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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Conduct 'One of the Greatest Free Agency Hauls Ever' 

General Manager Jason Licht and the Bucs’ brass assembled one of the greatest free agency success stories in the club’s history, re-signing key fixtures before they hit the open market


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a plethora of cornerstone players set to hit the open market during the 2024 free agency period. However, the team's efforts to fortify the roster started in advance behind the scenes.

The Bucs were able to retain potential free agents Mike Evans, Baker Mayfield, Antoine Winfield Jr. (franchise tag), Lavonte David and Chase McLaughlin. General Manager Jason Licht, along with Assistant General Manager Mike Greenberg and Vice President of Football Research Jackie Davidson, have reason to hold their own celebratory boat parade on the bay.  It was no secret who the Bucs' top priorities were in regard to their own laundry list of potential unrestricted free agents, and somehow the club effectively addressed all before they hit the market. Future Hall of Fame wide receiver Mike Evans became the first to re-sign with the Bucs, inking a two-year deal, likely keeping him with the Bucs for the totality of his career.

"This is one of the greatest free agency hauls ever, but it's our own guys," described Jason Licht. "We've got some Hall of Famers in here – Lavonte [David and] Mike. It's been incredible. I think it's time that the national media realizes that we have some great players. They already know, but now they really know. It's a great time for us."

Evans has surpassed the 1,000-yard receiving mark in each of his 10 career seasons – the longest-such streak in NFL history to begin a player's career, and the second-longest streak overall, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice's 11 consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. Evans' 10 total 1,000-yard receiving seasons tied Randy Moss (10) for the second-most in league history, trailing only Rice's 14. Through a player's first 10 career seasons, Evans ranks tied for fifth in touchdown receptions (94) and sixth in receiving yards (11,680). He is 1-of-4 players with 11,000+ receiving yards and 90+ touchdown receptions through 10 career seasons, along with a trio of Hall of Famers in Marvin Harrison, Moss and Rice. 

Evans finished the 2023 season tied for first in touchdown receptions (13), while ranking ninth in receiving yards (1,255) on 79 receptions. He was one-of-four players last season with 1,000+ receiving yards and 10+ receiving touchdowns, joining CeeDee Lamb, Tyreek Hill and Amon-Ra St. Brown. Evans sets the tone on offense for the Bucs and the vertical threat developed a quick rapport with Mayfield. Both Evans and Mayfield vocalized their desire to continue playing together after developing a bond and the duo will remain teammates. Mayfield was next on the agenda, landing a new three-year deal with the Bucs. The former first-overall draft pick revitalized his career in Tampa and finished third in the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year voting. Mayfield set career highs with 4,044 passing yards and 28 touchdown passes and was intercepted just 10 times. He rallied the team with his trademark moxie and leadership skills.

Like Evans, who has achieved both longevity and consistency with the Bucs, David has a chance at being a Buc for life. He agreed to a new one-year deal for the second-consecutive offseason. David became an ageless wonder in his 12th NFL season, leading the Bucs with 134 tackles, along with 4.5 sacks and a team-high 17 tackles for loss. David had his highest tackle total since 2015 and his highest sack total since 2016. He spearheaded the defense with instinctual play, textbook tackling and elite coverage skills.  

After bringing in McLaughlin on a one-year deal in 2023, the Bucs were eager to secure the kicker long-term after he produced the best season by a player at the position in franchise history. McLaughlin signed a three-year contract after making 29 of his 31-field goal tries during the regular season, with his only two misses on blocked kicks. In addition, he made all 33 of his extra points attempts. He set new single-season Buccaneer records for field goal percentage (93.5%) and successful attempts from 50-plus yards (seven).

The Bucs placed the tag on Winfield Jr. as a placeholder to extend the negotiating window for a long-term extension. The tag guarantees that Winfield Jr. will play the 2024 season in Tampa Bay. Winfield Jr. was arguably the best safety in the NFL in 2023 and was named a first-team All-Pro for his significant contributions on the gridiron. He amassed 122 tackles, 6.0 sacks, three interceptions, 12 passes defensed, six forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. In just four seasons, Winfield has a Super Bowl ring, a Pro Bowl appearance and an All-Pro selection. Winfield Jr. is the only NFL player since data became available in 1999 to finish a season with 100 or more tackles and at least three interceptions, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and 3.0 sacks. He led all NFL defensive backs in sacks, forced fumbles and fumble recoveries in 2023. Winfield Jr. single-handedly impacted the outcome of several ballgames for the Bucs with recognition of play designs, pursuit leverage, hard hits and urgency.

Like a child on Christmas morning, the Bucs' offseason wishlist has come to fruition with a star-studded free agency haul. Tampa Bay keeps its talented nucleus intact and will vie for contention in 2024.


2024 Bucs Season

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