The Buccaneers have inched closer to becoming a dynasty
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have never been close to becoming a dynasty, nor have they ever been a perennial playoff team. In just a matter of a year, the Bucs signed the GOAT quarterback, earned their best record in over a decade, and won their first Super Bowl since the 2002 season.
If the Bucs were to drop off in 2021, it would have been understandable. Due to COVID, the cap dropping by nearly $20 million from last year, their best players being due for new contracts, and well, the fact that it’s just very difficult to repeat the accomplishments of the previous year. Just think of last year. Yes, the Chiefs made the Super Bowl again but the 49ers didn’t even get close to making the playoffs.
Through all of this, it appears that the Bucs will be in a prime position to repeat if nothing else they appear to be the favorites coming out of the NFC next year. After the Drew Brees retirement announcement, the Bucs will also be the clear favorites to win the NFC South for the next three to four years.
This team became close-knit through the season, and once they won the Super Bowl, nearly every player wanted to do whatever possible to “keep the band together.” This team is special. Chris Godwin was franchised tagged, and while many players hate being tagged, Godwin seemingly embraced the tag. This tag allowed the Bucs to re-sign their other two big free agents – Lavonte David and Shaquil Barrett.
Now let’s get to these two players. Not long after winning the Super Bowl, Barrett stated that he wanted to “break the bank” in his next contract. He always wanted to stay with the Bucs but he made it clear that he wasn’t going to take way less than market value just to stay with the Bucs. You can’t blame him. While Barrett didn’t take way less, he did take less than market value.
His new contract is a four-year, $72 million deal, which gets his average salary per year at $18 million. This figure is less than his peers at the edge position, with Khalil Mack, Demarcus Lawrence, and his former teammate, Von Miller, all set to make more money than Barrett next year. However, none of those players have as good of a chance to make it to multiple Super Bowls – Barrett does.
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While Barrett’s average per year cost is around $18 million, his 2021 cap hit will only be close to $6 million thanks to Jason Licht and company structuring the contract in this way. Make no mistake about it, Barrett wanted to be in Tampa.
As for David, he took a team-friendly contract, signing a two-year deal worth $25 million. For this contract, the average pay per year is close to $12.5 million per year. However, just as the Bucs structured Barrett’s contract to be easier on the cap hit, they also did this to David’s. In 2021, David will only cost $7.7 million against the cap.
Like Barrett, David could have gotten more money on the market but again, he wanted another chance to compete for multiple Super Bowls with Tom Brady and the rest of this Bucs team. David is the heart and soul of the defense, and arguably of the team, and the Buccaneers did the right thing by signing him to another contract.
Now for the icing on the cake. Brady signed an extension to his contract, ensuring that he will be the Buccaneers quarterback for at least through the 2022 season. His base salary for the 2021 season is only $1.075, with an $8 million signing bonus, totaling his 2021 cap hit to only $9.075 million. He was originally supposed to make $25 million. His contract also has three voidable years after the 2022 season, so theoretically, he could be the Bucs quarterback through the 2025 season.
This should excite fans almost as much as winning Super Bowl LV. With Brady at the helm of the offense, and with the receiving core that they have, this Buccaneers team has the potential to be one of the most dangerous teams in the NFL for years to come.
Thanks to all of these contract restructurings and Godwin happily taking the franchise tag, the Bucs have plenty of room to keep re-signing current players and going after top free agents. Late Monday evening, they were able to sign Rob Gronkowski to another one-year deal worth up to $8 million, with the ability to get an extra $2 million worth of incentives.
The Buccaneers have all of the pieces of becoming a dynasty. They’ve already accomplished the hardest part – they won the first championship, now it’s time to stay focused and keep winning. Something Brady is good at doing.
If the injury bug doesn’t bite the Bucs, this team WILL go to the playoffs every year, they WILL be NFC South champs for the next 3-4 years, and they WILL be a dynasty. Take that to the bank and cash it.