NFC South Breaks 50-Year-Old Streak After New Orleans Saints Sign Quarterback Derek Carr

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The NFC South was really, really bad in 2022.

The division, which is home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons, was by far the worst in the NFL.

Tampa Bay won the division crown with a sub-.500 (8-9) record, while Carolina, New Orleans and Atlanta all went 7-10.

But recent history tells us that the division isn’t actually that bad. In fact, all four teams have appeared in the Super Bowl since 2009. No other division in football can say that.

So it makes sense, especially as long-time stars such as Drew Brees, Cam Newton and Matt Ryan leave, that the division would face a bit of a reset.

When you add in the fact that Bucs quarterback Tom Brady retired (or, maybe not?) following the 2022 season, you’re looking at a pretty serious hard reset for the division.

But just how drastic are the changes?

Well, the NFC South is set to become the first division since 1973 to see all four Week 1 starting quarterbacks replaced following a season, per Elias Sports Bureau.

The Bucs must replace Brady after his retirement. The Panthers traded Baker Mayfield was cut and signed with the Rams mid-way through the season. Marcus Mariota up and quit the Falcons mid-way through the season before being released. And the Saints replaced Jameis Winston with the recent signing of free agent Derek Carr.

Perhaps the funniest part of all the shuffling is that only New Orleans can claim it’s made a marked improvement. Tampa Bay appears to have no plan at quarterback. Carolina is pinning its hopes on 2022 third-round pick Matt Corral, while Atlanta does the same with Desmond Ridder.

The NFC South is likely to be very, very bad again in 2023. But at least it won’t lack for intrigue this time around.