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Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Around the NFC South

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Time for a look at Wednesday morning's top stories from around the NFC South.

The New Orleans Saints continue negotiations to get quarterback Drew Brees signed to a new contract, but nothing is done yet. The Saints also have the option to put the franchise tag on Brees before Monday’s deadline, but that’s only a last resort. The Saints would rather complete a deal with Brees so that they would have the franchise tag available for guard Carl Nicks.

D. Orlando Ledbetter has his offseason depth chart for the Falcons. It’s fine as it stands right now, but changes will be coming in free agency. I’d be shocked if the chart looks like it does now in September and has Sam Baker and Will Svitek as the top two options at left tackle. He also doesn’t include free-agent cornerback Brent Grimes and middle linebacker Curtis Lofton. I’ve got a hunch the Falcons will find a way to keep both of them.

The Saints have signed exclusive-rights free agents Jonathan Amaya and Justin Drescher to their tenders.

Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano said the fact the Bucs hired Ron Cooper from LSU to coach their secondary doesn’t mean it’s automatic the Bucs will draft LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. No, it’s not a given, but I think Claiborne is at least a possibility with the No. 5 overall pick.

Although he had some off-field issues earlier in college, North Alabama cornerback Janoris Jenkins is on Carolina’s radar when it comes to the No. 9 overall pick. Jenkins had a fine showing at the combine and did a good job answering questions about the problems that got him kicked out of Florida earlier in his college career.