Some say that the Super Bowl is won in the offseason. It is a critical time for teams to bolster their rosters and improve the holes they had from the year before. The offseason is when a well-executed draft, a monumental trade, or a couple of key-free agent signings came take a team from constant dud to Super Bowl champs…just ask the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
This is our NFL Team Needs series. We will break down the top needs for each team in the league by division. Let’s examine the NFC South.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DL, LB, LT
The Buccaneers are in a unique situation. They have all the pieces in place for a Super Bowl repeat and they want every single guy back from the 2020 team. However, cap space is an issue and big extensions are going to be had. Tampa has $27 million in space this year but must consider extensions for Lavonte David, Shaq Barrett, and Chris Godwin. At the same time, they will be trying to resign Rob Gronkowski and bring back Ndamukong Suh, Leonard Fournette, Ryan Succop and Antonio Brown. I think the Bucs focus on resigning their guys and adding through the draft, potentially upgrading at left tackle.
New Orleans Saints – QB, TE, S, LB
The Saints are another team whose offseason starts at the QB position. If Drew Brees comes back, you have your answer. If he retires, the Saints must decide between Taysom Hill, Jameis Winston, or maybe even making a blockbuster trade for Russell Wilson. A healthy Michael Thomas at wide receiver will definitely be welcome next season. The Saints have the least amount of cap space in the NFL with just about no money to spend. Their defense was a big concern down the stretch last season, and they’ll need to get wise with trades and the draft to make some seriously needed improvements.
Atlanta Falcons – RB, CB, S, EDGE, QB?
The Falcons also will have to make a decision about Matt Ryan. They have the fourth overall pick which could land them a guy like Justin Fields from Ohio State. They investigated trading Julio Jones last season and could package him and Ryan this season to clear up cap space. After that, the Falcons are a mess on defense with an atrocious secondary. Atlanta has limited financial availability and, also must look at a huge hole at running back. This could be a troubling offseason for Atlanta with a lot to accomplish and few resources to do so. New head coach Arthur Smith definitely has his work cut out for him.
Carolina Panthers – TE, OT, QB, LB
This is getting repetitive….the Panthers have to make a decision on Teddy Bridgewater. There are many reports that indicate Carolina is trying to move Bridgewater and that they went hard after Matthew Stafford. Once they figure that out, they’ll need to get a solid tight end like Kyle Pitts or go after Gerald Everett. Carolina has offensive playmakers, but the line could use some help as two of their starters are heading for free agency. The Panthers have around $27 million in cap space to spend and the eighth overall pick in the draft. They are in a good situation to make improvements in head coach Matt Rhule’s second season.