Turn the clocks back to earlier in the offseason and the idea that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be near the center of the football universe would be a ridiculous one to consider.
Tom Brady had just retired, veterans were jumping ship, and the Bucs were stuck with paying the bill for chasing a Super Bowl the last three seasons. Things looked bleak, but the front office merely brushed some dirt off its shoulder and got to work putting together a playoff roster.
Despite being picked to be one of the worst teams in the league, the Bucs battled back against adversity to win a third-straight NFC South title and will be hosting a playoff game next weekend. A lot of the credit is due to coaches and players, but Jason Licht's crew in the front office are the real MVPs of the season.
With the success Tampa Bay is experiencing, the team is at risk of losing some key people during the offseason hiring window.
Panthers are trying to steal a key front office member from Buccaneers
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Panthers are requesting to interview Buccaneers assistant GM Mike Greenberg for their top job.
Greenberg is one of Jason Licht's top men, and has been a major reason why the Bucs have so masterfully navigated a tough salary cap situation this year. For as much praise as Licht gets for captaining the ship, Greenberg is the wizard who played a key role in magically making $80 million in dead cap space feel like nothing more than a pin prick.
Things don't typically end well for teams saddled with the kind of salary cap situation the Bucs had this offseason. Just look at the Saints, who have tried to spend their way out but have only kicked a bigger and bigger can down the road. Denver is another team that is in a bad spot, having devoted so much money to Russell Wilson and creating a situation where they might take on as much dead cap as the Bucs did after Brady retired.
One of the reasons the Broncos might be willing to take their medicine is because of how well the Bucs navigated a similar situation, and the man behind that curtain is Greenberg.
It's a bummer for the Bucs, but it'd be a massive career step for someone who has clearly shown they deserve a shot at the title. Of course, this is merely a request for an interview, not a formal job offer. Greenberg interviewing doesn't mean he's going to leave Tampa Bay but it feels like it's only a matter of time before he takes a top job somewhere else.
That's a massive feather in the cap for the Buccaneers and something to be proud of.