TAMPA- In an off-season that has already seen Tom Brady officially retire from the National Football League, leaving a big void for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, now they have another void to fill.
On Sunday, All-Pro offensive guard Ali Marpet informed Tampa Bay that after just seven seasons, he would be retiring at the age of 28. Marpet becomes the second Tampa Bay player to announce retirement, delivering a big blow to the Buccaneers’ offensive line. The announcement came via the Buccaneers’ social media handles.
Marpet’s retirement delivers another big hit to Tampa Bay trying to retain a relevant club when it comes to competing for a Super Bowl in the 2022 season, as they now are in search of replacements for the two former Pro Bowl players. Quarterback Tom Brady announced his retirement on February 1st, ending one of the most successful careers in NFL history.
“After seven formidable years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I’ve come to the decision to retire from the game that has given me so much,” Marpet wrote. “This organization and the people surrounding it have helped not only fulfill a dream but also helped build me into the person I am today.”
Tampa Bay already had some pressing questions on what they will do moving forward at a number of positions, with quarterback being the number one priority at the moment. The team is exploring options via possible trade with Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson or embattled Houston Texans’ Deshaun Watson. Other options include backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert, former starter Jameis Winston and free agent Teddy Bridgewater.
The offensive line was a strong unit for the Buccaneers in 2021, as they defeated some of the top players at their positions across the front. The team is slated to return left tackle Donovan Smith, right tackle Tristan Wirfs and right guard Alex Cappa. One free agent on the line is center Ryan Jensen, who has expressed his wishes to return to the Buccaneers for 2022 and beyond.
Other big free agents the Buccaneers will have to address this off-season are wide receiver Chris Godwin, running backs Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones, tight end Rob Gronkowski, cornerback Carlton Davis III, and defensive linemen Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.