Bucs add Keanu Neal, re-sign Gabbert

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed safety Keanu Neal and re-signed quarterback Blaine Gabbert, the team announced Wednesday.

Neal, 26, played linebacker last season in Dallas, but he’s expected to go back to safety in Tampa. brings six years of NFL experience to Tampa Bay.

The six-year veteran appeared in 63 career regular season games, with 53 starts, while playing for the Falcons (2016-20) and Dallas Cowboys (2021), earning 2016 NFL All-Rookie honors and a 2017 Pro Bowl selection. During that time, Neal has tallied 402 tackles (19 for loss), 16 passes defensed, eight forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, two interceptions and 2.0 sacks.

In his rookie season in 2016, Neal was part of a Falcons team that won an NFC title and advanced to Super Bowl LI. He has started all five postseason games in which he has appeared, recording 41 tackles, one fumble recovery and one pass defensed.

After losing Jordan Whitehead to the Jets in free agency, they added former Giants safety Logan Ryan and now they add more talent to the backend of the defense in Neal.

The 32-year-old Gabbert has appeared in 10 games with the Buccaneers over the last two seasons in Tampa Bay (2020-21), completing 16-of-27 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns, earning a 108.6 passer rating.

He originally signed with Tampa Bay on March 27, 2019, but spent his first season with the Buccaneers on Injured Reserve.  The 11-year veteran was a member of Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl LV championship roster.

Gabbert entered the league as a first-round pick (10th overall) of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2011 NFL Draft, spending three seasons with the Jaguars (2011-13) before playing for the San Francisco 49ers (2014-16), Arizona Cardinals (2017) and Tennessee Titans (2018). Gabbert has appeared in 66 career games, with 48 starts, completing 858-of-1,525 passes for 9,273 yards. He has thrown 50 touchdowns and 47 interceptions, for a 72.4 passer rating. He has also rushed 195 times for 640 yards and three touchdowns.

Leonard Fournette returns to Tampa Bay

Tom Brady is back; Chris Godwin is back, and now Leonard Fournette has returned.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed re-signed Fournette, the team announced Wednesday.

According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, it’s a three-year deal worth $21 million.

The 27-year-old Fournette returns to Tampa Bay for a third season after leading the Buccaneers in both rushing yards (812) and rushing touchdowns (eight) in 2021.

Since joining the Buccaneers as a free agent in 2020, Fournette has played in 27 regular-season games, with 16 starts, recording 277 carries for 1,179 yards and 14 rushing touchdowns. He has also contributed 105 receptions for 687 yards and two receiving touchdowns.

The five-year veteran has played in and started five playoff games since joining the Buccaneers and stands as Tampa Bay’s all-time leader in both career postseason rushing yards (351) and scrimmage yards (555) while ranking second in rushing touchdowns (five), scrimmage touchdowns (six) and receptions (27).

During their run to the Super Bowl in 2020, Fournette put forth one of the best statistical playoff performances in NFL postseason history, leading the team in rushing yards (300), rushing touchdowns (three), scrimmage touches (82), scrimmage yards (448), scrimmage touchdowns (four) and receptions (18) during the 2021 NFL Playoffs.

He also became one of just three players in NFL history to record a touchdown in all four of their team’s playoff games in a single postseason, joining Larry Fitzgerald (2008) and Terrell Davis (1997). Fournette’s 448 scrimmage yards marked the most in team history for a single postseason and the ninth-most in NFL history for a single postseason. 

Fournette, the No. 4 overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, came to Tampa Bay after spending his first three NFL seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2017-19). 

Davis on return to Tampa: ‘Who wouldn’t want to come back and compete for another ring with the G.O.A.T?’

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers today re-signed cornerback Carlton Davis III.

According to Josina Anderson, it’s a three-year, $45 million deal.

In 2021, the 25-year-old Davis started all ten games in which he played for a defense that finished fifth in fewest points per game allowed (20.8) and seventh in fewest yards per play allowed (5.16). Davis did miss seven games last season due to a quad injury.

“Carlton is a fantastic player. I’ve said for a few years that I thought he was one of the top cornerbacks in this league, and he has continued to grow,” said Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians via a statement from the team. “He’s a great tackler, excellent in man-to-man defense, a very physical corner, and has the length you want. He has everything you are looking for to be a shut-down corner. He’s also developed off the field so much, leading our social justice program and all the things he’s doing for our organization. He’s a huge, huge asset to our football team.”

According to Davis, the return of Tom Brady played a role in his decision to rejoin the Buccaneers. 

“ObvIously, having Tom come back automatically makes us a contender again. Who wouldn’t want to come back and compete for another ring with the G.O.A.T? When I heard the news, it definitely played into some of my thought process going into my decision.”

