PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Here’s the latest from the NFL owners meetings: Saints general manager Mickey Loomis and owner Tom Benson reportedly are at The Breakers and coach Sean Payton is expected to arrive soon. We still don’t know if any or all of them will address the media, so stay tuned.
Meantime, let’s take a look at the latest headlines from around the NFC South.
NFL Network officials said they won’t fire former Tampa Bay defensive lineman and current television analyst Warren Sapp for tweeting and reporting on air that former New Orleans tight end Jeremy Shockey was “the snitch’’ who told the NFL about the Saints’ bounty program. Shockey emphatically has denied he told the league about the program and said he was unaware of its existence.
Former Atlanta middle linebacker Curtis Lofton said there’s room for him and Jonathan Vilma in the Saints’ defense. He implied that one of them could move outside. But it’s possible Vilma could be suspended for his role in the bounty program. It’s also at least possible the Saints could release Vilma, who is coming off a subpar season that was interrupted by knee surgery. Vilma is carrying a $7.6 million cap figure and the Saints are tight against the cap.
The Bucs at least poked around on Lofton, but never had him in for an official visit. If they’re still looking around for a middle linebacker from the outside, here’s a list of the guys who remain available.
But the Bucs might no longer be looking at free-agent middle linebackers. They have hinted they could leave Mason Foster at the position he played as a rookie last season. At first, the Bucs implied Foster could move to the outside. But, after the coaching staff reviewed his film from last season, general manager Mark Dominik said it’s possible Foster could stay in the middle. Foster said he’s excited about the possibility of staying in the middle and said he feels he’ll be better prepared to handle the position with a full offseason program. He didn’t get one last year due to the lockout and had played outside linebacker in college.