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Thursday, March 4, 2010
Delhomme could stay in NFC South

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

With tonight’s news that the Carolina Panthers are parting ways with Jake Delhomme, I think there is a chance Delhomme could stay in the NFC South.

In fact, I started to write that I could see Delhomme landing with any of the other three NFC South teams. But before I could post this item, ESPN’s John Clayton called to tell me the Falcons have agreed to re-sign backup Chris Redman. So scratch the Falcons off that list.

But I still can see solid logic in the Buccaneers or Saints pursuing Delhomme. Let’s face it, Delhomme’s days as a starter are probably over. But he apparently still wants to play or else he simply would have retired. He’s a competitor, a trait that makes it tough for some guys to accept backup roles.

But I think Delhomme is one of those guys that could handle it quite nicely. I also think he’d be an excellent mentor for any young quarterback. It wouldn’t hurt another NFC South team to have a guy who could give them an inside look at Carolina’s playbook.

Let’s examine the scenarios with the Buccaneers and Saints:

Tampa Bay: In a lot of ways, I think this could be the best landing spot for Delhomme. The Bucs still have Byron Leftwich, but there has been a lot of speculation he could be on his way out. If he goes, the Bucs need someone to help mentor franchise quarterback Josh Freeman and reserve Josh Johnson. Delhomme is a natural for that role and he also would bring leadership to a locker room that didn’t have much of that last year.

New Orleans: Backup Mark Brunell is a free agent and I’m not sure the Saints want to bring him back because of his age. Delhomme is no Drew Brees, but also is no Aaron Brooks. Delhomme is a guy who could fill in for a game or two because he’s smart and he also would fit nicely into any locker room. Plus, Delhomme is a Louisiana guy. He started his career in New Orleans. That would be a nice place for Delhomme to finish his career.