Season review The 2022 season began in somewhat dramatic circumstances back in the early spring when Tom Brady ended his 40-day retirement from the NFL and returned for a third season with the Buccaneers. This led to a re-tooling of the roster in terms of veteran experience in an attempt to gain one more playoff run before the window of opportunity closed shut. The free agency loss of starting guard Alex Cappa was covered by a trade for Patriot veteran Shaq Mason and the arrival of the likes of Akiem Hicks, Keanu Neal and Logan Ryan kept the defense stacked for another year. The other major change was Bruce Arians stepping down as Head Coach but remaining on in an advisory role. Todd Bowles moved up from Defensive Co- Ordinator to take over the main role with Byron Leftwich remaining as Offensive Co-Ordinator. With the other three NFC South division teams in more of rebuilding or question mark status, the road seemed open for another division crown and run for the Super Bowl. The draft would produce a pair of 2nd round picks on the line who did not live up to immediate expectations but the likes of RB Rachaad White in the 3rd and P Jake Camarda in the 4th proved to be excellent ones with training camp additions of Julio Jones and Kyle Rudolph at Brady’s request gave the Bucs a loaded roster on paper. Camp would unfortunately see the loss of Ryan Jensen and Aaron Stinnie to injuries that would cause them to miss the entire regular season. After two road wins in Dallas and New Orleans, everything looked on track for the 2-0 Buccaneers before offensive woes began to set in. Brady was getting the ball out way too quickly, there was no deep game and the running attack totally disappeared. Despite being heavy favourites, the Bucs lost road games in Pittsburgh and Carolina and required late game heroics to beat the likes of the Rams. A mid-season trip for the first-ever regular season game in Germany brought a victory over the Seahawks but the second half of the season saw more losses to good teams and only narrow victories over teams the Bucs should have beaten easily. The lack of competition in the NFC South proved to be their saviour and the Bucs were able to beat Carolina with a rare offensive outburst and clinch their second consecutive division title and their third straight playoff berth. Ryan Jensen was able to return to try and help a patchwork offensive line for the Wild Card game against Dallas but the Bucs were never seriously in the game and their post-season bid was ended at the first hurdle. Within a week a culling of assistant coaches began at One Buc Place, the most notable being OC Byron Leftwich. Brady announced his retirement again, this time for good and another era of Buccaneer football came to an end.
PLAYERS OUT S Andrew Adams (Released) G Alex Cappa (UFA - Cincinnati) CB Ross Cockrell (Released) TE Rob Gronkowski (Retired) TE OJ Howard (UFA - Buffalo) RB Ronald Jones (UFA - Kansas City) G Ali Marpet (Retired) DT Steve McLendon (Retired) LB Kevin Minter (Released) DE Jason Pierre-Paul (Released) P Bradley Pinion (Released) CB Richard Sherman (Retired) LB Grant Stuard (Trade - Indianapolis) WR Justin Watson (Released) S Jordan Whitehead (UFA - NY Jets)
PLAYERS IN WR Cole Beasley WR Russell Gage (UFA - Atlanta) DT Akiem Hicks (UFA - Cicago) WR Julio Jones (UFA -- Tennessee) G Shaq Mason (Trade - New England) DE Carl Nassib (UFA - Las Vegas) S Keanu Neal (UFA - Dallas) TE Kyle Rudolph (UFA - NY Giants) S Logan Ryan (UFA - New England)