This offseason hasn’t been short on major storylines for the Bucs. Tom Brady retired in February. He then returned just before free agency began. That led to some major moves for Tampa Bay and — if Tuesday’s addition of Akiem Hicks is any indication — the front office still isn’t done.

Oh, there was also the matter of a coaching change. Bruce Arians stepped into a front office role at the end of March, making way for the promotion of defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.

So, how does the Bucs’ offseason stack up against the rest of the NFL? Pretty well, at least according to ESPN’s Bill Barnwell.

Ranking each team’s offseason from best to worst (ESPN+ subscription required), Barnwell placed Tampa Bay at No. 4. His “what went right” section kicked off with what a win it was for Brady to return from his brief retirement. It also included a harsh-but-fair assessment of what the team’s prospects might’ve been with Kyle Trask leading the way.

“A Buccaneers team that had been staring down a future with Kyle Trask as its quarterback had to be thrilled,” Barnwell wrote.

Bucs WR Chris Godwin

Bucs WR Chris Godwin – Photo by: USA Today

Brady’s return led to the return of Ryan Jensen, as well as the addition of Russell Gage. Barnwell also noted Tampa Bay’s ability to retain both Carlton Davis III and Chris Godwin on contracts that are “reasonable for two of the top players at their respective positions.”

While acknowledging that the Bucs had to be disappointed to lose Ali Marpet to retirement, Barnwell called the newly traded for Shaq Mason a “very solid alternative.” He did raise an eyebrow at New England letting Mason go for a fifth-round pick, but called it a risk worth the reward for the Bucs.

In his “what’s next” section, Barnwell suggested the “inevitable” move of bringing Rob Gronkowski back for another year. That seems likely to happen.

Nitpicking What Went Wrong For The Bucs This Offseason

As far as where the Bucs went wrong this offseason, Barnwell said he wasn’t particularly thrilled with the team signing Leonard Fournette to a three-year deal. He does say that it isn’t “egregious” given that Tampa Bay can get out of the contract after just one year and $9 million.

Bucs RB Leonard Fournette

Bucs RB Leonard Fournette – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

He addresses the Fournette move once again in his “what they could’ve done differently” section. After writing that the team could’ve gone in a cheaper direction at running back and instead made a move on the defensive line, he mentions Harrison Phillips as an alternative addition with that money. Then again, Barnwell caps everything off with the following statement:

“In general, though, I can’t fault too much of Tampa Bay’s decision-making,” he wrote.

Truly, finding any issues within the team’s process would require some nit-picking. The Bucs are loaded up and ready for another run at the Lombardi Trophy.

How Did Tampa Bay’s Offseason Compare?

Coming in at No. 4, the Bucs’ offseason ranked behind only that of the Broncos, Eagles and Chargers. Of course, that means they had the No. 2 offseason in the NFC, according to Barnwell.

Looking at other NFC contenders, the Bucs finished ahead of the Rams (No. 8) and Packers (No. 9). The 49ers (No. 21), Cowboys (No. 24) and Cardinals (No. 30) all had their offseasons ranked in the bottom half of the league.

Tampa Bay’s offseason also blew away the rest of the NFC South. The Panthers (No. 18) followed behind the Bucs, while the Saints (No. 29) and Falcons (No. 31) found themselves near the very bottom of the NFL.

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About the Author: Bailey Adams

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1 month ago

Of course having to start Trask would have been scary because who knows what would have happened. If he spent a year getting clobbered trying to learn the only good thing would have been the experience. I think him getting the chance to dress every game this year is vital so he can learn on the sidelines and learn first hand from Brady. It has to be done if there’s any chance he has a future here. Now Trask learning this year and properly developing and going into next year after winning the Super Bowl may not be as scary.

Reply to  Spitfire
1 month ago

To me this whole Trask thing is our perspective. Having the G.O.A.T. at QB these past two years, and heading into a third, has made us a bit spoiled here in Bucville. We rightfully think no QB can take his place………yet. Thus, many think anyone other than Brady leading the team is going to “suck”. So let’s go back into the bowels (not Bowles) of Bucs history, to the times when we would have been excited about drafting the former Gator and pleading with the coaches to bench the starter and let the youngster play. So, it’s not so much… Read more »

Reply to  scubog
1 month ago

Yeah, it’s all about perspective. I wasn’t freaked out because I watch the guy break records with only a couple weapons, not much of a running game, and in the SEC. He really got a bad rap due to people blowing up his perceived weaknesses. I don’t think Alabama’s, nor Georgia’s defenses thought he had any significant weaknesses. Trying to replace Brady with anyone is going to be a downgrade. How do you maintain QB play at the GOAT level without the GOAT? You can’t. But you don’t need GOAT level play to win with this team, you just need… Read more »