CBS Sports takes a ridiculous swipe at Buccaneers for bringing back Baker Mayfield

This is all getting a little ridiculous.
Jason Licht brought back key veterans in free agency, a plan that CBS Sports deemed a potential red flag.
Jason Licht brought back key veterans in free agency, a plan that CBS Sports deemed a potential red flag. / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

Jason Licht is known for a few things around Tampa Bay, one of which is crafting Super Bowl-contending teams. The other thing he does is keep receipts for those who doubt his talent in that first department, something he let the world know about at the NFL Combine this year.

Despite both Licht telling everyone he's keeping an eye on them and Tampa Bay's winning ways, the Bucs are again disrespected this offseason. It's not as bad as it was this time last year, but even winning the NFC South for a third straight year isn't enough to convince folks that the Buccaneers are legit.

Everyone from ESPN to podcast hosts has brushed the Bucs off, claiming that the division is weak and Tampa Bay did not put in enough effort to get better. That last point has been harped on by just about everyone, with CBS Sports being the latest to call Licht out for potentially botching his offseason plan.

CBS Sports thinks Buccaneers running it back is the team's biggest 'red flag'

Rather than get into a bidding war for free agents this offseason, the Bucs spent most of their money on returning key veterans at important positions. Baker Mayfield and Mike Evans were given over $150 million combined, Antoine Winfield Jr. was made the richest safety in NFL history, and guys like Lavonte David and Chase McLaughlin were brought back as well.

Even the external moves were made with getting the band back together in mind. The first signing the Bucs made from the free agency pool was bringing back Jordan Whitehead after he spent the last few seasons with the Jets.

All of these moves would have been top-line additions for any other team, but for some reason the Bucs doing it doesn't move the needle enough.

"Rather than reallocate big-money commitments, Tampa Bay prioritized re-signing its own this offseason, which nicely rewarded veterans like Baker Mayfield, Mike Evans, etc. for their scrappy playoff run," Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports wrote. "Can Mayfield replicate his ball control with essentially the same lineup that barely escaped the NFC South?"

Imagine if the Vikings had signed Mayfield and Evans, they'd be getting kicked to the top of everyone's list of Super Bowl contenders. Had the 49ers, Texans, or Bills signed Antoine Winfield Jr., experts would be foaming at the mouth over what a brilliant move the team made.

When the Bucs do it, they apparently didn't do enough. Tampa Bay landed three of ESPN's Top 25 free agents this offseason, yet everyone is quick to call them out for not adding enough talent to compete. Lest we forget those three players were instrumental in getting the Bucs to the playoffs and nearly to the NFC Championship Game.

The level of disrespect Tampa Bay is getting sadly isn't surprising, but it's getting a little ridiculous just how transparently bad the criticism is.

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