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Free agency roundup


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NFC SOUTH

Tampa Bay: The Buccaneers entered the signing period with an NFL-high $44 million in cap room. But outside of Faine, Tampa Bay has shown remarkable prudence. The Bucs have focused more on modestly priced talent like linebacker Teddy Lehman (Detroit) and defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson (Kansas City). Coach Jon Gruden also continued his stockpiling of quarterbacks by trading with Chicago for Brian Griese.

New Orleans: A franchise that could seemingly do no wrong in 2006 did little right in 2007 when it came to personnel decisions. The Saints have taken more gambles this off-season by trading with the Jets for linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who is coming off knee surgery, and giving starter's money ($7 million guaranteed) to Patriots nickel cornerback Randall Gay. Defensive end Bobby McCray could be a steal if he rebounds from a disappointing 2007 season in Jacksonville.

Carolina: The Panthers remain active following a busy February highlighted by the re-signing of offensive lineman Travelle Wharton, use of the franchise tag on tackle Jordan Gross, and the release of linebacker Dan Morgan and running back DeShaun Foster. But even after a series of modest signings highlighted by Oakland defensive end Tyler Brayton, Carolina must draft better than in recent years for a resurgence. Third- and fifth-round picks from New York for Jenkins will help the process.

Atlanta: The Falcons have addressed some holes through the signing of Turner, cornerback Von Hutchins (Houston) and free safety Eric Coleman (New York Jets). But Atlanta still needs plenty of help, especially along the offensive line. The potential trade of cornerback DeAngelo Hall could bring some much-needed draft choices.

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