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How big of a threat are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC South?

The Bucs will be looking to go back-to-back as NFC South champs.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

What at first looked like a complete remodel turned into a solid offseason for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They started the offseason by hearing that Tom Brady was officially retiring... for the second time. The outlook for a franchise looks a lot different without one of the best quarterbacks ever, Saints fans have learned this recently.

They then released veteran studs running back Leonard Fournette, tight end Cameron Brate, and tackle Donovan Smith, and traded guard Shaq Mason to the Houston Texans. They also lost key defender safety Mike Edwards who signed with the Kansas City Chiefs.

After all of that, they still managed to keep some of their own. Some thought they would lose star defenders cornerback Jamal Dean and fan favorite linebacker Lavonte David, but they were able to retain both which were huge moves from them given they still have Brady's huge deal still on the table. Brady is owed $35 million over the next two seasons, likely $11 million this season and $24 million next season.

They also retained solid core players in guard Aaron Stinnie and linebacker Anthony Nelson.

The most impactful move of their offseason was signing former number-one overall pick Baker Mayfield to a one-year deal. Mayfield will compete with Kyle Trask for the starting position. Going from Brady to Mayfield/Trask will be interesting, the Saints went from Brees to Winston/Siemen/Hill and it didn’t end well.

In terms of the NFC South, the Saints are the favorite with the Carolina Panthers close behind with the first overall pick. The Atlanta Falcons also had a solid offseason and are betting on 2nd year QB Desmond Ridder. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers still have a very solid core with their defense mostly still intact so there is a reason to not sleep on them.

The Buccaneers may not have their eyes set on the Superbowl this season, but New Orleans Saints fans should be rooting for the NFC South opponents to at least win a few games with the 2024 NFL Draft having a generational QB in Heisman trophy winner Caleb Williams in it. Keep all NFC South teams away from the number-one pick next season.

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