TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (5-11)
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: CBs Brent Grimes and Robert McClain; Ss T.J. Ward and Keith Tandy; C Evan Smith; QB Ryan Fitzpatrick; DTs Clinton McDonald and DT Sealver Siliga; LS Garrison Sanborn; DEs Justin Trattou and Will Clarke; Gs Adam Gettis and Kevin Pamphile; RB Charles Sims.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: TE Cameron Brate; WR Adam Humphries; DE Ryan Russell; LB Adarius Glanton; CB Jude Adjei-Barimah.
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Mention the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the first thing likely to come to mind is Jameis Winston and an emerging offense.
Maybe it's time an improved defense that keyed the team's season-opening rout of the Chicago Bears gets a little love, too.
"Defense wins championships," Winston said, reflecting on a 29-7 victory in which the Bears turned the ball over four times in the first half and were held to 20 yards rushing.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Panthers coach Ron Rivera says three-time All-Pro middle linebacker Luke Kuechly will play against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday if he's cleared from the NFL's concussion protocol.
The NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 has missed the last two games with a concussion.
Kuechly is listed as questionable and Rivera says he hopes he can play, saying "anytime you got your leader out there, it is a doggone good thing."
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Panthers coach Ron Rivera said quarterback Cam Newton is expected to start Sunday against the New Orleans Saints "barring a setback" in his recovery from a concussion.
Newton participated fully in practice Friday, but remains in the league's concussion protocol. Rivera said the league's reigning MVP still has to meet with an independent doctor before being cleared to play.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Panthers are shaking up their secondary, cutting starting cornerback Bene Benwikere.
The team Friday promoted rookie Zack Sanchez from the practice squad to the 53-man roster.
The moves come in the wake of the Panthers giving up 503 yards passing to Matt Ryan and 300 yards receiving to Julio Jones in a 48-33 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.