1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
What went right: The Super Bowl champions managed to bring back just about everybody from last season’s team. Thirty-one Bucs players lined up for at least 200 snaps on offense or defense a year ago. Owing to some creative cap work and a Tom Brady extension, all 31 of those players are back. The most conspicuous departure from the 2020 team might realistically be swing tackle Joe Haeg. Tampa didn’t add much outside of former Bengals third-down back Gio Bernard, but this is about as much continuity for an NFL team as you can imagine from year-to-year. The Bucs also managed to keep defensive coordinator Todd Bowles on staff after the former Jets coach flummoxed Patrick Mahomes in the Super Bowl.
What went wrong: Everyone got a year older? It’s really tough to find much that went wrong for Tampa this offseason. Its main competitors in the NFC got worse, as the Saints were forced to shed talent and the Packers might have started a blood feud with Aaron Rodgers. You could quibble with using a second-round pick on quarterback Kyle Trask as opposed to using that pick to try to add more depth up front, but Tampa used its third-round pick on Robert Hainsey instead.
Bruce Arians and Tom Brady won the Super Bowl in their first season together, and the Bucs brought back nearly everyone from their 2020 team. Jamie Squire/Getty Images
What they could have done differently: While Leonard Fournette played a meaningful role in the Bucs’ run to the title, I’m not sure they needed to commit $3.3 million guaranteed to Playoff Lenny and another $850,000 guaranteed to Bernard. With that being said, when we’re talking about $4 million across two veterans, you can see just how little there is to quibble with when it comes to this franchise’s spring.
What’s left to do: This one is tough. The Bucs wouldn’t be in great shape if Brady suddenly collapsed in his age-44 season, but they brought back Blaine Gabbert and did use the second-round pick on Trask. If you squint and look for a problem, you could see that swing tackle role as a place to improve. Morgan Moses will probably end up as a starter somewhere, but I wonder if they would target Halapoulivaati Vaitai if the former Eagles tackle were cut by the Lions.
I have no access to these rankings but, I can’t imagine anyone fucked up the off-season more than those dicks in Atlanta. Like how did they get worse? If you are keeping Matty Ice and you draft the most gifted receiver in the draft, how are you not holding on to Julio so you can at least be good on one side of the ball? They should rank. The Jets and lions should be towards the top, as well as the Rams.
The Chiefs will be much tougher to beat this season.. It’d probably be more of a close shootout than last season’s blowout.. Then again it might be hard for them to get back to the big dance for the third consecutive year..