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.”

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eaustinyoung
10 days ago

Of course they do. Doesn’t mean it’s in the numbers. I hope it is. But hey, the Bucs have a 2nd effing Super Bowl ring. Whatever happens, let’s take it with a big, victorious grain of salt.

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Mike Pengelly
10 days ago

Don’t forget David, Brate and Fournette , all of whom would be great to retain. Brate may be vulnerable as Howard when healthy will be a good cheaper alternative. The talent possessed by Fournette I’m afraid will get him a good offer somewhere else. It would be a shame to lose ndavid, a career Buc. Hope he decides to stay for another run at a Super Bowl.

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bucballer
Reply to  Mike Pengelly
10 days ago

I don’t believe David is going anywhere. He will retire a Buc. He didn’t play all those lean years in Tampa to leave when they win the SuperBowl. Brate… well that depends on his willingness to take a pay cut and whether or not Brady needs/wants him to stay. I think Brady wants him to stay. His is a very intelligent Football player who knows how to find the crease and just sit down between the two. My concerns r with Fournette and Shaq. They r somewhat younger and will probably chase the cash. Can’t blame them, but I think… Read more »

scubog
Reply to  bucballer
10 days ago

You’re right about Rhett and Cobb. In both cases they reached for the dollars and their seemingly promising careers with the Bucs ended and then disappeared altogether. Perhaps their agents gave them some bad advice. RIP Reggie. In any event, like us, each player has to make whatever career choice he believes is best for him and his family. There a lot of people in the world who constantly change jobs for another 50 cents an hour and then wonder why they have problems fitting in. Same with the NFL, with players turning into mercenaries, going from team to team,… Read more »

surferdudes
10 days ago

I don’t think Suh is chasing a pay check. I think if he doesn’t play for Tampa next year, he hangs it up. Everyone else is going to want to get paid, even David.

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bucballer
Reply to  surferdudes
10 days ago

Suh will be back. He said his wife already gave him t permission. Ha! Ha! Ha!

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eaustinyoung
Reply to  bucballer
10 days ago

We laugh but we all know that’s how it works. My wife too lol

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Buc76
10 days ago

D. Brooks played here 14 years. Lavonte has been here 9. He is the soul of the team. Most tenured Buc. We have to keep him. he has at least 4-5 good years left.

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a-bomb
10 days ago

I hate to say it, but I think we can keep LD, Godwin or Shaq, but not all three. Of the three, the one that is the hardest to replace is Shaq. The other guys are great players, but productive pass rushing edge players are the second hardest position to fill on the team after QB. That is just the reality. LD’s particular skill set is hard to replace as well, because of his speed and coverage ability. But, it should be easier to find a guy with speed to at least come close to what LD provides. Godwin is… Read more »

Billy
10 days ago

Why are you guys talking about Brate? He is under contract. Suh won’t cost much. ME will restructure for Godwin. Probably make the same amount. LVD is NOT gonna demand much. AB will have a ton of Bonus incentives again with about 8 Mill. Gronk will play for 5 or 6. Fournette is literally the only one I’m concerned about. If Godwin or Barrett don’t get signed to a 4 year deal they get the tag. This is not rocket science. No more 1 year prove it deals. 2 or 3 minimum light on the front end. Draft the hell… Read more »

bucballer
Reply to  Billy
10 days ago

Just because u r under contract doesn’t mean u can’t be cut!

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Spitfire
10 days ago

I mean of course all the guys want to come back. They seemed to all have a great time this post season and know they have a shot at winning another one or even two. The problem is most athletes are extremely greedy and don’t care if they get a Buddy cut and take good out of their families mouths as long as they get every possible dollar they can. The smart ones realize they can take a little less while still making good money and keep good people around them instead of “Breaking the Bank” and sucking up so… Read more »

Naplesfan
10 days ago

The salary cap is going to be significantly lower in 2021 than 2020 – the entire league has this issue to deal with. As long as each free agent believes he is being treated fairly, I don’t see anyone jumping from the frying pan into the fire when the frying pan is still a Super Bowl proven team, and still has the GOAT. I believe all our FAs want to stay with the Bucs. And the Bucs management and coaches want them all to stay. So it is just a matter of restructuring and/or extending contracts, which automatically delivers extra… Read more »

Horse
10 days ago

I hope we can keep them all.
I don’t see how we can as there will be demand for most of them.
On the bright side we have some young receivers that are going continue to ger better. I can see brown stain because his demand is not near as great as Godwin’s.
I’m not sure we will be able to pay Gronk what he probably will want.
What are we going to do about OJ Howard? Can he stay healthy it’s my question.

