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What the Buccaneers Need: Re-Sign Mayfield and …

If you were one of the many football fans who didn’t think the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were going to pull off the kind of season they did back in 2023, it’s ok, you are not alone.

Going off what many of us thought when dishing our NFL predictions for 2023, the Buccaneers went from being a team deemed for an off year to surprising people left and right.

What the Buccaneers Need: Re-Sign Mayfield and …
Baker Mayfield #6 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Jared C. Tilton/getty Images/afp

After finishing with a 9-8 record – good enough to win the NFC South – and then coming through with the huge NFL betting lines surprise in the Wild Card round of the playoffs where they kicked out the Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa Bay now wants to run it all back in 2024.

Knowing that re-signing quarterback Baker Mayfield needs to be the team’s top priority this offseason, what else should the Bucs focus on before the start of the 2024 season?

NFL Draft: Addressing Secondary Needs to Be First on List

If you were to jump into any 2024 NFL Draft NFL rumors pages, you would probably run into plenty of talk about how the Buccaneers need to prioritize drafting a QB. But no, that’s not true, they have their QB for the future right there. They just need to pay him, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

For now, let’s talk about what this team really needs – bolstering up its secondary.

One of Tampa Bay’s main strengths the past couple of years has been how good its defense has been. When thinking about consistency on D, the Bucs come to mind here and there.

Now, as the team prepares to continue its rise to once again be contenders in the NFC, adding more and more depth, and Week 1 ready players via the draft will be key.

Drafting a cornerback in the first round will be essential, with either Iowa’s Cooper DeJean or Missouri’s Ennis Rakestraw Jr. being the team’s main targets.

 


With DeJean, Tampa could gain a player that offers a level of versatility that could easily be unmatched in this draft class. With his speed, ball skills and overall physical dominance, DeJean can easily play as CB or safety.

Rakestraw, on the other hand, is the literal definition of a workhorse kind of player. The former Mizzou star does not tire whatsoever, showing superb run support and ball-tracking skills that coach Todd Bowles would go crazy for.

If the Bucs can land one of the two, great for Tampa Bay. If by any chance they can land both because of one of those draft miracles, then give this team an “A” grade.

Afterward, picking up a couple of receivers and a running back, as well as an edge rusher, should round out a strong draft strategy.

Free Agency: Pay Mayfield!

Many NFL news sites have continuously speculated about Tampa Bay’s plans to look for a new QB this offseason. In all honesty, though, why go shopping somewhere else when they can just bring back Mayfield?

The Bucs killed it last season, signing Mayfield to a one-year, $4 million deal that ended up paying huge dividends for a team that was bound to crash and burn because of not having an able passer. So, why not pull out the checkbook now and offer him a well-deserved, multi-million-dollar contract?

Considering a guy like Geno Smith was given a three-year, $75 million deal from the Seattle Seahawks after his 2022 redemption season, Mayfield feels like the perfect passer to get that same treatment.

With a little over $48 million in projected cap space, the Bucs could try to strike a deal with Mayfield for a three- or four-year deal in the high-90 or low 100-million dollar markup.

Once that’s done, if I’m Tampa Bay, I’m putting my foot down and committing to bringing back Mike Evans and Antoine Winfield Jr. Both are two of the best at their respective positions and if offered, I’m more than sure they are more than happy to continue with Tampa Bay.

The money is there, as well as the desire to be NFL betting odds contenders once again, so why not just go for it and build something strong?

Outlook: NFC South is Tampa Bay’s to Win With Ease

Not to spoil anybody’s very early NFC South NFL game predictions, but looking at the state of each team in the division, the Buccaneers should be good to go to win the division once again in 2024.

Even if they do end up losing Evans once the free agency market opens, if Tampa Bay focuses on keeping Mayfield and strengthening its defense, the Bucs should be able to cruise to a divisional title.

Once in the playoffs, don’t rush to take them as your preferred NFL pick. With Tampa Bay, we came to learn last season that this is a team that needs to find its groove to then succeed.

For now, slow and steady might be the Buccaneers’ best course of action.

 

 

Questions of the Day

What Are Tampa Bay’s Odds To Win Super Bowl LIX?


According to BetUS Sportsbook the Tampa Bay Buccaneers stand at +6000 odds to win next season’s Super Bowl.

What Is Tampa Bay’s Projected Cap Space For 2024?


Ranking 11th in the league when it comes to projected cap space, the Buccaneers have an estimated $48.2 million in potential cap space for the 2024 offseason.

 

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