Which Buccaneer Will Step To The Front Of The Line?

February 19th, 2021

“Yes, Gronk caught this pass.”

In 24 days, the NFL free agency dinner bell rings with teams permitted to start negotiating deals with representatives of pending free agents.

Two days after that, if a guy isn’t signed yet, teams can talk to the player personally. It’s an exciting time of year, and the Bucs have at least eight key unrestricted free agents that were major contributors to the Super Bowl ”W.” Eight!

Here are the big names, in no particular order:

Ndamukong Suh
Shaq Barrett
Lavonte David
Ryan Succop
Chris Godwin
Rob Gronkowski
Antonio Brown
Leonard Fournette

Despite what Bucs officials have said, it’s going to be hard to squeeze all those guys under the freshly squeezed salary cap. Jason Licht worked miracles in 2020; Joe’s not counting on another miracle that would bring back this eight-piece band.

So how will the Bucs prioritize? Well, Joe’s more interested (in this post) about which of these eight Bucs comes to the table first and says something like, “I want to stay. Let’s get this done now. What’s your best offer?”

At some point soon, some of these guys will realize they don’t have the leverage they think they do.

With twins due next month, maybe Ndamukong Suh wants to lock up a contract quickly rather than shop his services?

If Gronk really only wants to play with Tom Brady, then the Bucs — or Gronk — should be able to force a deal in a hurry.

Maybe Shaq Barrett only demands $50 million guaranteed over three years to stay in Tampa, similar to what Trey Flowers got from the Lions in 2019. If so, shouldn’t the Bucs pounce?

If Lavonte David really wants to stay, it should be easy as hell to get a deal done. Right? He just wrapped up earning $50 million+ over the last five years.

Joe would bet a few bucks that one of these eight key free agents already is furiously pushing Licht to keep him in Tampa. Getting one or two of these guys done early could become an interesting leverage play by the team.

42 Responses to “Which Buccaneer Will Step To The Front Of The Line?”

  1. mg Says:

    The Bucs just experienced victory due to teamwork on the field.. Hope the teamwork continues during contract negotiations. This team appears to have a special bond.

  2. firethecannons Says:

    thanks for telling us what happened with this photo–looks like it was about to be a pass defensed, Gronk is a great addition!

  3. Alaskabuc Says:

    Bye Lenny, later AB

  4. IanB Says:

    tag Godwin
    pay Shaq market value but move big guaranteed money to 2022 and 2023 cap
    David takes a slightly team friendly 3 year deal with 2 years guaranteed
    Suh and Gronk 1 year 6 to 7 mil each
    Succop fair value deal
    extended Brady and Smith to lower 2021 cap number
    Brate and Gholston take pay cuts or get waived
    Evans shifts salary to lower 2021 cap number but guarantees more money
    Lenny walks
    AB takes extremely team friendly deal or let him walk

    it can be done but we’ll most likely be in cap hell in 2023 but by then Brady, Gronk and Arians all retire and we’re reloading anyways after a 3 year Super Bowl window

    All worth it IMO

  5. Bruce Blahak Says:

    Priority #1 = David
    Then gronk, suh and succup
    …AB and fournette were cheap luxuries, bye bye


    Godwin can take his butterfingers and lack of a deep threat to another team if he wants a big payday. Antonio Brown can change a game in 1 play at any time and the Bucs can leverage him to a low risk incentive type deal. People who want to throw Fournette away like a used napkin are very shortsighted and have bought in to the all RBs are the same blah blah. Defense is what must be given the priority as Scott Miller Time and Ty My Johnson are very talented and can see the field more!

  7. Rod Munch Says:

    Backload everyone’s contract, make them all guaranteed, give yourself 2 more years understanding in 3 years you’re going to be in cap hell…. everyone, meaning the fans, should be A-OK with that if it means 2 more shots. Hell, structure the deals so you have a way to put everything off even longer in case Brady is still around.

    But losers cry about the cap, good teams figure how to manipulate it to do whatever you want — or at least kick the can down the road. Two more legit years before cap hell and maybe needing to blow it up or have a down season, I’m OK with that.

  8. Rod Munch Says:

    You realize if you add in Brady’s postseason numbers he threw for 5700 yards and 50 TDs this season? Wow, that is amazing.

  9. SB~LV Says:

    Some team will Kwon

  10. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    1. Gronk I think is priority #1 cause of blocking ability and red zone huge catch radius.

