Buccaneers’ Brady Has High Expectations for Free Agent WR


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made an eye opening move this summer to bolster their already elite wide receiver group by signing Russell Gage to a three-year deal.

When everyone is healthy, Gage will be the No. 3 receiver in Tampa Bay’s potent system, but with Pro Bowler Chris Godwin still recovering from a knee injury that ended his season, Gage will likely take over as Tom Brady’s No. 2 target if Godwin isn’t ready when the season begins.

When asked recently what it will take for him and Gage to develop necessary chemistry, Brady was clear that Gage had some work to do.

“A lot of work, a lot of work. He has to have a big year. We signed him to a contract and he has to come in and do a great job. In the time I’ve spent with him, I really enjoy it and I think he has a great opportunity.”

Brady pointed out the important role Gage would have in this offense.

“That is a very important role for an offense that throws the ball as much as we do,” Brady stated. “We have very favorable passing conditions. You need a lot of good receivers. We have depth at receiver – obviously, Mike [Evans] is a great player. Chris [Godwin] is coming off a pretty significant injury, so Russell has to do a great job. And Scotty [Miller], ‘BP’ (Breshad Perriman), Cyril [Grayson Jr.], Jaelon [Darden], Tyler [Johnson] – all those guys who have experience and have played, they have to do a great job too. It’s a very competitive room. I think Russ, when he is out there, there is a lot of work that needs to go into the next six weeks to be ready.”

Over the previous three seasons, Evans and Godwin have been among the top receiver tandems in the NFL. But last year’s injuries made Tampa Bay’s lack of reliable depth at the position apparent. Brady is certainly prepared to hold Gage to that championship standard because he was brought in to have an instant impact for one of the league’s most dynamic attacks.

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