Let's take a look at the Tuesday morning headlines from around the NFC South.
The Atlanta Falcons reportedly got a salary-cap credit of around $3 million for money former quarterback Michael Vick owed the franchise before filing bankruptcy following a conviction on dogfighting charges. After signing with the Philadelphia Eagles, Vick and the Falcons reached a settlement in which he would repay some of the $130 million contract he signed with Atlanta. The Falcons now are about $4 million under the salary cap.
John DeShazier writes that it’s time for the NFL to announce whatever player penalties are coming for the Saints’ bounty program. I couldn’t agree more. This thing has dragged on way too long. Wednesday will be two months since the NFL announced its first report on the bounty program. Penalties for the organization, coaches and general manager Mickey Loomis were announced more than a month ago. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said last week that the investigation was in its final stages and I understand if the league didn’t want to make an announcement that would overshadow all the good publicity that comes with its college draft. But the draft is over. It’s time to let the Saints -- and potentially other teams -- know if they need to prepare to play without suspended players this season.
The Falcons announced Monday that tight end Ryan Winterswyk, who spent part of last season on the practice squad, has been placed on the reserve/retired list. If Winterswyk decides to return to football, the Falcons still hold his rights.
Undrafted free-agent receiver Brenton Bersin might have had a little advantage when he was signed by the Carolina Panthers. Bersin grew up two doors away from Panthers owner Jerry Richardson. Bersin also attended Wofford College. That’s where the Panthers have held training camp since coming into the league in 1995. Wofford also is Richardson’s alma mater and where team president Danny Morrison once worked as athletic director. But don’t accuse the Panthers of showing favoritism for a neighborhood kid. Bersin earned the right for a shot at the NFL. He had a great career at Wofford and also drew interest from several other NFL teams.
The arrival of rookies Mark Barron and Lavonte David could mean possible position switches for cornerback Ronde Barber and middle linebacker Mason Foster aren’t coming. There had been some talk of Barber moving to safety and Foster to outside linebacker. Barron should start immediately at strong safety and the Bucs have Cody Grimm at free safety. That could allow Barber to stay at cornerback. David projects as an instant starter at outside linebacker and the Bucs should be able to keep Foster at middle linebacker.