- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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We covered a lot of ground in Friday’s NFC South chat. A lot of talk about the contract situation of Drew Brees, the draft and free agency. Let’s take a look at the highlights.
Kasy (Hattiesburg): Now that Tampa has its staff put together (besides qb coach), what grade would you give it? I know they aren't the biggest names but I think they have a good mix of experience and familiarity.
Pat Yasinskas: I'll go with a B or B-. I like the mix of college and NFL experience on the staff. Also like the fact that about half the staff has worked with Schiano previously. Think that will make the transition smoother.
Emmett (Hill Valley, CA): Any idea what is holding up Brees' contract talks?
Pat Yasinskas: I think it's just both sides going through the negotiating process and waiting for someone to blink. I have no doubt it will get done.
CC (Atlanta): Falcons seem willing to let Abe walk. Don't you think they'll go after Mario Williams? They have a ton of cap space and no 1st rounder.
Pat Yasinskas: Wouldn't surprise me a bit. They're always good for at least one big splash an offseason and that would be a big one. It also would fill a need.
Ben (Atlanta): Pat have you heard anything about the Panthers restructuring some contracts? I would think Steve Smith would be one of the candidates for that since his is up after this season and he is high against the cap total.
Pat Yasinskas: Nothing yet, but that generally comes right as we get close to start of free agency. Yes, I think Smith would be a candidate for an extension. He's got a cap figure over $10 million this year right now. Sign him to an extension for a few years and you can spread the cap hit out over the life of the contract.
Andy (hickory, nc): Pat, I hate when teams say they are going to " build through the draft ". I mean teams draft what, 7 players? Let’s say half become starters, with one becoming a stud, that’s not a lot to motivate a fan base with.
Pat Yasinskas: And building through free agency works? Ask the Eagles and Redskins about that. Now, I do agree you can't do it totally through the draft. There has to be a mix. I think Atlanta and New Orleans have done a nice job of that. Carolina too.
Robert(br,la) [via mobile]: Any chance saints lose Nicks due to Brees deal not being completed in a timely manner?
Pat Yasinskas: I doubt it. I suspect they'll get the Brees deal done and then turn attention to Nicks. If they have to use the tag on him, I think they will.
Steve Albarado (Ventura CA): Pat, huge fan of your blog. I check it daily. Do you think John Abraham would be good fit with New Orleans' defense? I know he's old and injury prone, but for the right price he might be a solid addition on passing downs. Thoughts?
Pat Yasinskas: Possible. Saints have history of bringing in vets for a year or two. They also need a pass rusher. But they're not going to have much cap room to work with and it sounds like Abe is looking for good money.
JJ (GA): Will Dirk Koetter improve Matt Ryan as a deep passer?
Pat Yasinskas: I think an improved offensive line would help Ryan more than anything.
Here’s the complete transcript of Friday’s NFC South chat.