The Tampa Bay Buccaneers enter the 2021 offseason as the reigning Super Bowl champs after their impressive postseason run this past year. However, Bruce Arians and company will have to deal with multiple key free agents this spring, which might make for some difficult decisions on the horizon.
A few of those contributors with expiring contracts come on defense, which became the strength of the Buccaneers down the stretch. Tampa Bay held a high-octane Kansas City Chiefs' offense to just nine points in Super Bowl LV and showed why defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is one of the most well-regarded assistants in the league.
Two of the biggest question marks for Arians and the Bucs defense are what will become of star pass rusher Shaquil Barrett and linebacker Lavonte David. The two veterans proved to be focal points for the Tampa Bay front seven in 2020 and will obviously be priority targets this offseason.
But Arians went a step further in talking about the Buccaneers defense moving forward. He maintained that the team's offense will have no problems headed into next year and that keeping the defensive unit together is more important.
“Whatever’s left, we’ll score enough points. So, it’s a matter of keeping the defense as solid as we can,” Arians said,
Bruce Arians said that keeping the defense together & adding Tom Brady led to a Super Bowl so for him, the biggest obstacle will again be keeping the defense together.
"Whatever's left, we'll score enough points. So, it's a matter of keeping the defense as solid as we can."
— Carmen Vitali (@CarmieV) February 24, 2021
">courtesy of Carmen Vitali of the Buccaneers' website.
Barrett remains committed to signing a longer term deal, but also wants to get paid handsomely this offseason. Given the lack of cap space in Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers will probably find themselves hard-pressed to work out a deal with the 28-year-old.
On offense, wide receiver Chris Godwin remains the primary free agent that the Bucs will need to address. After a breakout third season in 2019, the 24-year-old took a step back this year. Tampa Bay may elect to use the franchise tag on Godwin, but if Arians is committed to keeping the defense together, that seems unlikely.