NFL free agency kicks off in earnest in just under two weeks. With the 2021 salary cap expected to fall from last year’s figure by a significant amount, teams have already begun the process of trimming the fat from their rosters in order to reach compliance before the deadline arrives.
But while free agency will produce considerably player movement as always, some teams will look largely the same due to cap restraints. The recently published divisional odds from DraftKings Sportsbook takes those factors into consideration. These odds provide a deeper look into the perceived hierarchy of each division and how much upside certain teams have within them.
Despite featuring the reigning Super Bowl champions, the NFC South could experience a sizable shakeup in the coming weeks as at least one team and possibly three could have new starters under center.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: -134
Most of the key pieces of the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl squad will return in 2021, and the possible exceptions (wide receivers Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown, linebacker Lavonte David) have expressed interest in returning for another run. Even the coaching staff will bring back all of its top assistants. It comes as little surprise that the Buccaneers enter free agency as the odds-on favorite for the NFC South.
New Orleans Saints: +220
Drew Brees hasn’t technically retired as of yet, but the Saints have already handled the financial considerations and just need to make the announcement official. At the moment, it appears the Saints plan to bring back Jameis Winston to compete with Taysom Hill for Brees’ old job, though Russell Wilson included New Orleans as one of his preferred landing spots if the Seattle Seahawks trade him. That doesn’t seem likely at this time, but it does underscore how much can change for the Saints between now and the regular season.
Carolina Panthers: +650
The Panthers have not hidden their interest in upgrading the quarterback position this offseason. Already, the Panthers made inquiries regarding Matthew Stafford prior to his trade to the Los Angeles Rams. They also appear primed to make a run at Deshaun Watson if/when the Houston Texans accept that a trade needs to occur. If all else fails, Carolina holds the No. 8 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and could maneuver up to land one of the top signal-callers available. Regardless of what ultimately occurs, the team should look more competitive during the upcoming season.
Atlanta Falcons: +1100
The Falcons understand that their roster will undergo significant change at some point. Whether that occurs in 2021 or a future offseason remains the only question. Due to salary cap considerations, the Falcons will have a hard time moving on from former MVP quarterback Matt Ryan, but the right offer could push them to the hit now so as to jumpstart the rebuilding process. A similar decision could take place regarding All-Pro wideout Julio Jones, though the cap ramifications from a trade do not appear as significant.
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