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February 11, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Pat Yasinskas

ken (abita springs, la.)

congrats pat on having the insight to realize that the saints are a very good team and picking them to win...from someone that has watched every down for the past 25 years, i knew in preseason this team was special...they won exactly the way they did most of the year...outscoring their opponent in the 4th (saints 15-colts0) and the defense forcing a turnover and returning it for a touchdown...nice call pat, you are one of the few nationally that got it right...WHO DAT!!!!

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:51 PM)

Well, if I were really good at predicting games, I wouldn't be here. I'd be living in Vegas. I just had a hunch it was time for the Saints to win. Good for them and good for the NFC South. Let's get this chat rolling.

Larry (Charlotte,NC)

Hey. I have a comment and question. My comment is about your article about giving the NFC South some love. Yes they deserve it but living in Charlotte, to me games in the NFC East are better and more intense. I guess the rivalries go back much further in the east than the south which makes for better games. Also consider the East killed the South head to head this past season(Your fav team the Cowboys went 4-0) and swept them in 2008 seaon. But my question is how does a trade of Julius Peppers going to NE for Vince Wilfork sound?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:52 PM)

If there is a trade of Peppers, I think the compensation will be draft picks, not players. Panthers want to get back into the firstround.

Kevin H (Las Vegas)

The saints draft everybody says that they will go defense but they are know for makeing surprise picks who do u think they would take as a surprise pick if they dont go defense?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:53 PM)

Well, let's see what, if anything happens with Reggie Bush. If he somehow is gone, RB could be a possibility.

Mike (Kennewick, WA)

How about this trade? Seattle trading Kerney, Leroy Hill, and their 2nd pick to Carolina for Jonathon Stewert and Julius Peppers?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:54 PM)

Again, I think the Panthers want draft picks, not players, if they're going to trade Peppers.

Rick Rache' (eight13 ward)

PY wuz good???as far as the boys in pewter and red,what move(s) in the offseason do you consider a must in order for the franchise to start this turnaround that this city is hungry for???and how long do you think it'll take to get there???

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:56 PM)

Lots of work to do. Get two WRs, a DT, a pass-rushing DE. Another CB and a SS. Much of that will be addressed in draft, but they'll also do some of it in free agency. How long will it take? Tough to say. Let's use 2008 Falcons as example. Everybody thought they'd be terrible. But they turned it around in a single season and made playoffs. Not saying that will happen with Bucs, but it is possible.

WHODAT (NOLA)

Pat, under the stupid FA restrictions, if the saints get rid of grant and clancy, can they pick up Peppers? If not, is there another way and what is it? Thanks for a great year! WHO DAT!

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:58 PM)

To be totally honest with you, I'm not up to date on what the restrictions will be in the FA system this year because I've been a little busy with the Saints. But I'll be sitting down with a GM tomorrow and he'll bring me up to speed.

Mike (SC)

If Peppers doesn't get the franchise for the Panthers, who would be the leading candidate now? Are there any unrestricted free agents of note?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:58 PM)

They don't have to use franchise tag. In fact, I think they'd prefer not to.

VC (Virginia Beach, VA)

Hi Pat, after Carolina's strong finish this past season. Do you think they can bounce back and win the division next season?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:59 PM)

Sure, it's possible. They've got tons of talent. Gotta get solid at QB, get a No. 2 WR and a DT.

Gene (Metairie)

Most are not picking the Saints to repeat. Can you give your opinion on it

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:00 PM)

We're picking next year's Super Bowl winner already? Geez, I haven't even unpacked my car from Super Bowl yet. Let's wait to see what moves everyone makes in offseason.

Michael (Gainesville, GA)

Pat, how much have you heard, or what kind of suspicions do you have about how much confidence the Falcons brass has in Biermann and Sidbury going into next season? I really like both guys, especially Sidbury as a pass rusher, but he is a bit of a project. Can we expect a stop gap free agent or a high draft pick to come in?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:01 PM)

Think they're both projects and pass-rush specialists. Think you'll see an early pick used on a DE.

chris (kingston, on)

are the bucs going to sign ruud long term or just give him what the market is offer???

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:02 PM)

They don't seem to be jumping up and down to get a long-term deal done. They can let him play as a restricted FA this year. I think they want to see him make some plays and be a leader before they give him a bic contract.

Antonio Bryant (Tampa Fl)

Pat....will I get tagged? Traded?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:03 PM)

You'll simply be allowed to walk.

J Glove (Ponchatoula, La)

Hi pat, do you think saints let go reggie bush and go for LT since he feels that he is done in SD??

