Saturday, February 19, 2011
Hitting the NFC South hot spots
By Pat Yasinskas
Let’s reach into the NFC South mailbag and see what’s on your minds. I picked one question per team.
Ryan in Statesboro, Ga. asks if I’ve heard anything on a contract extension for Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff.
Pat Yasinskas: The general expectation was that an extension would follow soon after coach Mike Smith signed a contract extension. To my knowledge, nothing has happened yet. But here’s the thing with general managers, teams don’t always announce when they sign contracts. Carolina’s Marty Hurney signed a new contract at some point last offseason and the team never announced it. That’s because Hurney didn’t want the attention, and Dimitroff also is a guy that doesn’t seek the spotlight. Has he secretly already signed a contract extension? Probably not. My guess is he and the Falcons just haven’t had time to work a deal. But I think it will come at some point, and I don’t anticipate any problems with this happening.
Lorenzo in Stone Mountain, Ga. asks if the Saints should take Mark Ingram if he’s available when they draft in the first round.
Pat Yasinskas: A lot of people automatically are giving the Saints a defensive end at No. 24, and that’s logical and entirely possible. But, if Ingram is sitting on the board, I think the Saints at least have to strongly consider the Alabama running back. They need more consistency in the running game, and Ingram is a solid all-around back. The last time the Saints drafted a running back from a local school early, they had pretty good luck. That guy was Deuce McAllister, and he became a New Orleans icon.
John in Raleigh, N.C. asks if the Panthers might trade the No. 1 overall draft pick and a player for Kevin Kolb.
Pat Yasinskas: I like Kolb a lot and I’d love to see the Panthers get him, but I think your price tag is way too high. You don’t give up the No. 1 overall pick in a draft (plus a player) for a quarterback who is promising, but largely unproven. If the Panthers could get Kolb with a combination of later picks or players, I’m all for it. But the Panthers have a chance to get a cornerstone player with the top draft pick. I don’t think you give that away for a player that comes with uncertainty.
Jorge in York, S.C. asks if I know what really happened between Jerry Richardson and Peyton Manning in the labor meeting the day before the Super Bowl.
Pat Yasinskas: I don’t know much more than what’s been reported. But much of what’s been reported came from Arizona kicker Jay Feely, who wasn’t even in that room. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, who was in the room, has downplayed the reports and said there was nothing disrespectful. Richardson and Manning have not talked about the alleged incident. But I’m a little hesitant to take the early reports on face value. They might be right, but the information seems sketchy. Maybe Manning or someone else said something to prompt Richardson? Maybe Richardson’s quotes haven’t been portrayed accurately, or maybe they were taken out of context?
Jason in Medway, Ohio asks if I think the Bucs are interested in Bob Sanders.
Pat Yasinskas: You’re one of many Tampa Bay fans asking this question, and it’s a logical one. Tampa Bay has uncertainty at safety. Tanard Jackson is suspended until at least late September and there are no guarantees he’ll ever return to the Bucs. Cody Grimm showed some promise in his rookie season before getting hurt and could be a starter. But he’s undersized and didn’t have enough playing time to become established. Sean Jones is just a guy, and there’s not much else at safety. I can see the Bucs at least looking into Sanders and maybe making an effort to sign him if they can get him at a low price and they believe his injuries have healed. But I don’t think they go overboard to bring in a veteran safety who has been banged up a lot for the past few seasons. It doesn’t fit with Tampa Bay’s youth movement. They can address the safety position in the draft, or look for a younger safety in free agency.