The NFC South has garnered it’s yearly hype for one of the toughest divisions in football. From Tampa Bay to New Orleans, teams have been prepping nonstop for what appears to be another unpredictable year down in the south.
Carolina is coming off a tremendous year that ended in pure heartbreak with a letdown loss to Peyton Manning and his Super Bowl Broncos. The real question lies in how will the team rise from their huge blow? Recently the Panthers have gotten to work on re-signing safety Kurt Coleman, who came third in the team in tackling, at 53. The extension’s exact numbers aren’t clear although it’s been reported to include three more years on his contract. Meanwhile the signature pen also came in the hands of TE Ben Wallace, a 27-year-old rookie who hasn’t played football in over a decade. His 260 pound frame and talent in Australian rules football were enough for a standard three-year rookie deal. To make room, Carolina waived wide receiver Cobi Hamilton.
New Orleans Saints
After an underwhelming third place finish in the division last season, the Saints look to bounce back with the help of young talent like Kenny Vaccaro, Brandin Cooks, and Sheldon Rankins. Rumor had it that the team looked to pursue veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin, although it has come to light his hands are now in Detroit. However within the team itself, left tackle Terron Armstead has been put on the PUP list for the start of training camp. His injury has been reported to be a soft tissue lesion that will sideline him for only a few weeks. Also heading to the list is wide receiver Vincent Brown, who has been in the league for four years. His injury leaves the receiving corps with little experience and their oldest player at 24-years-old, Brandon Coleman.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Things are looking up for Tampa Bay, who once held an empty chalice for several years. Ultimately the kings of fools gold who claimed the throne as possibly the worst team in the NFC. Now under the watch of Jameis Winston and Mike Evans they can finally be seen as legit contenders in a riddled division. Recently their attention has been turned to the injury list, where Louis Murphy and J.R. Sweezy have been placed. Sweezy is a new addition to the team, who have been looking to add to the offensive line for running back Doug Martin. Sweezy had surgery for his back earlier in the year and is still recovering, meaning his time off the field shouldn’t be too long. Murphy on the other hand is recovering from an ACL tear he sustained last fall. Although one notable waiver from the team has occurred as well, coming from the departure of lineman Garrett Gilkey. Gilkey was seen to be injured and a new addition will come in the hands of undrafted rookie Joel Hale.
Last but not least come the Falcons, who weren’t too awful in their 8-8 finish on the year. The dirty birds have all eyes set on a new future as the team receives a clean, spaceship worthy stadium next year. But for now the team is making headlines for releasing Devin Hester, a memorable NFL player this past decade for his electrifying special teams returns. Hester spent two years in Atlanta where he accumulated 1,363 kick return yards. On the other side of the ball the Falcons have been reported to being interested in defensive end Dwight Freeney. Freeney is a free agent and would no doubt add plenty of experience and leadership to a building defense. A move like that could also be to mentor the now second year defensive end Vic Beasley.