Davis’ 48 passes defensed since the start of the 2019 season are the most in the NFL during that span. He is also tied for the league lead in games with multiple passes defensed (13) and has the most games with at least three passes defensed (six).

Over his four seasons with the Buccaneers, Davis has amassed 205 tackles (nine for loss), 52 passes defensed, six interceptions, three fumble recoveries, and two forced fumbles. He has also started all six of Tampa Bay’s playoff games over the past two seasons, including Super Bowl LV, recording 28 tackles and four passes defensed.

Davis has appeared in 51 regular-season games, making 50 starts, for the Buccaneers since the team selected him in the second round (No. 63 overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft.

 

 

 

Buccaneers re-sign center Ryan Jensen

Tom Brady is back, and so is his center.

The Buccaneers re-signed center Ryan Jensen, the team announced Monday.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, it’s a three-year $39 million deal with $23 million guaranteed.

“When we originally signed Ryan four years ago, we thought he was one of the best centers in the league, and he has only elevated his level of play in his years with us,” said Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht. “He also brings a toughness and grit that sets the tone for our offensive line, which has become one of the best units in the NFL. Ryan is a key component of our football team, and keeping him was a major priority for us this offseason. We are very excited that he chose to remain with us as we strive to contend for another championship.”

Over the last two seasons, in which Jensen earned both a Super Bowl ring and a 2022 Pro Bowl selection, the Buccaneers’ offensive line allowed a sack on just 3.2 percent of pass plays – the best mark in the league over that span. Tampa Bay has also recorded the most games without a sack since the start of the 2020 season, with 11 such games.

Jensen originally joined the Buccaneers as a free agent in 2018. He has appeared in and started all 65 regular-season games over the past four seasons for the Buccaneers while also starting all six playoff games Tampa Bay has played, including Super Bowl LV.

Since Jensen’s arrival in 2018, Tampa Bay ranks first in the NFL in passing yards per game (305.0), second in total yards per game (400.9), second in points per game (28.6), second in third-down conversion percentage (44.5), second in first downs per game (23.2) and second in yards per play (6.1).

The Baltimore Ravens selected Jensen with a sixth-round selection (No. 203 overall) in the 2013 NFL Draft out of Colorado State-Pueblo. He spent his first five years in the NFL with Baltimore before signing with the Buccaneers in 2018 and has played in 100 career regular-season games, making 90 starts. His 5,307 offensive snaps since becoming a full-time starter in 2017 are the most by any NFL player during that span.

 

Bucs’ Arians on Brady: ‘He is still playing at a championship level’

Tom Brady is back!! The seven-time Super Bowl winner announced his return to the game via Twitter Sunday night.

In February, the 44-year-old Brady officially announced his retirement, a few weeks after the Buccaneers lost to the Rams in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

In 2020, Brady led the Buccaneers to the franchise’s second Super Bowl title.

After the announcement of his return to football, Buccaneers GM Jason Licht and head coach Bruce Arians reacted:

Statement from Licht:

“We are thrilled that Tom has decided to come back this season. We said we would leave all options open for him should he reconsider his retirement and today’s announcement is something we have been preparing for in recent days. Bruce and I have had plenty of conversations with Tom recently that led us to believe there was a realistic chance he would want to come back. Tom is the greatest quarterback of all time who is still playing at an elite level. With this decision now made, we will continue to move forward with our offseason plans to reload this roster for another championship run.”

Statement from Arians:

“Tom Brady loves to play football as much as anyone I have ever been around. As Tom said, his place right now is on the football field. He is still playing at a championship level and was as productive as anyone in the league last season. We are ecstatic that he decided to continue playing and working toward winning another championship.”

Cardinals, Packers, Jaguars, Saints, Buccaneers to play international games in 2022

The Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play international games during the 2022 season, the league announced Monday.

The Buccaneers, two-time Super Bowl champions, will play in the NFL’s inaugural regular-season game in Munich, Germany, while the Cardinals will play in Mexico City, where they hosted the league’s first-ever regular-season game outside the United States in 2005.

The Packers will make their first international trip, becoming the 32nd NFL team to play in London since 2007. The Saints will play in the UK for the third time, having won on two previous occasions. The Jaguars previously announced that they will play a home game at Wembley Stadium in 2022.

Last year, as part of the League’s expansion of the regular season to 17 games, it was determined that, beginning with the 2022 season, up to four of the teams from the conference whose teams were eligible for a ninth regular-season home game would instead be designated to play a neutral-site international game each year.

Designated international teams in 2022:

Country (City)

Stadium

Team

Germany (Munich)

FC Bayern Munich Stadium

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mexico (Mexico City)

Estadio Azteca

Arizona Cardinals

United Kingdom (London)

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Green Bay Packers

New Orleans Saints

United Kingdom (London)

Wembley Stadium

Jacksonville Jaguars

As previously announced, Munich and Frankfurt were chosen to stage regular-season games in Germany over the next four years.  The first game will feature the Buccaneers.

