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Tom Brady retirement could lead Bucs to tear down, who might the Browns want?

Tampa finds themselves in a difficult situation

Syndication: Akron Beacon Journal Jeff Lange / USA TODAY NETWORK

Tom Brady will dominate the news cycle throughout the rest of this week and fill the gap in NFL news during the Super Bowl off week. The former New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Super Bowl-winning quarterback will retire as the greatest of all time with Patrick Mahomes on course to usurp that claim down the road.

For the Buccaneers, a dire situation is in front of them. The team wasn’t very good last year but has a lot of high-priced players and is currently an astonishing $55 million over the salary cap for next season.

Interestingly, even if Brady had played for another team next year, he would cost a pretty penny against the salary cap this year:

If Tampa Bay was able to extend his contract, the team could have pushed some of that cap hit out to future years. Brady and the Bucs could still agree to adjust the contract to help the team this year.

Checking the facts:

  • Not very good with Brady
  • Do not have Brady for 2023
  • Significantly over the cap for next season

Tampa Bay has two choices:

  1. Figure it out and hope to find a quarterback to compete
  2. Blow it up and start over

The first seems unlikely to be accomplished but likely to be attempted as teams rarely like to bottom out. The second seems more feasible and likely to bring the Bucs back to contention sooner especially with a couple of stud quarterbacks coming up in the 2024 NFL draft.

If Tampa does decide to tear it down, they won’t get rid of everyone so Tristan Wirfs, for example, is off the table. They do have a number of talented, well-paid players that could help a lot of teams, including the Cleveland Browns, and bring back some kind of draft capital:

  • WR Mike Evans
  • Edge Shaquil Barrett
  • DT Vita Vea
  • LB Devin White
  • WR Chris Godwin
  • CB Carlton Davis

Lavonte David, Akiem Hicks, Julio Jones, Mike Edwards, Keanu Neal, Logan Ryan and Carl Nassib are also free agents this year.

Adding a veteran talent like David in free agency and, somehow, figuring out how to add a monster like Vea would be a great offseason for the team. Unfortunately, even if the Bucs are selling, Vea would demand a high price in trade assets. David may want to go to a team closer to a Super Bowl championship.

Browns fans can hope that the bad luck/timing for other teams can benefit their team. It is possible with the Bucs and something to watch now that Brady is, seemingly for sure, retired.