The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and free agent quarterback Tom Brady have agreed to a contract. The details are currently in the works but it is expected to be around 30 million dollars per year.
After spending twenty seasons with the New England Patriots and winning six Super Bowls, Tom Brady is heading to a franchise that has not made the playoffs since 2007. This may be a hard switch for someone like Brady, who has gotten so accustomed to making deep playoff runs every year.
Despite the Buccaneers’ long playoff drought, they have been busy this offseason trying to build a championship-caliber team. Along with the signing of Tom Brady, the Bucs re-signed linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul to a two-year, $27 million deal, and placed their franchise tag on stud linebacker Shaquil Barrett.
The one question remaining is: what else can they do to give their team the best chance to win the Super Bowl?
No. 1 | Get a starting running back
There are still some very talented running backs available in free agency, however, only a few of them will likely fit in with Tom Brady.
Melvin Gordon | Not expected to resign with the Los Angeles Chargers this offseason, Gordon is a hard runner with exceptional pass-catching capabilities who can keep defenses guessing on play-action. His cousin Dare Ogunbowale is the back-up running back for the Buccaneers.
Devonta Freeman | Recently released from the Atlanta Falcons, Freeman is not the best receiving back but is very shifty and hits the hole hard. Joining a division rival of the team who released him could be the revenge Freeman is looking for.
Dion Lewis | Lewis was released by the Tennessee Titans a few weeks ago and has not gotten much interest out of many teams. His hands are so good that he is basically a wide receiver at the running back position. Therefore, Lewis would pair up nicely with Buccaneers’ running back Ronald Jones who is more of a power runner. Also, taking a small contract to join Tom Brady (whom he won a Super Bowl with back in 2016) doesn’t seem like a bad idea.
Todd Gurley | One day after the word spread around the league that the Los Angeles Rams’ star running back was on the trading block, the Rams took a huge leap and released him entirely. It now makes perfect sense for both Gurley and the Buccaneers to agree to a deal. Gurley would have a shot to get back to his old self and a solid backup to spell him if his knees become a problem again while the Bucs would get a key piece for a championship run.
No. 2 | Strengthen the Secondary
The Buccaneers’ interior players are exceptional, however, they struggled the most last season preventing big plays from happening down the field. One way to help is by adding some of the elite secondary players remaining.
Logan Ryan, CB | Ryan has been one of the top cornerbacks in the league while playing for the Tennessee Titans, however, he was too much money for them to resign. A chance to help a struggling perimeter defense in Tampa Bay and joining his former teammate Tom Brady could be the best option for the 29-year-old.
Prince Amukamara, CB | The Chicago Bears got three very impressive years out of Amukamara and he was a big part in establishing them as the best defense in the NFL back in 2018. Joining the Bucs could be a chance to recreate another dominant defense and have the chance at a Super Bowl victory.
Vonn Bell, S | Bell is one of the top strong safeties in the game as he controls the opposing run game very well. At only 25 years old, the Buccaneers shouldn’t mind handing out a big contract if it means a better chance to win.
No. 3 | Help out the offensive line
Jameis Winston was the fifth most sacked quarterback last season. One piece of good news is that even though Winston is much faster and more athletic than Brady, the change in quarterbacks might help the offensive line.
The change to a “pocket passer” is typically better for the lineman because they will know where the quarterback they are protecting is at all times. That being said the Buccaneers still need to strengthen their line and most of the top free agents are already taken.
The Buccaneers hold the 14th pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. It’s hard to predict which rookies will perform the best immediately out of college but taking a risk might be the best option. Someone they could be eying with their first pick is Andrew Thomas out of the University of Georgia.
Protecting Brady is a must for Tampa Bay. He is excellent at avoiding pressure, but at 42 years old and with a $30 million contract, an injury would be devastating.