The Packers will become the 32nd NFL team to play in London since 2007.

The Saints will return to London to play their first game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after having played at Wembley Stadium in 2008 and 2017.

The Jaguars, who played at Tottenham last season, will return to Wembley Stadium for the first time since 2019, having played there for seven straight seasons.

Tom Brady never acted his age, which was a good thing

The rumors were swirling last weekend that Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady would call it quits, and now it’s official.

On Tuesday, Brady announced his retirement from the NFL after 22 seasons. He announced his retirement via Instagram.

Brady never acted his age throughout his remarkable career, which was a great thing.

In 2001, and at age 24, Brady led New England to a Super Bowl victory in his first season as the team’s starting quarterback(second season in the league), earning his first of five Super Bowl MVP awards and his first of 15 career Pro Bowl selections.

Just two seasons later, in 2003 and at age 26, Brady guided New England to another championship on the heels of a 14-2 regular season, culminating with his second-career Super Bowl MVP honor. It began a stretch of five-straight seasons in which Brady guided his team to a double-digit win total – a stretch that included back-to-back Super Bowl championships in 2003 and 2004.

He appeared in an unprecedented eight consecutive AFC Conference Championship Games from 2011-18, advancing to the Super Bowl in 2011, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018. Brady hoisted the Lombardi Trophy three more times in New England at age 37(2014), 39(2016), and 41(2018).

At age 40, Brady became the oldest player to win the league’s MVP award when he did so in 2017, leading the NFL with 4,577 yards passing in addition to his 32 touchdowns.

In his first season in Tampa Bay in 2020, the 43-year-old Brady, who was oldest player to start and win a Super Bowl, led Tampa Bay to a 15-5 overall record, capturing the franchise’s second Super Bowl title and earning Super Bowl MVP honors in the team’s 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. He was oldest player to  be name Super Bowl MVP.

Brady’s 40 passing touchdowns in 2020 marked the most by a player in his first season with a team in NFL history, while his 4,633 passing yards ranked as the second-most by a player in his first season with a team, trailing only Peyton Manning’s 4,659 yards in his first season with the Denver Broncos in 2012.

In 2021, at age 44, Brady led the league in passing yards (5,316), passing touchdowns (43), completions (485), and attempts (719), joining Drew Brees (2008) and Peyton Manning (2013) as the only players to have led the league in all four categories in a single season since 1991. His 5,316 passing yards marked a career-high and the third-most in NFL history. Brady’s passing and yardage totals in 2021 each set new single-season franchise records as he guided the Buccaneers to an NFC South division title.

Brady is the NFL’s all-time leader in Super Bowl wins (seven), Super Bowl Most Valuable Player awards (five), Pro Bowl selections (15), regular-season wins (243), playoff wins (35), total wins (278), pass completions (7,263), passing yards (84,520) and passing touchdowns (624). 

What a run, and based on his career, it’s safe to say that Brady never acted his age.

Bucs’ Arians on Fournette: ‘He’s just playing at a really high, consistent level’

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Leonard Fournette had a massive game for the Buccaneers on Sunday. He had 17 carries for 100 yards and three rushing touchdowns, including the game-winning 28-yard touchdown run, while adding seven receptions for 31 yards and one touchdown as the Buccaneers defeated the Colts on the road 38-31.

Fournette’s four total touchdowns in the game marked a career-high and matched the most touchdowns from scrimmage by any player in franchise history.

After 11 games, Fournette has 631 yards rushing and seven rushing touchdowns on the season and eight total, which is the most in a season since his rookie year in 2017 (10).

On Monday, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians discussed Fournette’s big day against the Colts.

“Well, I think our blocking units did a hell of a job. He finds the holes,” Arians said. “He’s a 240-pound back that can run, and usually he’s coming out the back of Mike Evans’ side. You know he (Evans) is being doubled, so you’re going to have soft coverage. Those four and five-yard check-downs turn into 11 [yards] real quick, and then he breaks a tackle – like he did in a two-minute drill – and it is a 13-[yard gain]. So, don’t force it down the field. He’s doing a heck of a job in the passing game. It was a nice catch and a run on the touchdown and a really good throw by Tom [Brady]. He’s just playing at a really high, consistent level. He’s doing a good job as a pass protector also.”

Fournette is a weapon and making a lot of plays for the Buccaneers right now as Tampa Bay, the world champions, are looking to get back to the Super Bowl, and for that to happen, getting home-field advantage would be ideal. 

