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Friday, July 23, 2010
Hitting the NFC South links

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

They might be coming off a 3-13 season and fearing a tough year at the ticket office, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the 12th most valuable professional sports franchise in the world. That’s according to Forbes Magazine, which says the Bucs are valued at $1.09 billion. For the record, the No. 1 franchise on the list is soccer’s Manchester United ($1.84 billion), which also is owned by Tampa Bay owner Malcolm Glazer.

Forbes also ranked the Carolina Panthers No. 17 with a value of $1.05 billion. The Falcons came in at No. 39 on that list with an $856 million value.

Carolina rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen doesn’t appear to be anywhere close to signing. The Panthers historically have been good at avoiding holdouts under general manager Marty Hurney, and there still is plenty of time to get this done. The Panthers are going to camp with Matt Moore as their starter, and a Clausen holdout of any length pretty much would put an end to any chance of him moving ahead of Moore.

Just like Clausen, Sean Weatherspoon, Atlanta’s top pick, remains unsigned. Things are moving very slowly with players drafted in the first and second rounds. But that’s likely to change in the next few days.

The New Orleans Saints still haven’t signed a veteran quarterback to serve as Drew Brees’ backup. But that’s likely to change very soon, and it appears Patrick Ramsey remains the top target.