Around the NFC South

May, 17, 2013
5/17/13
9:22
AM ET
Let's take or morning run (or bike ride) through some news and notes from around the NFC South:

ATLANTA FALCONS

General manager Thomas Dimitroff is taking part in National Bike To Work Day. I don’t think we’ll see any roster moves out of the Falcons this morning.

Quarterback Matt Ryan turns 28 today. That’s a prime age to become one of the league’s highest-paid quarterbacks. The Falcons have stayed quiet about where negotiations are for an extension, but I suspect a deal will get done before training camp.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

Linebacker Chase Blackburn figures to be a backup and special-teams player. But he’d be a starter if the Panthers were fielding a baseball team. Blackburn hit three home runs as members of the Panthers, including coach Ron Rivera, took batting practice before a Charlotte Knights game.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

The Saints have signed defensive tackle Isaako Aaitui. He’s spent time with the Dolphins and Jets, and will compete for a roster spot behind Brodrick Bunkley and John Jenkins.

Quarterback Luke McCown, who was cut by the Saints in the preseason last year, said he’s more optimistic about his chances of making the roster this year. He should be. Chase Daniel had a firm grip on the backup job last year. With Daniel leaving via free agency this year, the backup job is wide open. McCown and Seneca Wallace will compete for that spot, and McCown might have the early advantage because he knows the offense.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

With David Garrard reportedly retiring, Tampa Bay’s opener against the New York Jets could become even more of an intriguing game, Stephen Holder points out. The game already was matching up Tampa Bay cornerback Darrelle Revis against his former team. With Garrard gone, it means the Bucs could be going against rookie quarterback Geno Smith.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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