NFC South mailbag

Since we didn’t have an NFC South chat Friday, let’s make up for it with an NFC South mailbag:

Cory in Cardington, Ohio asks what the Falcons will do at running back now that Michael Turner has been released.

Pat Yasinskas: I know there’s been a lot of talk about Steven Jackson. That may be a possibility, but I’m against it. Jackson’s would be a short-term upgrade over Turner. But he’s not much younger than Turner and wouldn’t be a long-term solution. Personally, I think the best route for the Falcons is to draft a running back (someone like Wisconsin’s Montee Ball) and pair him with Jacquizz Rodgers. The Falcons are a pass-first team now. They don’t need a superstar running back. They just need a young set of legs to pair with Rodgers.

Carlito in Newberry, S.C. asks about the possibility of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pursuing cornerback Dunta Robinson.

PY: I think that’s something the Bucs have to at least look at. Robinson’s an experienced cornerback with plenty left in the tank. Fans in Atlanta will tell you he was a bust. While it’s true he never played up to his huge contract, he wasn’t horrible. The Bucs could do a lot worse than Robinson. But, even if they sign Robinson, they need to add at least one other starting-caliber cornerback.

Jeremy in Lafayette, La. asks where the Saints stand in relation to the salary cap.

PY: It’s a very fluid situation, but the Saints are getting close. Not all the reported restructures have been turned yet. But, if the reports are right, my calculations put the Saints somewhere between $2.5 and $3 million over the cap. Of course, there also is the possibility there have been other restructures that we don’t know about yet and the Saints still could release some veterans to create more space. But the bottom line is they’re getting close to the cap and they’ll be under it by March 12.

Justo in Los Angeles asks if any of the young players on Carolina’s roster are capable of stepping into the No. 1 cornerback role if the Panthers release Chris Gamble.

PY: Josh Norman and Josh Thomas are promising young cornerbacks. But, at this point, I don’t see them being ready to be more than No. 2 or No. 3 guys. If Gamble goes, the Panthers have to get a No. 1 cornerback. The draft certainly is a possibility if a good corner makes it to the middle of the first round. If not, the Panthers will have to go the free-agency route. But the problem there is good cornerbacks aren’t cheap and the Panthers aren’t going to have a lot of salary-cap room.