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Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Hitting the NFC South hot spots

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

With all eyes focused on the Super Bowl, things are very quiet in the NFC South right now. So let's jump into the mailbag and see what's on your mind.

David in Mobile, Ala., says he believes Drew Brees has three to five years left and wonders when the Saints should draft his replacement. He also asks if Chase Daniel could be that guy.

Pat Yasinskas: Brees just turned 32 a few weeks ago, so I’d lean more toward the five years. I don’t think the Saints need to do anything desperate or anytime soon. They like Daniel, but I think it’s too early to tell if he can eventually be a starter. General manager Mickey Loomis is pretty good at looking a few years down the road in the draft. I would expect that in a few years he’ll start looking for an eventual replacement, but it’s not that time yet.


Kevin in Tampa: Asks about the possibility of the Buccaneers going after DeAngelo Williams and Nnamdi Asomugha.

Pat Yasinskas: As I’ve said before, I think the Bucs will be a little more active in free agency than they have been in recent years. But that’s assuming a new labor agreement gets done. They’ll have a ton of salary-cap room. But I’m thinking the price tag on Asomugha may be too high because there are likely to be a lot of bidders. As far as Williams, we’re getting ahead of the game and assuming he does hit free agency. I’m not so sure that happens. I think the Panthers re-sign him. I think Tampa Bay’s approach in free agency will be to target a few mid-level players. I know that might not excite fans, but that’s what I’m expecting.


Joe in Wilmington, N.C., asks if the recent hiring of Fred Graves as receivers coach and Ricky Proehl as an offensive consultant will be enough to keep Steve Smith in Carolina.

Pat Yasinskas: Those moves certainly can’t hurt. But I’m not going to try to read Smith’s mind. He obviously was frustrated by last season and so were a lot of other people with the Panthers. But Smith, to my knowledge, has never said he wants out of Carolina. It would be understandable if he asked to be traded some place with an established quarterback and a strong offense. It looks like the Panthers are trying to improve things and I’m sure they’ve given Smith some indication of what they hope to do at quarterback.


Cody in parts unknown asks if a player who has split his career between teams goes into the Hall of Fame, how is it decided which team he represents and which team he retires with.

Pat Yasinskas: That’s a misconception. In football, a player doesn’t go into the Hall of Fame representing one specific team. He just goes in as himself. A lot of people confuse that with baseball, where a player has to choose which cap he wants on his plaque. As far as retiring with a team, a lot of players don’t do any sort of official retirement ceremony. If they do, it’s their choice as to which team they retire with. Bottom line: If Willie Roaf gets elected Saturday, he doesn't officially go in as a member of the Saints or the Chiefs. Same for Deion Sanders, who wouldn't officially go in as a member of the Falcons. But their time with those teams would be a part of their Hall of Fame legacy.