Jones Signing Shows Bucs Aren’t Fooling Around In 2022

Bucs normal supervisor Jason Licht and head coach Todd Bowles aren’t playing around. The latest additions of huge receiver Julio Jones, tight finish Kyle Rudolph and the free agent signing of defensive deal with Akiem Hicks in June are proof of that.

A yr in the past, Licht and the Bucs had been lauded for re-signing almost all of their gamers from the Tremendous Bowl LV crew.

It wasn’t adequate. Regardless of a franchise-best 13-4 report, the Bucs lacked some severe star energy of their 30-27 loss to the Rams within the NFC Divisional Playoff recreation. Accidents ravaged Tampa Bay down the stretch. Extensive receivers Chris Godwin, Breshad Perriman and Cyril Grayson Jr., in addition to proper deal with Tristan Wirfs, had been out. Extensive receiver Antonio Brown stop on the crew weeks earlier.

In the meantime, the Bucs watched the Rams advance to the Tremendous Bowl and win it. Los Angeles added key items to its roster final yr in receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and cross rusher Von Miller. These strikes pushed the Rams excessive.

Lesson realized.

Licht and Bowles have retooled the Bucs’ roster this yr. They’ve bolstered a number of positions, together with receiver and tight finish with the Jones and Rudolph signings. It’s Tremendous Bowl or bust for the 2022 Buccaneers.

Jones’ Function With The Bucs

Free agent WR Julio Jones – Picture by: USA At the moment

The addition of Jones offers the Bucs a ridiculous quantity of veteran firepower within the receiver room. He’s anticipated to see time outdoors and within the slot because the No. 4 receiver behind Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Russell Gage. Though Godwin handed a bodily and was saved off the PUP (bodily unable to carry out) checklist, the Bucs will play it secure with him.

Godwin, who’s recovering from a torn ACL, can be eased into apply and will not take part for the primary couple of days. In consequence, Jones will transfer into the No. 3 receiver position on the depth chart. Tampa Bay will take it simple on Jones too, because the seven-time Professional Bowler has handled hamstring accidents over the past two seasons. Gage can be anticipated to see time at each the slot receiver place and out of doors at flanker (Z receiver).

As a lot as Jones will assist the Bucs in August whereas Godwin works his manner again, the crew is relying on him to assist them extra in January. Tampa Bay’s offense is huge receiver-driven, and in 2019 and 2021, the place was decimated with accidents.

Evans, Godwin and Scotty Miller had been all on injured reserve with hamstring accidents in 2019. Final yr, solely Evans, Miller and Tyler Johnson had been out there for the Rams recreation. And even then, Johnson acquired damage within the second half.

Addition Of Jones Places Strain On Different Bucs WRs

The Bucs now have 14 receivers on the roster with the addition of Jones. With Evans, Godwin, Gage and Jones assured of roster spots, there may be added strain on the opposite 10 receivers vying for the remaining 2-3 roster spots. Miller, Johnson and Grayson are veterans who might want to use their expertise to make performs for Tom Brady. Second-year receiver Jaelon Darden and rookies Deven Thompkins and Jerreth Sterns might want to hit the bottom operating and make a good impression in camp proper off the bat.

Competitors on the backside of the receiver depth chart can be fierce.

Rudolph’s Signing Doesn’t Prohibit Gronk’s Return

Bucs TE Kyle Rudolph

Bucs TE Kyle Rudolph – Picture by: USA At the moment

Rudolph’s contract nonetheless permits the Bucs some flexibility to signal Rob Gronkowski at midseason (or earlier) if he has a change of coronary heart and desires to un-retire. The 11-year veteran brings much-needed expertise to the Bucs’ tight finish room. He’s anticipated to interchange Gronkowski as a blocking tight finish, however Rudolph nonetheless has some receiving means left. Rudolph will compete with veteran Cam Brate for the beginning tight finish place whereas rookie Cade Otton develops.

Gronkowski revamped $9 million in every of the final two seasons in Tampa Bay. If he’s re-signed at midseason, he’ll price half of that.

Licht and Bowles aren’t finished including gamers, both. Search for the Bucs so as to add one other veteran edge rusher in camp. That would presumably imply the return of Carl Nassib, who performed in Tampa Bay in 2018-19.

And even when the 2022 season begins, this Bucs roster nonetheless gained’t be finalized.