It seems clear early on this off-season that the 2023 NFC South will be a two-team race between the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers. New Orleans has the worst cap situation in the league, a bad head coach, and zero answers at the quarterback position. Even if the team is able to magically find a way to add a Derek Carr or Jimmy G. in free agency the roster simply isn’t deep enough.
New Orleans has pushed the rebuild off for far too long and now the bill is going to come due. The Saints could attempt to work around their obvious limitations but even in that case Atlanta and Carolina are far younger rosters that will improve and be able to consistently make impact moves in free agency.
If Tampa Bay cannot find a way to win ten games with Tom Brady at the helm what will they look like this season? Perhaps the problem was the head coach or a defense that has never looked the same since winning the Super Bowl. Whatever the reason this Tampa Bay team isn’t a roster that should be feared no matter who they land at quarterback considering the obvious issues on both sides of the ball.
Tampa has the second-worst cap situation in the league and lacks balance running the football. Tom Brady attempted to leave a year ago knowing what the rest of the league does now this is a franchise that is clearly headed back to mediocrity.
Leaving an Atlanta Falcons team that has the second most cap space in the league and great young pieces and a Carolina team that was a quarterback away from winning the NFC South in 2023.
Steve Wilks deserved to keep his role in Carolina after what he did for that team. However, Frank Reich isn’t a downgrade, and if the Panthers can find an average quarterback or better will have this team in the division race. Carolina has the draft picks and ability to open up cap space to make major moves this off-season. Add in starting a season with a stable head coach for the first time in three years and this Carolina team is going to be consistently competitive. Unless something drastic changes the NFC South will be a two-team race in 2023 and Atlanta has the advantage of already having their quarterback in Desmond Ridder.