Hardly anyone is expecting much out of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season.
NFL experts have already dogged them, pegging the team as one of the worst in the entire league. Losing Tom Brady will do that, as will such a thing being juxtoposed against the disaster of a season Tampa Bay had last year.
Take a closer look at some of the offseason moves the team made and you'll start to see a strategy that rebuffs the idea that the Bucs are clear candidates to tank and instead have tools to seriously compete.
It was a tight offseason in terms of how many moves the Bucs could make, as Brady's $35 million in dead cap space combined with a $55 million salary cap knot to untangle complicated things.
Despite these constraints, the Buccaneers managed to pull off some key moves that might age brilliantly as underrated additions to the team this offseason.
Let's dive into the three most underrated moves the Buccaneers made.
Stealing Ryan Neal away from Seahawks
One name that continues to pop up this offseason is safety Ryan Neal.
He was quietly signed away from the Seattle Seahawks in free agency, but is being pegged as a potential breakout star for the Bucs this season. Last year he posted a PFF defensive grade of 82 last season, which was a massive jump from posting grades in the 50s during his first two seasons.
That sort of improvement is what is exciting about having him with the Bucs, as he's well positioned to capitalize on his growth. Being in Todd Bowles' defense, combined with Antoine Winfield Jr being his running mate in the secondary, creates a situation where a guy with Neal's upside should flourish.
It's going to be sorely needed, too.
Outside of Winfield, the Bucs lost all of their impact safeties this offseason. Mike Edwards joined the Chiefs, Keanu Neal is in Pittsburgh, and Logan Ryan remains unsigned. Nolan Turner was the only notable holdover, but he's falls outside of that impact zone.
Neal landing in Tampa Bay not only puts him in a tremendous position to succeed but gives the Bucs a potential Robin to their Pro Bowl Batman in Winfield. The result could end up being one of the best safety duos in the entire league next season.