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February 15, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Pat Yasinskas

Marty (Nazareth Pa.)

Pat any chance of Tony Gonzoles playing another season and not retier?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:52 PM)

Yes, as Thomas Dimitroff first told me during Super Bowl week, Falcons are making a strong pitch to Gonzalez to come back. I think there's a decent chance he does.

James G. (Washington)

Pat we've heard about the free agent market for Matt Flynn and Alex Smith, but is there a market for Cnase Daniel or is he staying with the Saints?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:54 PM)

Think he most likely returns to Saints. Possible someone could be willing to take a shot on him. But doubt anybody would really offer big money or chance at a starting job. So he's probably best off where he is.

Sean D. (Mobile, Al)

Was Rob Ryan a good choice in your opinion? I dont know 1 Saints fan that thinks so.... He and his brother write checks all day long that their butts cannot cash.... Do we really need that in New Orleans?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:55 PM)

Well, you had something similar once before and that helped get you a Super Bowl title. Of course, it also came with a down side.

Mitch (NOLA)

Any chance Gonzoles plays next season, but not for the Falcons?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:55 PM)

Suspect it's Falcons or not at all.

Jeremy (Norfolk)

With the Panthers beginning to restructure contracts, how careful do they have to be against committing money to the cap much beyond the next two years? After that, Cam Newton will be expecting a healthy contract, and, if his rookie season was any indication, so will Luke Kuechly a year after that.

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:56 PM)

That's an excellent point. They have to be very careful not to spread too much more money into the future.

Tyler (Panthers fan) (In class)

Hey pat, long time follower. I have a statement and a question. 1) I believe Williams should be kept over stewart. Williams is a home run hitter, more durable and has done much more in a starting role. Do you think he could restructure and they could trade stewart? Also, does Carolina take a WR in the first? Smitty is still fantastic, and LaFell is improving but carolina will need another speedy guy like smith. Can carolina find the next smith in the top 3 rounds?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:58 PM)

As I wrote the other day, I agree with you that Williams is the better RB. But this is going to be about finances. Stewart has guaranteed money in his contract. There's no way out of that deal. Releasing Williams would save them cap space. As for WR, they could address it maybe in second or third round.

Darin (Louisville Ky)

Hey Pat the bucs are scary short on corners. Heard they have room to make moves in free agency and its right around the corner.... Any thoughts? Dunta Robinson? Brent Grimes?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:00 PM)

Suspect they'll sign at least one FA corner. We'll see who comes out of Atlanta. But there are some other guys out there I like -- Tracy Porter, Cary Williams, Dominique Rogers Cromartie and more guys will come available between now and start of free agency.

Darin (Louisville)

Hey Pat I heard the bucs want to bring in another qb to compete with Freeman. Why? He did break a few franchise records. Over 4000 yrds n 27 tds....

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:01 PM)

He also had a couple of four-interception games during a five-game losing streak. I still think there's hope for him, but it doesn't hurt to add an alternative just in case.

Ben (Atlanta GA)

Pat - point of clarification on your response to Tyler - CAR doesnt have a 3rd rd pick, I think they traded it to move back into the 4th this past year to grab either Joe Adams or Frank Alexander.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:02 PM)

Thanks. But they could add a pick between now and the draft.

charles (Houston, TX)

Hey Pat, any big name free agents that you know of that the Saints are looking at?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:02 PM)

Think they have to get their salary-cap situation in order before even thinking about pursuing any free agents.

charles (Houston, TX)

Hey Pat, and chance of the Saints signing Ed Reed?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:03 PM)

Wouldn't surprise me. He's got ties to the area and Saints have history of bringing in vets. Key will be money. They're not going to be able to pay much.

Dustin Murch (Charlotte, NC)

Do you think the Falcons will move turner and pick up a big name back in free agency?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:05 PM)

No, I say do it in the draft. They don't need a big-name RB. They're a pass-first team now. They just need to get someone decent and pair him with Rodgers.

Scott Hammond (Saint Amant, La)

post your question or comIn your opinion what is more important establishing a 3-4, a nose tackle or an outside pass rusher? I think NT, but every draft guru has the Saints going for a pass rusher.ment

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:05 PM)

Both are important. Could see them going either way with first pick.

Jeremy (Norfolk)

It seemed like Marty Hurney started trading the future for the present in his draft strategy beginning about five years ago. With a new GM, do you think David Gettleman and the Panthers will be more likely to move up, move down, or stay put in the draft? How does their cap situation/inability to be players in free agency affect this decision for them?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:07 PM)

The draft is more crucial for them now than ever before. They have to get players that can help right away because they're not going to be able to do much of anything in free agency.

