When Tom Brady retired back in February, his skills weren’t the only thing he took with him. The bright lights of national attention have dimmed, and respect is something that has been lost in the darkness.
No team has been as easily dismissed or made a mockery of this offseason like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have. From Peter King dubbing the team the second-worst in the league, to pundits taking shots at everyone from Todd Bowles to Baker Mayfield, it’s been an offseason of disrespect at just about every turn.
Remember when the best move for the Bucs was to trade up for Will Levis? Yeah, how did that end up working out?
As much as the Bucs have been easy targets, we’re seeing that not every negative prediction has ended up being right. Slowly but surely there are those in the national media breaking rank and admitting that Tampa Bay both has talent and the potential to be a good team this year.
Rick Spielman raved about Baker when he visited Bucs camp and guys like Jeremy Fowler and Thor Nystrom have called out the disrespect and clapped back at it.
Add the folks over at Good Morning Football on NFL Network to the pro-Bucs side of the arguement.
GMFB shouts out two ‘underrated’ Buccaneers players
The GMFB crew put together an All-Underrated team recently, highlighting players who are at the top of their game yet somehow aren’t discussed as such. Two Tampa Bay Buccaneers players made their roster, one on each side of the ball.
Mike Evans was named as one of the receivers while Lavonte David earned a spot on the defensive side.
The names on this list go to show how overlooked some of the best players in the game today are. Take a look at the ‘underrated’ defensive line, who is going to stop that unit?
Both David and Evans have something in common beyond being on this underrated ranking. There’s a legitimate chance that both could end up playing the entirety of their Hall of Fame careers in a Buccaneers uniform.
David has quietly become one of the best linebackers of the last decade, leading the Bucs defense through the Dark Ages of the 2010s to the franchise’s second Super Bowl in 2020. He was a top free agent on the market this offseason, with teams like the Buffalo Bills interested in adding him as a a potential final piece of a championship defense.
Instead, David decided to stay in Tampa Bay and continue his career here. The same might go for Evans, who has already reportedly made contact with the Bucs about a contract extension and has openly stated that he wants to continue his career with the team.
Think about that in the context of how the team is being viewed.
The Bucs are talked about like they’re a Pop Warner team that is allowed to compete in the NFL through an act of charity. Yet, David and Evans aren’t playing into any of that and are fully endorsing the team by wanting to stick around.
That goes a long way, not only with fans but in the locker room as well. Tampa Bay is going through a transitional period in the aftermath of the Tom Brady era, and having both David and Evans actively combat national negativity is huge.
To have both of their skills acknowledged by GMFB, especially calling out that they’re underrated, is pretty awesome.