Thanks to an unusual offseason, Buccaneers GM Jason Licht had to depart from some long-standing norms to structure contracts for players like QB Tom Brady in order to create more cap space this offseason. But that also reflects how committed Tampa Bay is to maximizing the current championship window with Brady and HC Bruce Arians.
“I think head coach and quarterback are the two most important parts, keys, components of an organization. And you’ve got two guys that are kind of on the same timeline here,” Licht said via Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. “They want to win now. They’re not interested in rebuilds; they’re not interested in a slow burn. Bruce isn’t gonna be coaching and Tom isn’t going to be playing for another 10 years. You never know how long Tom’ll play — could play another five years, wouldn’t shock me. But they both want to win now. They both have the same mindset, the same goals.
“And when you have that, and they both like to do it in a way where you’re having fun along the way, and B.A.’s a no-bulls— kind of guy and so is Tom, it’s just a great chemistry and it bleeds into the entire team. Everyone has the same goal. B.A. preaches it, one team, one cause, trust, loyalty, respect. And the goal is to put a ring on our fingers every year.”
- Manish Mehta reports that the 49ers and the Dolphins were also interested in former Jets G Pat Elflein before he signed a deal with the Panthers.
- The Athletic’s Joe Person lists some second or third-tier free-agent options for the Panthers to potentially pursue, including Seahawks LB K.J. Wright, Browns DT Larry Ogunjobi and Bears OL Germain Ifedi. The team has connections to Wright, Ifedi and Ogunjobi, who played collegiately at UNC-Charlotte.
- Other options who could fit and would be even cheaper include Saints TE Jared Cook, Seahawks G James Carpenter, Packers CB Kevin King, Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph and Seahawks CB Quinton Dunbar.