NFC South 2021 offseason wants: Bucs hoping to retain Tremendous Bowl core, Saints seemingly getting into post-Brees period


Presently final yr, if I have been to inform you {that a} crew within the NFC South would win Tremendous Bowl LV, the New Orleans Saints would virtually universally be the reply, proper? Properly, the division noticed large exercise final offseason with the Buccaneers capturing huge headlines after signing Tom Brady in free company. That acquisition together with a number of different key strikes then helped ship the Bucs on a highway that finally led them again to Raymond James Stadium to defeat the Chiefs to win their first title since 2002. That simply goes to indicate you that so much can change over the course of an offseason.  

As we glance towards the 2021 offseason for this division, we now have 4 groups in moderately totally different spots. Because the Bucs gear up for a title protection, the Saints seem as if they’re on the daybreak of a brand new period of their franchise’s historical past with Drew Brees seemingly choosing retirement. In the meantime, the Panthers and Falcons sit inside the highest 10 of the NFL Draft and will look to enhance their quarterback conditions both with these picks or through commerce. 

Beneath, we’ll spotlight the wants of every of those groups and fill out a number of different key notes as they start crossing off issues from their to-do record in hopes of constructing a winner for 2021. 

New Orleans Saints

Wants: QB, TE, LB, S

The most important shoe that appears destined to drop for the Saints this offseason is the retirement of Drew Brees. As soon as that turns into official, New Orleans will acquire some much-needed cap reduction, however the Saints are hardly in a good place in that regard and can seemingly must make some onerous selections to get underneath it. That mentioned, they may seemingly must discover a successor to Brees and that would come within the type of Jameis Winston, who is about to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason after spending final yr in New Orleans. Given the familiarity with Sean Payton’s system and a possibility to begin, Winston might be a excessive precedence for the Saints to pair with utility weapon Taysom Hill

With that lack of cap house, New Orleans’ protection is susceptible to being gutted with security Marcus Williams, defensive lineman Sheldon Rankins and edge rusher Trey Hendrickson all getting into free company. That will, in flip, create large wants that might be addressed within the draft. Tight finish can also be a secondary want for New Orleans with Jared Cook dinner getting into free company, however they may search for Adam Trautman to take a leap in Yr 2.  

Draft place: No. 28 total. In our newest mock drafts, Ryan Wilson has the Saints going with Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins. In the meantime, Chris Trapasso has New Orleans focusing on Purdue receiver Rondale Moore, Josh Edwards sees them taking cornerback Jaycee Horn out of South Carolina and Pete Prisco has them selecting Michigan defensive lineman Kwity Paye. 

Projected cap house (through Spotrac): $-65,576,484 (thirty second within the NFL)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Wants: DL, LB, LT, WR. RB

Whenever you win a Tremendous Bowl, that sometimes implies that you do not have many wants on the roster. That mentioned, Tampa Bay does have numerous key free brokers about to hit the open market. Offensively, receivers Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown are essentially the most notable, together with operating again Leonard Fournette and tight finish Rob Gronkowski. Given their relationship with Brady, it could appear the Bucs would have the within observe to retain Brown and Gronkowski, however Godwin might be the highest receiver available on the market, making his return unsure. 

It turns into significantly tough to maintain these guys on offense while you have a look at who’s heading towards free company on protection. Shaq Barrett, Lavonte David, and Ndamukong Suh will all hit the market and the Bucs have already said their need to maintain them for his or her title protection. Once more, retaining that protection intact may come on the expense of Godwin. In the meantime, the Bucs may additionally make left sort out Donovan Smith a cap causality (Tampa Bay can clear $14.25 million if launched), which means they’d want to deal with that key spot in defending Brady as nicely. Given how large that cap quantity is, they may additionally look to easily restructure. 

Draft place: No. 32 total. In our newest mock drafts, Wilson has the Bucs taking Iowa defensive sort out Daviyon Nixon, Trapasso has them selecting defensive finish Ronnie Perkins out of Oklahoma, Edwards has Texas linebacker Joseph Ossai heading to Tampa and Prisco sees Texas offensive lineman Samuel Cosmi touchdown at No. 32. 

Projected cap house (through Spotrac): $27,784,114 (thirteenth within the NFL)

Carolina Panthers

Wants: TE, OT, CB, QB, LB

The large story for the Panthers this offseason is whether or not or not they will have the ability to enhance the quarterback place from Teddy Bridgewater. They’re going to be within the thick of the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes or may flip to the draft with the No. 8 decide to search for a long-term improve. Whereas that would be the storyline that captures the headlines, Carolina does have some intriguing free agent conditions. Operating again Mike Davis — who crammed in splendidly for Christian McCaffrey — is pretty much as good as gone, whereas extensive receiver Curtis Samuel also needs to have a wholesome market. The Panthers even have tackles Taylor Moton and Russell Okung getting into free company and could also be pressured to select between the 2, thus creating a necessity at that spot within the draft. 

By way of positions of want for Matt Rhule’s membership, the tight finish room was controversial the worst within the league in 2020 and the Panthers needs to be gamers for some free brokers there this offseason. They may additionally enhance their go rush after turning within the Twenty fourth-ranked sack share within the league final yr. Touchdown an elite quarterback reminiscent of Watson may make up for lots of holes, however including to a protection that ranked within the backside half of the league in 2020 can also be crucial. 

Draft place: No. 8 total. In our newest mock drafts, Wilson, Trapasso and Prisco all have the Panthers taking Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. As for Edwards, who has Fields coming off the board a lot earlier, he sees Carolina taking Florida tight finish Kyle Pitts. 

Projected cap house (through Spotrac): $27,545,434 (14th within the NFL)

Atlanta Falcons

Wants: CB, QB, S, EDGE, OL

The Falcons are a little bit of a wild card in the case of what they will do with the No. 4 decide within the draft. They may discover Matt Ryan’s successor with that choice or look so as to add a bit to double down making an attempt to deal with their veteran quarterback. They’re going to not solely must decide on the route they’re going with Ryan however receiver Julio Jones as nicely. The 32-year-old has a $23 million cap hit for 2021, however due to the dead-cap implications, it appears as if Atlanta continues to be a yr away from presumably placing an finish to Jones’ tenure with the membership.  

Because it pertains to free company, the Falcons are nonetheless in a little bit of a tight-cap scenario however did clear some room after reducing security Ricardo Allen and defensive finish Allen Bailey this week. Enhancing the protection needs to be the prime concern, however due to their funds, they will seemingly be trying within the cut price bin. Atlanta ranked twenty sixth within the NFL in sack share in 2020 and will use an injection of expertise coming off the sting. Nook Darqueze Dennard can also be set to enter the free agent pool and it might be smart for the Falcons to do their finest to retain him to proceed to deploy him alongside A.J. Terrell. With Todd Gurley and Brian Hill getting into free company, operating again is one other place that would want tending to over these subsequent few months. 

Draft place: No. 4 total. In our newest mock drafts, Wilson has the Falcons deciding on Alabama quarterback Mac Jones. In the meantime, Trapasso has Atlanta specializing in the secondary by taking Virginia Tech nook Caleb Farley. As for Edwards, he has the Falcons focusing on a quarterback, however it’s Trey Lance out of North Dakota State. Prisco sees Atlanta taking Alabama nook Patrick Surtain II with their decide. 

Projected cap house (through Spotrac): $-11,686,845 (twenty sixth within the NFL)


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