Bucs get a fair off-season mark from football outsiders
Several national media outlets review NFL team offseasons to date, and Football outsiders is one of the latest when it comes to evaluating what the Bucs have done — and haven’t done — so far. Football Outsiders issued a report to the NFC South teams, even giving the Bucs the second best mark in the division – a C.
Carolina got the best grade, a B+, while New Orleans got a C- and Atlanta got a D+ despite a B for “improved selection” this offseason.
Tampa Bay got an F in that category — probably because the Bucs have done little to bring in new players outside of quarterback Baker Mayfield, defensive tackle Greg Gaines and running back Chase Edmonds. The Bucs received a C+ for “resources well used,” which may be low given the team’s tight salary cap this year.
But the Bucs got an A for coherent plan, which fell short of the Panthers’ A+ and exceeded the Saints’ C and D grades. Here’s what Football Outsiders had to say about the Bucs this offseason.
That’s the area the Buccaneers are in after Tom Brady’s retirement. (It’s actually $74,566,702 if you want to get pedantic.) That’s nearly $20 million more than the second-highest team (Philadelphia), and about $12 million more than the Falcons last year after trading Matt Ryan . Brady alone accounts for more than $35 million of that amount, a total matched by only four other teams this season.
Donovan Smith, Lavonte David, Leonard Fournette, Akiem Hicks and Shaq Mason also contribute at least $4 million each — more as individuals than the Dolphins, Chargers or Bengals in total.
With nearly a third of their cap space devoted to players who won’t be on the roster this fall, the Bucs have been unable to keep key defenders like safety Mike Edwards, lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches and corner Sean Murphy-Bunting . , all of whom signed elsewhere after their contracts expired. They managed to keep the star angle Jamel Dean, their best young player, but they hardly added any talent, bringing in Baker Mayfield and Chase Edmonds for relative pennies.
The failing grade for improving the roster speaks for itself, but their other grades are better because they’ve found a way to re-sign Dean and take a cheap flier at Mayfield, and their plan is obvious: reminisce about the Lombardi Trophy 2020, tear off the financial band-aid and get ready for 2024.
Football Outsiders omit two key components with Bucs analysis
Football Outsiders omits two key components in its analysis. The Bucs are back-to-back NFC South champions. Most of the talent on the roster — with nine players who made at least one Pro Bowl and all helped win a Super Bowl — remains. Not just from last year, but also from 2021 when the Bucs had a franchise-best 13-4 record, and from 2020 when the team won the World Championship.
There was also no mention of keeping linebacker Lavonte David, who was one of the top free agents this year, for $5.5 million less than a year ago. That was just as important as re-signing Dean and more important than adding a reserve runner like Edmonds, who was mentioned in the analysis.
Did Tampa Bay’s roster need improvement? Sure, that certainly wouldn’t be a bad thing. Every NFL team tries to improve its roster each off-season.
But maybe the existing players and Pro Bowlers just need to play better in 2023 after a bad year in 2022 together. There’s no mention of that in the Football Outsiders analysis, which makes it a bit hollow.
Perhaps there is enough talent to win on the existing roster, as evidenced by back-to-back championships within the division. To be fair, whether the Bucs can win at a higher level and become the NFC South victors again without Tom Brady remains to be seen.
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