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BucDad's 5 players who could be returning next season

The new league year is just a few weeks away and teams are still waiting to see how the salary cap is going to be set up so they can begin making decisions in regards to retaining players.


For the reigning Super Bowl Champion, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and General Manager Jason Leicht, there is going to need to be some more of that magic they've had in the past. Names such as Lavonte David, Shaquil Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Ndamukong Suh, Rob Gronkowski, Leonard Fournette, LeSean McCoy, amongst a few others that are slated to hit free-agency if deals aren't worked out by March 11th. But who should take priority and who the one player that gets tagged? Here's who I'm predicting and what brought me to this conclusion.


1. Lavonte David: This should hands down, no question why he is considered priority number one in my book. But for all those who just started paying attention to the Bucs since the Super Bowl victory, David has been the longest tenured Buccaneer on the roster since he was drafted in 2012 (Greg Schiano Era). David has been one of the most underrated linebacker in the NFL as well before the "Mainstream Media Bandwagon Coverage of 2020" when the Bucs signed Tom Brady as a free-agent. Anywho, David has proven why he is worth being given a long-term deal in the hope that it would lead him to retire in red and pewter. Over the course of his 12-years with the Bucs, David has tackles, TFL, sacks, INTs, forced fumbles, fumble recoveries while making Pro Bowls along with being the voice of the defense as well.


For the Bucs, the choice should be simple as they've made the mistake in the past when they released Hall-of-Famer and Ring of Honor member Derrick Brooks in Again, the choice is simple, give David a long-term contract and it doesn't have to be a "break the bank" one either.







2. Shaquill Barrett: Speaking of "break the bank", Shaquill Barrett was quoted that in regards to his next contract and the 2-time Super Bowl Champion has damn well earned to do just that. For the seventh-year player who entered the league as a Undrafted Free-Agent out of Colorado State University, it's hard to disagree with that statement.


Now on that note, I believe he should maybe take a step back for one second in regards to that as well and I'll explain. When he signed with the Denver Broncos in 2015 as a rookie, he was back-up to future Hall-of-Famers DeMarcus Ware and next occasionally next to Von Miller, whom both have been credited by Barrett as being mentors(the Broncos went on to dominate Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in route to a - victory in Super Bowl 50 prior to Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning's retirement). In Barrett's time in Denver(2015-2019), he was record only 5.5 sacks, while eventually being replaced by Bradley Chubb after the team drafted him in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.


Since joining the Bucs after signing a one-year $ -million dollar deal in 2019, he's proven himself thus far. Barrett said on the Salty Dogs Podcast that "he bet on himself" and well it paid off in regards to him becoming known as "Sack Barrett" while setting a Bucs franchise-record with 19.5 sacks(breaking Warren Sapp's 2000 record of 17.5). After being franchised during last offseason, Barrett's numbers did drop on the sacks but the production did remain as he recorded 10 sacks during the season along with another during the playoffs along with being a pain in Patrick Mahomes' side during Super Bowl 55 recording 1.5 sacks. Once again Barrett's presence was felt during the Super Bowl besides the sack when the Bucs made Mahomes scramble around for 497 yards in route to 2 INTs and holding the Chiefs offense to only 9 points.


I understand where you think I'm crazy for thinking Shaq should wait one more season before doing just that and "breaking the bank" but I feel Barrett should sign one more deal for one-year and bet on himself once more so the Bucs can make it a reality for him after next season where both parties could be discussing it as 3-time Super Bowl Champions. In my opinion, I believe if Barrett scratches the Bucs back in regards to this type of "one-year and pay me" agreement/deal and he produces atleast 10 sacks next season, Jason Leicht should just go ahead and back the Brinks truck up and pay the man his money because regardless Barrett deserves it but maybe just wait one more year for the salary cap sake.


3. Gronkowski, Suh, Brown: All three players have expressed interest in wanting to return next season and although not everyone will agree with this one, let me briefly explain this because this one doesn't need much said.


Gronk, well we all know the background between him and Brady, as he will be coming back next season barring a qrandom retirement decision again. Look for him to come back on a team friendly deal.


Suh, well he has had a pretty good career overall, regardless of how it began. Suh has been a huge part of the front-four of the defense and in the development of Vita Vea. Look for Suh to remain in Tampa for another season, much like Gronkowski, a team friendly deal that sets Suh up for what I believe will be his final season.


Brown is a different case. Brown was signed by Tampa mid-way through the season after spending more than a year out of the league. As a fan, I wasn't fully behind on this signing but as the season progressed, Brown did grow on me as he did seem to keep the "team first" mentality, whether is was Brady, Coach Arians, or both who helped keep the player in check; it worked. Brown was able to collect a few bonuses along the way this season but he indeed did help in regards to production when players such as Godwin were limited. If Brown is to return to Tampa, I'd expect a team friendly deal, probably similar to the one he signed during the season.


4. Chris Godwin: Godwin is last on the list because unfortunately I predict will end up with a franchise tag and having to wait another year if he does indeed sign the tender. Godwin has become a staple in the offense over the last four seasons, recording receiving yards and touchdowns while hauling in catches. For a player who began as a slot receiver in 2016, he has become one of the elite receivers in the league ever since. For Godwin, it's about getting paid but if the Bucs are able to come to a mutual ground, it could and should pay off for him in the end.



5. Jason Pierre-Paul: JPP should return to Tampa on a loyalty contract with a hometown discount. JPP is another one of those 2-time Super Bowl Champions on the Bucs roster that would love to return to add another ring. At this point in his career, it's hard imaging Pierre-Paul playing anywhere that's not a contender and has been a staple for the defense over the last four seasons. Again, expect JPP to return and continue his high production.


Many experts have predicted one or more different scenarios for players, doesn't mean that they're wrong or this is wrong. As many, this is merely just speculation and a prediction. Stay tuned to Crue4life.com/blog as updates become available.

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