Last season, Tampa Bay won all three playoff games on the road, but that was with a limited amount of fans in the stadium due to the COVID-19 restrictions. However, there will be fans in the stands this season, which means teams will have a true advantage at home.

“There’s no doubt about it. It’s back like the old days. It has only ever happened a couple of times in the history of the league (where teams advance to the Super Bowl while playing every playoff game on the road),” Arians said. “When I was in Pittsburgh, we went to the Super Bowl and won with all the road games. I think the Giants may have done it, but that’s not very easy. It’s a very hard thing with fans. People forget – everybody talks about our road woes – we’re .500 on the road right now, and that’s pretty damn good in the old days. When there are fans in the stands, and you go and win in a place like Philly, and you go win in a place like Indy – those are hard stadiums to win in. Home-field advantage in the playoffs is a huge, huge advantage.”

Currently, the Buccaneers are a game behind the Cardinals for the top spot in the NFC, so with six games left, Tampa Bay has time to make up ground.

 

 

 

 

Brady on 6ooth touchdown pass: ‘I just think about all the guys that are sharing it with me’

On Sunday, the Buccaneers defeated the Bears at home 38-3, moving to 6-1 on the season – the team’s best start through seven games in franchise history. Tampa Bay led 21-0 at halftime and 38-3 at the end of the third quarter.

Also, Buccaneers QB Tom Brady achieved another milestone on Sunday. Brady became the first player in NFL history to throw 600 touchdown passes when he connected with Mike Evans on a nine-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.

After the game, Brady reflected on touchdown pass number 600.

“I just think about all the guys that are sharing it with me – that’s the reality,” Brady said. “There’s nothing about this sport that you do by yourself – it’s the ultimate team sport. It challenges you physically, mentally, emotionally every week, every day of practice. This I not a sport; you can just go out there and mail it in. It takes 100 percent of what you have every single day to go out there and be successful. I’m just grateful to have amazing teammates, coaches. To be able to do it for as long as I have is really an incredible blessing in my life. I have great family. I’ve got my little baby girl; she’s the biggest cheerleader in the world, and her two brothers, who are great cheerleaders, and mom who was out there today rooting. Great to have the family here and win a football game feels really good.”

Brady is playing at a very high level at age 44, and according to his head coach Bruce Arians, he’s not surprised by what Brady is doing.

“No, because every day he comes to practice looking like he’s 12,” Arians said about Brady. “I’ve played against him for so long. Yeah, the numbers, they’re staggering, and they’ll probably never be broken. I say that but who knows when the next Tom Brady is going to come. They are staggering, but when you watch him practice every single day, you don’t see the age.”

After Evans caught touchdown number 600, he unknowingly gave the ball to a fan. Ultimately, Evans got it back for Brady, which the seven-time Super Bowl winner appreciated.

“That was really cool,” Brady said. “I’ve got it in the bag over there – Mike Evans gave it away and said, ‘I’m sorry man, I’ll get it.’ I said it’s alright. I’m sure they’ll figure out a way to get it back. I don’t actually keep too many things, though, in that circumstance, I just felt like that might be a good one to keep.”

After seven games, Brady leads the league in passing yards(2,275) and touchdown passes(21), so what he’s doing is impressive, but are we really surprised?

Brady named NFC Offensive Player of the Week

On Wednesday, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for Week 5.

He has now won 32 Player of the Week awards, extending his record for the most-such awards in NFL history

In a 45-17 win over the Miami Dolphins in Week 5, Brady completed 30-of-41 passes (73.2 percent) for 411 yards and five touchdowns, earning a 144.4 passer rating. He did not throw an interception for the fourth consecutive game, breaking his own team record by throwing 203 consecutive passes without an interception. Brady led all quarterbacks in Week 5 with his five passing touchdowns and 144.4 passer rating, while finishing second in passing yards.

Brady threw five-or-more touchdown passes in a game for the ninth time in his career, tying Peyton Manning for the second-most such games in NFL history. In addition, his 36 regular season games with at least four passing touchdowns surpassed Manning (35) for the second-most such games in league history. The game also marked the 12th regular season game in which Brady has thrown for 400-or-more yards, tying Ben Roethlisberger for the fourth-most such games in NFL history. It was the first game in Brady’s 22-year career that he threw for 400-or-more yards and had five-or-more touchdown passes.

Through Week 5, Brady leads the NFL in passing yards (1,767), ranks second in passing touchdowns (15) and fifth in passer rating (108.5). Since joining Tampa Bay in 2020, Brady ranks first in the NFL in passing yards (6,400) and ranks second in passing touchdowns (55).

Tampa Bay leads the league with its 349.4 passing yards per game and 98 passing first down this season, while ranking third in points scored (33.4). The Buccaneers have recorded 1,747 passing yards as a team so far this season, the eighth-most passing yards through five games in NFL history.