NFC South: Jeremey Shockey
- The Buccaneers suddenly have some significant injury issues. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy suffered an ankle injury and coach Raheem Morris said he’s “week to week." Running back LeGarrette Blount also has a leg injury. Morris said he’ll know more on Blount’s condition later in the week. With McCoy probably out for a week or two, the Bucs still have Brian Price and Roy Miller, but Morris said rookie defensive end Da’Quan Bowers may move into the rotation on the inside. The Bucs aren’t as deep at running back and that could present problems if Blount can’t play. Earnest Graham and Kregg Lumpkin have shared backup duties and rookie Allen Bradford also could be in the mix.
- Carolina’s already-battered linebacker corps took another hit. Coach Ron Rivera said Omar Gaither has an MCL sprain and a bone bruise and could be out two to four weeks. The Panthers already lost Thomas Davis and Jon Beason to season-ending injuries.
- Carolina tight end Jeremy Shockey apologized for not shaking hands with his former New Orleans teammates after Sunday’s game.
- New Orleans coach Sean Payton said the Saints came out of Sunday’s game relatively healthy.
- The Falcons are pretty beat up after their Sunday night loss to Green Bay. Receiver Julio Jones (hamstring), safety William Moore (shoulder) cornerback Christopher Owens (head) and guard Garrett Reynolds (ankle) are among the injured. Coach Mike Smith wouldn’t go into detail about any of the injuries and said he’d have more information Wednesday.
We’ve got the complete breakdown here. Olsen was in the last year of his contract when he came from Chicago and was to make $900,000 in base salary. In the new deal, the Panthers knocked that figure down to $700,000. They also gave Olsen a $2.5 million signing bonus and added four years to his contract. His cap figure for this year is $1.2 million. The average per year of the new deal is $5.7 million.
In 2012, Olsen’s base salary jumps to $3 million and that’s guaranteed. Olson also has a $2.5 million option bonus in 2012. In 2013, Olsen’s base salary increases to $3.75 million and he has a $250,000 workout bonus for that offseason.
In 2014 and 2015, Olsen is scheduled to make $5.25 million in base salary each season. He also has a $250,000 workout bonus in each of those years.
Prior to the lockout, the Panthers signed Jeremy Shockey to a one-year deal that's worth $3.8 million. Olsen's new deal shows that the Panthers have a lot more money and time invested in him. Shockey will probably be used as a role player this season, but Olsen will be Carolina's main tight end.
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
Call it wishful thinking or speculation or maybe there's really something to it. Whatever the case, the possibility of running back LaDainian Tomlinson landing with the New Orleans Saints is intriguing.
There's no indication the Saints are interested because they're not about to comment on a player under contract with another team. But things aren't exactly rosy between Tomlinson and the San Diego Chargers and that means you can dream. Throw in the fact that Tomlinson's good buddy and former teammate Drew Brees plays quarterback for the Saints and you can see some logic at work.
Sure, New Orleans is loaded on offense and still has work to do on defense. But can the Saints afford to say no to Tomlinson if he is available at a reasonable price?
Tomlinson's been the best running back in the NFL for much of this decade and the Saints don't exactly have a consistent running game. Tomlinson is 29 with lots of miles on his legs. He's only six months younger than Deuce McAllister, who the Saints let go. But Tomlinson did give the Chargers 292 carries last year.
He may not be the true power back the Saints would like to go with Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush. But, if the Saints can get Tomlinson, all the plans change. Tomlinson, who also can catch passes, would become the instant starter.
Maybe you don't want Tomlinson carrying 300 times at this point in his career. That's where Thomas comes in. He can lighten Tomlinson's load quite a bit and new fullback Heath Evans can handle some of the short-yardage carries.
What about Bush?
That's a question the Saints never have been able to fully answer. Bring in Tomlinson and the backfield suddenly gets very crowded. Maybe you move Bush to wide receiver or use him as some sort of hybrid receiver/running back. Or maybe you just pull the plug and trade Bush for a draft pick or two (after all, the Saints only have four draft picks right now).
The Saints went for broke last year when they traded for Jonathan Vilma and Jeremy Shockey. Coach Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis know they have lots of talent in place. They can't afford to waste the best years of Brees' career with .500 teams. If they can make this team better, they have to at least consider this move.
Yeah, defense is the weak spot and Payton and Loomis have been working on that. But, one last thought here. Put Tomlinson on that offense and the defense, which wouldn't have to spend all day on the field, suddenly would look a lot better.
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
COLNEY, England -- Just got back from the Saints' practice, which was held at the Arsenal Football Club's facility on Thursday.
The Saints practiced at their team hotel on Wednesday, but moved to Arsenal's facility today and are scheduled to be there again Friday. For those wondering what a legendary soccer team's facility looks like, it's pretty comparable to most practice facilities of NFL teams that I've seen. There's a large building with the locker room, weight room, training room and offices.
There are also a lot of soccer fields -- and I mean a lot. Couldn't count them all and some were spread off to the side, but I'm guessing there were at least a dozen fields.
I'll have more later, but wanted to get you a quick injury report from the Saints. Tight end Jeremy Shockey, who sounded pretty gloomy about his sports hernia last Sunday and didn't practice Wednesday, appears to be doing a lot better. He was back at practice Thursday, although it was on a limited basis.
Cornerback Mike McKenzie, guard Jahri Evans and defensive end Will Smith, who were out Wednesday, returned for the full practice. Center Jonathan Goodwin and defensive tackle Brian Young were held out of practice again. In a minor housekeeping detail the Saints went ahead and declared running back Reggie Bush out for Sunday's game. Obviously, that was expected because Bush had knee surgery Monday and is back in New Orleans beginning his recovery.