So far anyway, it’s been a rather quiet second day of free agency around the NFC South. So let’s open up the mailbag and get to some of your questions.
Jason in St. Marteen writes: Are the Saints going to make any free agent moves (other than trying to resign Sharper/Fujita/etc)? Is the lack of transactions/targets a product of the Super Bowl party hangover or do they not feel they need to make any? I think Loomis and Payton do a great job evaluating talent, especially in the draft, but I'm curious as to whether they like the team how it is or if they are a little unprepared?
Pat Yasinskas: The Saints are playing by different rules than most of the league in this uncapped year. Since they were a final four team, they’re not allowed to sign any unrestricted free agents unless they lose one of their own at a comparable salary. So it’s going to remain quiet as far as them bringing in unrestricted free agents.
Abe in Hartford writes: Hey Pat, Does you think the insistence of Falcons management to build the team through the draft hurts the team? I understand the logic behind the strategy when you have a salary cap, but there currently isn't one. We may well see a lockout in 2011. Given that the owner has the money and that the future is unknown, why not open up the wallet, get a free agent linebacker or end or both, and use the draft for depth?
Pat Yasinskas: No, I think the way Thomas Dimitroff and Mike Smith have built this team is very smart and they’ll stay on that path. They’re finalizing a deal with cornerback Dunta Robinson now and that’s going to be their one big splurge in free agency. I like that move a lot because it solidifies the secondary. It also allows them to focus on defensive end and linebacker in the draft. We don’t know what will happen with the labor situation, but I think the Falcons have set themselves up well for the long haul.
Justin in Shelby, NC writes: The Panthers have let Julius Peppers go and have failed to make many offseason moves in past years. With the lackluster season last year, what much-needed offseason moves will the Panthers make?
Pat Yasinskas: That’s the question on the minds of many Carolina fans right now and only Marty Hurney, John Fox and Jerry Richardson know what really is up the Panthers’ sleeve. Friday’s purge of players definitely weakened the roster – at least in the short term. Right now, the Panthers probably have the weakest defensive line in the league and lots of other holes. But let’s wait to see what the flip side of all this is. But I don’t anticipate Richardson will allow a spending spree in free agency.
Aaron in Louisville writes: With Charles Grant being cut, does that count as losing a player in the final four plan making the Saints a player to sign a player equal to his salary?
Pat Yasinskas: No, cutting a player doesn’t do the trick. The Saints would have to have one of their unrestricted free agents (Darren Sharper and Scott Fujita are the most prominent) signed by another team for them to be able to turn around and sign an unrestricted free agent. However, they can sign players who have been released by other teams.
Tim in Hayden, Ala. writes: You seem to be ignoring the Falcons in your mail bags. A ton of questions about the Saints, Panthers and Bucs and hardly anything about the Falcons. Us Falcon fans are feeling a little left out.
Pat Yasinskas: Glad you took the time to notice. Please send some Atlanta questions. I can only work with what I get in the mailbag.
Jonathan in Honolulu writes: Any chance Carolina might take a look at Terrell Owens, or are there too many character flaws for him to come play along-side Steve Smith?
Pat Yasinskas: I’ll guarantee you right now you’re not going to see Owens (or Michael Vick) in Carolina.