warns NFC South not to count out the Buccaneers

Not everyone is assuming the Falcons and Saints will overtake the Bucs this year.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

Even though the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vastly exceeded expectations last season, it seems critics either didn’t get the memo or didn’t watch what happened.

The Bucs are getting knocked into the background by the same analysts who counted them out last year. All this despite winning the NFC South for a third straight year and punching a playoff ticket for the fourth consecutive season.

Most of this is motivated by the Atlanta Falcons signing Kirk Cousins to a $180 million deal in free agency and the idea that the New Orleans Saints won't have another mediocre year.

The idea seems to be that the Bucs didn't add enough outside talent to be considered a better team, even though the moves the team made were to bring back players who helped them reach the NFC Divisional Round and knock on the door of an NFC Championship appearance.

Not everyone is expecting the Bucs to take a step back, though. isn't counting out the Buccaneers to win the NFC South again

Jeffri Chadiha from broke down the hierarchy of the divisions recently and resisted the urge to dump on the Bucs. Instead, he defied most other analysts and credited the Bucs as a team to watch out for rather than simply dismiss.

"The Buccaneers won’t make those [Atlanta] dreams easy to realize, especially since they’ve won that division three years in a row. General manager Jason Licht also has enjoyed a strong offseason. He re-signed star wide receiver Mike Evans to a new deal, worked out a reasonable contract to keep quarterback Baker Mayfield and used the franchise tag to create time to work out a long-term extension with All-Pro safety Antoine Winfield Jr.," Chadiha wrote. "The Buccaneers might not be what they were when Tom Brady was running the show, but they’re still scrappy enough to be playing meaningful games in December and January."

Most of the criticism of the Bucs seems to be centered on how they didn't add in free agency which is such a tired cliche. Super Bowls are never won in March, even when teams that eventually win the Lombardi Trophy do well in the offseason.

Back when the Bucs landed Tom Brady in 2020 the team still needed to make some additional moves to ensure the roster was good enough to win a title. Tampa Bay is in a similar position, but the team brought back absolutely vital pieces like Baker and Evans who instantly give them a fighting chance hardly anyone seems willing to admit.

The NFC South won't be as easy as it's been the last few years, but the Bucs being good is very much a big part of that. They're not done adding, either. Jordan Whitehead and Randy Gregory are free agent signings we could be looking back at as steals this time next year while the NFL Draft could give the Bucs some added talent in key areas.

Nobody is saying the Bucs will walk to another division title, but anyone counting them out had better start paying closer attention.

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