The team was left with journeyman Blaine Gabbert and second-year Kyle Trask as the remaining quarterbacks on the roster. Luckily for Bruce Arians and the Bucs, Brady announced on Sunday that he will not be following through with his retirement plans and will play in 2022.
Prior to Brady's initial retirement announcement, the Buccaneers were +2500 to win the Super Bowl next season, according to BetMGM. It tied them with 13-best odds alongside the likes of the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans. Yikes.
Now that Tom Brady is not leaving Tampa Bay high and dry, their Super Bowl odds have shot up to +850, the third-best odds and best overall in the NFC.
The Buffalo Bills (+700) and Kansas City Chiefs (+750) are the only teams with better odds, but the Bucs are projected to represent the NFC in the 2023 Super Bowl. Their odds could end up getting better after free agency and the draft. The roster will be a bit different than 2021 but Tom Brady's presence will still put his team in contention.
Is Bucs' roster still good enough to get Tom Brady to the Super Bowl?
Tom Brady might be the GOAT but even he needs a decent roster around him to win a championship. Most of the main pieces of the offense are intact, outside of guard Ali Marpet (retirement) and tight end Rob Gronkowski (pending free-agent).
The team tagged receiver Chris Godwin and will likely bring in another veteran to replace Antonio Brown. The defense could see some new faces on the field, though, but that can be addressed in the draft.
Free agency is likely to be out of the question at this point, however, with the team currently $7 million over the salary cap. The team can, however, get by with their current roster of players.
The NFC South is still weak past Tampa Bay, as two teams don't have a starter for next season yet and the other one has Matt Ryan with no weapons. At the very least, Brady is a lock to make the playoffs.
The postseason is another story. The Los Angeles Rams and Green Bay Packers are likely to be top contenders in the NFC. Tampa Bay will need to bolster the secondary and defensive line to keep up in a shoot-out and a secret weapon No. 3 receiver will help as well.
As things stand, the Buccaneers are good enough to win their division and a playoff game. But that's their current ceiling and they need to build their roster if they are to go further.