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:04 PM)

Why? LT's old. They let Deuce go and avoided signing Edgerrin James when they had the chance. What do you need an old RB for?

Dan (Sacramento)

Who if any WR do you see the BUCS targeting in free agency?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:05 PM)

Too early to say because there will be guys getting cut and we're not 100 percent sure if there will be a new labor deal or not and that could change who is on the market. But fact is Bucs have to get two starting WRs this offseason -- maybe one in draft and onein free agency.

Lance (New Orleans)

Being that an NFC South team never repeats as division champs, and the team that finished last finished first the next year, what do you think is more likely, Saints winning it again, or a Buccaneers surprise?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:06 PM)

Never rule out anything, but Bucs have a lot of work to do. Saints might want to worry about Panthers and Falcons -- they both have plenty of talent.

Gary (Charlotte )

Pat, many of my fellow Panthers fans are for the idea of letting him walk, mainly because of the 20mil we would have to spend, but I keep telling them there is no guarantee the Panthers will even be big players in Free Agency and use that money on big name guys. I really believe that if Hurney had the choice he would tag and trade Peppers, but just letting him walk reeks of The Big Cat holding back the purse, so even if they let Peppers walk there is not guarantee they will be big players

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:07 PM)

I tend to agree with you. Knowing how Hurney thinks, I think they'll tag him and trade him for draft picks before they ever have to pay him.

J. White (Albany, GA)

The Falcons look like the next NFC South team that, with a few players might be next years" Saints". Quotes from Falcons management indicate little interest in high priced FAs and favor draft picks. Do you see them among the 1020 elite?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:08 PM)

Think Falcons have a very good core in place. Get their injured guys back and make a few tweaks and they're contenders.

Dan (Sacramento)

Pat, every time I go to a west coast played BUCS game we lose, should I go the 49ers game this year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:08 PM)

Sure, go.

Tripp (DC)

Pat, when do the NFL 2010 TV/Time Schedules come out? Will the Saints have a couple more home primetime games you think?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:10 PM)

Usually comes in April, before the draft. Yes, I think you can count on quite a bit of Saints in prime time.

Roger (NOLA)

Hey Pat. Dream season continues? Uncapped year is great opportunity for Saints to lock up their core players with contracts that front load salaries in 2010 creating room in future years. Will Tom-Rita part with the big bucks?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:11 PM)

Suspect that Saints probably made some money this season and realized winning can make them a lot more money. Best way to keep winning is to spend money.

Stephen (Baton Rouge)

If nothing happens with the CBA, how does the Saints FA work? If they don't lose anyone they can't sign anyone correct? If they lose 1, are they limited to signing 1, or is it that once they are in the game they can sign as many as they want?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:12 PM)

Again, because of Super Bowl duties, I haven't had time to really look at rules if we have an uncapped year. I'm going to meet with a GM tomorrow and get a crash course in all that and will share what I learn after that.

Rick Rache' (eight13 ward)

I'm thinking the same thing...I looked through the list of free agents and really wasnt too impressed...the thought of SBreaston in pewter sounded good...I wouldnt mind gettin ABenn or BLafell with one of those 2nd rounders either...t SS,I have my hopes on the hometown kid NAllen...McShay blew me with JPP staying home in the latest mock draft...thoughts???

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:13 PM)

With all due respect to the great Todd McShay, I disagree with the JPP pick at No. 3. If the top two DTs are gone, I'd say Bucs would go with Berry. But, hey, we're a long way from the draft.

Rickey Jackson (City Champ)

I had a good week, how about you?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:14 PM)

You had a better week! Congrats.

Matt (Chicago)

Pat -- I have had some friendly debates with friends and colleagues about what the Saints' victory means for the city of NO and the region. While I do not think anyone is under the delusion that this will tangibly speed or enhance the recovery of the city, I do think that the Saints' relationship with their fans and the team's ability to bridge racial/socioeconomic divides is pretty unique. Would you tend to agree or is this just championship-induced exceptionalism?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:15 PM)

I think there's no doubt that it helps with morale in the entire Gulf region and gives people a point of pride.

Jake Mount (Philadelphia)

What do you think the Eagles' will do with all three of their Quarterbacks?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:15 PM)

Jake, I'm the NFC South guy, so I don't have a real solid answer for you. Sorry.