Dustin Murch (Charlotte, NC)

Do you think the Falcons will part ways with Dunta Robinson?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:08 PM)

Think it's something they may look at. But a lot depends on Grimes. Think they need to keep one of the two.

sal (Dallas,Tx)

News is out that charles woodson is being released. He probably will come cheap. Should the Saints be interested in adding him to the mix once they deal with the in house contracts?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:09 PM)

Again, it would have to be on the cheap, but Saints have had good luck with vets in the past. It worked nicely with another guy named Woodson a few years back.

Ben (Atlanta GA)

Pat it would seem to me that getting Dwan Edwards back for CAR has to be a priority, even with the cap situation - with his relatively good year last year, do you think he is drawing interest (and bigger offers) from other teams?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:10 PM)

Think they try to keep him and should be able to. He's 31, so probably won't have teams throwing big money at him.

Rob (Houston)

Can teams restructure the original rookie contracts at any time, or do they have to wait until the last year of the contract under latest CBA?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:10 PM)

I don't think so, but I'll double check on that.

Pete (maine)

Vilma in a 3-4? Isn't that what made him expendable in NY?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:11 PM)

Exactly.

Jeremy (Norfolk)

I hope the Panthers never leave North Carolina, but do you think Jerry Richardson stating that he will never move the Panthers was the right move to get what he want from the NC legislature?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:12 PM)

Yeah, I think it helps his case in showing that Panthers aren't going anywhere.

Tyler (Panthers fan) (In class)

Steve wyche of nfl network linked Wallace to the Panthers as a dream situation. Whats your opinion?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:12 PM)

How are they going to pay him?

Pat McEniry (Yocumtown, PA)

Do you think the Saints will look at getting a new stadium considering there's had issues in the SB?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:13 PM)

No, they just put millions into the Superdome a few years ago. I'm sure the power situation can be fixed.

Captain Obvious (D)

"Again, it would have to be on the cheap, but Saints have had good luck with vets in the past. It worked nicely with another guy named Woodson a few years back."I think you mean Sharper.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:14 PM)

Yep, thank you.

Rob (Houston)

Will Gettleman FINALLY draft a DT early in the draft like Hurney never did, or is Carolina destined to leave holes up the middle for running backs forever?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:14 PM)

I think he almost HAS to draft a DT early.

Tyler (Panthers fan) (In class)

Jon Beason: Does he restructure? or will he be released

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:16 PM)

Don't know the answer to that one yet. In some ways, I suspect decision might be up to Beason. Will he take a cut in pay and be content to move outside? Or does he want to go elsewhere?

Dustin Murch (Charlotte, NC)

Do you think once the Falcons figure out their cap situations within the team, will be active in free agency?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:17 PM)

Yes, they'll free up some cap room and will make some moves in FA. Might not be a whole bunch of moves, but Falcons are usually good for one or two big moves per offseason.

Rob (Houston)

I think the biggest thing hurting the Panthers' cap situation is their RB contract situation. Since releasing doesn't really free up much space, more likely to restructure or trade Williams/Stewart?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:18 PM)

Releasing Williams would free up, I think, around $4 million. Check the post I had on that the other day for exact number. There's no way out of the Stewart contract for them right now.

Sharell (Raleigh, NC Falcon Fan)

PY. What part of Mike Smith's coaching style do you believe is holding his team back? Not just in the playoffs but even during the season, why want the Falcons ever step on the throat of their opponents.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:19 PM)

I think Smith is a tremendous coach. But I worry that he's kind of like Dungy in his Tampa Bay days -- a little too conservative, perhaps. But maybe he'll change his ways.

Ben (Atlanta GA)

Pat do you agree with some of the fan and pundit sentiment that Hurney's decisions in the draft and with re-signing players were made in a flailing effort to save his job?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:20 PM)

I think ownership might have influenced some of his decisions.

Tim (New Haven, CT)

Pat, do you know if NFL teams look at Mel Kiper and Todd McShay?s college player rankings and does that influence what they do on draft day?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:22 PM)

I think they do look at them. But do they sit there on draft day and say, "We've got to pick this guy because Mel and Todd say he's best available"? I doubt it. Every team has a bunch of scouts that they pay a lot of money too and I think they rely mostly on them.

Dustin Murch (Charlotte, NC)

Realistically do you think any NFC South teams are being considered for movement to LA?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:22 PM)

No, I don't.

Steven (Charlotte NC)

You and others speak about the Panthers regaining a 3rd Round pick this year... in your opinion how do you see them achieving this?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:23 PM)

Always possible they could work a trade somewhere.

DJW (Atlanta, GA)

Pat - what do you see as the number one need for the Falcons to address in the draft? TE? DE?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:23 PM)

Both possible. But, like I said, I still think there's a chance Gonzo comes back. Also, LT and CB could be possibilities if Baker or Grimes leave.

