It is no secret that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the defending Super Bowl champions entering free agency. In Tampa Bay, however, there is no time for a Super Bowl hangover as the front office needed to get right to work in an attempt to keep key players on the roster. So far Tampa Bay has extended quarterback Tom Brady’s contract, re-signed linebacker Lavonte David, franchise-tagged wide receiver Chris Godwin and threw a boatload of money at pass rusher Shaquille Barrett to prevent him from leaving. Tampa Bay can return as a major contender in 2021.
Tom Brady is the starting quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers even at the age of 43. Brady continues to defy the odds and father time playing at a high-level game in and game out. By the kickoff of the 2021 NFL season, Brady will be 44, but that did not stop Tampa Bay from re-signing Brady with a four-year extension that is voidable after the first year. If you don’t think Brady still has what it takes, remember that he is coming off his seventh Super Bowl championship and his fifth Super Bowl MVP.
Playing alongside stud young linebacker Devin White the Buccaneers did an exceptional job of keeping the middle of their defense intact re-signing longtime Buccaneer star Lavonte David to a two-year $25 million deal with $20 million guaranteed. In nine years in Tampa Bay David has been nothing short of a consistent linebacker that is also a big-time leader on and off the field. A year ago David totaled 117 total tackles, 82 solo tackles, and 12 tackles for loss. By keeping David the Buccaneers keep their elite linebacking duo together.
Losing Chris Godwin would have been a major loss for the Buccaneer’s offense. Tampa Bay prevented Godwin from entering free agency by applying the franchise tag on the young wide receiver keeping him on a one-year $15.93 million deal. The ultimate goal for both sides now is to continue to work towards a long-term deal. Godwin recently turned 25 years old and for his talent has some of his best years ahead of him. Tampa Bay keeps an elite duo of Godwin and Mike Evans together to go along with other high-powered offensive weapons.
Both Tampa Bay and pass rusher Shaq Barrett knew that he was going to command a lot of money if he hit free agency. Barrett is back in Tampa Bay after signing a four-year $72 million deal with $36 million guaranteed. Re-signing Shaq Barrett is huge for Tampa Bay as the team keeps defensive end Jason Pierre Paul’s counterpart on the team. In 2019 Barrett joined the Buccaneers after time in Denver and immediately contributed with a career-high 19.5 sacks. In 2020 Barrett took a step back totaling only eight sacks, but he continued to impact the opposing quarterback. In the playoffs, Barrett’s value was showcased as he was a force in the opposing team’s backfield causing chaos.
Impact of these signings for Tampa Bay
For Tampa Bay, the ability to retain all four of these players is exceptional as they can enter the 2021 season with a majority of players returning after the Super Bowl. A major issue for teams that are unable to compete following a Super Bowl appearance or win is the difficulty to re-sign key players that command a lot of money in free agency. Tampa Bay has their work cut out for themselves in the draft and during the remainder of free agency, but so far Buc’s fans cannot complain.
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