Buccaneers Begin The Rebuilding Process

The Buccaneers are in rebuild mode.

Even though Todd Bowles won’t use the word “rebuild,” it doesn’t change the fact that this next season will be one of rebuilding for the Buccaneers.

The Greatest player of all time, Tom Brady, is gone.

Buccaneers Cut Smith, Brate, and Fournette

The Buccaneers have already cut ties with tackle Donovan Smith and running back Leonard Fournette. Tight end Cameron Brate is also expected to be released.

Fournette asked for his release, and the Bucs will honor his request and make it official on March 15th, when the NFL New Year begins.

The Bucs will have a ton of roster decisions to make in the next week, with 23 contracts expiring and 55 million dollars over the cap.

Jamel Dean is a UFA, and the Bucs will not put the franchise tag on him, setting up the possibility he will play elsewhere next season.

Don’t look for the Bucs to put the franchise tag on anyone. It would cost too much money against the cap.

Buccaneers Secondary Will Look Different Next Season

It’s not just Jamel Dean the Bucs may lose. The Buccaneer secondary will look a lot different next season, with Sean Murphy-Bunting, Mike Edwards, Logan Ryan, and Keanu Neal all free agents that could play elsewhere next season if they do not resign with the Buccaneers.

The Bucs would like Dean, Edwards, and Murphy-Bunting back, but can they afford them?

The Bucs will have minimal dollars to spend on top free agents.

Jason Licht alluded to that at his press conference at the combine, saying that the Bucs’ free-agent signings will not be big names.

The Buccaneers had one of the oldest rosters in the NFL last season, and the goal is to get younger and quicker. “We do need to get faster, and we need to be younger,” Licht said. “We need to get some more energy. I always feel we need to build up the lines, but it does not always work out that way.”

The Bucs still have some key pieces in place, but who will be the quarterback next season will be the most critical decision that the Bucs will make this off-season.

With the Saints signing David Carr to a four-year deal, the Buccaneers suddenly find themselves battling Carolina and Atlanta to stay out of the basement in the division.

The NFC South is still a very weak division, but with their defense and the signing of David Carr, the Saints would appear to be the favorite right now to win the division.

The Bucs appear to be set at running back, as Raachad White is number one on the depth chart and is slated to be the starter this upcoming season.

Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Russell Gage are the starting receivers, but depth could be an issue with Julio Jones and Scotty Miller not expected to return.

With the impending release of Donovan Smith, the Bucs are talking about moving All-Pro right tackle Tristan Wirfs to the left side of the line to take over for Smith. If that happens, Brandon Walton or Justin Skule will be the options at right tackle.

The Buccaneers have just seven starters under contract from the 2022 team. Vita Vea, Logan Hall, Shaq Barrett, Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, Devin White, Carlton Davis, and Antoine Winfield Jr.

Tryon-Shoyinka has been a disappointment so far, and Logan Hall has underwhelmed in his first year on the defensive line.

Licht said at the combine, he wants to continue to win while restocking the roster. “I don’t want to say taking a step back. We’re still trying to restock and eventually build another championship team, and it’s just going to look a little different and be done a little bit differently.”

Then there is the contract of Lavonte David. David made 12.5 Million last season, and the Bucs will not be able to pay him that much this season. According to Spotrac, David’s market value is 9.7 million a season. Still quite steep for a team struggling with salary cap issues.

David will test the free agent waters. So we may have seen the last of one of the great linebackers in Buccaneer’s history take the field on Sundays in Tampa.

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