NFC South: Sean Considine

Around the NFC South

September, 5, 2011
Time for a look at the top headlines from around the NFC South.

Jeff Duncan has a good column about how Thursday night’s game between the Packers and Saints will be a chess match. Some of the best minds in the game will be squaring off when New Orleans coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams go up against Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy and defensive coordinator Dom Capers. With a bunch of cerebral players on both sides, I think this game has the potential to, at least temporarily, silence the talk about how the lockout will impact the quality of play.

We’ve heard a lot about how the Falcons plan to throw the ball downfield more this season. Quarterback Matt Ryan talks a lot about that and says he needs to be more accurate in those situations.

Anwar S. Richardson writes about how Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris is riding a wave of popularity. Kind of ironic because Morris was not a very popular choice when he was hired to replace Jon Gruden in 2009.

The Saints don’t have to issue an injury report until later Monday, but defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin (knee) and defensive end Cameron Jordan (knee) were talking like they’ll be ready for Thursday.

Looks like the Panthers have found the veteran help they were looking for at right guard after losing Geoff Schwartz and Garry Williams to injuries. They’ve signed former Philadelphia guard Max Jean-Gilles. They released Sean Considine to clear the roster spot.

Gary Shelton writes a fine tribute on Lee Roy Selmon. In it, he has a message for Josh Freeman, Gerald McCoy and all the other young stars in pro sports in Tampa Bay. He says it would be wise for them to act like Selmon. That also would help fill the void that now exists in Tampa Bay.
All four NFC South general managers have been doing some very astute salary-cap maneuvering when it comes to the veteran minimum salary benefit -- even Tampa Bay’s Mark Dominik, who seems to think the word “veteran’’ applies to anyone who has reached his 22nd birthday.

The minimum-salary benefit is designed to give teams that sign veterans a salary-cap break. It can be used on any player with four or more accrued seasons, who signs for the minimum base salary, which varies depending on the number of years the player has in the league. As a general rule, the cap hit for those players is $525,000, even though the player might actually earn far more in base salary. The cap hit can also escalate a bit if there is a signing bonuses involved in the deal.

Let’s use New Orleans safety Pierson Prioleau, a 12-year veteran to demonstrate because he the highest-possible minimum base salary. Prioleau is scheduled to earn $910,000 in base salary. He also got a $50,000 signing bonus. Under normal circumstances, Prioleau would count $960,000 million against the salary cap. But the benefit drops his cap figure to just $575,000.

The Saints also used the veteran minimum benefit on offensive lineman Jordan Black, linebacker Clint Ingram, safety Chris Reis, receiver Courtney Roby, cornerback Leigh Torrence, running back Patrick Cobbs, tackle George Foster and tackle Alex Barron. In the case of Barron, general manager Mickey Loomis did a very nice job of guarding his team against the cap. Barron’s deal, which was for $685,000, was structured with a split salary, meaning his salary and cap hit drop dramatically if he’s placed on injured reserved or waived while injured.

Barron currently is on the injured-reserve list and his cap figure has dropped to $228,000. It could be lowered even more if the Saints release Barron with an injury settlement.

Carolina general manager Marty Hurney was almost as active as Loomis with the benefit. He used it on six players – safety Sean Considine, quarterback Derek Anderson, linebacker Omar Gaither, receiver Legedu Naanee, cornerback E.J. Wilson and cornerback Cletis Gordon.

Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff used it twice and got some big savings because both of his veterans have a lot of years under their belts. Tight end Reggie Kelly and linebacker Mike Peterson each got $910,000 base salaries with $50,000 signing bonuses. Kelly and Peterson each are counting only $575,000 against the cap.

Tampa Bay, which is poised to have the league’s youngest opening-day roster, used the benefit on only one player. That’s defensive tackle John McCargo. His base salary is $685,000 with no signing bonus, so his cap figure is $525,000. The Bucs also protected themselves against injury to McCargo. His deal also includes a split salary, which would pay him only $353,000 if he is injured.

NFC South quick hits

July, 28, 2011
Time for a lightning round through some headlines to keep you up to speed on all that’s happening around the NFC South.

Speaking of lightning, the thunderstorm that’s outside the windows of NFC South Blog Headquarters right now passed by One Buc Place a little bit ago. Take a look at this picture of the damage done to the huge Buccaneers flag.

The Falcons have a deal with third-round draft pick Akeem Dent.

Charlie Campbell reports that the Bucs are close to agreeing to a deal to keep guard Davin Joseph and something should be done within the next 24 hours.

New Orleans coach Sean Payton just finished addressing the media and revealed several transactions. The Saints have agreed to terms to keep Scott Shanle, Leigh Torrence, Chris Reis and Jo-Lonn Dunbar.

The Saints have agreed to terms with third-round pick Johnny Patrick.

Former New Orleans safety Usama Young has agreed to terms with Cleveland.

The Panthers have agreed to terms with veteran safety Sean Considine, who last played for Jacksonville.