There are several high-profile Buccaneers that have undergone offseason surgery already. According to head coach Bruce Arians, five-time Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady has gone under the knife to clean up the knee issue we heard about several weeks ago (Twitter link via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe). Though Brady will not be ready to participate in team drills until June, the fact that Tampa is willing to discuss an extension with him suggests the club is not particularly worried about his prognosis.
Meanwhile, OLB Jason Pierre-Paul underwent a knee surgery of his own today, as Jenna Laine of ESPN.com passes along. JPP had arthroscopic surgery on the same knee in July, and he landed on the injury report throughout the 2020 season as a result of the injury. Still, he didn’t miss a game and led the Bucs with 9.5 regular season sacks, so he will head into a contract year with plenty of momentum and, hopefully, a clean bill of health.
On a related note, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that RB Ronald Jones recently had a pin removed from his broken left pinky finger, which required surgery in December. Jones played through the injury and finished off a successful third pro season. After a disappointing rookie year, Jones is living up to his status as a former second-rounder and, like JPP, has a good chance to set himself up for a big payday if he can replicate his 2020 performance in 2021.
Here are a few more notes on the defending champs:
- As you know by now, the Bucs have a number of big-name free agents, which could make this offseason a difficult one for GM Jason Licht to navigate. The team has made it clear that it wants to bring back players like WR Chris Godwin and LB Lavonte David, and it sounds like Godwin might be willing to offer Tampa a hometown discount. Fellow wideout Mike Evans has also expressed a willingness to take a paycut, but Arians isn’t sure that outside FAs will be willing to take less than market value just for the opportunity to play with Brady and the Bucs. “Dollars still talk,” the 68-year-old HC said (Twitter link via Greg Auman of The Athletic). Because of how many in-house priorities Tampa has, Arians suggested his club might not be especially active in the free agent market anyway.
- In addition to Evans’ willingness to make a personal sacrifice to keep the band together, there are a number of other players who are open to restructuring their own deals, per Arians (Twitter link via Stroud). Such restructures would not result in less money for those players, but it would open up more cap space for the Bucs to retain most, if not all, of their top FAs.
- Another free agent the Bucs want to keep, Antonio Brown, obviously has off-field matters to tend to. Britney Taylor’s lawsuit against Brown is set for trial in December, and as Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic writes, Taylor wants to subpoena copies of all documentation the Bucs have related to Brown (she is subpoenaing Brown’s three former teams as well). Taylor is not seeking to depose any team executives, and she needs court approval to send the subpoenas.