New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he would have "loved" for superstar Tom Brady to retire with the NFL franchise.

Brady left the Patriots for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020 after a trophy-laden two-decade spell in New England, where he won six Super Bowl titles.

The 43-year-old quarterback enjoyed immediate success with the Buccaneers, guiding Tampa Bay to victory in Super Bowl LV.

"Well look, I would've loved for him to have retired as a Patriot," Kraft said on Wednesday. "Everybody knew that. But in life, things just happen in a way that you have to balance a lot of things.

"After 20 years, I thought he was entitled to make a decision that was what he thought was best for him, and where he was at. And we gave him the ability to do that."

Brady signed a contract extension with the Bucs through 2022 after helping take down the Kansas City Chiefs.

He threw for 4,633 yards and 40 touchdowns with 12 interceptions, his passer rating of 102.2 his highest since his MVP season of 2017 (102.8) in his first season with the Bucs.

Only Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes had more completions of 20 yards or more than Brady's 63 as he experienced a revival as a downfield passer in Tampa.

It came as the Patriots struggled to fill Brady's void – Bill Belichick's team missing the postseason for the first time since 2008 with Cam Newton under center.

Kraft said: "Well, after 20 years … with any player, I'll make this commitment to any player in the future: Anyone who spends 20 years with us and helps us win six Super Bowls, we're not gonna keep — look, we could've, contract-wise, kept him in our camp. But it's just not the right thing.

"Naturally, we want to win. But who knows what would've happened if he stayed here? Look what happened at the end of his last season here."

"It's like marriages sometimes," Kraft added. "No one knows on the outside everything going on, and you try to balance a lot. You know …  It is what it is."

The Patriots have splashed the cash this offseason in an attempt to bounce back after a disappointing 2020 campaign.

Matthew Judon, Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, Nelson Agholor and Jalen Mills are among the free-agent signings, but Kraft insisted New England's activity has nothing to do with Brady's success in Tampa.

"I mean, look, I love Tom Brady, and he's great. But he's moved on. What happened here last year was not something to our liking. And we had to make the corrections," Kraft said after the Patriots finished with a 7-9 record.

Leonard Fournette has joined a host of Super Bowl-winning team-mates in re-signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency.

The Bucs swept aside defending champions the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 last month to end Tom Brady's first season in Tampa with the title.

The team have since worked hard to reassemble the squad to go for another championship in 2021.

Superstar quarterback Brady signed an extension to keep him in Tampa through 2022, while the Bucs franchise-tagged Chris Godwin and agreed a deal with Lavonte David ahead of free agency.

Contracts for Shaquil Barrett, Rob Gronkowski, Ryan Succop and this week Ndamukong Suh followed in the negotiating period. Donovan Smith also secured an extension.

On Friday, it was Fournette's turn.

The fifth-year running back had spent the first three seasons of his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars until he was cut last August and agreed a one-year deal in Tampa.

Fournette is returning for another 12 months in a deal worth up to $4million, according to the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

The 26-year-old ended 2020 as a starter after first-choice running back Ronald Jones II was placed on the COVID-19 list with three weeks of the regular season remaining.

Fournette scored three touchdowns across those three games - his only starts - to improve his tally for the season to six scores off 97 carries for 367 yards.

The former Jaguar kept his place for the playoffs and rewarded coach Bruce Arians' faith with a further three TDs on 64 rushes for 300 yards over four games, including a 27-yard run for a score in the big game.

Jones, who will be an unrestricted free agent in 2022, will now again face competition from Fournette despite a career year that saw 192 attempts for 978 yards and seven TDs on the ground.

Fournette is set to find only familiar faces in the Bucs locker room, with the team yet to sign a single player from a rival outfit in free agency, so far trusting solely in their title-winning squad.

Rob Gronkowski confirmed he held talks with rival teams in free agency before committing to Super Bowl champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for another year.

Five-time Pro Bowler Gronkowski returned to the NFL last season, a year on from his retirement with the New England Patriots.

The tight end was traded to the Bucs, where he joined fellow Pats great Tom Brady for a successful title challenge.

According to reports, Gronkowski agreed to return to Tampa on the same terms as in 2020, signing a one-year, $10million pact.

But the four-time champion had earlier told The Ringer he wanted "just to see what's out there" in free agency.

As his new deal was formally announced on Monday, Gronkowski met the media and was asked about speculation he discussed a potential move to the Buffalo Bills.

"There was a little extent to that," said Gronkowski, who started all 20 regular season and playoff games last year and was targeted 91 times for 53 catches, 733 yards and nine touchdowns.

