The Buccaneers coming off a 7-9 season, a season in which they very easily could have been 9-7 showed great improvement on the defensive side of the ball as the 2019 season came to a close.
There were a lot of reasons for this improvement from the first eight games till the final eight. The return of Jason Pierre-Paul from his neck injury played a key factor in the resurgence and the overall improved play of the secondary highlighted the defensive improvement.
But the Bucs defensively would not have had the success they had on the defensive side of the ball if not for the play of linebacker Shaq Barrett.
After backing up Von Miller in Denver, it was hard to believe that the Bucs were able to pry him away from the Broncos for a measly four million dollar one year contract.
Barrett had one of the best seasons ever by a Buccaneer defender as he led the NFL in sacks and also broke Warren Sapp’s all time single season Buccaneer sack record with 19.5.
Barrett played lights out all season long. Never took a game or a play off, and just played his ass off every snap he was on the field.
Before the season ended, Bruce Arians was being asked about the possibility of Barrett coming back and he would always reply “he ain’t going nowhere.”
Barrett fell in love with the area and said numerous times that he wanted to stay in Tampa with a new contract, one that would provide security for his family.
Although Barrett didn’t get the big mega deal he was looking for, the Bucs did put the franchise tag on him and he will make just north of $16 million dollars this season on a one year deal while the Bucs and Barrett’s agent work on a long term deal.
Within days of the Barrett signing, the Buccaneers announced that the GOAT Tom Brady would be coming to Tampa to lead this team for the next two years signing Brady to a two year $60 million dollar deal with incentives included in those numbers.
Brady is one of those few athletes whose play on the field is sometimes secondary to his impact to a team off the field.
Brady is coming off a season in which his numbers slipped a bit, but those numbers still put him in the top tier of quarterbacks in the NFL.
In fairness to Brady, the Patriots 2019 team was the least talented team from an offensive standpoint that Brady has had to work with.
In spite of the offensive shortcomings, Brady still passed for 4,057 yards with 24 TD’s and eight interceptions.
Imagine the numbers Brady will put up with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and OJ Howard to throw to.
Brady will be 43 when the 2020 season begins and since he took over in 2001 as a starting quarterback he has missed five games in 18 seasons outside of the 2008 season when Brady played in just one game after suffering a torn ACL in the season opener.
Brady is on the same level as Michael, LeBron, Kobe when it comes to igniting the fan base and putting fans in the seats.
The Bucs attendance has been in the bottom tier of the NFL in attendance the last few seasons and the team has seen a steady decline bottoming out last season at 50,728 per game, the lowest since the 2010 season.
Brady will put butts in seats. You can bet the atmosphere at Raymond James will be electric this fall when Brady and the Buccaneers take the field.
As soon as the Brady signing was announced there was immediately a backlog of fans on ticketmaster waiting to inquire about Buccaneer season tickets.
It would be naive to think that the Buccaneer organization were not looking at what Brady could bring to the organization from a marketing and sales standpoint when they made the decision to give him the two year 25 million dollar contract.
The Barrett signing was much needed as the defense continues to improve and strives to get to that next level.
The Brady signing not only ignites the fan base, but puts the Bucs in the national spotlight really for the time since the 2004 season.
Bruce Arians thinks that this Bucs team is a playoff team.
With the NFL expanding the playoff field by two teams starting with the upcoming season, it is very likely the Bucs can break their 12 year playoff drought.