    2. We need a solid reliable kicker

    3. Shaq Barrett….Good Edge rushers are so hard to find in the NFL

    All the other free agents are luxuries honestly. RBs, WR, DTs are really easy positions to rotate in & outta of. Considering the allure of Brady and the chance at repeating, the Bucs will be able to add valuable free agents below market value because these free agents want to play with GOAT and have a solid chance at a superbowl.

  11. DaBux Says:

    Better keep Succop. We don’t need that adventure again.

  12. Defense Rules Says:

    @Rod … “Two more legit years before cap hell and maybe needing to blow it up or have a down season, I’m OK with that.”

    Love the approach Rod, and I’m onboard with that also (mostly because we have no choice IF we want to take advantage of Brady’s last 1-2 yrs here and go for the gusto). We still couldn’t keep everyone, but we could keep our defense together AND ‘enough’ offense to make a run for another 1 or 2 championships.

    Brady’s contract here ends after this season, and he’ll be 44 yrs old this August. He MIGHT be able to squeeze another year after that into his career, but beyond that? Let’s get real: odds of winning another SB get longer & longer. And not just for him; lots of others too (like JPP & Suh & LVD & Gronk for starters?). Plus it’ll be time to start paying our ‘youngsters’; imagine how much Davis & Vea & White & RoJo, etc will want IF we win 1-2 MORE Super Bowls. Winning championships doesn’t come cheap … before OR after.

    So ya, let’s go for it. We’ve got the pieces in-place. Now we just have to find a way to pay for them & take advantage.

  13. Bird Says:


    Those numbers are crazy. He had 15 ints (only cause of poor second half of green bay nfc champ game)

    Thats way better then 3 to 1 td to int ratio. Thats a formula for winning a super bowl

  14. Bruce Blahak Says:

    The talent is obviously underrated throughout the roster. The replacements for any free agents that leave will be a guaranteed downgrade…the best are on the Bucs free agent list.

  15. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    @ Defense

    I’ll be shocked if Brady plays one more season in 2022……..really

    There’s really nothing more left for Brady to do………..he’s done it all obviously and has shown the World just because you’re younger doesn’t mean you’re a better QB as we seen in MY-HOMIE…………but no QB could stand up to that rentless pursuit of a defense.

    I don’t care if Godwin stays………..he’s honestly trade bait. If the Bucs were smart, they’d trade Mike Evans and sign Godwin to a long contract…..cause Godwin has WAY MORE UPSIDE than ME13 . Don’t get me wrong…..ME13 is great, but Godwin is more versatile.

    All the other Vets can go……but I’d definitely find someway to sign Shaq Barret, Gronk, and the kicker.

  16. geno711 Says:

    I agree with Defense Rules.

    Try to get defensive pieces signed mostly.
    Based upon value, I would go Suh first. 7 or 8 million for him to play 75 percent of DL snaps and the production that comes with that.

    I obviously want to sign them all of these guys but I think Godwin and Barrett will cost the most. If it is a choice between Barrett and Godwin, I would go Barrett.

    Need to have that explosiveness that he had in 2019 as well as this years playoffs. That would be harder to replace then Godwin’s production in my opinion. Easier to get a combo of guys, like Evans, Gronk, AB, Johnson, Miller and even maybe an Edelman get us solid passing game production.

    If we lose Barrett, I am afraid of an Anthony Nelson being the other guy and that loss of production. If it is not JJ Watt or Barrett, who is the free agent pass rusher you think you can find this year?

    Von Miller and Melvin Ingram would not come cheaply and both seem to be a little longer in the tooth.

  17. Mitch Says:

    I really don’t know if the Bucs or the players will know what the best offer is until the new cap is decided on. Hopefully, that info will become available before the 23rd of this month.

  18. Bird Says:

    The big 3 are obviously lavonte , shaq and godwin

    But suh and gronk may be just as important

    Suh- vea is an absolute beast. But he cAnnot stay healthy. Honestly , i would let him practice once a week (joey galloway treatment) . Suh has stayed healthy i think his entire career. He is built like a dang wrecking ball…he clogs up that middle and is key with #1 run defense in nfl. Plus he brings a nasty streak that defense needs.

