In an ongoing offseason series, experts from The 33rd Team offer three things each team can do to improve in 2023.
AFC: BAL | BUF | CIN | CLE | HOU | IND | JAX | KC | LAC | LV | MIA | NE | NYJ | PIT | TEN
NFC: ATL | CAR | DAL | DET | GB | LAR | MIN | NYG | PHI | SEA | SF
Here is my list of three things that would improve the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
3 Ways to Fix Buccaneers
1. Get Their Salary Cap under Control
The Buccaneers need to clean up their salary cap. They kept the team together after they won Super Bowl LV with Tom Brady, but now they have some tough decisions to make.
We already have seen they plan to release running back Leonard Fournette. They have 26 pending free agents this year, and 23 of them are unrestricted free agents. I think they’re probably going to try to keep Jamel Dean. Cornerback is a premium position, and he’s only 26. He was one of their fastest guys, and I think they try to find a way to retain him.
On the flip side, you have linebacker Lavonte David, who tied for the team lead in tackles with 124, but he’s 33. Think about what he’s going to command on the open market. That might be a guy they end up having to let go.
They have to get back to where they can actually function under the salary cap.
2. Find Franchise Quarterback
They have to work the system to get a franchise quarterback. General manager Jason Licht said they’re going to give Kyle Trask an opportunity to compete for the starting job. They drafted him in the second round in 2021. He’s been around the GOAT for the past two years. So if he picked up on something, he could be an intriguing prospect. He showed a lot of talent coming out of Florida.
When you look at the blueprint of the Philadelphia Eagles, look at Jalen Hurts. What was he? A second-round pick. They built a great defense around him, gave him some weapons on offense, and then he took his team to the Super Bowl in his third year.
I’m not saying Trask is going to do what Hurts did, but that is the blueprint that had some success for the Eagles. If you look at many of the successful teams, the Cincinnati Bengals have Joe Burrow, the Eagles have Hurts, and the Kansas City Chiefs have Patrick Mahomes, who is only 26. All of those young quarterbacks took their teams to the Super Bowl.
3. Rediscover Swagger on Defense
Coach Todd Bowles has a reputation for giving offensive coordinators and quarterbacks nightmares. The Buccaneers’ defense didn’t play up to their standard as far as getting sacks and interceptions last season, probably due to all of the injuries they had.
They’re going to lose some players in free agency, probably David. They need to try to retain Dean. So there will be some fluctuations on that defense. If they can stay healthy and get that swagger back, that will help them.
If the Buccaneers are going to have a young quarterback, they need to attack the football on defense because Trask is going to need the help. That will help build the franchise back to the level it was at just a few years ago.
Tank Williams played five seasons in the NFL. Follow him on Twitter @TankWilliams13