In the most shocking moves of the young off-season so far, Buccaneers All-Pro guard Ali Marpet sent shock waves through the organization and the fan base announcing his retirement at the age of 28 via his Instagram account.
Marpet goes out on his terms as a Super Bowl Champion, Pro Bowler, and one of the best linemen in Buccaneers history.
Marpet, 28 and entering the prime of his NFL career, retired with two years left on his contract and leaves $20 million on the table.
A second-round pick from Hobart College in the 2015 draft, Marpet was the highest-drafted player ever from a Division III school as he was selected number 61 overall in the 2015 draft.
According to ESPN, Marpet decided out of concerns for his health. Bill Marpet, Ali’s dad, told ESPN, “I think he accomplished his goals, values his health, and is looking for more challenges. Ali has a very strong inner voice, and he is courageous enough to follow it. I’m in awe,”
Marpet thanked the Tampa Bay organization and the community for seven great years in his Instagram post. “After seven formidable years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I’ve come to the decision to retire from the game that has given me so much. This organization and the people surrounding it have helped not only fulfill a dream, but also helped build me into the person I am today. I’ve made Tampa Bay my home, and I look forward to serving this community in the coming years. To the coaches and teammates, family and friends, and Instagram post simply can’t express the profound impact you’ve had on me. I’m eternally grateful. Thank you, Tampa Bay.”
Bruce Arians could not say enough good things about the consummate pro that Ali Marpet was on and off the field. “I can’t say enough about what Ali has meant to our team over the three seasons since my arrival. He has been the consummate professional and has been a rock for us in the interior of our offensive line. We will miss him on the field and in the locker room, but I am happy that he gets to go out as a Super Bowl champion and Pro Bowler. It is never easy saying goodbye to a player who has meant so much to our success, but I support and respect his decision and wish him a great life after football.”
Marpet was one of the top ten guards in the NFL and the second-best offensive linemen on the Bucs after Tristan Wirfs.
The Bucs could also lose two additional offensive line members as center Ryan Jensen and guard Alex Cappa are both unrestricted free agents.
What looked like an average offensive line even without Jensen or Cappa next season becomes an area of concern for the Buccaneers.
With free agency beginning in just a few weeks, the Bucs should make every effort possible to resign Ryan Jensen and Alex Cappa. With Marpet and his 10 million dollars now available to use, the Bucs could use that money to lock up Jensen and Cappa.
The Bucs will undoubtedly look at offensive linemen at the scouting combine this week in Indianapolis.
Marpet will go down as one of the best offensive linemen in franchise history, and he should have his name in the Ring Of Honor sooner rather than later.