Photo by Eric J. Adler/Patriots
The Bucs traded a fifth round pick to the New England Patriots in exchange for guard Shaq Mason, but they likely did so at the expense of safety Jordan Whitehead, who signed a 2-year, $14.5 million deal.
Tampa Bay also managed to sign former Falcons wideout Russell Gage to a 3-year, $30 million deal, shoring up their playmaking options for Brady.
Mason played with TB12 in New England for the first 6 years of his career, winning two Super Bowls with the GOAT and earning some incredibly high PFF grades along the way.
Other than 2019, Mason earned an 80 or above grade every year since 2015, with 3 years of an 85 grade or higher. For comparison, former Buc guard Alex Cappa, who Mason will likely be replacing at right guard, earned a 74.2 grade last season and a 69 in 2020.
So needless to say, Mason is quite an upgrade, especially considering the Bucs already have a pretty formidable offensive line with their three starters in center Ryan Jensen and tackles Donovan Smith and Tristan Wirfs.
In Gage they signed someone who racked up 770 receiving yards on 66 catches, and it all but guarantees that their first round pick will be used on someone other than a receiver, seeing as they’ve already got a full roster with Gage now in the fold.
They could potentially deal or release Scotty Miller, Tyler Johnson or Jaelon Darden, but given their history and comfort with Brady and this offense I don’t necessarily foresee that occurring.
No, it looks like the Bucs are just missing a tight end, a running back or two and another interior offensive lineman, and then they’ll be pretty much set with their starting lineup.
Also of note, is the fact that Leonard Fournette deleted his recent Instagram post that was seemingly a goodbye to Tampa Bay, and Gronk was spotted this past weekend at Plant City’s Strawberry Festival joining country singer Sam Hunt on the stage.
These both could be coincidences, but hey, with the Bucs it doesn’t seem like there’s such a thing.
This continues to be an excellent offseason for a Bucs team that many (including myself) considered to be dead in the water for the next couple of seasons, at least. But now Brady’s back, and with that comes all of the other free agents returning to play with the GOAT.
As I have mentioned in previous articles, Brady’s return is huge for many reasons, including his superb play and all that, but even more so for the recruiting aspect. I’m sure Mason is ecstatic to be reunited with his former teammate.