Around the NFC South

Time for a run through some headlines from around the NFC South.

  • Jason Cole reports that it’s possible Saints QB Drew Brees’ franchise-tag number for 2013 could jump to $23.5 million if he isn’t signed to a long-term deal this year. Brees previously carried the franchise tag in San Diego in 2005. It isn’t completely clear if the rules of the most recent collective bargaining agreement would count the 2005 franchise tag. If so, Brees could qualify for a 44 percent raise in 2013.

  • Residents of the area around where a proposed retractable-roof stadium for the Atlanta Falcons might be built would like to have their concerns heard by the team and the Georgia World Congress Authority. The residents aren’t opposed to the stadium. But they would like to have some say on how the infrastructure and other matters would impact their neighborhood.

  • New Orleans rookie defensive tackle Aikem Hicks finished his college career at the University of Regina in Canada. That may be an unusual route to the NFL. But Hicks, who previously had a brief stay at LSU, said the time in Canada made him a better player and person.

  • New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma’s defamation lawsuit against NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has been assigned to Judge Ginger Berrigan of the Eastern District Court of Louisiana.

  • There long has been a perception out there that Brad Johnson, who quarterbacked the Buccaneers to the only Super Bowl championship in franchise history, was nothing more than the beneficiary of having a great team around him. At least one writer now is saying Johnson was more than that and giving him his due. I agree. Johnson never was great, but he was far from horrible. In that Super Bowl season, he was solid and that was more than good enough.

  • Gary Shelton has a preview of Warren Sapp’s new book, “Sapp Attack.’’ According to Shelton, it’s exactly what you would expect -- raw, boisterous and loud. Say what you want about Sapp, but I plan to read the book. Sapp had his flaws in his Tampa Bay days, but he always was entertaining.

  • Tampa Bay left tackle Donald Penn said quarterback Josh Freeman is getting hit with a ton of information as the Bucs install a new offense. But Penn said Freeman gradually is working his way through the process.

  • There’s a perception among Atlanta fans that the Falcons don’t get the attention they deserve. But Daniel Cox points to the team’s prime-time schedule in 2012 to demonstrate the Falcons will get plenty of exposure.