Is It Really The End?

January 28th, 2022

Not over… yet.

The past two seasons have been unlike anything Joe has seen from the Bucs since this here website launched in August 2008.

First, the Bucs were in the playoffs — twice! This corner of the interwebs did not exist the last time the Bucs were in the playoffs.

And the Bucs won the Super Bowl! The last time the Bucs pulled that off, AOL dial-up was still a thing then.

(Column Intermission: Joe remembered speaking with an IT pro who worked for a Pinellas County beach community shortly before Joe launched this site. He told Joe a shocking number of residents in his town still used AOL dial-up. Why? Many were senior citizens and the only reason why they were wired at all was so they could e-mail family members, specifically grandkids.)

So in retrospect when the Bucs sort of sold out in 2020 and landed Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski and Playoff Lenny and Antonio Brown, not only did it make for compelling football — a radical change from the Lost Decade — it made for winning football.

Now we wait on Brady to find out if this can continue. Joe’s good friend Mike Tanier of Football Outsiders believes even if Brady returns, the Super Bowl window is closed.

The Buccaneers assembled a dream team in 2020, won a Super Bowl, kept the dream team together, won 13 regular-season games, won their first playoff game, and nearly perpetrated a historic comeback in the second. That’s some fair return-on-investment. The rent is now coming due as players such as Chris Godwin, Jason Pierre-Paul, Rob Gronkowski, and Ndamukong Suh approach free agency and Tom Brady retirement murmurs grow louder. The Bucs will fall from Super Bowl contention; the only question is how far and how fast. There’s no question whatsoever that the ride was worth it.

You know Joe cannot go there. The window is not closed. It’s not like the Bucs are in salary cap hell.

The Bucs have enough room under the cap to bring back Ryan Jensen and Chris Godwin and Rob Gronkowski and, of course, Brady. So long as Brady has weapons to throw to and a line to block for him — and he would with Jensen and Godwin and Gronk back — the Bucs absolutely can make another run.

Jason Pierre-Paul probably won’t be back, but the Bucs can find a competent replacement. Joe thinks the world of JPP. We don’t even know if he will retire. Given his age and recent injury history, he could be a discount buy.

No, the window isn’t closed at all. But if Brady doesn’t come back, this team could look far, far different.

Yeah, if this is the end, you damn right it was worth every nickel Team Glazer spent!

32 Responses to “Is It Really The End?”

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    This is the end
    Beautiful friend
    This is the end
    My only friend, the end
    Of our elaborate plans, the end
    Of everything that stands, the end
    No safety or surprise, the end
    I’ll never look into your eyes again

  2. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Love that song, the Doors & Apocalypse Now

  3. Bucsfanman Says:

    What’s with the “doom and gloom” on a Friday Joe?!

    You’re 100% correct when you say that the Bucs are positioned for another run. Look at what they did with 13 wins and the rash of injuries and suspensions they had to deal with.
    In the end, I think it’ll be the DL that looks the most different when the first snap is taken next year.

  4. Bobby M. Says:

    JPP is one that i think might be willing to go on a yr to yr deal to stay on a contender in the state of Florida. If we dont have a solid replacement for Brady, then i could see him taking the best contract with us, Jax, or Miami to stay close to his home.

    Ultimately it will come down to keeping the offense dominant. That’s really the only way Bowles defense can be effective. IMO…The JPP injury exposed Bowles ability to scheme. He was solely reliant on an elite front seven but when JPP got injured, teams simply shifted focus to Shaq and suddenly our pass rush disappeared unless we sent White who was hit or miss in his efforts.

  5. 1sparkybuc Says:

    Brady is not satisfied. He is not done. He will play until he knows he can’t compete.

  6. Razor Ramone Says:

    Lazy analysis, cap going up, 2 extra 3rd rounders, young(ish) o line and Tampa is more of a destination than ever before for several reasons. No,as long as TB12 is here this window is open and he knows it.

