Tampa Bay Buccaneers Free Agents 2022: Are Leonard Fournette, Rob Gronkowski, and Chris Godwin set to depart?

Who are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers free agents in 2022, and could we see a number of them returning once again this offseason?

After the Tampa Bay Buccaneers brought several of their free agents back last offseason, what does the 2022 offseason hold for them? Could we see a mass exodus of talent, or can we expect a number of key free agents to return to Tampa Bay once again?

Heading into the offseason, be sure to check out who are the top 2022 free agents at each position in the NFL.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2022 Free Agents

The Buccaneers have a handful of intriguing free agents on both sides of the ball in 2022. With a projected $40 million available in cap space, they have the room to bring key guys back. Nevertheless, the Bucs will have a couple of tough decisions to make. Of course, they could always open up more cap space if they wanted to roll it back with several players in 2022.

All players are unrestricted free agents unless stated.

Top Buccaneers offensive free agents

Tampa Bay’s offense could lose some key players across different levels of their offense. They may need to replace players on their offensive line, backfield, tight end, and receiver. The only position we know that is set to remain static this offseason is QB — unless Tom Brady decides to retire, of course.

Ryan Jensen and Alex Cappa | OL

There are some talented players expected to be available for the Buccaneers this offseason, but none might be more important to the team than the pair of Ryan Jensen and Alex Cappa. Jensen played 97.4% of the snaps on offense this season, with Cappa playing every single offensive snap.

Their value is intriguing because neither is viewed as having been one of the very top players at their position in the league. Nevertheless, they combine with the other members of the Buccaneers’ OL to provide incredibly consistent play. Of the five starting offensive linemen, four have played more than 95% of the snaps on offense. That has provided incredible stability for Brady and Co.

That is always the tough element of judging the value of the OL. Will these two be able to look as good as they do at times in another system and without the other players on this line around them?

Tampa proved masters of finding a way to bring key players back last year. With Brady surely only having a year or two remaining, the Bucs will likely look at every avenue to bring one or both players back and keep the unit intact. With somewhat limited cap space, it could be intriguing to see how they do it. If either reaches the open market, they would be potential candidates to have let-down seasons elsewhere when out of the system that has worked so well in Tampa Bay.

Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones | RB

With 812 rushing yards and 454 receiving yards, Leonard Fournette has reignited his career. The 2017 first-round selection had a limited market last offseason, but that should not be the case in 2022. The most realistic way the Buccaneers could keep Fournette around is if he is willing to take less money to remain in this offense. It is not impossible, but this might be his final chance to cash in. Expect to see him at least test the free-agent market in 2022.

Ronald Jones has produced in flashes, but he is not going to be a priority free agent. If Fournette leaves, we could see Jones back on a one-year deal in Tampa Bay. However, it seems as though Brady and the Buccaneers do not fully trust him as a starting back. Therefore, do not be surprised if Jones has to look elsewhere to give his career a spark.

Chris Godwin | WR

Chris Godwin’s ACL injury is devastating. As one of the top free-agent wide receivers set to be available, he should garner a lot of interest. Unfortunately, that is now in question. We know how talented Godwin is, but questions over his injury could limit his upside in terms of average salary.

The timing of the injury is what really hurts because teams will have to take a chance on his future fitness. This offseason will present some tough challenges for Godwin. If a long-term deal comes in at below his pre-injury value, does he take it, or does he look to take a one-year deal below market value and try to prove that he is the same receiver? It will be a fascinating offseason to observe from the outside but likely a very frustrating one for Godwin himself.

Rob Gronkowski | TE

Rob Gronkowski’s value is clear, but it would seem as though his options are limited to returning to Tampa Bay and retirement. It is extremely unlikely at this stage that Gronk will go and play anywhere else than with Brady. Of course, we cannot rule it out completely as someone may throw a lot of money his way on a one-year deal.

The educated guess right now is the Buccaneers bring him back on another contract that takes full advantage of void years and some incentives thrown in to boost the value if he plays enough.

Top Buccaneers defensive free agents

The Buccaneers defense has been one of the calling cards of its success in the past two years. While they managed to lock up the likes of Shaq Barrett to a long-term contract, they have other pressing needs this offseason. Let’s examine the Buccaneers’ pending defensive free agents in 2022.

Jason Pierre-Paul | EDGE

It has been a down year for Jason Pierre-Paul, with just 2.5 sacks and 5 QB hits. Those numbers have been somewhat affected by him missing games this year, but even prorating them out over 16 or 17 games, they would still be down on his usual output.

The impact of that down year is twofold. On one hand, it means the Buccaneers might be tempted to simply move on and let Joe Tryon-Shoyinka play in a starting role. However, it also means that JPP is unlikely to be wildly in demand this offseason. That could mean we see him return to Tampa on a relatively cheap one-year deal to chase another ring.

Ndamukong Suh and William Gholston | IDL

Ndamukong Suh continues to be a valuable part of the Buccaneers’ defense, logging another 6-sack season in 2021. His ability to stay healthy has been his greatest calling card, having missed just two games in his entire career — both back in 2011.

He may not be the every-down force he once was, but Suh can still be a valuable contributor. There is every chance he will be back on a fourth-straight one-year contract in 2022. Yet, he might also want to see what the free-agent market has to offer for what could be the final time.

The decision over William Gholston will be interesting. He has somewhat quietly played out a big contract with the Buccaneers. This year, he set a new career-high in sacks with 4.5. Regardless, his tackles and QB hits did not meet the highs of last year.

Gholston is another player who could go and test the market but could easily return on a short-term pact in the search for another ring.

Carlton Davis | CB

The cornerback position is one that the Buccaneers are really going to have to focus on this year. Jamel Dean impressed in 2021, and Sean Murphy-Bunting has been a good option when healthy. Nevertheless, Carlton Davis makes that group into an intriguing trio. The problem is that his value is somewhat mixed in coverage.

In terms of Davis’ completion rate allowed, he sat at an impressive 57.1% this year. However, he has allowed 20 touchdowns in coverage in his four-year career. Those numbers will make it tough for teams to commit long-term, including the Buccaneers. With Dean and Murphy-Bunting, Davis feels like a player the Buccaneers allow to walk.

Jordan Whitehead | S

Jordan Whitehead has timed having the best year of his career perfectly. A mainstay at safety, he has allowed just 5.4 yards per target on 57 targets in coverage this year. He also did not give up any touchdowns while also pulling in 2 interceptions. There is no clear replacement for him on the roster right now, so Whitehead could be a player the Bucs prioritize signing ahead of free agency in 2022.

The Buccaneers’ remaining free agents in 2022

  • Blaine Gabbert | QB
  • Giovani Bernard | RB
  • Le’Veon Bell | RB
  • Breshad Perriman | WR
  • Justin Watson | WR
  • O.J. Howard | TE
  • Josh Well | OT
  • Aaron Stinnie | G
  • Steve McLendon | IDL
  • Pat O’Connor | IDL (RFA)
  • Kevin Minter | LB
  • Pierre Desir | CB
  • Richard Sherman | CB
  • Rashard Robinson | CB
  • Andrew Adams | S
  • Curtis Riley | S

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