Time for an afternoon run through some odds and ends from around the division:
General manager Thomas Dimitroff said he’s confident the team will get quarterback Matt Ryan signed to a long-term contract. I’d expect the Falcons to settle things with their own free agents first and then start working seriously on Ryan’s extension later in the spring.
D. Orlando Ledbetter reports that the Falcons plan to interview linebacker Manti Te’o at the scouting combine. I wouldn’t get too excited about this. The Falcons are simply doing their homework on all draft prospects. But there’s a good chance Te’o will be taken long before the Falcons get around to picking at No. 30 overall.
Offensive coordinator Mike Shula got a ringing endorsement from his predecessor, Rob Chudzinski, who now is the head coach of the Cleveland Browns.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
The team reportedly will not use the franchise tag on left tackle Jermon Bushrod. No big surprise there because the franchise tag for a tackle is almost $10 million. Bushrod is better than average, but he’s not a $10-million-a-year tackle.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
The Bucs are saying they haven’t made any decision on the future of cornerback Eric Wright. Maybe they haven’t, but I still think his chances of still being on the roster when the league year starts March 12 are slim. The Bucs can free up $7.75 million in cap space by releasing Wright.