Around the NFC South

The second day of free agency is already shaping up to be just as busy as the first across the NFC South.

As we’ve mentioned several times, New Orleans guard Carl Nicks is meeting with the Buccaneers on Wednesday morning. I’d look for the Bucs to make an offer to make Nicks the highest-paid guard in the NFL (somewhere over $8 million a season). That could make their offensive line a strength and weaken the Saints.

Carolina linebacker Dan Connor has a visit scheduled with the Dallas Cowboys. Connor is looking for a starting job and won’t get that opportunity in Carolina, where Jon Beason is returning from injury.

The Panthers will have guard Jason Brown in for a visit Wednesday. Brown is from Hendersonville, N.C., and played at the University of North Carolina. He has played for the Ravens and Rams. He also played some center earlier in his career, but has moved to guard. The Panthers released veteran Travelle Wharton on Tuesday, while re-signing Geoff Hangartner. They also have Garry Williams returning from an injury. If Brown is signed, he could end up competing with Hangartner for a starting job.

Former New Orleans receiver Robert Meachem didn’t last long on the free-agent market. He’s going to San Diego, where he’ll try to help replace Vincent Jackson, who is joining the Buccaneers. Meachem had a quick flirtation with Buffalo, but the Chargers jumped in and grabbed him with a four-year deal worth $26 million. The Saints liked Meachem, but their salary-cap situation limited them and, once they re-signed Marques Colston, it was obvious Meachem would not return.

It appears the Falcons are letting middle linebacker Curtis Lofton and defensive end John Abraham test free agency. But early indications are that neither player has received any big-money offers so far. I think the Falcons have a plan in place to proceed without Lofton and Abraham, but I also think there’s an outside chance either one could return if the price is right.