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March 16, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Pat Yasinskas

GurS (Nottingham, UK)

Pat, ready to kick off the chat yet? If yes, tell me what you think about Mark Dominik hinting that Mason Foster might stay at Mike?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:04 PM)

Yep, sorry I'm a bit later than usual. But our tech people made some changes to format for signing into chat that I didn't know about. So made for a couple hectic minutes. We'll make it up on the back end. On Foster, I think Dominik was saying, after coaches reviewed his film, they're keeping door open on him in the middle. But I also think they're monitoring Lofton to see if his price tag comes down. Could have their eyes on some others as well.

Eddie (Atlanta)

Will Atlanta pursue Marcus McNeil?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:04 PM)

I would hope so. We all know they need a LT. Only thing there is they better have their medical people do a very thorough check on him.

Joseph (Toluca, Mexico)

Hey Pat--hope you see this Q before the chat, as I will miss it.What does the Saints' cap situation look like after Brees, Colston, and Grubbs? And if Mike Triplett is correct that Vilma won't be released, how much could they free up by restructuring his contract?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:06 PM)

Everything's very much in flux with cap right now. But last I saw on the Saints was they had between $5 million and $6 million. HOWEVER, that was before Grubbs deal, so obviously it's less now. On Vilma, I don't think a restrucutre would save any more than $2 million. Releasing him would save around $3.7. I'm not totally convinced he's sticking around. We'll see.

Andy (Edison, NJ)

Why would the Aints show interest in Curtis Lofton if they plan to keep Vilma?? Lofton wants big time money, not role player money, if so, he could have re-upped with the Falcons as a 2 down LB in Nolan's system.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:08 PM)

Lofton's price tag might be dropping. If teams were throwing him kind of money he wanted, he'd already be signed somewhere. And, again, despite the report, I'm not totally sold that Vilma will be with Saints when the season gets here.

Max (Fayetteville NC)

Any place to find where a team stands salary cap wise. What are the panthers currently at. I know we can't be in good shape cap wise.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:09 PM)

I saw them about $2.5 under yesterday, but that was before this morning's moves.

Jeff B (CT)

Hi Pat! Do you know how much cap space ATL has right now? It seems they may have less space than we thought before free agency began?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:10 PM)

Again, cap is in some flux for everyone. I saw Falcons at about $7 million under, but that was before Douglas and Redman deals. Haven't seen them yet.

Adam (Ocala, Fl)

Hey Pat, as a Bucs fan I think that the Glazers sent a huge signal that they are in fact committed to this team. What is your opinion. and do you think the signings will lead to fewer blackouts this year? Thanks

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:12 PM)

I could definitely feel some excitement in Tampa this week. Not sure this solves the sellout issue right away. They might need to win a few games first to really bring attendance back. But, hey, it's a good start.

Free (Pittsburgh)

Hey Pat, what a difference a week makes for the Bucs. Really excited about the additions to the team. Do you think they are going to upgrade the L.B. and R.B. positions in F.A.? and if so, who are they targeting?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:13 PM)

Lots of RBs sitting out there still. I think only four FA RBs have signed so far. So that means price tags are dropping and Bucs can add help there and maybe also in the draft. I'm also sure there will be some movement at LB. We might not be talking about guys as prominent as Jackson and Nicks, but there are guys at those positions they should be able to get at reasonable prices.

Ken (Pineville)

on behalf of senseinobaka in the comment section good question:Pat (hopefully you read the comment section), I may not be able to join for the chat, but I did have an 'out there' question. Free agent WR, Braylon Edwards, has exactly one good season to his name (16 TDs and 1200+ yards). The interesting thing is that good season was on an offensive season run by Chudzinski. If the Chud is able to use Braylon Edwards? talents? should the Panthers offer him a contract? I'm crazy...right?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:15 PM)

Unless Chud has lots of power and can convince ownership and front office to take a chance on Braylon and can convince Braylon to come for very little money, I don't see it.

Trey (Charlotte, nc)

was letting travelle wharton go a good move for the panthers?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:16 PM)

Was personally sad to see it because Travelle's a good guy and was a solid player for a long time. But, it's a business and they needed the cap room. He's older and his cap figure was high.

