Pro Football Focus called the trade that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made to fix and bolster their depleted offensive line the offseason’s biggest fleece. Buccaneers fans should share this excitement and enthusiasm.
Pro Football Focus has not been short of praise for the Buccaneers leading up to the 2022 NFL season. In today’s (perhaps overly) analytics-obsessed culture in sports we find ourselves, the word of PFF is viewed as pretty much gospel to many. That being the case, any praise they show the Bucs should not be taken lightly. Recently, they’ve called the Buccaneers’ receiving corps the best in the NFC, and the second-best in the entire NFL.
Their latest ranking focuses on every team’s offensive lines. The Philadelphia Eagles’ unit took the top spot, with the Buccaneers coming in at number four in the rankings, which seems fair all things considered since it’s a fresher, yet talented, group that we haven’t seen together yet. Here’s what they had to say about the Bucs:
"The Bucs pulled off the fleecing of the offseason in retooling what could have been a depleted interior offensive line. With Ryan Jensen and Alex Cappa hitting free agency, along with Ali Marpet retiring, Tampa Bay could have had a nightmare on its hands. Instead, the Buccaneers traded for a top-five right guard in Shaq Mason, re-signed Jensen and then took one of PFF’s favorite tackle-guard converts in Luke Goedeke in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft."
Couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Simply put, the Jason Licht and company did a masterful job of filling the voids left at the two guard spots, and bringing back Ryan Jensen into the fold. The part that makes this such a fleece was the fact that they were able to trade for Shaq Mason by sending the New England Patriots nothing but a fifth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
This was an absolute steal on the surface, the kind that usually ends up working out for the Patriots somehow in the end, but now without Tom Brady, it’s met with much more questions. Speaking of Brady, he now finds himself going from what looked to be a patchwork interior offensive line to being reunited with his former 6’1″ 310-pound teammate that he won two Super Bowls with while appearing in another.
Games are won and lost in the trenches, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did not forget that, as they pulled off the offseason’s biggest fleece, by maintaining the strength of the trenches, and bringing Shaq Mason to Tampa Bay. Fans should be just as ecstatic as Pro Football Focus appears to be.