Drafting With Clarity

April 23rd, 2022

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Tom Brady just tossed his first touchdown pass of 2022.

On the receiving end were the grateful Buccaneers, who suddenly have an additional $9 million in cap space because of Brady’s willingness to restructure his contract.

This has all the hallmarks of a 1-2 punch at One Buc Place, maybe even a 1-2-3 punch.

Tampa Bay now has the flexibility to welcome Brady’s good buddy Rob Gronkowski back to the fold for one last championship run. It’s not done until it’s done, but you have to believe Brady and Gronk are talking every day and we know how persuasive No. 12 can be as a recruiter.

Gronkowski may end up refusing Brady’s pleas, but if he plays anywhere this fall, it’s going to be in Tampa.

The odds are prohibitive that the issue has already been decided in advance of the draft. You can be sure Jason Licht is up to date on any intel Brady has gathered about Gronk’s plans. At this point, less than a week before the draft, the Bucs need clarity regarding Gronkowski and Ndamukong Suh. They have been essential contributors to a franchise that has won 29 games in the past two seasons, including a Super Bowl.

Let’s acknowledge the cupboard is bare at tight end if Gronkowski calls it quits.

Predraft Priority 1, says Ira.

Cameron Brate is a solid backup, but the Bucs would be hurting at the position entering a draft that isn’t exactly overflowing with elite tight end prospects.

You see Kyle Pitts in this class?

A Gronkowski reunion is likely in the works. Pay the man his money.

He’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer who is still a major red-zone threat at the age of 32. If Gronk wants to go Hollywood, there isn’t much Licht and Todd Bowles can do — but Brady has proven to be a heck of a closer.

Suh is still on the free-agent market and there are few reports linking him to interested suitors. That’s because his biggest interested suitor is Bowles, who respects Suh’s competitiveness, durability and leadership.

Once again, the Bucs are not negotiating from a position of great depth here. Vita Vea is the only defensive tackle on the roster that compares to Suh, so he has some leverage.

Retention Pond

Encountering a soft market, Suh may not have an array of attractive options. As usual, it will come down to money. Since Brady came aboard, the Bucs have proven to be quite adept at retaining players they deem indispensable, so don’t expect to see Suh in a different uniform this fall.

Ndamukong Suh

Now we come to the most interesting aspect of Brady’s restructured contract … there’s no extension. He’s still slated to be an unrestricted free agent in 2023.

All signs point to this being Brady’s final season in Tampa. Until an extension is signed, the Bucs have to operate under that assumption.

That doesn’t mean they need to reach for a quarterback next week. It’s not crazy to believe Kyle Trask is a better prospect than any quarterback in the 2022 class. The Bucs are thinking short term as Licht asks his scouting staff one critical question: who will make us a better team this fall?

If Brady’s tenure with the Bucs ends after three years, no Tampa Bay fan or member of the organization should feel cheated. Instead, the overwhelming feeling will be one of gratitude for his transformational presence.

This is more about who’s coming rather than who’s going.

If Gronkowski and Suh return, the Bucs will own the best roster in the NFC. The schedule is challenging, the division is weak and the excitement is building from Myakka City to Munich.

Friday’s restructure of Brady’s contract is another positive development in a frenetic offseason.

An extension would be ideal and Buc fans are greedy. They want it all, knowing they’ve already got it good.

What about Gronk? What about Suh?

We’ll know soon enough. Here’s betting Licht, Bowles and Brady already know.

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13 Responses to “Drafting With Clarity”

  1. Joe in Michigan Says:

    My man Ira, let’s talk about your mock of Kyler Gordon to the Bucs in the 1st Round…He ran a 4.52 at the Combine, and from what I gather, didn’t try to improve on that lackluster time (for a CB, anyway) at Washington’s pro day. Is that a good enough measurable to be a 1st Round pick, considering Vernon Hargreaves ran a 4.5 and had to play 10 to 15 yards off his guy to not get burned down the field?

  2. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Gronk will be back, we can count on that!
    Not so sure about Suh and JPP.
    As for Brady, looks like the Glazers already know this is his last year, in Tampa at least.
    They are making us buy 2 years worth of Seasons Tickets!

  3. Alanbucsfan Says:

    What about Edelman?

  4. Allbuccedup Says:

    Thats more of a reason to trade down to seattle 27 to 40 a package a deal for tight end Noah Fant excellent receiver and only 24. Throw in a player or a draft pick next year or both.

  5. Bucfan Says:

    Nice article sir!

  6. Gettinthebucs Says:

    With the way the off-season is breaking down I honestly feel like the bucs will move up in the first round and grab an elite player. It’s gonna be between sauce, stingley or big Jordan Davis. I think the top corners are a priority and Jordan Davis is the fall back plan.

  7. BucsFan 4Ever Says:

    My prediction:. After the season Brady will sign a 1 day contract with New England and retire as a Patriot where he played 20 seasons.

  8. SB Says:

    I like ALLBUCEDUP’s idea!

  9. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Allbuccedup Says:
    April 23rd, 2022 at 7:16 pm
    Thats more of a reason to trade down to seattle 27 to 40 a package a deal for tight end Noah Fant excellent receiver and only 24. Throw in a player or a draft pick next year or both.
    You expect Seattle to trade a young, talented player who they acquired by trading a star QB that Seahawks fans loved? How do you think that’d go over with their fanbase?

  10. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Time to restructure D. Smith & perhaps S. Mason…….with the possibility of cutting Pinion or Succop or both later…..we could bring back Suh & JPP (assuming jpp is healthy.

  11. westernbuc Says:

    I don’t mind if Licht swings for the fences, but he shouldn’t destroy the team’s future. With the way our cap is looking, we’re going to need draft picks to supplement our team.

    If Brady genuinely wants to move on next year and play for someone else, we should not hesitate to draft a QB if one falls to us. If Brady wants to retire, or just reset his contract at the end of the year, then obviously we don’t need a QB.

    Weapons for Bowles and Brady

  12. Dman Says:

    Thinking Gronk and Suh deals are written, waiting to be signed. Both one year. Need to draft and groom replacements in early rounds.

  13. unbelievable Says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Brady signs a 1 year extension that allows both him and the team to walk away after the end of this year.

    That way he can play his final season without every game being talked about as if his last ____ game. In fact I’d be a little surprised if that doesn’t happen, unless he really plans to play for a different team next season.