NFC South evening update

February, 6, 2012
2/06/12
5:33
PM ET
Time for a look at Monday's top stories from around the NFC South.

Here’s a good look ahead at what might happen with the New Orleans defensive line in the offseason. One interesting thing to watch is defensive end Will Smith, who is carrying a huge salary-cap figure. The Saints may have to restructure his deal because he is their best pass rusher up front and new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo counts heavily on generating most of his pressure straight from the front four.

A charge for marijuana possession against Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick has been dropped. Kirkpatrick’s name has been tied to the Carolina Panthers as a first-round possibility in some mock drafts.

University of Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who has past experience as a defensive line coach in the NFL, reportedly turned down an opportunity to join Tampa Bay’s coaching staff. As of this moment, the Bucs have yet to announce any hirings of assistants by new coach Greg Schiano.

As he has been known to do, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson recently called a fan and revealed that the team’s helmets, but not uniforms, will be changing. The team already announced its first logo change since the franchise entered the league in the 1995 expansion.

Jeff Schultz writes that Atlanta’s first three priorities with its own free agents should be keeping cornerback Brent Grimes, linebacker Curtis Lofton and center Todd McClure. I definitely agree on Grimes and Lofton. I’m not so sure on McClure. He’s been a very nice player, but he’s about to turn 35. With changes at offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, it might be a good time to also get a fresh start at center.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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