The Bucs have had quite an eventful 2022 offseason. From retirements, to un-retirements, and promotions, there has been no shortage of storylines. The moves the team has made in free agency and the draft have earned them a “B” grade in Pro Football Focus’ latest rankings.
Bucs QB Tom Brady – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
It all started with Tom Brady’s retirement, followed by Ali Marpet calling it a career as well. Seemingly out of nowhere, Brady decided he was going to come back for another season.
Soon after, Bruce Arians stepped down as head coach and into an advisor role, and Todd Bowles was named as the new head coach. The flurry of moves changed the Bucs season outlook and how they would approach the offseason.
Bringing Back Their Own
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Brady’s return on the eve of free agency cancelled any plans of a re-tool and it was time to bring back core members of the team. Center Ryan Jensen was the first to re-sign. That was followed by long-term deals with wide receiver Chris Godwin and cornerback Carlton Davis III. Starting running back Leonard Fournette re-upped shortly thereafter. The dominoes continued to fall with valuable role players inking deals to come back. Running back Giovani Bernard, wide receiver Breshad Perriman, quarterback Blaine Gabbert and defensive end Pat O’Connor all returned on one year deals.
Bucs WR Chris Godwin – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
The Bucs lost a few players along the way. Guard Alex Cappa departed for a big pay day with the Bengals. While safety Jordan Whitehead joined the Jets. There was some controversy around the move, as Whitehead claimed the Bucs didn’t extend an offer and declined to match what the Jets gave him. Then came two likely departures. Tight end O.J. Howard joined the Bills and running back Ronald Jones II signed with the Chiefs. The losses could turn out well for the Bucs, as they are projected to gain up to three compensatory picks in the 2023 draft.
Calculated Free Agent Acquisitions
After focusing on their own for the start of free agency, general manager Jason Licht made a splash signing former Falcons receiver Russell Gage to a three-year deal. He followed that up with some wizardry, acquiring guard Shaq Mason from the Patriots for just a fifth-round selection. Then came the value signings of defensive back Logan Ryan and safety Keanu Neal. Former Bengals offensive lineman Fred Johnson was also brought in to compete for the backup tackle job. While also bringing versatility to play guard in a pinch.
Bucs DB Logan Ryan – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bowles recently stated he was happy with the roster as constructed but as we get closer to camp there are still positions they could add veteran depth to. The Bucs can now sign veterans without it counting against their potential compensatory picks in 2023. As such, we could see them more willing to make moves to bolster the roster and it’s depth.
Defensive tackle, edge rusher, inside linebacker, wide receiver and defensive back the likely positions. However, tight end Rob Gronkowski’s looming decision as to whether he will play another season could make tight end a position of need if he decides to retire.
Splash In The Draft
Slated to make their first selection at pick No. 27, the Bucs traded back to the first pick of the second round gaining valuable assets in the process. It would be the first of several trades the team would make, completing four in total. With the newly acquired second round pick the team selected defensive tackle Logan Hall. Hall will compete for a starting position out of the gate. The Bucs then traded again this time moving up in the second round to take guard Luke Goedke. The self-proclaimed “glass eater” will compete in camp for the starting left guard position.
Bucs DT Logan Hall – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
The Bucs stayed put for their next three sections drafting running back Rachaad White, tight end Cade Otton, and the shocking selection of punter Jake Camarda. With a player the Bucs had highly ranked on their board slipping into the fifth round, Jason Licht made the bold move of trading a 2023 fourth-round pick to get back into the fifth. With the selection they took athletic cornerback Zyon McCollum.
Another trade vaulted them into the sixth round where the selected ferocious blocking tight end Ko Kieft. Finally rounding out their draft class with edge rusher Andre Anthony in the seventh.
Set Up For Success
Bucs OLB Joe Tryon-Shoyinka – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
The moves Tampa Bay made are headlined by the return of Brady. Realizing this could be his final season in red and pewter, the Bucs have done a good job of surrounding him with familiar faces and new talent. Though they could still make additional moves to bolster the roster.
There are several spots on the team where younger players will be given every opportunity to step up. They’ll need to convince the front office and coaching staff they are set at those positions. However, with big names still available they could always add to the competition and depth of the squad.
With a daunting schedule ahead of them are the moves the Bucs made enough to propel them to another championship? Only time will tell. I agree with PFF’s assessment of a “B” grade, but it could quickly move up a letter if the team’s draft picks and free agent acquisitions pan out, or Tampa Bay continues to add to an already loaded team.
J.C. Allen is one of PewterReport.com’s newest beat writers. As a New England transplant, he has closely followed Tom Brady’s entire career and first fell in love with the game during the Patriots 1996 Super Bowl run. J.C. is in his second year covering the team after spending a year with Bucs Report as a writer, producer and show host. Some of his other interests include barbecuing, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends. His favorite Buccaneer of all time is Simeon Rice and believes he deserves a spot in Canton. Follow J.C. Allen on Twitter @JCAllenNFL.
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