Biggest Non-Buccaneers Offseason Moves In The NFC South

0
472
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) makes a touchdown catch against Atlanta Falcons free safety Erik Harris (23) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

BY; Carter Brantley – Bucs. Report

Disclaimer: this does not include the Buccaneers. Yes, I know the NFC South includes the Bucs, but hey, at Bucs Report you get to read about them all the time. Let’s switch it up, am I right?

These are not the best or worst moves for other teams, just the most important, and I’m going to leave out head coaching decisions, because those simply aren’t as fun (although you could argue just as big as a lot of these moves). 

Here are the 5 biggest offseason moves from the rest of the division up to this point. 

Kirk Cousins To ATL

Kirk Cousins has been one of the most productive QBs in the NFL for the past 9 or so seasons, hovering around a 4k passing yard average per year and being a very above-average QB throughout that time period based on passer rating compared to the rest of the league. Atlanta suffered from some of the worst QB play in football with Desmond Ridder and could’ve easily won the division with even average QB production. 

Cousins is coming off a major injury at an advanced age, but his style of play doesn’t lead me to believe that he’ll taper off because of it; he’s a quality pocket passer who relies on good decision making and accuracy to succeed. ATL is a big-time player in the division, and the Buccaneers are going to have their hands full. 

Brian Burns Traded 

The Panthers are one of the weirdest teams in football; they have no first round pick this year, no second next season, and a young rookie QB that they’ve invested quite heavily in without the ability to provide him with a quality support system. 

Now, Brian Burns has been the subject of trade rumors for a while now, peaking with the Rams even (reportedly) offering a whopping 2 firsts for the talented edge rusher. 

The Panthers were faced with either extending Burns, tying up a lot of cap space (the only real avenue to acquire high-level talent to surround Young with), or trading him for a bit of extra draft capital, even if it’s not the high return that they would’ve gotten earlier in Burns’ career. 

The Giants stepped in and offered a 2nd and 5th round pick for the former FSU man, leaving Carolina with a hole in their pass rush but the ability to trade for receiver Diontae Johnson, sign seemingly every offensive lineman known to man, and draft an additional receiver with that extra 2nd round pick. 

Saints Sign Chase Young

Oof, this is the biggest move the Saints made this offseason and it’s a bit of a stinker. Chase Young has been dealing with a multitude of serious injuries, and while the talent is undeniable, it’s questionable whether or not he’s the same player as when he came out of Ohio State. 

The good news for the Saints is that most of the contract is built upon game bonuses based on playing time, so at least they have a built-in way to protect themselves against injury for Young. 

Panthers trade For Diontae Johnson

As discussed earlier, Carolina was able to deal for Diontae Johnson and give Young a solid (if not spectacular) wideout to help the young QB have at least a serviceable second season under new HC Dave Canales. 

Johnson might be more known for his silly TD-less game streak, but he’s able to get open at a rate that few other receivers can, and Canales can do some impressive stuff with elite receiver talent, as shown in Tampa. 

Falcons Sign Darnell Mooney

Phew, this division really didn’t do much outside of the Buccaneers; Darnell Mooney should be a nice receiver out there with Drake London and recently acquired Rondale Moore (as well as tight end Kyle Pitts and that dynamic duo at running back), but he’s not exactly a world beater. 

Still, the Falcons did really well to give their newly minted QB a nice plethora of receiver options. Mooney should be fine. 

Follow @ctbrantley12 on Twitter and listen to him on the RBLR Bucs podcast