Following are some whispers we've been hearing from around the NFC South:
• We hear the Panthers are counting on ORT Jeff Otah to come back strong in 2011 after missing all of last season with a knee issue. Otah also had surgery on his right shoulder to repair a labrum tear that had been bothering him since the '09 season. After a long layoff, there's a burden on him to get in shape and be ready by training camp.
• There is speculation that the Saints will part ways this offseason with CB Randall Gay, who has one more year on his contract. Gay is due $3.5 million in 2011, and a source said if he returns to New Orleans for another year, it will be at a lower salary. Gay played in only four games last season before being placed on injured reserve with a concussion, and 2010 first-round pick Patrick Robinson will likely replace him as the full-time nickel back.
• While Saints No. 2 QB Chase Daniel is untested in game situations, we're told the Saints are unlikely to aggressively pursue a new primary backup for Drew Brees. Daniel, who is signed through 2011, beat out veteran Patrick Ramsey in a competition for the backup spot last year.
• The Falcons would have been happy to keep Bill Musgrave, who left to become the Vikings' offensive coordinator, in place as assistant head coach/quarterbacks, but we hear they were not caught off guard by his departure. The team keeps a roster of coaches to call on if a vacancy emerges, and it has been encouraged that other teams have shown an interest in interviewing members of its coaching staff and front office for higher positions than they hold with the Falcons.