NFC South: NFL Roster Analysis 2013

Most significant move: The fact the Bucs didn’t put guard Carl Nicks on injured reserve or the physically unable to perform list is a strong sign that the veteran should be able to return early in the season. Nicks has been battling a staph infection. If Nicks can get healthy, Tampa Bay has the potential to have one of the league’s top offensive lines.

Paying the kickers: Although it appears as though Rian Lindell will be the kicker on opening day, the Bucs apparently will be paying three kickers this season. Technically, teams don’t have to pay players on the non-football-injury list. But the team reportedly will pay Lawrence Tynes, who is dealing with a staph infection, his $840,000 base salary. That’s probably a smart move because there could be legal implications if Tynes isn’t paid. The Bucs also are believed to be paying the $2.3 million base salary of Connor Barth, who was injured in a charity basketball game during the offseason. Lindell is scheduled to make $940,000 in base salary and he has a $65,000 roster bonus.

What’s next: With Tom Crabtree dealing with a high-ankle sprain that could keep him out of some regular-season action, the Buccaneers might look to the waiver wire to see if there is a pass-catching tight end they can pair with Luke Stocker.

Buccaneers moves: Waived S Sean Baker, CB Deveron Carr, T Jace Daniels, LB Dom DeCicco, LS Andrew DePaola, K Derek Dimke, WR David Douglas, LB Ka’lial Glaud, S Cody Grimm, P Chas Henry, DT Lazarius Levingston, DT Matthew Masifilo, DT Andre Neblett, TE Danny Noble, WR Chris Owusu, T Mike Remmers, CB Mason Robinson and C/G Cody Wallace. Terminated the contracts of G Roger Allen, DT Gary Gibson and WR Jordan Norwood. Placed K Lawrence Tynes on non-football injury llist.

Carolina Panthers cut-down analysis

August, 31, 2013
8/31/13
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Most significant move: In the world of perception that quarterback is the most important position, the most significant move would be cutting third-stringer Jimmy Clausen, simply because the 2010 second-round draft pick out of Notre Dame was brought in to replace Jake Delhomme. He was waived injured after hurting his shoulder in the preseason finale, but would have been waived regardless.

But in reality it's cornerback Drayton Florence. He was signed to add veteran leadership and experience to a young secondary. He worked with the first team for most of training camp. But the re-emergence of Josh Norman, who led the league with four preseason interceptions, and the solid play of Josh Thomas made the aging defensive back expendable even though he returned an interception 71 yards for a touchdown against Baltimore. Norman put himself in position to reclaim a position he lost after starting the first 12 games of his rookie season in 2012. He is an exceptional talent who just needs to refine the little things to potentially become a star. The good news is Carolina's front seven is strong, which should give quarterbacks less time to throw and cover up some of the mistakes the second-year player undoubtedly will make.

Survivor 2011: Defensive tackle Sione Fua was voted off Panther island, leaving quarterback Cam Newton as the only remaining member of Carolina's 2011 draft class on the active roster. That doesn't speak well for what the staff thought of former general manager Marty Hurney's selections.

The others from that class were: DT Terrell McClain, third round pick, released in 2012; CB Brandon Hogan, fourth-round pick, waived from IR in 2012; WR Kealoha Pilares, fifth-round pick, on injured reserve; LB Lawrence Wilson, sixth-round pick, released in 2011; G Zack Willliams, sixth-round pick, released 2013.

Team moves: Waived injured -- QB Jimmy Clausen, S D.J. Campbell, WR David Gettis, S Anderson Russell. Waived -- OT Garrett Chisolm, DT Sione Fua, TE Zack Pianalto, WR James Shaw, WR Brenton Bersin, G Hayword Hicks, LB Doug Hogue, S Robert Lester, LB Ben Jacobs, RB Tauren Poole, TE Dominique Curry, WR Taulib Ikharo, G Tori Mobley, DE Craig Roh, DT Casey Walker. Terminated vested veterans -- OT Patrick Brown, CB Drayton Florence, LB Jason Williams.

