ESPN gives Bucs solid grade for 2024 offseason

espn gives bucs solid grade for 2024 offseason

Jan 15, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) celebrates a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first half of a 2024 NFC wild card game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 2024 offseason consisted mostly of keeping their own guys in-house, but they made a handful of key additions through free agency and the draft that should make them an even better version of the team that won the NFC South for the third year in a row last season.

ESPN recently handed out their offseason grades for every NFL team, and the Bucs came away with a solid B grade overall.

Seth Walder wasn't thrilled about the Bucs breaking the bank to re-sign Baker Mayfield, but he was a big fan of getting Mike Evans back on a team-friendly deal, as well as securing All-Pro safety Antoine Winfield Jr. with a long-term contract extension:

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. Though he had a bounce-back season in which he ranked 18th in QBR, there's a reason Tampa Bay was able to sign Mayfield a year ago for just one year at $4 million. If the Bucs had guaranteed something like $27 million -- what Geno Smith got a year ago -- would anyone have topped that? 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, according to ESPN Roster Management. 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 unloaded cornerback Carlton Davis III and two sixth-round picks in a trade with the Lions, netting a third-round pick in return. The move made sense, as Davis was coming off a poor season in which he allowed 1.9 yards per coverage snap (third most among outside corners with at least 300 coverage snaps). 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.

Walder may not consider the Bucs to be Super Bowl contenders, but that'll be news to them as they prepare to extend their streak of four straight playoff appearances in 2024.

Related

Bucs' updated 53-man roster projections for 2024

This article originally appeared on Bucs Wire: ESPN gives Bucs solid grade for 2024 offseason

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