Heading into NFL free agency this offseason, the Buccaneers were viewed as somewhat of a team on the rise.
Now, Tampa Bay is considered a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
The Bucs made arguably the biggest splash on the open market by signing Tom Brady. Tampa’s exciting spring didn’t end there, as the franchise also managed to pull Rob Gronkowski out of retirement.
Had the Bucs not signed Brady and instead moved forward with Jameis Winston, linebacker Shaq Barrett believes the team still would have been in the mix for a playoff berth in 2020. That said, Barrett isn’t sure Winston would have been able to put the Bucs in a real position to win a Lombardi Trophy.
“If we had Jameis — I think Jameis would have made a big jump, but I think with Brady, it just makes us an automatic contender for the Super Bowl,” Barrett said Tuesday on ESPN’s “Get Up.” “With Jameis, I think we would have been a playoff contender. It would have been a battle, for sure and it’s still going to be a battle now. But having Tom, I think we’re gonna be over the edge on everything. On paper, it looks perfect. We just got to put the work in.”
"I think with Brady it just makes us an automatic contender for the Super Bowl. With Jameis I think we would have been a playoff contender."
—Tampa Bay OLB Shaq Barrett pic.twitter.com/vblzUhrdms
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) May 26, 2020
As Barrett made note of, the Bucs look like a force to be reckoned with on paper. Tampa Bay very well could live up to the high expectations, but making a run to football’s biggest stage is much easier said than done.