NFC South afternoon update

Time for an afternoon run through some of the top headlines from around the division.

  • Although he’s working as a special assistant to Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano and collecting severance pay from the University of North Carolina, Butch Davis said he would like to get back into coaching one day. I think it could happen. In fact, I still don’t completely understand why Davis didn’t simply skip what’s left of the severance package and join Tampa Bay’s staff as defensive coordinator.

  • Charlie Campbell speculates the Colts could look to trade defensive end Dwight Freeney before the season and mentions the Saints and Falcons as possible landing spots. I think both teams could use pass-rush help. But I’d scratch the Falcons because they don’t have enough cap room to take on Freeney’s current deal or even a restructured contract. The Saints? Well, that could be a different story. As we reported earlier Wednesday, they suddenly have some cap room to work with.

  • Here’s an item that suggests Atlanta linebacker Stephen Nicholas could be a salary-cap casualty in the preseason. Sorry, but I don’t see it. The Falcons are planning on starting Nicholas at outside linebacker opposite Sean Weatherspoon. Nicholas never has been a big playmaker, but he’s athletic and the Falcons want athleticism out of their linebackers.

  • Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan is helping Make-A-Wish Georgia launch a fundraising campaign.

  • Although the rest of the Buccaneers don’t report to training camp until next week, the rookies (except for unsigned first-round pick Mark Barron) reported Wednesday. League rules prevent the rookies from doing anything in real depth, but getting them in a routine should help by the time the veterans arrive.

  • It’s perhaps the slowest time of the year, so Carolina defensive end Greg Hardy and receiver Steve Smith are talking about how fast they drive their cars. The good news is they’ll have lots more to talk about once they report to training camp in just over a week.