Buckley (NO)

Why is everyone so upset about the supposed bounty program? Take off the skirts and blouses and hit someone. It wasn't like they were trying to kill anyone. Aren't you always trying to knock out the other teams QB?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:16 PM)

Ask Roger Goodell what he thinks about that.

mike (st pete)

Pat, am i the only one that thinks that Richardson in the first to the bucs is a horrible idea? Its just a RB!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:17 PM)

That's a growing sentiment around the league that RBs just aren't as important as they once were. And I point back to how only a handful of RBs have been signed in free agency so far.

Tony (Daytona)

hey Pat, so when are we going to hear about Ronde?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:18 PM)

When Ronde makes a decision. Dominik said the other day, it's totally up to Ronde and they're willing to give him more time to make that decision.

T (LOUISVILLE, KY)

Any knowledge of how much the sainrs offer was to carl nicks?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:19 PM)

No, he said it was respectable and I'm sure it was. But Bucs went ahead and threw it all at him. They knew they had to go overboard to get him and they did.

Brandon (Vancouver)

My first reaction to the Bucs' signings was to feel a bit bad from Raheem. He may not have been the best coach, but all he got was a punter.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:20 PM)

It's a valid point. But there was a lot more involved in Raheem's tumble than just the personnel he had.

Trey (Charlotte, nc)

Do you think Ron rivera will play a bigger role on defense this year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:21 PM)

He has said he will and I suspect that will come true. Last season, he was adjusting to being a head coach. Plus, I think Panthers will have better defensive personnel this year, especially with Beason and Edwards back from injuries.

Dan (Sacramento)

Do you think the Bucs will take a serious look at Tolbert from San Diego?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:23 PM)

I know their name has been tied to him and I think there's some interest. But I think he's visiting somewhere else today. Bucs already made their big splurge. They're going to let market come to them now. If Tolbert's still sitting out there at a good price, maybe. If not, there are lots of other RBs out there.

Chris (Atlanta)

What's the plan for DE for Falcons now Pat IYO?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:24 PM)

Wish I knew. They've got to get a pass rusher. Some rumblings Abe could return if his salary demands drop. I like Abe and he was a good player for a long time. But not sure bringing him back at 34 is such a great idea.

Jacob (Michigan)

Vincent Jackson tended to only barely get over 100 targets on most years for him, if the Bucs throw at him like the other elite production WRs I see no reason he cannot put up 80-90 catches 1300-1500 yards and 10-12 TDs.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:25 PM)

I think Bucs would be thrilled with those numbers and I think it's possible.

Joel (Tampa)

Where would you say the most likely landing places for curtis lofton? Bucs? Saints? Others?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:26 PM)

Don't think there's a clear front-runner right now. Think Curtis is disappointed his market wasn't as high as he thought and I'm guessing he's kind of re-adjusting his thinking right now.

Jeff B (CT)

Pat, has free agency in the NFC South been surprising to you so far? Seems like you expected to see a little more action from ATL, and a little less from TB and NOR than what we've seen so far?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:28 PM)

Definitely expected at least one fairly big move from Falcons. Surprised the Saints have been able to do as much as they have given their cap situation, although the Brees situation seems to be something of a powder keg, unless or until they get him signed to a long-term deal. I'm only slightly surprised by Bucs. We knew they'd be active. Just didn't think it would be two major guys and another solid one on the first day of free agency.

Jeremy (Rochester, NY)

The Panthers seem to be the team in the top 10 that is targeting a DT in the draft. Because there is so much depth at the DT position with Still, Brockers, Cox and Poe do you see a situation where Carolina may move back? Hurney has done it before, maybe someone who will reach for Tannehill from A&M?

Brandon (Vancouver)

Can we all agree that the process of readjusting the market for an MLB should be called "Ruuding"?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:30 PM)

Very clever!!!

Brock (Aspen, CO)

I do think the Falcons need to part ways with Abe...maybe grab some rotational guys for this year and see if they can hit big in the draft.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:30 PM)

Yeah, but it's tough to get a sure thing when you don't pick until second round.

GurS (Nottingham, UK)

Pat, I asked a while ago if you knew how Cody Grimm's rehab was coming along, and you said you hadn't heard anything then but would like into it. Have you heard anything recently? With Sean Jones an FA (as is Corey Lynch, who has stepped in once or twice), and Tanard Jackson clearly not back to pre-suspension form, we could REALLY use a health Grimm for training camp...