What's next: Depth remains an issue on the offensive line and secondary, so general manager Dave Gettleman will be scanning the waiver wire for help in both areas. Gettleman also might be on the lookout for a serviceable running back with Jonathan Stewart on PUP for at least five games. The release of Tauren Poole leaves DeAngelo Williams and fullback Mike Tolbert (hamstring) as the only experienced backs. After that you're down to rookie Kenjon Barner and second-year player Armond Smith. But to narrow this to any position might be unwise. Gettleman has a reputation of going with the best players regardless of position.

Atlanta Falcons cut-down analysis

August, 31, 2013
8/31/13
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Most significant move: The Falcons were 13-3 last year and kept most of their team together. That’s why it’s more than a little surprising that four undrafted free agents made the roster. That’s a tribute to the scouting staff. OT Terren Jones, LB Paul Worrilow, LB Joplo Bartu and OT Ryan Schraeder made the team. Worrilow and Bartu should contribute immediately on special teams. Schraeder has shown the ability to play both right and left tackle.

Fan favorite: He was a long shot all the way, but Banks was being followed closely by fans. That’s because he had a unique history. Banks spent five years in prison and later was exonerated. Banks’ attempt to make the team was a great story while it lasted. But it may not be completely over. The Falcons reportedly may offer Banks a position working with the team.

What’s next: The Falcons could be combing the waiver wire for offensive line help. Second-year pro Lamar Holmes is unproven at right tackle and the Falcons, who lost projected starter Mike Johnson to injury, might want to bring in an alternative. Even if Holmes plays well, the line still could use more depth. It also is possible the Falcons could bring in a veteran quarterback because backup Dominique Davis never has taken a snap in the regular season.

Players cut: Waived LB Brian Banks, G Theo Goins, DT Neal Huynh, CB Terrence Johnson, S Charles Mitchell, DT Micanor Regis, T Alec Savoie, LB Pat Schiller, K Jeremy Shelley, CB Peyton Thompson, RB Ronnie Wingo, FB Patrick DiMarco, LB Robert James, WR Darius Johnson, CB Jordan Mabin, G Phillipkeith Manley, G Jacques McClendon, WR Martel Moore, DT Adam Replogle and WR James Rodgers. The Falcons also placed QB Sean Renfree and TE Andrew Szczerba on injured reserve.
Most significant move: The fact the Saints didn’t release or put Jonathan Vilma on injured reserve or the physically unable to perform list is a very strong sign that the veteran linebacker is expected to be healthy early in the season. That’s very significant. Vilma may be nearing the end of his career, but he still is the emotional leader of this defense and his mere presence makes this unit stronger.

Going in a different direction: Courtney Roby had been a fixture on special teams since his arrival in 2008. But the Saints have some younger, more athletic guys, like Rafael Bush, they want to get involved on special teams. Roby’s value also was hurt by the fact he brought little as a wide receiver. The team elected to keep Andy Tanner over Roby because Tanner has some upside as a receiver.

What’s next: After losing outside linebackers Will Smith and Victor Butler to injuries, the Saints could look at the waiver wire to add some more help for the pass rush.

Saints moves: Released WR Courtney Roby, DE Jay Richardson, CB Chris Carr, S Jim Leonhard. Waived QB Ryan Griffin, WR Preston Parker, FB Austin Johnson, WR, Saalim Hakim, G Elliott Mealer, TE Keavon Milton, TE Michael Higgins, G Andrew Tiller, C Jeremiah Warren, LB Ray Shipman, LB Rufus Johnson, DT Isaako Aaitui, S Jerico Nelson, LB Baraka Atkins, T Marcel Jones, CB Korey Lindsey and CB Jumal Rolle. Placed C Eric Olsen on injured reserve.

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