"I was a free agent, so as a free agent, you're allowed to talk to other teams. There were a couple of other teams, also.

"But just overall I wanted to be back with the Buccaneers organisation. Just the set-up here is just unbelievable. Just the chemistry that I've built over the last season is just fantastic.

"So just overall I wanted to come back to the Buccaneers.

"You know, it's football, you never know how things are going to play out. So it's just good to listen to what else is out there, and there was something to a little extent.

"I knew I wanted to be here."

The Bills were 13-3 last season, two wins better off than the Bucs, but lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game.

The Chiefs were subsequently blown away by Tampa, as Gronkowski scored two touchdowns in a dominant 31-9 win.

Of his 14 postseason scores - all of which have come from Brady passes, a playoff record - five have now come in Super Bowls.

Bucs GM Jason Licht said in a statement on Monday: "In addition to his contributions on the field, Gronk has quickly become one of the most beloved guys in our locker room.

"His ability to perform at a championship-calibre level week after week, while also uplifting everyone around him, makes him an invaluable presence in our building.

"Rob's accomplishments speak for themselves and make him one of the greatest to ever play the game at his position.

"We are thrilled to have him back with us as we pursue another title in Tampa."

Tampa have worked hard to reassemble their successful 2020 team.

Brady signed an extension, keeping him with the Bucs through 2022, while Chris Godwin was franchise-tagged and Lavonte David signed a new deal ahead of free agency.

Once the negotiating period began, Shaquil Barrett and Gronkowski also came back.

Rob Gronkowski will head back to Tampa Bay in 2021 as NFL champions the Buccaneers continue to reassemble their Super Bowl-winning team.

Five-time Pro Bowler Gronkowski returned to the NFL last season, a year on from his retirement with the New England Patriots.

The tight end was traded to the Bucs, joining fellow Pats great Tom Brady for a title challenge.

As so often in their time together in New England, the season ended in spectacular fashion for Gronkowski and Brady as they won the Super Bowl in their new home stadium in Tampa.

Gronkowski had been playing on a one-year, $10million contract, though, making him a free agent this offseason.

Monday saw negotiations start between teams and potential signings, and Gronkowski told The Ringer: "You just never know what may happen."

The four-time champion added he wanted "just to see what's out there".

But the 31-year-old did not take long to make his decision as ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Drew Rosenhaus, the player's agent, confirmed his return to the Bucs.

Gronkowski will play under the same terms again, signing for another season for $10m.

The former Patriot started all 16 regular-season games in 2020, although he was targeted only 77 times. He had 45 catches for 623 yards and seven touchdowns.

Gronkowski saved his best display for Super Bowl LV, however, with six receptions for 67 yards and two TDs in the dominant 31-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Of his 14 postseason scores – all of which have come from Brady passes, a playoff record – five have now come in Super Bowls.

The Bucs will hope to return to the big game next year after bringing back Gronkowski, along with fellow free agent Shaq Barrett, another key performer in the defeat of the Chiefs.

Brady last week extended his contract through 2022, meanwhile, as Tampa put the franchise tag on Chris Godwin.

Shaq Barrett will return to Tampa Bay on a four-year deal after playing a starring role in the Buccaneers' Super Bowl success.

The Bucs signed the linebacker on an initial one-year contract in free agency in 2019 and he then played on the franchise tag last year.

Barrett's outstanding performances have now earned a long-term agreement, though.

ESPN's Adam Schefter said Drew Rosenhaus, the player's agent, had detailed a four-year deal worth up to $72million, including $36m guaranteed.

Barrett led the NFL in sacks in 2019 with 19.5, far surpassing his previous career-best return of 5.5 in his rookie year with the Denver Broncos.

That was only enough to help Tampa to a 7-9 record, missing out on the playoffs.

But the subsequent arrival of legendary quarterback Tom Brady gave Barrett and his team-mates the platform to enjoy a remarkable 2020 campaign.

They finished the regular season - in which Barrett had 8.0 sacks and 16 QB hits - second in the NFC South and on a roll at 11-5.

A stunning sequence of away playoff wins against the Washington Football Team, Drew Brees' New Orleans Saints and MVP Aaron Rodgers' Green Bay Packers then booked a home Super Bowl meeting with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Barrett had three sacks against Rodgers but stepped up another level to crucially constrain Patrick Mahomes.

The 28-year-old edge rusher had 13 pressures in the big game as Chiefs superstar Mahomes failed to throw a single touchdown, going 26-for-49 for two interceptions and a 52.3 passer rating.

Barrett, who was set to enter free agency, will again be a key man for the Bucs as they look to run it back.

