It’s been a whirlwind of strikes the previous two weeks for the Bucs. First, Tom Brady introduced he’s returning for a twenty third season. That was adopted by re-signings of key starters, Ryan Jensen and Carlton Davis. Chris Godwin was additionally locked up on a long-term deal after being tagged for a second straight yr. Whereas the Bucs misplaced guard Alex Cappa and security Jordan Whitehead, normal supervisor Jason Licht was fast to behave. First he traded a 2022 fifth spherical choose for Patriots guard Shaq Mason. He then pounced on defensive again Logan Ryan as soon as he was reduce by the Giants.
Licht additionally made a splash in free company when he signed former Falcons receiver Russell Gage to a three-year deal. Gage provides the Bucs a respectable No. 3 possibility that has the flexibility to play inside and outdoors. Not accomplished, Leonard Fournette and William Gholston had been additionally introduced again into the fold. So was Aaron Stinnie, Josh Wells and Breshad Perriman. The Bucs additionally added former Bengals sort out Fred Johnson to the offensive line competitors.
There a nonetheless a number of holes on the roster, however two of these might be shored up with the return of Rob Gronkowski and Ndamukong Suh. With extra strikes to come back and the NFL Draft in April, the Bucs are arrange not solely to be NFC South Champions however legit Tremendous Bowl contenders.
Whereas the Bucs have had all of the playing cards fall their method, the identical can’t be mentioned in regards to the different groups within the NFC South.
It’s been a type of offseasons for the Falcons. First, Deshaun Watson selected the Browns. Then the workforce traded Matt Ryan for less than a 3rd spherical choose. All whereas absorbing the best useless cap hit in NFL historical past at over $40 million! Now Atlanta has to hope the treatment for his or her ailment is Marcus Mariota.
The Falcons have nearly no broad receivers of their offense, thanks partially to Calvin Ridley Jr.’s suspension for betting on an NFL recreation. They did carry again Cordarrelle Patterson, however haven’t addressed an offensive line that was amongst the worst within the league. Atlanta additionally misplaced some key gamers in LB Foyesade Oluokun, Gage and EDGE Dante Fowler. In addition they introduced in veteran nook Casey Hayward to pair with rising star A.J. Terrell.
Key losses: QB Matt Ryan (commerce), WR Russell Gage, EDGE Dante Fowler Jr., LB Foye Oluokun, LS Josh Harris
Key features: QB Marcus Mariota, EDGE Lorenzo Carter, CB Casey Hayward
One other NFC South workforce, and one other failed commerce try for Deshaun Watson. In contrast to the Falcons and Saints, the Panthers didn’t have a lot of a backup plan. The Sam Darnold commerce didn’t work out final season, however he’ll probably return as Carolina’s starter in 2022.
The Panthers misplaced a number of key starters, however had been very lively in free company. They re-signed a few of their very own in TE Ian Thomas and CBs Donte Jackson and Rashaan Melvin, whereas bringing in some stable additions on offense and protection. Security Xavier Woods ought to slot in properly subsequent to Jeremy Chinn and OL Bradley Bozeman ought to give their offensive line a lift. Nevertheless, none of those strikes make them a contender within the NFC South.
Key losses: LB Jermaine Carter, RB Ameer Abdullah, OLB Haason Reddick, DT DaQuan Jones, CB Stephon Gilmore*
Key features: LB Cory Littleton, P Johnny Hekker, C Bradley Bozeman, DT Matthew Ioannidis, LB Damien Wilson, WR Rashard Higgins, RB D’Onta Foreman, OG Austin Corbett, S Xavier Woods
New Orleans Saints
The largest menace to the Bucs repeating as NFC South champs are the Saints. Additionally dismissed by Watson, New Orleans shortly reacted by re-signing former Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston to a 2-year deal. Winston led the Saints to a 4-2 file final season earlier than an ACL tear, in opposition to Tampa Bay no much less, sidelined him for the season. In that point he threw for 14 touchdowns and simply three interceptions. Whereas there are nonetheless query marks, he offers the Saints a steady possibility on the QB spot.
Maybe the most important blow to the Saints although will come from the lack of All-Professional sort out Terron Armstead. Changing him will likely be a tall job, longtime backup James Hurst will slide into his spot. In addition they misplaced security Marcus Williams, however introduced in Marcus Maye who’s coming off a torn achilles harm. New Orleans receiver group wants numerous assist as properly. Tre’Quan Smith re-signed, however Michael Thomas missed all of final yr with harm. The Saints ought to goal a wideout within the draft or free company to pair with him. If Jameis can proceed his turnover-free play, with the protection principally intact, the Saints will certainly be within the thick of it.
Key losses: LT Terron Armstead, S Marcus Williams
Key features: DL Kentavius Avenue, S Marcus Maye, QB Andy Dalton