The Tampa Bay Buccaneers pulled off a stunner and re-signed Jamel Dean, something that sent NFL Twitter into an absolute frenzy.
It took Jason Licht and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers front office less than six hours to completely flip the offseason on its head. While everyone was expecting a mass exodus of talent from Tampa in the wake of Tom Brady retiring and a prickly salary cap situation, the Bucs pulled off a stunner on Monday to kick off NFL Free Agency.
Somehow, despite all of the hurdles that seemed to stand in the way, the Bucs re-signed star cornerback Jamel Dean.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the deal is four-years and $52 million, with $26 million guaranteed. Ian Rapoport from NFL Network made sure to note while breaking the news that Tampa Bay was “where Jamel Dean wanted to be” and he reportedly turned down more money elsewhere to return to the Bucs.
Like, seriously let that sink in. Bucs fans came into this offseason expecting to very much not have a good time but the team has already yanked the curtains off the windows to let the light shine in.
Dean wanting to come back to the Bucs — so much so that he turned down more money — is extremely notable. It dashes the notion that Tampa Bay isn’t a place players will want to come in the post-Brady era and puts them back on the map as potential contenders.
More moves need to be made, specifically at quarterback, but it’s impossible to overstate how important bringing back Dean is to the future.
NFL Twitter reacts to Jamel Dean re-signing with Buccaneers
Needless to say, the magic trick that Licht and company pulled off in re-signing Dean sent NFL Twitter into a frenzy and was a cause for celebration among fans.
It’s almost impossible to overstate what a big deal this is, even beyond the validation it brings the team to have a top free agent decide to sign with them — even if he was in-house.
Dean’s return does a few things, not the least of which gives the team a top cornerback for the next four years. That means the Bucs likely don’t have to be so set on using the No. 19 pick in the upcoming draft on a corner back to replace Dean freeing up the slot for use on another positional need.
It also instantly makes the Bucs more competitive heading into next season than they otherwise would have been. So much has been made about the team tanking for Caleb Williams or simply being bad in the post-Brady era, which may still be true in the short-term but the long-term window just got much brighter than it was when the day began.