Jeremy (fontana,ca)

Do you see the Panthers going out and signing a veteran QB, or are they comfortable with Moore and Delhomme moving forward. I feel Moore could be the QB of the future, but I fear that Fox's loyalty to Delhomme could have him back in the #1 spot come camp.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:17 PM)

Think they've got to at least bring in someone to compete with Moore. He could be the guy, but do you really know that for sure? As far as Delhomme, I think you've got to cut your losses and just let him go. If he's your starter again, that sends a horrible message to the rest of the team. I respect Delhomme immensely as a person, but this is just the way I see it -- sad, but true.

Richard (Ann Arbor)

Not something generally said about guys drafted in the 2nd round, but Tracy Porter looks like a steal based on his production in only two seasons.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:19 PM)

I think we can go ahead and give Tracy the "steal" designation. Guy was a stud when it mattered most and pretty darn good the rest of the time. When he and Greer are healthy, that's an incredible CB combo.

Bill (Laplace, LA)

Pat, great job this year! It seems to me that the NFC south could be the best division next year. Atlanta should have a healthy defense, Carolina will be good, as well as the Saints. What do you think?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:20 PM)

Yes, Atlanta, Carolina and, even Tampa Bay, all should be better next season. Should be fun.

Matt Hurney (Charlotte, NC)

Hey Pat, I'm trying to play hard ball with Julius by not talking to him. We tried to pay him 2 years ago after 2 and a half sacks and he declined. Last year he didn't want to play with us and wanted to play in a 3-4 defence. This year he's deciding that he doesn't want to be in Carolina because we don't want him. We do want julius but it's obvious he still doesn't want to be here. What do you think I should do for the best of the Organization?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:20 PM)

Matt, are you any relation to Marty Hurney, the general manager of the Carolina Panthers???

Charlie (Dallas)

Did Drew Brees just make himself a Hall of Famer on Sunday?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:21 PM)

Yep, if he wasn't there already.

Mike (Charlotte )

Pat, this week you wrote a blog post about the Saints trying to get Peppers. I really don't think they can get him. First the final four rules says that they can only sign a free agent if they lose one and the free agent they sign has to be equal to the one they lost. So say if the Saints lost Mark Brunell and he signed the vet minimum somewhere else they cannot sign a player like Peppers. Also they have alot of things to take care of at home. Brees contract, will they keep Bush, what about Jamal Brown, they also have restricted free agents like Lance Moore and Jahri Evans. Plus Pep wants something new, its not like the Saints are doing anything different on D from what he has been doing in the 4-3.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:22 PM)

Mike, as I said a little earlier, I haven't had time to get up to speed on the FA rules if we have an uncapped year because I was tied up with the Super Bowl. I'll be talking to someone tomorrow who will bring me up to speed on all that.

ChuckT (Raleigh, NC)

With the triangle being home to one of the best fanbases in the country, (see Canes, Heels, Devils, Pack, etc. I mean, if a Hockey team can get a loyal following in NC.......), what do you think my chances are at lobbying to have the Panthers moved to Raleigh?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:23 PM)

Not a chance. They've got a great stadium and fan base in Charlotte. You can make the ride down there to see them.

Bill (Laplace, LA)

Pat, I am going to try to see the Saints play at either Tampa or Carolina next season. Which one of these fine cities has the best game day atmosphere?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:25 PM)

Wait to see the sked. If you can go to Charlotte in September or October, there aren't too many nicer places. If the game's in November or December, you might want to opt for Tampa -- although we've got a cold spell right now. Car thermometer was 47 degrees when I was out a bit ago.

Tim H (Mebane)

If Delhomme is back, Pat, don't be surprised if he is the 'unspoken' starter in Fox's mind. -- Matt will have to win it. ---- I hate it, but thats the Fox way.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:26 PM)

Understand where you're coming from, but I think that would cause a major mutiny with the rest of the players.

Lavar (Houston)

Pat, it seems to me the national media has a bit of reluctance about giving the saints proper credit for beating everyone they had to beat. It seems unless the saints blew a team out we were just "lucky". Also I how can the saint pay reggie 10 million, when pierre thomas was more of an contributor?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:27 PM)

Forget the national media and all the talk about "respect" or disrespect. Saints are Super Bowl champions and that's all that really matters.

Marc (Charlotte)

Drew Brees is a Hall of Famer and may have been before he won the Super Bowl? Please explain.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:29 PM)

Even if he'd lost the Super Bowl and played another five years at something close to his current pace and won a few more playoff games down the road, he would have had the numbers and the resume. Now, he's got the SB championship and he could add more. But, he's just filling out numbers, for the rest of his career because he's already got a spot in the HOF.

