One move each NFC South rival made that should concern Atlanta

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions
NFC Divisional Playoffs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

In truth, the NFC South is coming down to the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Bucs. A valid argument for the Saints or Panthers can't be formed without extensive mental gymnastics. However, looking objectively at the offseasons of all three teams there are paths of concern for Atlanta.

The Falcons should win the NFC South in the 2024 season. Barring a huge leap forward from Tampa anything less should be considered a complete failure. With this in mind, let's look at the most concerning move for the rest of the NFC South.

Carolina Panthers fixing their offensive line and improving weapons

It really was impossible to evaluate Bryce Young with the complete mess the quarterback was dropped into. Yes, he was undersized and at times looked lost at the next level. Struggles that could easily be byproducts of having zero weapons and very little protection.

Carolina spent heavily on the offensive line this offseason and in doing so greatly improved the chances that Young would take a step forward. Carolina's path to defying their clear ceiling is Bryce Young becoming a star quarterback and carrying them.

While this path remains incredibly unlikely it is on the table now that Carolina has capable protection and a handful of weapons. However, it is worth pointing out here that the loss of Brian Burns is certain to cause what was a solid defensive core to take a step back.

Tampa Bay retaining both Mike Evans and Baker Mayfield

It's hard not to love what Baker Mayfield did for Tampa last season after being pushed out by the Browns for Deshaun Watson. A failed tenure with Carolina ended with Mayfield signing a one-year deal with the Bucs.

Mayfield cashed in and took a rebuilding team to the playoffs and upset the Eagles in round one. Not only did the Bucs reward Mayfield with a contract, but they brought back his primary target as well in Mike Evans.

The Bucs have won the NFC South three years straight and aren't going to give it up easily. They retained their two most impactful players on offense. Players with an advantage of playing within the division and together for a full season. Something that could factor into their favor in the division race.

New Orleans moving on from Jameis Winston

Perhaps void of any legitimate quarterback controversy Derek Carr will improve in New Orleans. Of the three teams in the division the Saints are by far the least concerning. At least Carolina is attempting to rebuild and improve.

The Saints continue to run it back despite missing the playoffs and being a year older. Part of this is due to the contract situation leaving them no other choice. With Winston gone perhaps the locker room buys into Carr a bit more and the offense is more cohesive.

A stretch of a take that is due to just how little there is to worry about with this New Orleans team. As long as they continue to refuse a needed rebuild the team will continue to be mediocre with no legitimate playoff hopes.