Memorial Day mailbag

Adam in Tampa writes: I'd like your thoughts on this: Is Ronde Barber a Hall of Famer? He's got 25 sacks and 37 interceptions in his career, has made a ton of big plays and won a Super Bowl. His interception return in the conference title game against Philadelphia was a fantastic moment. He has a 10-interception season. But I feel like he hasn't really been regarded as one of the league's top cornerbacks throughout his career, perhaps because he's always played zone rather than man-to-man. What do you think?

Pat Yasinskas: This may not be the answer Tampa Bay fans want to hear, but I don’t think Ronde Barber is a future Hall of Famer. Just my honest opinion. I think he’s been a very good player for a very long time. But I don’t think he’s ever been a dominant player. Also, I think Barber was fortunate to have Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp and John Lynch around him for much of his career and they made all the players around them look better. I think Brooks and Sapp are automatic Hall of Famers and I think Lynch has a chance to join them.

Sam in Boston writes: Is there any chance the Falcons would try to sign Antonio Pierce? He's been on the market for a while so I'm sure he will accept a lower paying contract.

Pat Yasinskas: I’ve got no indication the Falcons are interested in Pierce. After drafting Sean Weatherspoon, I think they’re happy with what they have at linebacker.

Miles in Morganton, NC writes: Seeing as the Carolina Panthers haven't made a splash in the free agent market this year, do you see this as a sign of a rebuilding year for the Panthers?

Pat Yasinskas: I don’t see it as a rebuilding year for the Panthers. They really haven’t done much in free agency since they signed Ken Lucas and Mike Wahle to huge contracts. Their philosophy is to build through the draft and that’s what they’re doing. Yes, they let a bunch of players go in the offseason. But, aside from Julius Peppers, who was a story in himself, all those guys were old and were no longer very significant. I don’t think you can call a team that has Steve Smith, Jordan Gross, Thomas Davis, Jon Beason, Chris Gamble, DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart as its core a rebuilding team.

Graham in Macon, GA writes: Entering his third year in the league do you think Curtis Lofton could make the jump into Pro Bowl caliber player and become a household name like Beason has done in Carolina?

Pat Yasinskas: Yes, I do. Lofton became an every-down player last year and did a very nice job. The Atlanta coaches think he’s only starting to reach his full potential. Of course, it would be nice if the defensive line improves and allows him room to make more plays.

Ryan in Charlotte writes: In Carolina everybody mentions Matt Moore, Jimmy Clausen, and Tony Pike when talking quarterbacks but what about Hunter Cantwell? I was wondering if you had any information on how he is doing?

Pat Yasinskas: Cantwell is a guy the Panthers like. But, obviously, they drafted two quarterbacks so they don’t think Cantwell’s anything real special. Moore and Clausen will be the top two quarterbacks. Cantwell and Pike will compete for the No. 3 job. The fact the Panthers used a draft pick on Pike probably gives him the edge. Cantwell may end up on the practice squad or somewhere else.