David F. (Cheasapeake,VA)

Wouldn't a OLB that can run be a better option for the Falcons than all of boards love for an end of the first round DE as the playoffs expossed Nichols' inability to cover TE?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:24 PM)

That's a good point, too.

Ben (Atlanta GA)

Will CAR have to make the playoffs for Rivera to keep his job or will a winning season/"upward trending" year suffice ?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:25 PM)

Think he pretty much needs to make the playoffs.

Ben (Atlanta GA)

Gettleman has had relatively good success with WR draft talent - something Hurney really had - do you think that increases the odds of going WR in the upper (1-4) rounds for CAR?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:25 PM)

Gettleman didn't do the drafting in NY. He worked on pro personnel side.

Danny (Duluth,GA) [via mobile]

What's your thoughts on the Falcons drafting Marcus Lattimore?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:27 PM)

Better do their homework to make sure that he really is going to be healthy.

Jessie (NC)

Bucs Fan Here!!! Hey Pat do you see Tampa making a push at getting Revis? If so you do think they will still draft a CB in the first or maybe grab a Greg Toler like player?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:27 PM)

I think they need to add two, maybe even three, CBs.

Dustin Murch (Charlotte, NC)

Which team in the NFC South do you believe has the best Fan Base?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:28 PM)

They're all outstanding!!!

Paul (Knoxville)

Why dont the Saints get their 2nd round pick back, if they abided by everything Fidel Goodell asked of them? This has more to do with the players winning their appeals, hence he has to save face--and this is the only way he can.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:28 PM)

Sounds about right.

Sharell (Raleigh, NC Falcon Fan)

I think our biggest and best weapon is Matt Ryan in no-huddle. Even opposing DEFENSES give Ryan credit on how he works the LOS. Will Smith ever let Ryan control the offense like P. Manning? What will have to change for Smith not to be the "New John Fox of the NFC South"?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:30 PM)

Of all people, you know I've always said they should just go no-huddle all the time. Play to Ryan's strengths.

Joe ((Falcons fan))

I like your idea about Atlanta drafting a fresh set of legs in the draft to help the backfield. Which candidates stick out?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:31 PM)

Montee Ball and the kid from Nevada intrigue me. But, honestly, there are probably about 8-10 backs they could get anywhere from third round on that could help them.

Brad (Atlanta)

Do you think the Falcons would go with a power type of running back to have a change of pace versus the pass first team they are now? Or do they go with another RB with good hands like Rodgers?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:33 PM)

Much as Falcons fans might not want to hear this, I think they should follow the Saints' lead and have a little bit of everything at RB.

Frank (Charlotte)

How confident are you in your cap numbers? I am hearing Kalil's restructure freed up $3.5mm, not $2.2mm like you said. Plus, other media outlets suggest Carolina's cap number differently than you do - do you have access to the official numbers or are you (and everyone else) merely guessing?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:33 PM)

Pretty confident in my numbers.

CP (Brooklyn, NY)

As Dave F. mentions above the Falcons could use an upgrade in there Nickel packages over Nicholas, think there is any chance Beason pulls a Lofton and signs with ATL to stick it to Carolina? What say you PY?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:34 PM)

Ooooh, that would be interesting. Would definitely give us all some entertainment. But we'll see. Beason might be content to stay in Carolina.

James (Tampa)

When is Tampa going to release Eric Wright?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:35 PM)

There's no big rush for them to do it. They don't have to trim cap space like most teams right now.

Darin (Louisville, Ky)

When do u see the bucs making their push to sign Bennett? At the combine? Im sure they want to do it before he hits the open market...

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:36 PM)

Combine is usually where those type of things start to heat up.

Brad (Atlanta)

What is your opinion of the GA Dome? Do you think they REALLY need a new stadium? Even if they don't they are probably going to get one, so do you think it really matters if it remains in downtown ATL?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:37 PM)

Georgia Dome remains serviceable. But they're going to need a new stadium in the future. I still think it will get worked out and they'll build a new one downtown. There just will be a lot more haggling back and forth before they finally make a deal.

Sharell (Raleigh, NC Falcon Fan)

Do you think Ryan is the type of QB that will talk, discuss and push Smith to go no-huddle? Sorry PY I have a lot of #HCIssues to get out. Still salty from playoff loss when we HAD A 17PT LEAD AT HOME IN NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME AND LOSS.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:38 PM)

Think Matt might be a little more forceful and vocal behind the scenes than what you see in his media interviews.

Brian (Los Angeles)

Do you think that the Bucs should target Charles Woodson or stick to younger CB prospects/

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:39 PM)

Younger.