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:32 PM)

Sorry, been a little tied up with free agency and haven't remembered to check on that. Things are slowing down now, so I'll try to see what I can find out for you.

ByHenSr (Kenner, LA.)

Hi Pat, love the blog, my question is do you thing anyone in Flowery Branch knows that free agency started this week, or did they not get the memo?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:35 PM)

Like I said, I'm surprised by how quiet they've been. But I think they will spring into action at some point. Obviously, they didn't want to play in Mario Williams sweepstakes or anything else huge. But I think you'll see them get involved in second wave. They have a bit of cap room right now and there are still several players they could easily cut for cap room. I'm guessing they'll jump in next week, but it just won't be anything huge like many of you hoped or like I expected.

Mickey L (5800 Airline Drive, Metarie)

Pat, I'll accept your apology in advance, but we do know a little something about cap metrics in this building. We'll have Brees signed as soon as his agent gets back from La-La land, and we'll get a starter for our linebacker corps, all while fielding the best team in the NFCS.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:36 PM)

You've always been a master at working the cap!

Ty (Nashville)

Pat. Thanks again for the chat. So have you heard if the Saints are close to signing any of the multitude of LB's they have been bringing in? Personally I like Hawthorne the best. What's your take?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:38 PM)

No, I think they're doing their due dilligence -- bringing them all in for visits and comparing price tags. Personally, I like Lofton, but I may be biased because I've known him and watched him for four years. Think he's a very good MLB and a great leader. True, he's not great in pass coverage, but I don't think he's horrible in it either and, if you scheme things right, you can keep him from being a liability.

Andrew Hawkins (West Virginia)

Any word on what we plan to do with Winslow? I would have liked to have had another TE to go with Stocker and just cut K2 and free up that money and the problems he seemed to be causing on the field.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:40 PM)

I still wouldn't be surprised if something happens there. Lot depends on what new staff thinks of him. But he's got a high cap figure, is a little older and has knee issues. Plus, Sullivan's calling the plays now. If he follows the system he was in with Giants, Bucs might not be throwing to TE as much.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:43 PM)

Lofton, anyone of a bunch of RBs that are sitting out there and same with a fair amount of OLBs. But, again, they're kind of letting market settle down, so I don't want to waste time listing guys that will be off the market before Bucs jump back in for a few minor signings.

Kenneth (Salisbury)

Brandon Lloyd made some comments during an interview for Madden 13 that made it sound like he is enamored with the idea of playing with Cam Newton. Could you see the Panthers trying to sign him? I know it would have to be for the right price, but Carolina's passing attack would be scary with a weapon like Lloyd on the field with #89, Olsen, and company.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:45 PM)

Maybe you should call Marty Hurney and give him some suggestions for ways to come up with cap room to pull that off. They've already cut a couple vets and re-worked Thomas Davis' deal. Not sure there's a lot more they can do.

Brian (Baton Rouge)

I am hoping that there are no player suspensions from this bounty business, but if there are, would the Saints get cap relief from any lost player salary related to those suspensions?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:46 PM)

I'm going to have to double-check on that. But I think -- and again I've got to check -- that when Tanard Jackson was suspended, he didn't count toward Bucs' cap. I'll check and post a blog item on it over the next few days.

J.White (Georgia)

Do you feel that new OC & DC in Atlanta without much in FA or early draft choices can really make a material difference in Atlanta'a success this season.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:48 PM)

Yeah, I do. I don't think Mularkey ever fully grasped how to balance Julio and Roddy with the running game. I suspect Koetter will have a plan for that. From what I know about Nolan, I expect him to bring a more aggressive attitude to the defense and that can't hurt. Still would like to see them get a pass rusher, though.

Ty (Nashville)

Pat, do you think the Saints will be getting Mr. Brees another WR to replace Meachem or do you think they are fine as is in that department.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:49 PM)

You could see something in the draft or a minor free agent. But my guess is Adrian Arrington moves up the totem pole.

Matt Riddle (Atlanta, Ga)

Have the recent signings in the NFCS changed your perceptions of the rankings in the division? Or are they still the same as the ended in 2011? (Saints, Falcons, Panthers, Bucs)

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:50 PM)

Definitely seeing some things that would indicate possible shifting. But let's get through the draft and rest of free agency and also see what happens on Saints punishment before making any declarations on that.

Michael (N.C.)

Are you taking any Panthers questions, or am I on the wrong site????

