TAMPA, Fla. — If there's one thing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not doing this offseason, it's sitting on their hands. The Bucs have their sights set on a Super Bowl repeat, and they're making sure they have the playmakers they need to do it.
Several Bucs stars were set to become free agents after the 2020 season. But most of them already signed new deals to stick around. Most of them wouldn't be able to stay if not for the generosity of Tom Brady, their seven-time Super Bowl champion quarterback.
Brady worked with Bucs General Manager Jason Licht to rework his contract, allowing him to take more money upfront as a bonus while deferring some money to future years. In all, the move saved the Bucs $19 million against the 2021 salary cap. That's even more important for this year, considering the NFL dropped the cap by 8% to $182.5 million.
On March 9, the Bucs made their first big move to retain a free agent by slapping the franchise tag on wide receiver Chris Godwin. He'll make more than $16.4 million in 2021, a big raise from $2.3 million last year. Godwin and the Bucs can still negotiate a long-term deal.
That same day, Tampa Bay brought back its longest-tenured defensive stalwart. Linebacker Lavonte David agreed to a two-year, $25 million contract to stay for his 10th and 11th seasons. David is popular with fans and teammates alike, and acts as a mentor to fellow linebacker Devin White.
The Bucs locked in another defensive star on Monday by re-signing Shaq Barrett. He came out of nowhere with 19.5 sacks in 2019, then notched four more to lead the team during the 2020 playoffs.
Also on Monday, Brady got his favorite tight end back for 2021. Rob Gronkowski signed a one-year deal to return, a year after he came out of retirement to reunite with Brady in Tampa. Gronk had told TMZ last week that he wanted to keep playing for the Bucs.
Now the Bucs have even more decisions to make. They're considering bringing back five-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, who started every game for Tampa Bay the last two seasons. There's also the possibility of re-signing wide receiver Antonio Brown. Personal problems kept the one-time Pittsburgh Steelers star off the field for more than a year before the Bucs took a flyer on him in 2020, which resurrected his career.
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