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SaskBucs
10 days ago

NFL.com has Brate down as a potential cut due to being TE3 and making $6.5. It’s unfortunate to lose him, we all like him and know he can produce when given the opportunity, but the Bucs need his money. Suh won’t retire if Bucs don’t sign him. Twins on the way and he figures he can play for 5 more years. He was talking about how he would like his kids to see him playing. I think him and Gronk will play for around $6 million plus incentives pushing them closer to $8 mil. Gronk forsure, Suh maybe a little… Read more »

Captain Sly
Reply to  SaskBucs
10 days ago

Comments are spot on, particularly Godwin. He’s a young player trying to capitalize on his talents and sign his1st big contract and who can blame him. Shaq similarly wants & deserves to be paid his 1st big contract. Bucs FA future will be determined by which of these two players they decide to pay. Choose Wisely!

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bucballer
Reply to  Captain Sly
10 days ago

Pay Godwin! He’s more valuable in this offense. Don’t get me wrong Shaq is a beast. I want to keep them both! But, Shaq did disappear at times. Became more effective when Vea came back! He can be replaced ( Watts???). If u can get Watts cheaper than Shaq… well that’s a change I would take! I hope that we r able to keep the entire band together… I just know that more than likely this won’t happen. Only so many dollars to go around. If I was a player, I would be like, if Brady is here then I’m… Read more »

Captain Sly
Reply to  bucballer
10 days ago

My only issue with paying Godwin over Shaq comes down to replacement value. If Godwin leaves his replacement is on the roster, if Shaq leaves we’re stuck finding his replacement. Both players deserve it however my money is on Shaq. Cheers!

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Theydidwhat
Reply to  SaskBucs
10 days ago

I think Brate would take another restructure to stay. Somebody is getting tagged. Godwin was projected to leave to get more money on spotrac.nfl. It’s up to him if the Bucs offer 18M to stay versus 20M to play elsewhere.

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drdneast
10 days ago

Although Suh had his best year in a long time, I don’t see many teams busting down the door to sign a 34 yo defensive end. As far as Barrett is concerned, that’s another story. Still, when it comes to Bowles’ defense the sum of all parts is one. In other words, it takes all 11 players working together for the front seven to get their sacks and it wasn’t until Vea got back in the lineup that Barrett began to terrorize QB’s again. Neither the Gronk or Brate are currently worth what they are making but both are valuable… Read more »

Theydidwhat
10 days ago

The first thing is are they using the franchise tag on one of the potential big money guys if they can’t get a deal done. It has to be used March 9-15. Licht will know at that point who will be the hardest to get signed. Fournette was invaluable, but also the most replaceable. They could lose some depth players too. There is some turnover every year on every team, Licht will build another great team for 2021. Go Bucs

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plopes808
10 days ago

Gronk and David aren’t going anywhere. If Shaq chases the money, we can’t really blame him even though I think it’ll be a mistake. He benefits greatly from the rest of the front 7 and won’t put up the same numbers elsewhere. Just look at his numbers when Vita was out for example. Mike will restructure to keep Godwin and I feel like Playoff Lenny learned to like not having to be “the guy.” Hopefully he can take a deal for a little less to try to get another ring but if not, we will draft another RB. If Shaq… Read more »

PissedOffBuc1988
10 days ago

I trust Licht. and don’t forget about the Brady affect. Guys will take a pay cut and it will surprise many but not me. I think Shaq walks but I’m cool with that because it’s more Vita than Shaq and those who understand football know this. It’s no coincidence that when vea returned, Shaq showed up. Without vea, he’s not consistently impactful. Why is 5 mil not enough? If I got paid 5 mil to play a sport, I’d consider that a robbery. Rings get you remembered and it will lead to more opportunities than you could imagine because you’ve… Read more »

PissedOffBuc1988
10 days ago

And if you think david is going anywhere, think again. He’s a buck for life and regardless of the lack of pro bowls is a top tier lb in the nfl. He and white are electric. David deserves to get another contract with us and I’m pretty positive that Licht will prioritize david above everyone else.

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Dave
10 days ago

Suh and Gronk should be easy. They both like the team, situation, and living in TB. David will be Licht’s top priority. So I suspect he’ll be paid accordingly. Now it’s down to Godwin, Shaq, and Lenny. To me, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that Lenny will be gone. Which I’m totally fine with. Not like we can’t win without him. I’d much rather spend half the money on James White. Based on last years situation, Shaq might not settle for anything less than a big pay day. I think if we tagged him again, he might cause a problem.… Read more »

Last edited 10 days ago by Dave
toucan
9 days ago

Davis will stay. Suh will stay. Godwin may get franchised. Fornette is gone. Brate may be gone.

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