Free Agency: Tampa Bay Edition!
In honor of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being named Super Bowl LV champions, I decided the next Free Agency preview would be the all Buccaneers related! In this article, I'll talk about WRs Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown, as well as RB Leonard Fournette, who are all scheduled to be free agents come March.
Since every player I'll be mentioning is currently a Tampa Bay player, let's first look at what the Bucs have in terms of cap space.
At the moment, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are surprisingly sitting at around $28 Million in cap space, but they do have a TON of free agents to re-sign, such as Godwin, Brown, Fournette, Lavonte David, Shaq Barrett, Rob Gronkowski, Ndamukong Suh, and Ryan Succop.
So let's start with Chris Godwin. After really breaking out in 2019 season, Godwin continued his streak (to a point) in 2020. His end of year stats may not look great from the outside, but he did only play 12 Games. For reference, his 16 Game pace would have been 87 Catches for 1,120 Yards and 9 TDs. Which is great production considering how much Brady spread the ball and the talent Godwin was surrounded by.
Tampa Bay has already said that they want Godwin back, and it's even possible that he gets franchise tagged. Mike Evans has also offered up a pay cut in order to help the Bucs retain most of their championship players.
But if Godwin is allowed to hit the open market, some teams have already showed interest in signing the 24 Year Old WR. One team that has reportedly shown interest so far, that team being the Indianapolis Colts, according to Evan Massey, who covers the Colts extensively.
The Colts' first priority should definitely be getting a QB, but if they can swing a Carson Wentz or even Derek Carr via trade, Godwin would be a perfect addition to a fairly weak receiving core. Having the 2nd Most Salary Cap Space as well as being a contending team toppled with the fact that they are, as of now, lacking a proven alpha WR1 (which Godwin can be), just makes for a perfect fit.
Another team that comes to mind is the Miami Dolphins. Tua needs help NOW, and although the Dolphins have plenty of draft picks, adding a young guy like Godwin now that has already established as a premiere receiver will pay off right away as opposed to drafting a WR early and waiting for them to develop.
They have the cap space (currently sitting at $27 Million), and addressing the WR position now allows them use all their draft picks plugging the other holes on their roster. Such as OL, RB, DE, LB, OLB, and S.
Next up on the list is WR Antonio Brown, who despite turning 33 before the start of next season, is playing at a very high level and will surely draw interest if he's able to hit the open market. Considering he only played 8 Games on a team loaded with offensive weapons, he managed to play his part, and did especially well during the playoffs (which won't show on the stat sheet.
Now I know he specifically wants to play with Tom, and based on how much he's asking, I'm sure he'll be right back in Tampa in the 2021 Season. Especially because of his age and his off-the-field issues late in his career, I'd imagine his price is not high.
But let's imagine for a moment that AB does become a free agent, who might call him to see if Business is Boomin'? (Besides God of course). A couple teams do come to mind, including the Baltimore Ravens and the Seattle Seahawks.
The Ravens are really interesting to me because they check all the major boxes.
- They are a contender
- Have enough cap space ($20 Million)
- They need more WR Depth (specifically a veteran)
PLUS, Brown would have the pleasure of playing against his old team twice a year, AND being on a team with his cousin, Marquise "Hollywood" Brown.
Outside, of Baltimore and the obvious Tampa Bay, what makes Seattle an interesting landing spot?
Well, they have shown previous interest in signing Brown, he's worked out in Seattle before in a tryout capacity, but when it came down to it, Brown chose Tampa to reunite with Tom. But in Seattle, AB would get to play with Mr. Unlimited, Metcalf, Lockett, and a great HC.
Like I mentioned earlier, because of his age and off-the-field issues, his price likely won't be high, and Seattle has been looking to add a 3rd WR for some time now. They are contenders, and one of the few teams where I think Brown could really flourish.
Finally, we have RB Leonard Fournette! Someone who I didn't think would be signing back with Tampa, if not for his fantastic playoff performance. During the season it seemed like Ronald Jones II was the surefire RB1a in Tampa, but Fournette turned that around and showed up BIG when it counted.
Like every other free agent, the Bucs have expressed interest in re-signing Fournette, and it is very possible he stays in TB. His price will likely be under or around the $10 Million mark, making it very do-able.
But in the event Lenny does walk, where can we expect him to land? The teams that come to mind are the New York Jets and the Seattle Seahawks.
The Jets, per usual, are just a team that should in on just about every player. They have the money and the need for a starting RB who's capable of being a workhorse. Lenny has only proved that he can be that. He's a great pass catcher and blocker, and in the right circumstance, a great runner!
As for the Seahawks, it will boil down to price and need. They are a contending team, and they do take their running game very seriously. Also, both Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde are entering free agency, neither of which have been rumored to re-sign with Seattle.
Lenny fits what Seattle is looking for in a lead back, and I'm sure there's intrigue for Fournette in terms of playing with a guy like Russell Wilson or Pete Carroll.