The Buccaneers, still giddy from their Super Bowl win over the Kansas City Chiefs, will soon come to grips with the fact that there is a lot of work to be done to keep this championship team’s nucleus together.
Jason Licht will have to work his cap magic again to fit all the pieces together to bring this team back for a championship run in 2021.
There are 30 free agents on this team. Wide receiver Chris Godwin and linebackers Lavonte David and Shaq Barrett are the top three free agents that the Bucs need to bring back.
David and Barrett are priorities one and one A. After the starting four of Barrett, David, White, and Pierre-Paul, there is not much depth at the position.
If I were to rank the top three players, the Bucs must re-sign it starts with Barrett. Then David, and then Godwin. Barrett had eight sacks in the regular season but was lights out in the playoffs registering four sacks and was unstoppable in the Super Bowl.
At wide receiver, you have Mike Evans, Scotty Miller, and Justin Watson. You should be able to re-sign Antonio Brown at a reasonable price.
I am not insinuating at all that the Bucs should not attempt to sign Godwin. He has been an essential piece of this offense since he arrived in Tampa. My point is there is more depth at wide receiver than at linebacker right now.
The Bucs are going to lose someone that is going to piss off some Bucs fans. That’s just the cost of doing business when you have the number of free agents that the Bucs have.
Mike Evans has said he would be willing to give up some of his money in a re-negotiation to sign some key free agents and keep this team together for another run in 2021.
Evans is due to earn 12.2 million in 2021, and the cap hit will be 16.6 million. The big question is can the two sides come to an agreement that works for both parties.
The Bucs will probably put the franchise tag on Shaq Barrett. Barrett is 28 years old, while David is 31. Barrett would cost the Bucs around 19 million per season under the franchise tag.
Should the Bucs and Barrett agree on a new contract, it would be in the neighborhood of 19 million per season.
Some of the other free agents on the Buccaneers include Rob Gronkowski, Ryan Succop, Leonard Fournette, LeSean McCoy, Ndamukong Suh, Antonio Brown, and backup quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Griffin.
Should the Bucs lose David or Barrett, JJ Watt, Melvin Ingram, and KJ Wright are all possibilities that the Bucs could target.
The cap is projected to be around 185 million dollars for the 2021 season.
It will be interesting to see how Licht uses the dollars this off-season to keep this team together. The Bucs are going to lose one or two of their top free agents. The Bucs won’t be able to keep everyone.
Free agency begins on March 17th.