UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: CB Javier Arenas, DE Kroy Biermann, OL Gabe Carimi, OL Mike Johnson, S Dwight Lowery, CB Robert McClain, TE Bear Pascoe, DT Corey Peters, RB Jacquizz Rodgers, OL Jonathan Scott, RB Antone Smith, CB Josh Wilson, DE Osi Umenyiora, LB Sean Weatherspoon, QB T.J. Yates.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: WR Drew Davis.
NEEDS: New coach Dan Quinn, the former Seattle defensive coordinator, could look for pass rush help and playmakers at linebacker as the basis of a major makeover. Other priorities include running back following the release of Steven Jackson, and offensive line after veteran guard Justin Blalock was released. The Falcons also released wide receiver Harry Douglas and defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi, leaving about $35 million in cap space.
CAROLINA PANTHERS (8-9-1)
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: DE Greg Hardy, OT Byron Bell, DT Dwan Edwards, LB Chase Blackburn, CB James Dockery, G Fernando Velasco, OL Garry Williams, QB Joe Webb, C Kevin Matthews.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
NEEDS: The Panthers don’t plan to bring back Hardy, last year’s franchise player who was limited to one game due to a domestic violence conviction – one that was later dismissed during appeal. But the big need is at left tackle, where Bell won’t be re-signed after starting there all of last season. Carolina also has needs in the secondary and at running back; all-time leading rusher DeAngelo Williams is being released. The Panthers also need to add speed at wide receiver, and could use a returner. Carolina has re-signed UFA defensive tackle Colin Cole and RFA guard Chris Scott.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (7-9)
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: RB Mark Ingram, C Jonathan Goodwin, WR Robert Meachem, CB Patrick Robinson, LB Ramon Humber, DL Brandon Deaderick, S Jamarca Sanford, LB Moise Fokou.
NEEDS: New Orleans’s greatest need appears to be cornerback. The Saints have been satisfied with Keenan Lewis, but have struggled to find a consistent starter on the opposite side. If the Saints don’t re-sign Patrick Robinson, a 2010 first-round draft choice and occasion starter, they’ll need at least one more cornerback. The trick will be finding the right fit and the money. The Saints have flirted with the salary cap limit. They also could look for depth at linebacker, running back and defensive line.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (2-14)
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: LB Mason Foster, DE Adrian Clayborn, DE Da’Quan Bowers, T Oniel Cousins, DE Larry English, LB Dane Fletcher, TE Luke Stocker, S Major Wright, LB Jason Williams, DE Lawrence Sidbury.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: RB Bobby Rainey, CB Leonard Johnson.
NEEDS: Begin – but hardly end – with quarterback, which coach Lovie Smith and GM Jason Licht could address by selecting Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota with the first overall pick in the draft. Offensive line remains a priority after changing four of five starters failed to produce desired results. Linebacker, the pass rush and wide receiver need upgrading, too. Even though Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans each topped 1,000 yards receiving last year, the Bucs ranked 25th in passing, 29th in scoring and 30th in total offense.
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