Carolina Panthers Plan to Keep RB Trio in Tact and More NFC South News

Knox Bardeen@knoxbardeenNFC South Lead WriterFebruary 25, 2013

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 07:  DeAngelo Williams #34 of the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on October 7, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The fact that the Carolina Panthers paid three running backs $89.211 million to crowd the backfield upset a large number of fans in 2012. It wasn’t because price tag was too high—OK, maybe it was a bit too high—but because the coaching staff spent the first half of the season mismanaging their talents.

With the Panthers still approximately $6 million over the 2013 salary cap, the easy fix seems to be the fact that one of Carolina’s running backs has to go. Who will it be, Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert or DeAngelo Williams?

According to the Charlotte Observer, the Panthers want to keep all three.

The trio will count $13.24 against Carolina’s 2013 cap number with Williams being the biggest chunk at $8.2 million. Carolina thinks it can retain all three at current contract levels, a league source told Joe Person, but the Panthers sure could take some relief if Williams restructured his contract.


Atlanta Falcons

Tony Gonzalez changes the way general manager Thomas Dimitroff perceives the value of tight ends (via

In need of help at linebacker, the Falcons plan to interview Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o at the NFL Scouting Combine, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

The comparisons to Aaron Hernandez were aplenty this weekend, and that’s a good thing for Florida tight end Jordan Reed, who might turn up on the Falcons’ draft board (via


Carolina Panthers

The Charlotte Observer called Tennessee wideout Cordarrelle Patterson “Big, fast and raw” and also predicted he’d be taken before Carolina had a chance at No. 14.

The Panthers may be reducing the amount of play calls that utilize the zone read in 2013, according to the Charlotte Observer.

Ron Rivera said the Panthers were to blame for Cam Newton’s dip in 2012 (via ProFootballTalk on NBCSports).


New Orleans Saints

On Sunday, LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu claimed he hasn’t taken an illegal substance since October, according to Fox Sports. Reaction was mixed but slanted more to the side of horror when the Times-Picayune asked fans how they’d react if New Orleans drafted the troubled Mathieu.

The Times-Picayune believes defensive ends like Barkevious Mingo, Dion Jordan and Ezekiel Ansah could all be highly sought after by the Saints because of their ability to make the switch to outside linebacker in New Orleans’ new 3-4 scheme.

The Saints won’t use their franchise tag on left tackle Jermon Bushrod, according to ESPN analyst Adam Schefter.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Steve Wyche of NFL Network reported that Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano met with both Manti Te’o and Tyrann Matheiu.

The Tampa Tribune reports that head coach Greg Schiano may ease off his rigid-rules setting in 2013.

The Buccaneers won’t use the franchise tag on defensive end Michael Bennett, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Unless otherwise noted, all quotes and statements were obtained firsthand.

Knox Bardeen is the NFC South lead writer for Bleacher Report and the author of “100 Things Falcons Fans Should Know & Do Before they Die.” Be sure to follow Knox on Twitter.