  7. geno711 Says:

    Would love an article about JPP.
    He brought a professionalism, the ability to play many snaps and a crazy good skill set to the Bucs that helped change the culture of this defense.

  8. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Chris Godwin is a great receiver. But he will not be 100% recovered from his injury until 2023, if at all.
    Assuming Brady comes back, 2022 will likely be his last season, then it’s rebuilding time.
    Bucs priorities should be OLine and DLine.
    A decent FA slot receiver can be had for $5-10 mill.
    Letting Cappa go so a 75% effective Godwin can stay is not a good plan for 2022.
    If Brady doesn’t come back this year, then Bucs should sign Godwin long term.

  9. Jody Says:

    The window is gone and we are officially rebuilding. The amount of free agents we have is the reason Brady and Gronk don’t return.

  10. Cobraboy Says:

    I am with Joe: this team has too much talent, even without Brady, to go back to The Old Days.

    I am not making a prediction, but I would be surprised if Brady does not come back for a sort of encore tour. If not, there are many QB’s who would like to play with this OL and WR group.

    I doubt we’d even know if JPP is not playing next season. He was not only a non-issue this last season, but often a detriment. To see him play with one arm dangling was just sad. Great player and I loved him as a Buc, but he may be at his Buc end.

  11. SB~LV Says:

    It should be the end.
    Gronk is a lumbering old man

  12. Bruce Blahak Says:

    Suh and Gholston are free agents. Better look after the dline! Still the most talented team, yes! Bring em all back again.

  13. Pedro90910 Says:

    Godwin and Davis aren’t going anywhere. JPP was a shell of his 2020 self this past season and I think he’s at the end of the road. Ghost on won’t cost much to keep around and I think you can find an affordable suh replacement should he retire. I think there’s plenty left in the tank for another run.

  14. mark2001 Says:

    TBBF…. actually, the more I read the posts sometimes, it reminds me more of Strange Days.

  15. Allen Lofton Says:

    One thing about the media – it’s full of misinformation and misdirection. I’ll leave it there and refrain from other stupid media comments.

  16. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I think that with or w/o Brady, we can still be contenders to win the NFC South.
    However to win the Super Bowl again is another matter entirely.
    Even with Brady, our defense is suspect, compared to teams like the Rams, Saints and 49ers who bring pressure with only 4 men rushing.

  17. Show Me the TDs Says:

    I’m looking forward to clearing out some of the dead-weight and getting some more youthful energy into the team. OJ Howard would be the 1st to go. #2 Darden, # 3 Rojo, , If JPP has successful surgery he could be a monster next year. Godwin will be repaired. Tyron will have another year to mature and beef up. You know if Brady comes back a lot of other guys will too. My draft wishes would be DB, WR, Edge Rusher. Then develope and beef up both lines of scrimmage.

  18. Eric b Says:


  19. Listnfrmafar Says:

    The secondary isn’t good enough and injury prone.

  20. SlyPirate Says:


    This is a new Bucs team. Different than anything we’ve had before.

    Licht has built an amazing core. The Bucs have studs and depth everywhere. They’ll resign young FAs, rookies will improve, and they’ll and add even more depth. This is the Patriots or Ravens. This team is built for sustained performance.

    Our Super Bowls chances just come down to a QB. Look for Licht to chase a marquis name (Wilson, Rodgers, Watson) if TB12 retires.

  21. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Sly, you’re crazy, their I not one DB on this team that would start on the Patriots.

  22. Bucfan81 Says:

    I think he comes back to finish the last year on his contract and I think he will tell everyone it is his last year. I don’t know why everyone is saying oh the Bucs can’t win a Super Bowl even if Tom comes back. The 49ers almost didn’t even make the playoffs and they are in the NFC Championship game. You just have to stay injury free and get hot towards the end of the season and anything can happen.

