The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have locked up another key part of their present and future, agreeing to terms on a new six-year contract with fourth-year guard Ali Marpet. A second-round draft pick in 2015, Marpet has started all 44 games in which he has played and already proved that he could excel at both guard spots and at center.
Marpet's new contract replaces his original deal for the current season and extends five more years, through 2023.
Marpet is part of a Buccaneers' offensive line that has provided good protection to its quarterbacks in 2018, helping the passing game rack up an NFL-leading 363.3 yards per game. Marpet has started all four games at left guard after playing center in 2017 and right guard in his first two NFL campaigns. According to Football Outsiders, the Buccaneers' offensive line ranks ninth in the league in 2018 in pass protection with an adjusted sack rate of 5.3%.
The Buccaneers have placed a premium on building the team's core through the draft, developing its homegrown talent and keeping those top-performers around for the long run. Other recent draftees who have signed significant second deals with the team include Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David, Mike Evans, Cam Brate and Will Gholston.
Tampa Bay selected Marpet with the 61st overall pick in the 2015 draft after trading up four spots to make sure they didn't miss the small-school prospect. Marpet played offensive tackle at Hobart College in upstate New York, a school that had never before produced an NFL draft pick. Despite dominating at that level, Marpet faced a daunting adjustment to football at its highest level, but he handled that with impressive ease, starting the first game of his rookie campaign. In his first season, he played in 13 games and helped block for the NFL's fifth-ranked rushing attack.
Though he missed three games due to injury as a rookie and five more last year, Marpet has been on the field for every offensive snap in 42 of the other 44 contests since his arrival in Tampa. He is part of an offensive line in which the Buccaneers also invested a high second-round pick at left tackle in Donovan Smith and a lucrative free agency contract at center in Ryan Jensen. Smith, who has yet to miss a start since arriving with Marpet in 2015, may also be a player the team will look to lock up for the long term in the near future.