Around the NFC South
July, 9, 2012
By Pat Yasinskas | ESPN.com
Let's take a look at some of the top headlines from around the NFC South.
- After getting released by Seattle and sitting out all of last season, Lofa Tatupu said he’s excited about competing for the starting middle linebacker job in Atlanta. Tatupu could end up in that role. But he also could be just an insurance policy. The Falcons would like to see second-year pro Akeem Dent emerge as the starter after the departure of Curtis Lofton. They didn’t invest a lot up front in Tatupu, giving him a $600,000 signing bonus and a $750,000 base salary. But Tatupu can make the contract worth a lot more if he can get back to being anything like the player he was in Seattle. He’ll earn a $40,625 bonus for every game he’s on the active roster this season. He also has a playing-time incentive that could take his 2013 base salary from $1 million to $2.25 million.
- Speaking of Atlanta linebackers, Matt Hansen reportedly suffered a knee injury that could keep him out for the season. Hansen came close to making the team as an undrafted free agent last year before he was released. He was brought back this year and was expected to compete for a spot as a backup outside linebacker and special-teams player.
- At least one fantasy football guru has Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin as the top-rated rookie running back. Although Trent Richardson may have something to say about this, it makes sense. At the very least, Martin will share carries with LeGarrette Blount in an offense that’s likely to run a lot. At best, Martin will get the bulk of the carries behind what should be a good offensive line and he’s also expected to catch a fair amount of passes out of the backfield.
- Although he was fired as general manager of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Bruce Allen, now with the Redskins, had some high praise for the Glazer family. Allen described the Glazers as an “extremely honest and loyal family’’ and also said they have a burning desire to win.
- The Bucs obviously are trying to increase their ticket sales, but vice president of business administration Brian Ford said he’s been encouraged by season-ticket renewals. The Bucs have sold out only two home games that last two seasons, but there's some optimism that the coaching change and addition of some new players could help attendance climb.
- The New Orleans Times-Picayune has punter Thomas Morstead at No. 18 on its list of the team’s top 25 players. Morstead did not make my list of the top 25 players in the NFC South. But we’ll unveil another member of the Saints at No. 10 a bit later Monday.