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S.W. Florida Daily News


Ranking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Free Agent Priorities


With the 2021 NFL season officially over, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers look to address their free agent priorities ahead of the new league year. As the defending Super Bowl champions, the team boasts a plethora of talented players set to hit the open market. Ranking the importance of re-signing each player can be a daunting task, but it is crucial for the Buccaneers to prioritize certain positions in order to maintain their dominance in the upcoming season.

Ranking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Free Agent Priorities

As the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have proven they have what it takes to succeed at the highest level of the NFL. But as they head into the 2021 offseason, they face a number of critical roster decisions, particularly with potential free agents. Here is a set of rankings of the Buccaneers’ free agents based on priority.

Offensive Tackle, Donovan Smith

Donovan Smith has proved himself as a reliable left tackle, starting all 32 games in the past two seasons, playing a major role in protecting Tom Brady’s blindside en route to the team’s Super Bowl win. At 6’6″ and 338 pounds, Smith has the size and athleticism to continue to anchor the left side of the Bucs’ offensive line. There’s no doubt that resigning Smith is the number one priority for the team.

Wide Receiver, Chris Godwin

Chris Godwin is a dominant wide receiver, boasting an impressive catch rate of 71.3% over the past two seasons. With 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns in 2019 and 840 yards and seven touchdowns in 2020 despite missing four games due to injury, Godwin is a key receiver for Tom Brady. The Bucs will do all they can to re-sign the free agent wideout, but he could still receive offers from other teams.

Outside Linebacker, Shaquil Barrett

Shaquil Barrett is another of the Buccaneers’ star defenders, leading the team with 8 sacks and 16 tackles for loss during the 2020 regular season. Barrett was also a dominant force in the postseason, with 3 sacks in the Super Bowl win against the Kansas City Chiefs. With his combination of speed and strength, Barrett is a terror for opposing offenses. The Bucs must be careful here, as he could be a hot commodity on the free agent market.

Defensive Tackle, Ndamukong Suh

Ndamukong Suh has been an important figure on the Bucs’ dominant defense, clogging up running lanes and pressuring quarterbacks in the interior line. While Suh’s production has not been as impressive as it was earlier in his career, he remains an important piece of the Buccaneers’ spirit in the locker room, and he could return on a team-friendly deal.

Tight End, Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski came out of retirement to rejoin his former teammate Tom Brady in 2020, and he was a key player in the team’s championship run. While it’s unclear whether Gronkowski will retire again, the Bucs could benefit from having him back with the team in 2021. However, he’s not a top-priority free agent, given the need to retain other core players.

Running Back, Leonard Fournette

Leonard Fournette was a late addition to the Buccaneers, having been released by the Jacksonville Jaguars just before the beginning of the 2020 season. However, he proved his worth by playing a key role in the team’s playoff run, with 448 yards from scrimmage and four total touchdowns in four games, including a touchdown in the Super Bowl. While the Bucs could consider re-signing Fournette, he won’t be a top priority due to the presence of Ronald Jones and other options at the position.

In conclusion, the Buccaneers face a difficult challenge in retaining their key free agents. While Donovan Smith, Chris Godwin, and Shaquil Barrett are the top priorities, retaining Ndamukong Suh, Rob Gronkowski, and Leonard Fournette could also prove valuable for the Buccaneers in their quest to defend their championship title in the upcoming season.


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