As Jack Nicholson's Joker once said, think about the future.
That's something the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been considering in the wake of Tom Brady retiring, forcing the team to reckon with what its future will be. A new era is dawning in Tampa Bay but it's unclear what exactly it will look like and who will be involved.
Not everyone who begins this upcoming season with the Buccaneers will be a part of the future, for one reason or another. Baker Mayfield is on a one-year deal and might parlay whatever success he has into a bigger contract somewhere else, while Lavonte David and other veterans might soon ride off into the sunset.
A handful of other guys will have decisions to make once next season is over, and it might be that they don't fit into what the future looks like in Tampa Bay.
There's a chance these guys are back, but in all likelihood this will be the last season we see them in a Buccaneers uniform.
Ke'Shawn Vaughn, RB
- UFA in 2024
- RB3 in a crowded room
This really feels like a case of Vaughn being drowned out by other proverbial voices in the room.
He was never a guy that the Bucs were likely expecting to be RB1, but he hasn't been able to claim the backup role either. That's a battle that got a lot harder when Tampa Bay signed Chase Edmonds to be Rachaad White's mate in the backfield this upcoming season. Once again it feels like Vaughn isn't going to get a meaningful amount of touches to make an impact on a team that is beginning to transition into the future.
White is the starter for the foreseeable future, and the Bucs will either look at the free agent class next March or the rookie class in April for an RB2. Vaughn is an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season which is why the number of touches he gets is so important in proving his value. If his production looks anything like it did last year (he played roughly 3 percent of the team's snaps) he's not going to get enough opportunities to prove himself.
Something working in Vaughn's favor is the offensive regime change that occurred. Dave Canales comes from a run-heavy Seattle offense while Skip Peete is coming over from Dallas after coaching Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard into the league's best duo. Still, without enough touches, the best-case scenario for Vaughn is that he shines in what little time he gets and parlays that into a deal somewhere else.