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:51 PM)

As I often say, feel free to send them multiple times. Questions come in very quickly and I don't see them all and don't have time to count how many I'm answering for each team. I answer as many as I can as quickly as I can, but can't get to them all because there isn't even time to see them all.

Rickey (NC)

Can panthers get some solid players meaning role players with their cap space cause they won't be able solve all their problems in the draft?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:52 PM)

You might see another one or two like the safety they got today, but that's about all they've got room for.

Kenneth (Salisbury)

I'm not well-versed in NFL salary cap, but how about signing Steve Smith to an extension? How much cap room do moves like that usually free up?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:53 PM)

I think that's something they need to look at. Steve's cap figure is around $11 million this year. If they extend him a few years, they easily could free up 5-6 million.

Josh (Saint Petersburg)

I think the bucs should have kept Barret Ruud! Do you think that Ruud can fit into this team and can he go back to the player he was? If they want to bring him back.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:54 PM)

Think I said this last week. I think that bridge was burned on both sides last year.

Brock (Aspen, CO)

If he's released, do you think the Falcons would make a play for Kameron Wimbley (of the Raiders) as an answer to their pass rushing needs?

Rock Knuteney (Slidell, LA)

Given that Greg Williams liked to use Roman Harper as a sledge hammer, do you think Harper can adapt to being more of a coverage player? I think he was put out of position many times making playing coverage more difficult.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:56 PM)

Coverage is not Roman's strength. Spags likes his safeties to cover. I think they'll have to compromise there to get the most out of Roman's talents, while not exposing him to too much coverage.

Ferbie Montano (Los Angeles, CA)

Hey Pat, Do you think Eric Wright is enough for the Bucs CB position, or do you think (given Talib and Barber's situations) the Bucs should draft Claiborne and pick up Doug Martin or LaMichael James later rather then draft Richardson?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:56 PM)

They very well could still draft CB. But I think we'll know exactly what's up with Barber and Talib well before the draft.

Matt Riddle (Atlanta, Ga)

Why has Sam Baker not been released yet? Fool me once, shame on me...Fool me four times...SHAME ON SMITTY!!!!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:57 PM)

You're preaching to the choir on that one. I don't understand it either.

Brock (Aspen, CO)

My question posted but you didn't answer it????

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:58 PM)

My bad. I forgot to hit submit button on your question before posting next question. Brock's question was on if Falcons could pursue Wimbley if he comes available. I said I'm definitely in favor of it. Got to get a pass rusher first.

Brandon (Vancouver)

I wasn't trying to say Ruud wasn't good. I still have his throwback jersey in my closet collecting dust. The Bucs clearly should have resigned him instead of Black.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:57 PM)

I'd definitely be in favor of it.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:59 PM)

I'd definitely be in favor of it.

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:00 PM)

And I wasn't slighting Ruud either. I thought he was a very nice player. But that whole thing got ugly with him and the Bucs. I don't think either side would want a reunion.

joe (st pete )

whats up with lofton coming to the bucs?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:01 PM)

He's visiting with the Saints this weekend, but I think the Bucs are still monitoring that situation closely. Again there are several teams interested, but they're waiting for price tag to drop from where Curtis put it at start of free agency.

Jerry (New Orleans)

Has Atlanta gone backward so far this year

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:02 PM)

So far I don't think it would be wrong to say that. But it's not over yet. They'll get a pass rusher and a LT at some point. Dimitroff is a smart man. He's got a plan. We just haven't seen what it is yet.

Michael (SC)

Is Wimbley not considered a pass rusher?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:03 PM)

Yes, he is. I don't think anyone said he's not.

Richard (Ann Arbor, MI)

You could always hire someone to stand behind you with a clipboard and take note of how many questions each team gets. I hear Jimmy Clausen is an experienced clipboard-holder.

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:04 PM)

Nice!!! And Jimmy might be available soon.

Thomas Dimitrof (Not really sure)

Pat, can you call me when free agency starts?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:05 PM)

I've been calling you since Tuesday. But your cell phone seems to be off.

Jacob (Michigan)

If these chats gave out a prize, Richard deserves one for that comment.

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:06 PM)

Yep, we'll give Richard this week's "Line of the Week". Well done, Richard. All right, great chat. Can't believe how many questions we had. Appreciate how active all of you are. We'll do it again next week. Thanks for stopping by.