Coming off of a Super Bowl victory, the Bucs are behind their normal offseason schedule and will have to leap head first into free agency and draft preparations. With high-profile free agents like Chris Godwin, Ndamukong Suh, Rob Gronkowski, Shaq Barrett and Lavonte David all in need of new contracts this offseason, Tampa Bay will now be tasked with trying to keep their championship-winning core together despite a shrinking salary cap for 2021.
Arians spoke about the biggest factor in getting a new deal done with their unsigned free agents, whether it’s the money or a chance to return to a Bucs team that remains in win-now mode.
“It’s usually the money,” Arians said. “If it’s close, I think that our guys really want to stay. They know they have something special and I don’t think that any of them want to leave. I don’t get involved in the dollars, I just let them know that we want them back and they want to be back, so hopefully we can get everything done and keep our guys.”
And despite a significant portion of the Bucs’ salary cap already invested in Mike Evans, Arians doesn’t see a problem with trying to keep and having to pay another top receiver in Godwin as he heads toward free agency.
“I think he loves it here,” Arians said. “It’s hard to leave and go to another system just for money, but it’s not bad paying two No. 1 receivers, that’s for sure, when they’re as good as our two No. 1’s.”
Shifting over to Gronkowski and Suh, two relatively new veterans to Tampa Bay’s locker room, Arians again discussed what it will take to keep them in red and pewter for 2021 as the Bucs’ walk a thin line with players to weigh navigating a salary cap situation and returning for another year with Tom Brady and championship aspirations.
“I don’t think [the money will] trump [the desire to return] much, but hopefully we can keep them within the framework of the team because I know they both want to be back,” Arians said. “That’s one thing I stay away from, I don’t get involved in their dollars, but I would hope that they would both be structurally in a ball park where we can get it done.”