Jared (Tampa)

I have read that the bucs might go after Talib as a free agent, this just seems crazy to me? I know we really need to rebuild the CB position from scratch but are the Bucs so desperate that they would really try to bring him back?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:40 PM)

I see absolutely no way that happens.

T-BOB (Alex)

So what are you overall thoughts on the Ryan hiring? We all get a percieved notion of someone from watching them, but have you met him and can shed some light on the kind of coach he really is?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:41 PM)

I've never covered him before, so I know about what you know. He's an aggressive, energetic guy that can be pretty vocal. Sometimes that's what you need on defense.

Brad (Atlanta)

Do you think Atlanta would really part with Abe? Seems like he would be one of the players who you would keep just in case your alternatives don't work out (hint hint Ray Edwards hint hint)?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:42 PM)

My best guess is they keep Abe. Where else do they turn for a pass rush?

Tony (NY)

Pat, there's not much talk about the Saints extending J. Graham. What have you heard and wouldn't this cost BIG money hurting the Saints' chance at signing other needs as well?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:43 PM)

Not necessarily. If they structure the deal properly (and Loomis is good at what he does), the cap hit for this year could remain pretty low.

Adam (Asheville)

After the renovations are finished any chance Carolina will get to host a superbowl in the near future?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:44 PM)

I think that would become more of a possibility than it was in the past. And I think Richardson would use his clout with the NFL to try to make that happen.

Darin (Louisville, Ky)

Just curious... What ever happened to Brian Price??

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:44 PM)

Signed with Dallas.

Jessie (Raleigh)

Any word on Ronde Barber??

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:46 PM)

Not yet. But something's got to be decided one way or the other in the next few weeks.

Jeff (CT)

Pat, you say you're confident in your numbers yet they change without explanation. You gave us a cap commitment post a month ago and then you give us updated figures a month later... every team's commitments went up, though there was no explanation given for why. What made the Falcon's cap go up? They've made no moves right?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:46 PM)

They made moves. They re-signed their practice squad and signed some street free agents. The numbers are always in flux.

Frank (CLT)

What are your thoughts on Newton going back to Auburn to get his degree? Some folks at the NFL Network are saying it is a distraction, and that he could use the off-season to prepare for next season instead, asking Brady and Brees for help...

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:47 PM)

He isn't even allowed to be at Panthers' facility for workouts until team workouts start in April. So why not go back and work on his degree?

Brad (Atlanta)

Pat, what is your personal opinion on the Super Bowl in the North?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:48 PM)

Personally, I'm against cold-weather Super Bowls. But I don't get a vote.

Greg (Tampa)

Are the Glazers going to retires Sapps 99 in the ring of honor this year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:49 PM)

Don't know yet, but it would at least seem like a possibility given his HOF selection.

Brad (Atlanta)

Pat, what is your honest opinion on Gonzo returning? What percentage do you think now that TD is saying 50-50?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:51 PM)

I've been saying all along I think there's a decent chance he returns. Probably better than 50-50.

Jeff (CT)

Thanks for the clarification Pat... I figured those moves wouldn't be included though, since practice squad guys generally aren't "top 52" salaries...

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:52 PM)

Sometimes they are top 51 guys, at least early in the offseason.

Drew (Charlotte)

How long until the Panthers cut Chris Ganble??? He's way over paid!!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:53 PM)

Think it's only a matter of time. He's been a nice player for them, but it's part of the business.

Nick (NC)

Pat did you hear about the Panthers restructured j Stew's contract?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:54 PM)

Yeah, that one wasn't the typical restructure. They just worked around his existing option bonus. They actually increased his cap figure for this year by about $300,000.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:54 PM)

Couple more questions before we wrap this session up. Fire away.

Andy (Huntersville)

Pat, its nice of you to say that all 4 NFC south teams have excellent fan bases, but seriously? Tamba Bay cant even sell enough tix to keep from being blacked out.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:56 PM)

True, but the Bucs do have their share of die-hard fans. Besides, what good would it do me to single one fan base out and insult the other three???

Greg (Tampa)

Bucs going to bring in a kicker to compete with Barth?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:57 PM)

I'm sure they'll bring in another kicker at least for training camp.

Jeff (CT)

Pat, I totally agree with you that Falcons need to cut Turner and address RB in the draft. If YOU were TD, what order would you draft what positions? Assuming we bring Baker and Moore back, I'd go DE, DT, TE, RB in the first four rounds...

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:58 PM)

Sounds about right. But not sure where you have Grimes in your scenario. If he leaves, CB moves into the equation.

Greg (Tampa)

Have a great weekend Pat

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:59 PM)

Same to all of you. Thanks for stopping by. Have a great weekend.