Cumulatively speaking, the NFC South was as average as possible last season. The combined record amongst the four teams was 32-32. The New Orleans Saints lead the way at 13-3, both Tampa Bay and Atlanta finished at 7-9, and Carolina finished in the cellar at 5-11. All four teams have some decisions to make regarding the offensive side of the ball heading into 2020.
Atlanta Falcons: Austin Hooper, Tight End
Before suffering a knee injury in Week 10, Hooper was statistically the most productive tight end in the NFL. Despite the injury, Hooper came back in Week 14 and finished the season with 75 receptions for 787 yards and six touchdowns. Hooper did not have a touchdown after Week 10, but his impressive start to the season earned him a spot on the NFC Pro Bowl roster. Hooper is set to earn himself a nice payday coming up. Him and Hunter Henry of the Los Angeles Chargers appear to be the biggest tight end names available.
Carolina Panthers: Greg Van Roten, Guard
Plenty of teams around the league will be looking for some offensive line help. Van Roten played well in 2019 before injury. He started the first 11 games before his season was cut short in Week 12 with a toe injury. Previously, Van Roten played four seasons with the Green Bay Packers before signing a one-year deal with Carolina last season. According to Pro Football Focus, Van Roten allowed only one sack in his 11 games in 2019. He will find a home quickly if Carolina chooses to let him walk.
New Orleans Saints: Taysom Hill, Quarterback
I’ll list quarterback as Hill’s main position, but there is nothing Hill cannot do on offense. New Orleans has always used Hill as a swiss army knife type of player. He lines up at receiver, running back, and has a very impressive arm. He’s even seen some opportunities in the return game. Hill caught six touchdown passes last year, and ran for another. Recently Hill stated that he wants his chance to become a starting quarterback. However, with Drew Brees still playing at an elite level, Hill’s patience is growing thin. Recently, in an interview with Associated Press’ Rob Maaddi, Hill stated, “I want to play quarterback in this league, and if New Orleans doesn’t view me that way, well then I have to leave.”
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Breshad Perriman, Wide receiver
Jameis Winston is obviously the biggest free agent Tampa Bay has to worry about on offense, but I’m going with the less obvious choice here. Perriman signed a one-year, $4 million contract before the 2019 season. He started off the season very slow, and rumors swirled that he may even be cut in order to gain a compensatory pick. However, after Mike Evans and Chris Godwin went down, Perriman stepped up into a completely different player. Perriman’s most impressive game came in Week 15 against the Detroit Lions, where he hauled in five passes for 113 yards and three touchdowns. Overall, Perriman snagged 36 passes for 645 yards and six touchdowns. He is a solid #3 option at receiver for Tampa Bay, but if he is not brought back he should garner attention from other teams.
Photo credit: All Saints Considered