  23. Hodad Says:

    Joe, JPP isn’t worth bringing back at any price. He’s so done. Just curious, what would you pay him? Damaged goods are just that. Don’t mind a scratch, or dent to get a good deal on a fridge, but I don’t think it works out well with shot football players. Time to move on.

  24. captivajim Says:

    without Brady; the NFC is wide open…….

  25. Trophybuc Says:

    The secondary is only as good as the pass rush. they cannot cover for 3+

  26. Mike Johnson Says:

    Brady has absolutely nothing to prove. He is the GOAT. If I were him, I’d reitire, suck in the cash via endorsements/commercials, write my book, and enjoy my beautiful wife and fam. Why the hell would I risk being on crutches permanently or a severe injury? To hell with selfish Buc fans. Life is short. Enjoy yourself Tom.

  27. Defense Rules Says:

    Bobby M … ‘Ultimately it will come down to keeping the offense dominant. That’s really the only way Bowles defense can be effective.’

    Wow, that’s an interesting take Bobby. Thinking back through all our games this year, I can’t remember a single time when any of the offensive players were out there playing defense.

    How about the other way around Bobby? This year’s defense gave up 353 pts … 20.8 PPG average. That’s the lowest PPG average since 2010. Not that shabby IMO. And turnovers were a double whammy for the defense. They had 29 takeaways … 5th best in the league. Want to guess who benefitted from those (my guess is our OFFENSE)? But at the same time our offense gave it away 19 times. Want to guess who paid the price for those (my guess is our DEFENSE)?

    And we were great at shutting down the run (#1 least attempts; #3 least rushing yardage), but all that meant is that teams passed against us more than any other team (#32 most attempts; #21 passing yardage). And that despite the fact that our starting Secondary was totally beat up starting with SMB going down in Game 1.

    Heck our offense didn’t even help the defense in terms of Time of Possession. Bucs were #18 with a 30:11 TOP, so we essentially broke even. Quick-strike passing offenses are great in that they can put up points (usually), well except against New Orleans), but they don’t eat up time. That doesn’t exactly help the defense either.

    But ya, let’s everyone pile on Todd Bowles & the defense for letting us down instead of being appreciative of consistently improved results over these past 3 years. Ten years ago (2011) Bucs’ defense gave up 494 pts in 19 games … a 30.9 PPG average. Todd Bowles has brought us a loooong ways from those dark days.

  28. Captain Dan Lawrence Says:

    I love your take on this Joe, and if we have Brady back, we have a chance!!! We will be a top 8 team next year if Tom returns to fulfill his contract which I have little doubt he will! Go BUCS!!!!

  29. CalBucsFan Says:

    If TB does decide to retire, then I just want to say thanks Tom from this retired senior citizen who has followed the Bucs since their birth.

    However, there have been way too many losses than wins since then, and unfortunately your stay hasn’t been long enough yet to put enough distance between them and you to forget, and Alzheimer’s has not quite set in yet, but thank you just the same. I do hope you stick around another year or two though as my memory seems to slip more every year!

    No doubt he has made the past 22 months since signing with the Bucs the best 22 since rocking out at the old Sombrero in the late ’70’s watching the Bucs lose their first 26 games!

  30. Bucs Guy Says:

    With TB12 back (which means Gronk is back), Bucs go from an easy schedule to one of the more difficult schedules. 11-6 with the #4 seed in the NFC as the South Champs.

  31. Eric Says:

    we have been enjoying our furlough from ineptitude but the warden is calling us back in….

  32. orlbucfan Says:

    Sometimes, I really gotta shake my head in wonder. Even if Brady retires and Gronk does, too. If JPP calls it quits (and he should), and Suh leaves, that means the Bucs will be division bottom feeders again? The team has a solid core both offensively and defensively to build on. I can clearly recall when they didn’t have EITHER! Fans in both the Carolinas, NOLA and Atlanta wish they had Tampa Bay’s problems.