3 free-agent NFC South moves that should terrify Carolina Panthers fans

The Carolina Panthers must be wary...

Kirk Cousins
Kirk Cousins / Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
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Jordan Whitehead

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers prioritized keeping their top stars rather than spending big in free agency this year. Those in power felt that retaining the likes of Baker Mayfield, Lavonte David, and Mike Evans was preferable at this stage of their project under head coach Todd Bowles. They are also looking to win the division for the fourth successive year.

There was room for a couple of signings. While terrifying wouldn't be a word normally associated with Jordan Whitehead, he might be the missing piece to Tampa Bay's puzzle as their backend anchor.

A gifted safety who performed well for the New York Jets last season, Whitehead brings awareness and physicality to the franchise. He's also instinctive in coverage, taking advantage of opportunities with pass breakups and turnovers aplenty. This means there will be no margin for error when quarterback Bryce Young takes on the Buccaneers in 2024.

Dave Canales should have a tell on how to exploit Tampa Bay's defensive weaknesses given he was their offensive coordinator last season. That said, Young must also improve his safety recognition after being baited frequently by the likes of Jessie Bates III as a rookie.

If Young provides similar chances to Whitehead, his 11 career interceptions and 42 passes defended indicate the former fourth-round selection will take full advantage. With the Panthers looking to be more competitive next time around, these fine margins could make a big difference.