I am still salty from that 30-27 loss to the LA Rams on Sunday. It will be hard to watch football the rest of the season, knowing that the Buccaneers should have been one of the teams playing in the championship game this weekend and possibly the Super Bowl.
Matt Gay kicked a 27 yard failed goal with four seconds left on Sunday to give the Rams a walk-off 30-27 win over the Buccaneers and send the Rams to the NFC Championship game. Bruce Arians summed it up perfectly after the game. “To lose it like that, it’s hard. The finality of this league is a bitch.”
And so the off-season begins for the Buccaneers, and preparations begin for the 2022 season. More questions than answers surrounding this team will need to be answered in the next two months.
The biggest question surrounds the greatest player to play the game, quarterback Tom Brady. At 44 years of age, Brady may decide to call it quits and retire. Brady said Monday that his family would play a significant role in determining whether he’ll return for the 2022 season.
Brady is under contract one more year with the Buccaneers.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski said that if he had to decide today, he would not be back in 2022. Gronkowski said he wants to give his body a chance to heal and recuperate from the season before deciding on 2022.
The Buccaneers could also be looking for two new coordinators next season. Offensive coordinator Byron left with is reportedly finalizing a deal to become the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles will interview with the Las Vegas Raiders for their head coaching position later this week.
Then, there is the status of wide receiver Chris Godwin. In March, Godwin can be a free agent, and the Buccaneers must sign him to a new contract. Godwin played under the franchise tag this past season. If the Bucs cannot sign Godwin, rest assured the chances are slim to none that Brady will be back next season.
The Bucs will also need to replace Jason Pierre-Paul. Pierre-Paul played most of the season with a torn rotator cuff that will require surgery. Doubtful that the Bucs will bring him back next season.
Leonard Fournette, Ndamukong Suh, and Ryan Jensen could test the free-agent waters if the Bucs cannot sign them to new contracts.
The 2022 version of the Bucs will look a lot different than the Buccaneers teams that what we have seen the last two seasons.
It should be a fascinating off-season to see what Jason Licht and Bruce Arians do to keep as much of this team together as possible and acquire additional pieces to get back to the top spot in the league.