The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are rolling as strong as any team in the NFL at the moment. This time last year, they were putting the finishing touches on a roster that would eventually lead them to a Super Bowl LV victory. Fast-forward through that championship-winning season and to the present day, the Bucs are still in an enviable position after retaining every single one of their starters from that Super Bowl victory and have only added to the roster.
Below, we'll dive into all the ins and outs of what GM Jason Licht and head coach Bruce Arians -- two guys who recently had their contracts revised after a job well done -- have to work with heading into 2021. We'll go through each roster spot on the depth charts below along with giving a brief breakdown of where both the offense and defense stand at this period of the offseason.
Rookies will be denoted with a (*).
Ronald Jones II
Travis Jonsen, T.J. Simmons*
Josh Pearson, Jaydon Mickens
As you can see, the starting unit for the Bucs offense is essentially the same one that won Super Bowl LV.
The only real difference is right guard Alex Cappa, who suffered a broken ankle against Washington on Super Wild Card Weekend and was out for the remainder of the postseason. Cappa has since been a full-go during minicamp, so he should be perfectly situated to man his starting spot come Week 1. Meanwhile, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Leonard Fournette, and Rob Gronkowski were among the key free agents that the Bucs were able to retain this offseason. Godwin was, of course, the highest priority of that bunch, and the club deployed the franchise tag on the star receiver to ensure he'll be on board for their title defense.
As for some new additions, Giovani Bernard may be the most notable. The former Bengals back will likely serve as the main receiving target out the backfield for Tom Brady, which is a role that can see quite a bit of volume if his days in New England are any indication. Second-round quarterback Kyle Trask is also a new face that has garnered headlines, but his arrival won't mean much as it relates to the 2021 Buccaneers.
Another offensive piece worth highlighting is tight end O.J. Howard. Tampa Bay's former first-round pick suffered a torn Achilles last season and was placed on IR in early October. Arians has recently noted that Howard is close to a return, which would add another layer to what is already a deep tight end unit with Gronkowski and Cameron Brate.
Quinton Bell, Elijah Ponder*
John Franklin III
Lawrence White IV*
|Antoine Winfield Jr.|
Similar to the offensive side of the ball, Tampa Bay's defense is largely the same unit that dominated in Super Bowl LV. The front office put an emphasis on keeping that front-seven intact, signing Shaq Barrett, Lavonte David, and Jason Pierre-Paul to extensions. The club also was able to re-sign defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to a one-year deal. Not only did they keep the core that helped win them a title, but the Bucs also injected youth into the pass-rushing unit by selecting Joe Tyron with the No. 32 overall pick. The Washington product should be an immediate role-player with the Bucs and could potentially be the future at the position after Pierre-Paul departs at some point.
As for the secondary, the continued development for both Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean will be worth monitoring at the cornerback spot. At safety, Antoine Winfield Jr. will be looking to build off what was an extremely strong rookie campaign in 2020 where he started all 16 games.
Antoine Winfield Jr.