Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 2023 UFA Preview


Every Buccaneers’ fan remembers life before Tom Brady, it was a mixed bag at best. So while there’s still the 2022 season ahead with Brady at the helm, what’s in store for the pewter pirates “after Brady”?

“Borrowed Heavily”

That’s a lot to unpack right? Thankfully The Athletic’s Greg Auman recently dropped an article about this topic, you can read it here. Auman points out that the Buccaneers have “borrowed heavily” from team’s 2023 salary cap. That doesn’t bode well for a team with 25 unrestricted free agents in 2023.

Those 25 unrestricted free agents include names like, Tom Brady, Lavonte David, Jamel Dean, Will Gholston, Mike Edwards, Rakeem Nunez-Roches and Sean Murphy-Bunting. That’s a daunting task for Jason Licht and company. Auman lays out just how daunting.

“The Bucs can make all kinds of maneuvers to create cap space and kick the can down the road again, but even presuming a healthy bump to the cap in 2023, the Bucs are well over that presuming a $218 million cap, has them $59.3 million over the cap already — only the [New Orleans] Saints are in worse shape — and OvertheCap has them $51.8 million over, presuming a $225 million cap.”

Auman continued,

“Bucs general manager Jason Licht and cap wizard Mike Greenberg have found ways to keep the team’s core mostly intact before, but that creativity will be challenged in March.”

The First Domino

The first domino that needs to fall after the 2022 season is Brady’s decision. Whether he decides to retire or play in Tampa… or elsewhere determines who the Buccaneers will decide to keep. But again, Brady is the key here and he isn’t exactly letting the cat out of the bag. Proof of that came on a recent “Dan Patrick Show” interview where Brady talked about his career nearing an end.

“At this stage, it’s like 55% yes and 45% no. It’s not 100-0. That’s just the reality. It’s not that I’m not 100% committed, it’s just as soon as I make the commitment to do it, it’s like, ‘Ugh. All right, here we go.”

Defensive Focus

If I were a gambling man I’d take Brady not being a Buccaneer in 2023 and plan from there. Lavonte David definitely deserves to be locked up and stay a Buccaneer until retirement. After David I think you’ve got to look at locking up Dean and Edwards and Murphy-Bunting. The hope here is one or more would be willing to give the team a bit of a break on their contract.

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