NFC South afternoon update

February, 25, 2013
2/25/13
4:22
PM ET
SCRANTON, PA. -- I’ve been working out of temporary NFC South blog headquarters here as I tend to a family matter.

I’ll be out of pocket this evening and all day Tuesday. Our editors will post a roundup and anything else of note Tuesday and I’ll be back at it from Tampa on Wednesday.

Meantime, let’s take a look at some news and notes from around the division:

ATLANTA FALCONS

Coach Mike Smith said cornerback Brent Grimes is progressing well after tearing his Achilles tendon in the season opener. But Smith said Grimes has been limited to indoor rehab work and has yet to do any outdoor running. That could work to Atlanta’s advantage. Grimes is scheduled to become a free agent in March. But, if he’s still not running by then, other teams may be hesitant to offer big money to Grimes and the Falcons might be able to keep him at a reasonable price.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

Knox Bardeen ponders the possibility of the Panthers taking Tennessee receiver Cordarrelle Patterson in the first round. I like the idea a lot, assuming Patterson still is available at No. 14. Quarterback Cam Newton is the franchise in Carolina and the Panthers need to give him every possible resource to succeed. Patterson could be a big-time playmaker right off the bat and could be an eventual replacement for Steve Smith as the No. 1 receiver.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Mike Triplett asks readers which defensive free agent they’d like to see the Saints sign. Given the Saints’ salary-cap situation, you can probably rule out any big names. But one guy who makes some sense is Ricky Jean-Francois. He’s a versatile defensive lineman who can play several spots in the Saints’ new 4-3 scheme. He also played his college ball at LSU.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Although the Bucs currently have about $30 million in cap space, Stephen Holder writes that general manager Mark Dominik is sending out signals that the team might not be as active in free agency as last year when Vincent Jackson, Carl Nicks and Eric Wright were signed to massive contracts. I don’t think Dominik is throwing out a smokescreen. This year’s free-agency class doesn’t seem to be as star-studded as last year’s. Plus, the Bucs need to use some of that money to re-sign Michael Bennett and Roy Miller and perhaps sign some other young players, like receiver Mike Williams, to contract extensions. Still, I don’t think the Bucs will be totally quiet in free agency. It might not be the same huge splash as last year, but the Bucs will be players.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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