NFC South: Are the Atlanta Falcons the most improved team?

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Jan 3, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals in the 2014 NFC Wild Card playoff football game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers:

The Carolina Panthers have won back-to-back NFC South titles which marked the first time any team has won two straight division titles since the division formed in 2002. The Panthers also lead the division with four titles.

Carolina didn’t make a lot of splashy moves in the offseason, but did make headlines when they signed quarterback, Cameron Newton to an extension worth more than 100 million dollars.

On top of that, the Panthers signed OT, Michael Oher to a 2-year contract and claimed OL, Jonathan Martin off of waivers from San Francisco. Carolina also signed WR, Ted Ginn Jr. to pair up with receivers, Kelvin Benjamin and newly drafted receiver, Devin Funchess.

On top of Funchess, Carolina drafted LB, Shaq Thompson and RB, Cameron Artis-Payne to fill the void of DeAngelo Williams who is now a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The biggest loss for the Panthers was that of Greg Hardy who is now a member of the Dallas Cowboys. You could argue that this isn’t a loss for them, but a player of his skill-set regardless of the off the field issues is something you don’t want to lose.

Offseason grade: C+

Carolina added some nice pieces, but I wouldn’t go as far as saying that the Panthers improved the roster all that much heading into 2015. The loss of Williams leaves the running back slot in question with Jonathan Stewart now the feature back, and Newton lacks receivers outside of Benjamin and TE, Greg Olson.

The Panthers retained the core on defense outside of Hardy, and added a couple of good pieces in the draft to help fill some holes. Luke Kuechly is still the best linebacker in the NFC South and the Panthers are the defending champs, but have they reached their ceiling heading into 2015?