With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' free-agent signing of Leonard Fournette on Friday, the franchise made some pretty incredible history.
The defending NFL champions became the first team in the salary cap era (starter 1994) to return all 22 starters from a Super Bowl-winning team. ESPN NFL insider Field Yates shared the mind-blowing stat on Twitter soon after the deal was made official.
Reigning Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady was one of the first of many Bucs free agents to reach an extension with the team this offseason. After Fournette penned his one-year extension with franchise, the all-time great quarterback reacted to the historic accomplishment.
Heading into the 2021 offseason, the Bucs had plenty of key players hitting the free agency market. But with something special clearly brewing in Tampa Bay, the up-and-coming franchise has been able to re-sign almost all of them.
So far, the Buccaneers have re-signed star edge rusher Shaq Barrett, linebacker Lavonte David, veteran tight end Rob Gronkowski, defensive end Ndamukong Suh and kicker Ryan Succop. While the team was unable to re-sign wide receiver Chris Godwin to a longterm deal, they did hit him with a one-year, $15.9 million franchise tag.
Before they could even reach free agency, the Bucs also offered extensions to Brady and longtime starting left tackle Donovan Smith.
Returning with a wealth of playoff experience a full-strength roster, Brady and his squad should be a danger to repeat their Super Bowl title in 2021.