    Gronk – gronk sat out an entire year and then just comes right back. He did not get many looks early in season and joked that he was just there to block. Look how much more of a weapon as season went on and he got his legs back. Plus what other tight end can line up against chase young and montez sweat and win that one on one. He is like a sixth olineman that has great hands and can run. He will be even better now that he is in shape and not WWE beer drinking shape.


    Hopefully godwin wants to stay and bucs can sell it as he will get same deal that mike evans got …you know the only receiver in nfl history with 7 consecutive 1000 yard seasons. Make that comparison so we can keep godwin in that 15 mil range


    This is a year to lock up players long term. Think about it. They are going to 17 game season soon. Players will want bigger contracts. Get it done now.


    Oh and i checked on kickers contracts. I didnt realize some make 4 mil a year. Wow. Anyway , bucs will need to pay succop some more scratch. Not 4 ish. But close to 3 as i think final stats put right around top 10 kicker

  19. Oneilbucs Says:

    Why are yall afraid of drafting a new quarterback because this year it got to happen . Brady can fall off at any time just like Payton Manning did . He had a good year then it was over the next year . He was bless because he had a great defense to carry them to the superbowl . The defense should be the main focus to keep together .

  20. geno711 Says:

    Oneilbucs Says:
    March 20th, 2020 at 8:48 am
    Man all this Brady stuff is going to hurt us in the next year are 2 . Why don’t yall realize this guy is 43 years old when the season starts . B.A. is destroying this team and yall still don’t see it . What makes yall think that Brady is going to come in here and ball out ?

  21. Mitch Says:

    I am not afraid of drafting Mac Jones. However I don’t think there is a ton of value in it because when Tom leaves or retires so does Arians. It’s not smart to draft an heir apparent when the focus is a win now mentality and the inevitable regime/coaching changes in the next one to two years.

    Outside of that no top QB talent should be available at the 32nd pick.

  22. Robert Says:

    Everyone saying bye to Lenny should realize he’s the RB that got us through the playoffs and was TB escape route many times. WIthout him no SB. Can you say that about the others?

  23. Beeej Says:

    It’s a LOT harder to find dudes like Barret than Godwin. Hopefully we don’t have to make a choice

  24. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I simply looks like a choice to me

    Godwin or Shaq

    Suh or LVd

    Fournette is gone…..we may be able to squeeze in Gronik, Succop & even AB if Godwin is gone..

    We just can’t afford two large contracts in the 15 mil plus…(Godwin & Shaq)

  25. Zippy Says:

    I like Godwin a lot, but he is replaceable at a much lower rate. Barrett and David are not. Lock up the defense, fill the offense with veteran weapons (people will come to play with Brady) don’t mortgage the future.

  26. Bruce Blahak Says:

    this team has some pretty good “character” going. Godwin is a rare, unselfish, #1 WR. David is our longtime senior member. These 2 can’t get away! Everyone else is a priority after those 2… DE & OLB in the draft

  27. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We could have locked in Godwin last year to a more reasonable contract….but we went for other players & that helped us win the SB….so that’s the price we pay.

    I will go with Joes philosophy on this one…..keep Shaq because good edge rushers are very hard to find.

    It will hurt very much to lose Godwin….but we can afford a WR loss more than Shaq

  28. SC Bucs Fan Says:

    Assuming he can stay out of jail, its a good problem to have, Godwin or Brown

  29. Wayne PEREZ Says:

    Geno711 you definitely don’t know what you are talking about Brady is a freak of nature he probably could play till 50 lol but he’s got another year or 2 also ba just won a super bowl clown !!!

  30. PSL Bob Says:

    If the philosophy this year was WIN NOW, why not leverage the franchise (structure contracts to push CAP hits into the future) and keep as many of the FAs as possible to maximize the chances of winning another SB in 2021/22? The key though is to draft a QB that can be tutored under TB. If the Glazers were smart, which they appear to be, they would make Leftwich the new head coach in 2022 and retain BA as a team consultant so he could continue to mentor BL in the art of coaching. BL could still call plays as head coach. The window to win a SB is very small and when you have a chance to make the big show, you’d better take it. Keep the current roster. Please!

  31. Bird Says:

    Wayne perez

    Look at his post again
    He copy and pasted another persons comments from march 2020 – before season started
    That poster made comment about brady and still does


    😂. That didnt age well

  32. Buckin ayee Says:

    Joe you were smart to list the 2 players that aren’t going to be retained on the bottom of this list.

