Welcome to the 9th ever edition of ‘The Super Bowl Race in the Perspective of Chase’, an almost daily article about your favorite NFL team! Buccaneers fans had something to talk about throughout the entire offseason so far. But, as the offseason closes, Tampa Bay is staying as a contender? We’ve done teams that have the opportunity to contend for a title like the Ravens, Titans and Cardinals. However, this is a team that has proven to be a Super Bowl winning team, after winning it in 2020. But, with Tom Brady turning 45 in just three days, can the Buccaneers still contend for a Super Bowl?
Real quick before we get into it I would like to let you know that we are doing something very similar to this about the NBA on the Cool Sports Newsletter if you want to check that out. But with all that out of the way, lets, get into this!
Tampa Bay is coming off of a season where they were Super Bowl contenders. They started off the season 5-1, but after a two game losing streak, an easy schedule had to carry Tampa Bay to a 7-1 record down the stretch. They finished 13-4, as the 2nd seed in the NFC. However, in game against the Jets, Antonio Brown basically just quit in the middle of game, leaving Tom Brady with just Mike Evans to throw to after Chris Godwin went down with a season ending injury. In the Wild Card round, Tampa Bay blew out Philadelphia. But in the divisional round, Tampa Bay was down 27-3, and Brady could not get the offense going. However, Brady led them back, and it was tied at 27 with very little time to go. However, a 44 yard completion from Matthew Stafford to Cooper Kupp put Los Angles in field goal range, and Matt Gay made the easier 30 yard field goal to send Los Angeles to the NFC championship.
Just about one week later, it was rumored that Tom Brady would retire from the NFL. The next day, Adam Schefter reported the news. Despite Schefter’s report, other reports said otherwise that same day, including local Tampa Bay reporters and his own dad! However, just a few days later, Brady officially announced his retirement. But broadcasters though Brady was going to come back to the NFL, and join a team like the 49ers. The Dolphins were also a possibility, as they tried to bring in newly retired coach Sean Payton to coach Miami with Tom Brady. And even though these reports seemed fake, Tom Brady unretired and came back to the NFL in March. However, it was still for Tampa Bay.
But Tampa’s offseason just continued to become more busy. They started off by franchise tagging Chris Godwin and signing Logan Ryan. It was a smart move from Tampa Bay to franchise tag Godwin to save cap space and signing Logan Ryan to a 1 year contract. Ryan is a good secondary player but he is also getting older and only taking a one year flyer on him is extremely smart. But before that in February, Pro Bowl guard Ali Marpet decided to retire. And while he said he was considering coming back once Brady came back, he decided not to.
That was just the start of bad things for Tampa Bay. Top tier offensive guard Alex Cappa left Tampa Bay for Cincinnati. They also lost a huge part of their running game, as Ronald Jones left for Kansas City. Here is what I think of those losses. I think their running game is going to be okay, but Leonard Fournette will be much better as a receiver. I see a good 1400 yards of scrimmage for Fournette this season (a reason why I want him in fantasy). And they have Fournette locked up until the end of the 2024 season. However, I think their deep passing game will be weaker, so maybe not a good idea to take Mike Evans over another good wide receiver in fantasy. But their overall passing game will still be good.
However, they did lose O.J. Howard to Buffalo and Rob Gronkowski retired. Because of this, Tampa Bay signed Kyle Rudolph to play tight end alongside Cameron Brate. Even though Gronk is considering coming back, he may not. So because of this, Tampa Bay signed wide receiver Julio Jones. While he didn’t have a great season last year and is injury prone, he still is Julio Jones and he has tremendous talent. If he stays healthy, he’s better than whatever Antonio Brown was doing for Tampa Bay on and off the field. but recapping the whole offseason in one line: They still have the goat. And if they have the goat, anything is possible. Tom Brady’s stats may regress with a worse offensive line. But he still is Tom Brady, and can lead his team to any success possible!
My prediction: Tampa Bay has a great regular season in an easier division, and makes a deep playoff run!
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