Offensive line, not quarterback, should be Buccaneers number one priority

Tristan Wirfs, Alex Cappa, Ryan Jensen, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Tristan Wirfs, Alex Cappa, Ryan Jensen, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

There is a lot of intrigue over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ plans at quarterback. However, the number one priority for the Buccaneers this offseason should be their offensive line.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers put all their chips on the table to capitalize on the Tom Brady window and attempt to “go for two” as Super Bowl champions, if not more. That being the case, Jason Licht and the rest of the front office had to use the approach of “kicking the can down the road“ when it comes to the salary cap. Now, the chickens have come home to roost and it’s not looking like the Buccaneers will be able to retain everyone again.

In fact, their roster may look VERY different in 2022 than it has in 2020-21. With the shocking news of Ali Marpet’s retirement, here is the current outlook for the Bucs:

So yeah, the Buccaneers have their work cut out for them.

Going back to Marpet’s retirement, his unfortunate departure from football, coupled with the uncertain futures of free agents Ryan Jensen and Alex Cappa, means that the Bucs now have a glaring need on the offensive line.

The Buccaneers need to focus on their offensive line before anything else this offseason.

Football teams have different approaches on offense when it comes to run vs. pass, but no matter what the scheme is games are won and lost in the trenches, and that was quite evident during Super Bowl LVI.

Joe Burrow became the first quarterback in NFL history to lead his team to a Super Bowl appearance while also being the most sacked quarterback in the league. His greatness was able to overcome it, but sooner or later it was going to come back to bite the Bengals. Burrow was unable to escape Aaron Donald when the game was on the line, and on the final play had J’Marr Chase wide open down the sidelines which would have given them the lead. Instead, the Bengals are settling for second place and the Los Angeles Rams are Super Bowl champions.

The point of this is, while the quarterback is the most important position, it doesn’t matter how great your quarterback is if he can’t stay upright. Try this stat on for size, Tom Brady was sacked 22 times the entire regular season while Burrow was sacked 19 during the Bengals’ four playoff games. However, when the Buccaneers found themselves without Tristan Wirfs, and the entire unit having an off day regardless of who was playing right tackle against the Rams, it essentially ended Brady’s career.

Another historical nugget not pertaining to 2021 is how in the 1980s when the passing game first started exploding on the trajectory we’re at now, Washington was able to win three Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks. How? Well, their strong offensive line was just about as consistent as it could be as far as personnel went, for the most part. In the offseason, offensive line moves are never going to move the needle to fans, but they will move the football in the regular season to the delight of fans.

With all of this being said, the Buccaneers need to utilize what limited cap space they have left to try and retain Cappa and Jensen, then utilize their first-round draft choice on an offensive lineman in a class that is littered with them. After the offensive line is squared away, then we can focus on the quarterback they’ll be blocking for.