Super Bowl MVP Brady last week signed an extension to keep him with the team through 2022, while they have tagged wide receiver Chris Godwin.

Tom Brady led the tributes to Drew Brees after the New Orleans Saints quarterback announced his retirement from the NFL.

Brady and Brees have spent the past two decades at the summit of American football, but the latter has now called time on his career.

Seven-time Super Bowl champion Brady sits second in the list of all-time passing yards (79,204), trailing only Brees (80,358).

Brady, who this week extended his contract with champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will almost certainly pass that mark in 2021, but Brees' extraordinary achievements over a 20-year career will not be forgotten.

Although his time in the NFL ended with defeat to Brady's Bucs in the 2020 playoffs, the Saints icon's great rival was keen to hail his outstanding achievements.

"Congrats my friend on an incredible career," Brady wrote on Twitter.

"Thank you for the inspiration and dedication on and off the field! Look forward to seeing what's next @drewbrees."

Congratulations followed from around the NFL, including from NFC South rivals Tampa Bay, who accompanied a picture of Brees and Brady with the message: "Congratulations on an incredible career, @drewbrees."

The Atlanta Falcons, another NFC South opponent, were glad to see the back of a great, posting: "We thank you, @drewbrees. But we won't miss you."

Tributes from within the Saints organisation were as heartfelt as anticipated, with Brees having complemented his on-field success – a single Super Bowl ring – with off-field contributions, playing a huge role in the relief effort following Hurricane Katrina.

New Orleans head coach Sean Payton said: "When I was hired by the Saints as head coach in 2006, the very first goal was to establish a functional and winning culture.

"In doing so, it was vital to know what we were looking for in a player; talent, work ethic, make-up, intelligence and leadership are all qualities we found in Drew Brees.

"We also found a player with a burning desire to win. Within a year, he helped lead our team to the club's first NFC Championship appearance.

"Throughout his career, his consistency and dedication to excellence were unparalleled.

"In a very short period of time, he would help lead a region to recovery and a team to a Super Bowl Championship.

"He was a magnificent leader both on and off the field. His attention to detail and competitive spirit were infectious.

"For all of us that have had the chance to coach him, it has been our privilege, we are better for it.

"I am forever grateful for what he has done for our team, our community and for me personally."

Owner Gayle Benson said Brees was "much more valuable than all the records, awards and accolades". Saints president Dennis Lauscha described him as "remarkable in all facets of his career".

"He has developed a lasting legacy not only as a player, but more importantly as a person," said general manager Mickey Loomis.

Tom Brady is staying with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the next two seasons, and in the front office of the Super Bowl champions they "couldn't be happier".

It emerged on Friday that 43-year-old Brady has agreed to stay with the Buccaneers through the 2022 season, after a stellar first year with the team.

The former New England Patriots quarterback landed a seventh Super Bowl ring when the Bucs became the first team in NFL history to lift the Lombardi Trophy at their home stadium, courtesy of a crushing 31-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Brady had 12 months remaining on the deal he signed in March 2020 and has officially signed a four-year extension to that, although three years of the deal are voidable ones included to help spread the cost of the contract.

Bucs general manager Jason Licht said: "When we acquired Tom a year ago, we were extremely excited about the leadership, poise and winning track record that he would bring to our locker room.

"Since that time, he has proven himself to be the ultimate competitor and delivered in every way we had imagined, helping us capture the Lombardi Trophy.

"Year after year, Tom proves that he remains one of the elite quarterbacks in this game and we couldn't be happier to keep him in Tampa Bay as we continue to pursue our goals together."

Brady threw for 4,633 yards and 40 touchdowns with 12 interceptions last season. Only Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers, with 48 TD passes, threw for more than Brady, who will be 45 when the 2022 season begins.

Tom Brady has signed a contract extension with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that will keep him with the team through 2022.

Brady agreed a two-year deal with the Buccaneers last offseason after making the stunning decision to end his two-decade spell with the New England Patriots, which saw him win six Super Bowl titles.

Even more staggering was Brady's success in his first year in Tampa, where he won his seventh Lombardi Trophy as the Bucs became the first team in NFL history to win the Super Bowl at their home stadium, ending the Kansas City Chiefs' hopes of retaining the title in a 31-9 rout.

And he will stay with the Bucs for at least the next two seasons.

Brady has officially signed a four-year extension; however, three years of the deal are voidable ones included to help spread the cost of the contract.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, it is a move that saves the Buccaneers $19million in salary cap space in an offseason where the cap has shrunk from $198.2m to $182.5m because of the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Brady will be 45 when the 2022 season, effectively the final year of this deal, begins. He has previously stated his desire to play until 45, though has also said he is open to continuing further into his forties.

