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Tuesday, March 31, 2009
NFC South evening roundup


Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Time for an evening trip through the local headlines in the NFC South.

FALCONS

This one should be a bit of a surprise to anyone who has ever flown into or out of Atlanta. Delta Air Lines Inc. has decided not to renew its sponsorship deal with the Falcons. Reportedly, the airline will focus its sports marketing efforts mainly on Major League Baseball and the New York City area. Kind of interesting when you've got Matt Ryan and the potential for the Falcons to be very good for the next decade in your own backyard.

There's been a lot of talk about how the Falcons have been so quiet in free agency. But Daniel Cox brings up a good point to counter that. He reminds us the Falcons re-signed defensive end Chauncey Davis after last season. They also signed receiver Michael Jenkins and defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux to contract extensions in the middle of last season. In a way, you have to count those three as part of this year's free-agency class.

Chris Mortensen reports Michael Vick has reached a settlement agreement with the Falcons in which he'll pay the team either $6.5 million or $7.5 million, depending on an upcoming decision by an appeals court.

BUCCANEERS

Receiver Antonio Bryant insisted to the media that he's not unhappy about carrying the franchise tag, which guarantees him almost $10 million this season. But Bryant admitted he would have preferred a long-term contract, which still could happen. Bryant showed up for minicamp Tuesday and said all the right things. But he also sounded like a man with a chip on his shoulder. That's not uncommon for wide receivers. Actually, that formula worked quite well last year for Bryant when he was trying to prove himself after a season out of the NFL. Maybe keeping Bryant in that position and that frame of mind might be a smart move by the Bucs.

SAINTS

John DeShazier weighs in on the Saints' decision to move training camp to their year-round practice facility after three years at Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss. He likes the move and it's likely the players do, too. As he points out, this move isn't a slight of Jackson because the facilities at Millsaps are excellent. But having the Saints train in Metairie will generate a lot more buzz and goodwill at home.

PANTHERS

Alabama outside linebackers coach Sal Sunseri isn't hesitant to tell his new players how he used to coach Julius Peppers. Sunseri used to be the defensive line coach for the Panthers and there was a fan-generated school of thought that he and defensive coordinator Mike Trgovac might have been part of the reason Peppers wants out of Carolina. But that doesn't hold any water. Peppers had a good relationship with both coaches and he hasn't reversed his desire to get out since Sunseri and Trgovac left.