It really sounds like the Buccaneers will be getting the full band back together in 2021. Rob Gronkowski has already said he isn’t retiring, and he’s previously indicated he only wants to play in Tampa. Tom Brady is expected back for at least one more ride, and quite possibly more.
And now we’ve got confirmation that the coach isn’t planning on riding off into the sunset either. “I ain’t going anywhere. I’m trying to get two, and then we’ll see,” Bruce Arians said after the Bucs’ Super Bowl win, via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). There had been some speculation that the 68-year-old Arians could be headed for retirement, but one championship clearly wasn’t enough to satisfy him.
Arians’ priority will now turn toward keeping all his guys, and he seems to think he’s got a good shot. “I’m very, very confident,” the team will keep its core, Arians said in a Monday press conference, via Kevin Patra of NFL.com. “I have all the trust in the world in (GM) Jason (Licht) and what he would do.”
“These guys, they have a bond. There will be dollars involved. But I think that this group is so, so close that sometimes dollars don’t matter. But we’re going to do everything we can to get the dollars right too because they earned it.” Arians’ sentiment about the money not being a deal-breaker was echoed by Mike Evans, who has apparently said he’d be willing to knock off some of his $12.5MM salary for next year to help keep other players.
Stud pass-rusher Shaq Barrett and long-time linebacker Lavonte David are both set to be free agents, as is star receiver Chris Godwin. There will be a lot of guys looking to cash in, and despite Arians’ optimism it’s a simple fact of the NFL that it’ll be hard to retain *everybody*.
Arians retired as Cardinals coach after the 2017 campaign, but his time away from the game ended up only lasting one season. Having Tom Brady and making a deep playoff run appears to have rejuvenated him, and he could very well coach into his 70s at this point.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.