  33. SB : Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    Joe: Any word on when the TV deals will be finalized and if they will be done before the new Cap is set?

  34. Joe Says:

    Joe: Any word on when the TV deals will be finalized and if they will be done before the new Cap is set?

    No, Joe’s not in the middle of the TV negotiations so no idea when the ink will be dry on those contracts.

    You know who wants to know if the TV deals will be done for this winter to help out with the cap more than us? NFL owners and general managers. Right now, teams don’t know how much they can/can’t spend.

  35. Robert Says:

    AB, 2 years all day. TB will have Tyler looking like CG next year.

  36. geno711 Says:

    @Wayne PEREZ Says:
    February 19th, 2021 at 8:46 am

    Sorry about the confusion of my comment. I was on JBF and other places a Brady lover last year as soon as I heard we had a chance; Supported us getting him despite his age.

    I copied a bunch of O’Neil, Ndog and other’s commentators back in March and April of 2020 who were saying that BA and Brady and the whole team was going to suck.

    I NEVER believed that but what do I know. I just happened to be correct this time that BA and Brady were going to be a great combination this year.

    When O’Neilbucs posted the same dribble again today about Tom Brady falling off. I could not resist calling him out. So I appreciate you calling me out for my post today, although, I think we both realize that it may be O’Neilbucs that is likely incorrect on Brady in the next couple of years.

    I am betting on you and I agreeing that Brady is going to have no problem in the next couple of years and is going to still ball out.

  37. geno711 Says:

    Barrett more important than Godwin.

    The other OLB besides JPP and Barrett last year were:
    Cam Gill, Anthony Nelson and Pat O’Connor.

    They combined for just 17 total tackles and 2 sacks.

  38. TOM Says:

    IMHO I think Succop is the most important signing. Remember how many years for the Bucs to finally get a really good kicker. don’t want to go through that again. Next should be Gronk, Shaq, David, Suh & Godwin. The reason I have Godwin last is the Bucs have some really talented WR”S plus resigning AB would be a lot cheaper. As much as I liked Lenny he also can be replaced by a cheaper alternative.

  39. Alstott up the gut Says:

    The answer here is clearly Gronk! Nothing would be more surprising from our list of free agents than Gronk playing elsewhere without Brady. The big 3 hopefully sign long deals to stay, but who should jump up first and say get it done to show we are all “going for two.” Answer: Gronk!

  40. Oneilbucs Says:

    Geono711 So you tell me what’s going to happen because I can tell you this if they don’t keep this defense together at least the core of the defense we will be set back for the future of this team. And Brady was so great why he couldn’t win with the Patriots his year ?? And even this year they had to bring in 4 runningbacks and a new tightend and plus AB . And now yall afraid of salary cap because of all these one year deals .

  41. Buc4evr Says:

    I think the Bucs have to do the unthinkable this year. If they want to keep all of our free agents we are going to need to give signing bonuses amortized over three to five years. Dead money is going to be an issue, but to get back to the SB again we need the core of this team back.

  42. Robert Broughton Says:

    GOAT wins number 7 in Pirate City!

    I was asked why I had not written
    A poem about the Superbowl game
    The one that was won by the GOAT now
    And his teamates I cannot all name
    There is Gronk and Evans and others
    Fournette and Jones in the back
    A group of defenders attacking
    Like a group of wolves in a pack

    The linemen gave Tom the time needed
    As Shaq gave chase to the kid
    The D Line applied so much pressure
    As the coaches grand plan was kept hid
    Defenders lay back as they covered
    All the weapons they had on the field
    Looked more like a group of kids playing
    Their fate had all but been sealed

    I was told that this would not happen
    The Bucs were just not that good
    They could not contain Andy’s players
    Tommy’s team wasn’t led by “The Hood”
    Number 7 put him high above now
    With others just grasping “no fear”
    The record might get broken one day
    Maybe this could happen next year

    We’re gonna lose a few coaches
    Some players will choose a new gig
    Let’s all hope they keep it together
    And not let their heads get too big
    Bruce you did a great job sir
    Leaving coaches and players to jibe
    If you leave be sure to turn over
    To a guy looking to win not survive

    Keep the O Line all together
    They’ve finally started to gel
    Jensen is a bad ass mutha
    And the others are all playing well
    The kickers are doing as needed
    Both Pinion and A guy named Succop
    The town is now known as Champa
    You don’t like it just shut the Buc up!