Jeff (Charlotte, NC)

There seem to be several reports and speculation that the Bucs will NOT be very active, if at all, in FA. What do your sources tell you, and if they are which one position will be address 1st?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:31 PM)

Think they'll be somewhat active. Not saying anything major, but they can't afford to just sit still and wait for the draft. Too many needs. At least have to get one starting WR in free agency.

Will (queen city)

Pat share some insight please.....What do u make of this nonsense about the panthers letting peppers just walk? granted its just media hype and these things often turn out to not be true.... but its a bit annoying no one has come out and squashed the rumor yet.How can anyone sanely try to justify Pep isnt worth the 20 mil AFTER spending 18.5 this yaer? Granted no one other than elite QB is worth that loot... howeve r$ is irrelevant with no cap in place so if you spend 18.5 in a CAPPED year that hinders your ability to get quality FA that have said they want to come to your team (torry holt), how in hades does anyone justify not spending a lil bit more to keep him when there is NO CAP???its truly the height of stupidity to me...however your more football savy than I, but please as a humble panthers fan... can you make sense out of this for me? It literally is the craziest thing Ive heard of.If your interested in winning as you claim (still havent forgotten that superbowl victory the Big Cat promised us in 10 years of franchise start) then how can you even attempt to justify not spending the $ on Pep, if only to at least get some picks for him via a trade?letting him walk is utter blashemy to me. Please, Please, respond

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:31 PM)

I don't think they'll just let him walk, but I think he's done in Carolina. My guess is they'll tag him and trade him for whatever draft picks they can get.

steve (toronto)

Any chance of Brandon Marshall to Tampa bay? And if so what would it take to get him in pewter? Imagine K2 and Marshall, it would make Freeman's life A LOT easier.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:32 PM)

K2 and Brandon Marshall together? Well,that would be a lot of talent. But lots of headaches with those two together.

Gary (Charlotte )

Pat, In your bio it says you went to law school. What made you become a journalist and not a lawyer.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:34 PM)

Came down with mono in my second semester and had to withdraw from law school because you can't miss any time. Had done some part-time work covering high schools while I was in college. Started doing that again after I felt better. Got offered a full-time gig, liked it more than sitting in a law library all day and the rest is history. Never have regretted this move.

Mike (Tampa, FL)

Pat, Are you done sucking up to the Saints yet? The drool on your face for them throughout the year had me wanting to get you a towel and a bib.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:36 PM)

Listen, pal, I was doing my job. In case you didn't notice, the Saints were playing in this little thing called the Super Bowl and they won it. They and their city are one of the biggest sports stories in recent times. Had the Bucs gone 13-3, I would have been happy to have stayed home and "sucked up" to them. Have a clue what you're talking about before you say something like that.

Jeff (Charlotte)

Hey Gary (Charlotte )...Pat's a journalist because he's in it for the money. ;)

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:38 PM)

True, if you could have seen the student loans I would have had if I stayed in law school ...they were outrageous. Plus, that was at a time when everybody was going to law school because of LA Law.

Ben Tew (NJ)

"Listen, pal, I was doing my job. In case you didn't notice, the Saints were playing in this little thing called the Super Bowl and they won it. They and their city are one of the biggest sports stories in recent times. Had the Bucs gone 13-3, I would have been happy to have stayed home and "sucked up" to them. Have a clue what you're talking about before you say something like that."This is why you're the best writer on ESPN.go.com. BELIEVE!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:39 PM)

Thank you, Ben.

Aaron (Dade City)

What would the Bucs have to give up to get the first overall pick in the draft to secure Suh

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:40 PM)

Hang loose on that one. No need to panic yet. We haven't even seen these guys work out at the combine yet. A lot of times, draft order speculation changes a lot after the combine.

Lloyd (Baton Rouge, LA)

I think Mike from Tampa is a Keith Brooking fan with all that crying he's doing. Waaaaa, my team sucks, why isn't anyone paying attention to them. WAAAAAAAAA!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:41 PM)

Nice analogy, Lloyd. Congrats to you, by the way. Know you're as dedicated a Saints fan as there is.

Steve (Toronto)

Any chance of Brandon Marshall to Tampa bay? And if so what would it take to get him in pewter? Imagine K2 and Marshall, it would make Freeman's life A LOT easier.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:43 PM)

Think I answered this once, but you keep sending it. Marshall and Winslow together would be a ton of talent. But can the Bucs handle the headaches that would come with putting those two together.

Cadillac Williams (Tampa, FL)

You think I'll get 3 - 4 year deal or can I expect the 1 year tender offer for restricted free agents.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:43 PM)

Restricted all the way.

