Bennett. I think that’s a real possibility because Bennett’s brother, Michael, plays defensive end for the Bucs and the team could use depth at tight end.

Carolina cornerback Captain Munnerlyn hit on an escalator that raised his cap figure to $1.32 million. That doesn’t help Carolina’s overall cap situation. The Panthers are at least $6.5 million over the cap and need to get under it by 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Some player releases and contract restructures likely are on the way.