Tampa Bay Buccaneers Receive Passing Offseason Grade By ESPN Analytics Expert

The Buccaneers have gotten some more praise for their work in retaining key players.
Oct 22, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Antoine Winfield Jr. (31) celebrates with quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) after causing a turnover in the second half against the Atlanta Falcons at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 22, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Antoine Winfield Jr. (31) celebrates with quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) after causing a turnover in the second half against the Atlanta Falcons at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports / Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2024 offseason flew under the radar of the NFL world. This wasn't because they didn't do anything, but rather much of what they did do happened in-house rather than focusing efforts outside of One Buc Place.

This isn't to say the Bucs didn't go outside of their organization with the hopes of improving their roster, as they did just that by getting free agents to come in and start, add depth, or compete for one of those starting spots, but for the most part their work centered around taking care of their own.

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In a recent article for ESPN, analytics expert Seth Walder gave Tampa Bay a "B" grade for their offseason, remarking the AWJ contract extension as their biggest move, the re-signing of Mike Evans as the move he liked and the deal with Baker Mayfield as the move he didn't.

Here's a little of what he wrote about Tampa Bay's offseason:

"The Buccaneers spent money to retain big names in Mayfield, Evans and Winfield. Mayfield signed for a deal that can be one year for $40 million, two for $60 million or three for $100 million. It's a little more than I thought they should or would spend... I would have liked to have seen Mayfield do it again — with a new offensive coordinator after Dave Canales was hired as the Panthers' head coach — before giving him $40 million.

It was Winfield, not Mayfield, who received the franchise tag — which made sense... Winfield received a top-of-the-market deal, but he deserves it, as he was one of the most valuable players in the NFL last season. And Evans' deal was team-friendly. He signed a two-year, $41 million contract with $29 million fully guaranteed... Though Evans will turn 31 in August, he is coming off a 1,255-yard season and yet his contract lags well behind those of other top wide receivers.

The Bucs correctly committed to Jamel Dean as their top corner previously, and there was no guarantee of future compensatory picks if they lost Davis in free agency in 2025. Frankly, the Bucs are not Super Bowl contenders, so saving money and picking up draft capital makes sense."

The Bucs did everything they were supposed to. Improved the areas that needed it, added depth where it was also needed, and kept their guys their guys. It is not flashy by any means, but it gets the job done.

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The deals with their current players are more than fitting, and as long as Baker resembles the 2023 version of himself, that contract will come to be a smarter decision than originally thought. But at the same time, the Bucs also left open the possibility of moving on from him in case he slips back into some of his old ways.

The Buccaneers will have expectations this upcoming season, but I fully expect them to hit their goals on the way to making a deeper playoff run. A "B" grade isn't the worst, but I think the Bucs and their front office deserve a bit more recognition for what they were able to do this offseason.

Stick with BucsGameday for more coverage of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throughout the offseason.

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Caleb Skinner

CALEB SKINNER

Caleb is from Nashville, TN and graduated from Florida State University in 2018 with majors in Sociology and History. He has previously written for an FSU outlet and started covering the Buccaneers in March of 2022. Caleb is an avid sports fan and former host of the Tribeoholics podcast. You can follow Caleb on Twitter @chsnole