Mike (NYC)

Pat,Tim Tebow joining the NFC South next year -- is there a scenario where he might fit in?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:44 PM)

Yeah as a TE for any of the four teams.

Rick Rache' (eight13 ward)

LA Law???I think you jus told us how young you are not...lol...either way,couldnt think of a better person to run the NFC SB...

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:45 PM)

Yeah, believe the year was either 89 or 90.

Morgue (Boone)

Franchising Peppers, signing him, letting him walk.....all are options for Hurney, but what is going on with not talking to him? That just sounds unprofessional and counter-productive. Is there something personal going on here with Hurney or is it his ego getting in the way? It just doesn't make sense.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:46 PM)

First off, Hurney is not an ego guy. You're only hearing one side of the story and that's Peppers' side. Hang loose, it will play out and cards will be put on the table soon enough.

Ken (NY)

Pat now that it seems Peppers isn't coming back, what are the chances that the money they save they use towards getting Antonio Bryant?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:47 PM)

Antonio Bryant and Steve Smith together? In the same locker room? Sometimes it's wise to think about chemistry before making a move. Only one guy ever has co-existed well with the little fella and that's Muhsin Muhammad.

ChuckT (Raleigh, NC)

Pat, why is it that all the media coverage on the Peppers situation is geared towards big market teams and their chances of "picking him up", as opposed to the fans it matters most to.....Panther fans?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:48 PM)

Um, probably because Peppers wants out of Carolina and it's gonna take a big market team to afford him. Plus, he wants to be in a big market.

Jane (NOLA )

Pat, do you know how many superbowl records the Saints broke on Sunday?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:50 PM)

Not off the top of my head. You got an answer for me?

Barrett Ruud (Tampa, FL)

Got the feeling there's going to a a lot of guys playing on 1 year tenders.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:50 PM)

Probably very true -- all around the league this year.

Patrick (Charlotte)

Pat, are there any FA WR's that stand out to you as possible fits for Carolina next year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:51 PM)

Breaston is one name that seems to be popping up quite a bit. I haven't truly had time to study FA lists closely yet.

William B. (Nassau, The Bahamas)

Saints won 16 this season. Pat your golf handicap...over under 16? And are you taking a break soon?, you need the rest

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:53 PM)

Quit golf a long time ago because I was starting to throw clubs. However, I've got a Golden Tee machine. Personal best round is -23. Yes, I need a break, but can't abandon NFC South fans. Besides, I'm getting over a bad cold and working through it. If I'm feeling better, I might actually take off my first weeekend since July.

Ken (NY)

In my opinion it would make no sense to trade williams or stewart for anybody. Last year the stats show that they were the best RB duo in the history of the NFL.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:55 PM)

Agree. I wouldn't break that tandem up for anything. You need two good RBs to get through a season and they've got two great RBs.

Arnaud (Austin)

Did you make it to Lombardi Gras on Dat Tuesday? It was unreal with over 800,000 attendees!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:55 PM)

Unfortunately, I did not. But I've had several NOLA friends send me pics and videos. Looked incredible.

Rick Rache' (eight13 ward)

I agree with the possible headaches if K2 and BMarshall were on the same team...but if they could have a team first attitude,wow...secondaries beware...what about sleeper players that many analysts are overlooking...Jerry Hughes or Perrish Cox or even Domonique Franks...

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:56 PM)

If they could have a team-first attitude is a huge question with those two.

Richard (Ann Arbor)

Other than draft week, are there any more chats scheduled?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:58 PM)

Richard, haven't even discussed it yet. But I imagine we'll go pretty similar to what we did last year. I may take a little down time here and there. But, for the most part, we'll have chats most weeks at least through the draft and minicamps. I'll post updates on the blogs. But the chats won't completely disappear. The turnouts have been great and you guys have been great. Two more questions before we end this one.

Bubba (Lower Forty)

Let's say the Falcons go after a DE in the first round, get Jerry back in the lineup. What the heck are they gonna do with Jamal???

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:59 PM)

Make him restructure his contract and use him in the DT rotation.

Mike (Raleigh, NC)

Is there anything the Panthers can get for Jake? I know they still owe him around 12 mil on his contract but is there any way to get around paying 12 mil for a backup/bench warmer?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:00 PM)

Your best -- and only -- hope is that they convince him to retire.

Murnell (NOLA)

Pat,would you consider the Saints an elite team since they won the big game.

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:01 PM)

Yes, I think we're fair in saying winning the Super Bowl qualifies them as an elite team. All right, time to run. Thanks to all for stopping by.