Where do Buccaneers rank among division winners likely to repeat in 2024?

Now that the NFL schedule is out, where do the Bucs rank as far as their chances to repeat as division winners in 2024?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Buffalo Bills
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Buffalo Bills / Timothy T Ludwig/GettyImages
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No. 4: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Robert Hainsey
NFC Divisional Playoffs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

This feels like the perfect spot to rank the Buccaneers, who are right in the middle in terms of defending the division. With ~$45 million in cap space, Tampa Bay re-signed Baker Mayfield, Mike Evans, Antoine Winfield, and Chase McLaughlin on multi-year deals, while inking Lavonte David and Greg Gaines to one-year contracts.

While the Buccaneers didn't make any major splashes in free agency, they did reunite with Jordan Whitehead on a two-year deal, who spent his first four seasons as a Buc. General manager Jason Licht did a great job addressing the offensive line, signing free agents Sua Opeta, Ben Bredeson, and Justin Skule, and drafting Duke's Graham Barton and UTEP's Elijah Klein with their first and sixth-round picks in the draft.

Outside of Barton and Klein, Tampa Bay drafted several key difference makers to their roster. Second-round pick Chris Braswell projects to slot into a starting role with the departures of Shaq Barrett and Devin White in free agency, while third-round pick Jalen McMillan will be a nice complement in a No. 3 receiver role alongside Evans and Chris Godwin.

Coupled with the draft-day selections of McMillan, fourth-round pick Bucky Irving, and seventh-rounder Devin Culp, Mayfield is set to replicate his success in year two under new OC Liam Coen. That is the strongest argument in terms of Tampa Bay repeating for their fourth-straight NFC South division title.

That said, Tampa Bay did just squeak out the division win last season even while winning six of their last seven games. This year, the NFC South includes Atlanta, who finally landed stability at the quarterback position in free agent Kirk Cousins and No. 8, and New Orleans, who added game-changers at positions of need. It will be tough, but not impossible for Tampa Bay to repeat as division champs.