After winning a Super Bowl championship, the Bucs famously brought back all 22 offensive and defensive starters to make a run at a repeat. That ended with a divisional round loss to the Rams. And now things are at the opposite end of the spectrum for the team.
Pro Bowl Guard Ali Marpet retired last week, following the far-more-high-profile retirement of Tom Brady. That's two offensive starters who aren't coming back, and then there are the ones who may not be. Of Tampa Bay's other 12 starters or key backups on the offensive side of the ball, only three of those players are under contract for 2022. Nine -- all three running backs, 2 of 3 tight ends (Cameron Brate is a possible cut), and 2 of the other 4 starting linemen -- are headed for unrestricted free agency.
|TAMPA OFFENSIVE STARTERS/KEY BACKUPS|
Maybe the dramatic turnover on this roster for next season is why speculation about Brady coming out of retirement to play somewhere else in 2022 persists. The idea that Brady knew he'd be coming back to an entirely different team, if he did return, isn't totally far-fetched. I don't really believe he'd have any interest in going to play for the Dolphins or whatever other crazy rumor has been tossed out, but I suppose anything is possible.
In any case, the Bucs themselves look certain to be a much, much different team next year. Something that should give anyone pause when slotting players who either will (Evans) or at least probably will (Godwin) return.