Buccaneers veteran Pro Bowler that could be done in Tampa

Ndamukong Suh, Jason Pierre-Paul, Shaquil Barrett, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Ndamukong Suh, Jason Pierre-Paul, Shaquil Barrett, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Buccaneers have a lot of difficult decisions coming up. This may be one of the hardest.

In all of the offseason conjecture articles and trying to figure out what the Buccaneers will do this offseason to stay relevant, there is nothing easy about talking on players that could be departing.

That sting only gets worse when you talk about guys that have been as important to the Bucs as Jason Pierre-Paul.

JPP was one of the best additions by the Buccaneers in the past decade. The way that he seamlessly came in and joined a struggling defense and helped elevate the unit will always be one of the cornerstones that last year’s Super Bowl defense was built on, and his career should certainly have him somewhere in the Hall of Fame conversation when it is all said and done.

Still, the Bucs can’t afford to keep everyone in the world of the strict NFL salary cap, and veterans are usually some of the first to go during a rebuild such as the one that the Bucs have coming up.

This won’t be a full rebuild, but the search for a new quarterback always takes a toll on teams. Tom Brady played like the best quarterback in football last season, yet was compensated like someone with much less prowess. Tampa was lucky to have such a high level of quarterback play above price, but that is changing now.

To make matters worse, key departures at other positions are also coming. This team is good, but players who signed on for cheap to stay in contention for a Super Bowl won’t be in such supply given the current circumstances. There will be new faces starting on both sides of the ball very soon.

Regardless, JPP’s roster chances are hurt by salary cap considerations and the presence of Joe Tryon-Shoyinka.

JTS showed flashes during his rookie season, and while it all wasn’t the magic that we saw during the preseason, he still deserves a chance to get more reps to see what he’s got. The rookie was certainly better than JPP, who was hurt for most of the season, and even Anthony Nelson made a compelling case to get more time in 2022.

The Buccaneers simply can’t afford to pay a veteran any longer who didn’t move the needle in 2021. The money isn’t there, and keeping young guys off the field during a time where the team needs to get younger only hurts the end goal.

Moving on from guys like Jason Pierre-Paul that changed the very foundation of the team is never easy to do, but there is an obvious right decision for the Buccaneers going forward if JPP doesn’t want to compromise on salary.

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