Buccaneers aim to bolster depth, build for future in draft
27. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (14-5)
LAST SEASON: With Tom Brady leading the league in completions, attempts, passing yards and touchdowns, the Bucs followed up winning their first Super Bowl victory in nearly two decades by setting a franchise record for regular season wins and capturing their first NFC South title since 2007. Brady briefly retired after losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Rams in the divisional rounds of the playoffs, however the seven-time NFL champion reversed course 40 days later and announced he’ll return for a 23rd season.
FREE AGENCY/TRADES: Coach Bruce Arians, G Ali Marpet retired. Traded for G Shaq Mason. Placed franchise tag on WR Chris Godwin, then signed him to 3-year, $60 million deal. Lost S Jordan Whitehead, TE O.J. Howard, G Alex Cappa, RB Ronald Jones to free agency. Signed WR Russell Gage, DB Logan Ryan, OL Fred Johnson, S Keanu Neal in free agency. Re-signed C Ryan Jensen, CB Carlton Davis, RB Leonard Fournette, DL Williams Gholston, WR Breshad Perriman, RB Giovani Bernard, T Josh Wells, LS Zach Triner, G Aaron Stinnie, QB Blaine Gabbert.
THEY NEED: DT, CB, OL, TE, Edge Rusher.
THEY DON’T NEED: QB, P, K.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: Georgia DT Devonte Wyatt, Texas A&M G Kenyon Green, Arkansas WR Treylon Burks, Washington CB Kyler Gordon.
OUTLOOK: With Brady back and Todd Bowles taking over for Arians, the Bucs are “reloading” with expectations of making another Super Bowl run. The offseason began with questions about what general manager Jason Licht would do to replace Brady. Once the QB decided to return, the focus turned to keeping a talented core together by retaining Godwin, Jensen, Davis, Fournette, even Brady backup Blaine Gabbert, who’s still ahead of second-year QB and 2021 second-round draft pick Kyle Trask on the depth chart. With a veteran roster built to win now, there’s a good chance there will be limited opportunities for members of this year’s draft class to shine as rookies.
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