NFC South: Bank of American Stadium
Looks like a quiet day in the NFC South, but let’s take a run through the headlines that are out there.
- The New England Patriots gave tight end Rob Gronkowski a six-year, $53 million contract. That’s the biggest contract ever for a tight end and it pretty much sets the bar for New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham. As far as we know, Graham hasn’t asked for a new contract and it wouldn’t be wise to do that until after the Saints have taken care of quarterback Drew Brees. But Graham is on par with Gronkowski and he’s scheduled to make only the minimum salary for a third-year player. Graham clearly has outplayed his contract and, sooner or later, the Saints will have to find a way to keep him happy.
- Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams left the Saints immediately after last season and went on to be portrayed as the leader of the bounty program. But Jeff Duncan writes that Williams still has plenty of fans in the Saints locker room. Duncan has a column in which several defensive players sing Williams’ praises.
- Carolina receiver Steve Smith and running back DeAngelo Williams helped provide new shoes for 500 children in the Memphis area.
- Former NFL general manager and current Senior Bowl director Phil Savage has his review of the 2012 draft and he lists Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin as the best value pick. Savage says Martin should make an immediate impact for the Buccaneers.
- The Panthers will do something a little different at their minicamp next week. They’re holding their Thursday session inside Bank of America Stadium and opening the practice to their fans. I think that’s a wise move for any team. I was at three minicamp practices by the New Orleans Saints earlier this week that were open to the public. It was brutally hot and humid, but the fans still were out in force.