The Buccaneers' championship parade on Wednesday was about celebrating the team's first title in 18 years. And while the day was about reliving what just transpired, the newly crowned champions were peppered with questions about the future.
Specifically, linebacker Lavonte David was asked about whether or not he wanted to be back in Tampa for the 2021 season. Before David could answer, Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians grabbed the mic and answered the question himself.
Arians has made it clear that keeping his own free agents will be the Buccaneers' top offseason priority. Among the team's pending free agents is David, the team's longest-tenured player. The 31-year-old David finished in a tie for second on the team in tackles during Tampa Bay's 31-9 win over the Chiefs in Super Bowl LV.
The 58th overall pick in the 2012 draft, David toiled on eight consecutive non-playoff teams before the Buccaneers ended their 13-year playoff drought in 2020. In the playoffs, David took part in each of the Buccaneers' defensive snaps, recording 26 tackles that included six stops in Super Bowl LV.
"Nine years of grinding, finally here," David said during his postgame press conference. "It's definitely something that everybody who's been in this position talks about. I see why this is just a special moment, and I wouldn't want to enjoy it with any other football team. Through the hard times, I was able to keep my head held high, understand that those times wouldn't last for long. Just a great feeling to be a part of an organization like this."
David, outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett, tight end Rob Gronkowski, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, running back Leonard Fournette, receivers Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown, and kicker Ryan Succop are among the team's top pending free agents. And while they likely won't be able to keep everyone, Arians is "very confident" that the Buccaneers will be able to bring back the majority of the team's nucleus.
"I have all the trust in the world in (general manager) Jason (Licht) and what he would do," Arians said the day after the Super Bowl. "These guys, they have a bond. There will be dollars involved. But I think that this group is so, so close that sometimes dollars don't matter. But we're going to do everything we can to get the dollars right, too, because they earned it."
As far as his future is concerned, the 68-year-old Arians has also committed to be back in 2021. So has quarterback Tom Brady, who is now in pursuit of his eighth Super Bowl victory. And with a win in next year's Super Bowl, Brady would join Terry Bradshaw as the only quarterbacks to win back-to-back Super Bowls twice.