After intially struggling to hit the ground running, Brady enjoyed a stellar maiden season with the Bucs.

He threw for 4,633 yards and 40 touchdowns with 12 interceptions, his passer rating of 102.2 his highest since his MVP season of 2017 (102.8).

Only Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes had more completions of 20 yards or more than Brady's 63 as he experienced a revival as a downfield passer in Tampa.

In the playoffs, he helped the Bucs come through a gauntlet, winning three games on the road to get to the Super Bowl. By defeating Mahomes and the Chiefs, the Bucs became the first team to win three games against former Super Bowl MVPs in the same postseason having also seen off Drew Brees and the Saints and Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.

Brady won his fifth Super Bowl MVP at Raymond James Stadium and will hope the extra financial flexibility his extension has given the Bucs can help him add to that tally over the next two seasons.

Tom Brady has signed a contract extension with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that will keep him with the team through 2022.

Super Bowl champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have opted to apply the franchise tag on wide receiver Chris Godwin.

Godwin was poised to become one of the top available options at wide receiver when free agency opens next week.

But the Bucs have kept one of Tom Brady's key weapons around by tagging him before Tuesday's deadline, according to widepsread reports.

Godwin caught 65 passes from Brady for 840 yards and seven touchdowns in 12 regular season games last season.

He played all four games in the Bucs' postseason run too, catching 16 passes including nine for 110 yards and a score in the vital NFC Championship Game win over the Green Bay Packers.

Godwin, 25, was a third-round draft pick in 2017 and forms part of a formidable group of Bucs receivers that includes Mike Evans and Antonio Brown.

He is expected to earn around $16.4million on the franchise tag, with the decision to apply it on him meaning Bucs pass-rusher Shaquil Barrett, another pending free agent, will hit the open market next week.

The Bucs will try to strike a long-term deal with Godwin, though the cost should be high for a productive receiver who is yet to hit his prime.

It is a busy period for transactions in the NFL, with quarterback Dak Prescott agreeing a new four-year, $160m contract with the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night.

Safeties Justin Simmons and Marcus Maye have received the tag from the Denver Broncos and New York Jets respectively, with the New York Giants doing the same for defensive lineman Leonard Williams.

Offensive linemen Taylor Moton and Brandon Scherff are expected to be tagged by the Carolina Panthers and Washington Football Team.

Cam Robinson has been tagged by the Jacksonville Jaguars, while the New England Patriots have struck a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders to bring back their former star tackle, Trent Brown.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, meanwhile, will reportedly not apply the tag to Bud Dupree, allowing the pass-rusher to test free agency.

A month on from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' triumph in Super Bowl LV, teams across the NFL are preparing to make moves they hope will propel them towards glory.

This year's free agency period is unlikely to see a move as decisive as Tom Brady's decision to swap the New England Patriots for the Buccaneers.

However, with franchises dealing with a likely declining salary cap because of the impact of playing a season largely without fans, the chaos of the league's open market should still be fascinating to watch.

But which teams will be the most active when the NFL opens the window for teams to begin negotiating with free agents next Monday?

Here we look at those likeliest to be busy and the signings they could make.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Cap Space: $85.7million

From having the number one pick in the draft, which they will almost certainly use on Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, to having the most salary cap space in the league, the Jaguars are the franchise that holds the keys to the offseason.

New general manager Trent Baalke and first-time NFL head coach Urban Meyer have no shortage of needs to address following a one-win 2020 season.

Lawrence will require much-improved pass protection if he is to thrive and lead Jacksonville to contention. With that in mind, they should be in on the sweepstakes for All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams, who cannot be franchise-tagged by the San Francisco 49ers and is likely to command over $20m a year.

Given the money at their disposal, the Jags will be among the leading candidates to lure edge rusher Shaquil Barrett from the Buccaneers. He could form a formidable tandem with Jacksonville's 2019 first-round pick Josh Allen.

New York Jets

Cap Space: $72.4million

The Jets' offseason will be defined by whether they stick with Sam Darnold at quarterback or use their second overall pick to select one of the top four signal-callers in the draft class.

But beyond that pivotal decision, Jets GM Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh have an arduous task of turning one of the worst rosters in football into one primed to contend in the AFC.

Saleh may look to his old team, the 49ers, for whom he was defensive coordinator from 2017 to 2020, to build up his secondary in New York.

Richard Sherman could be tempted cross country to stay with Saleh, while slot cornerback K'Waun Williams is a New Jersey native who could offer the Jets a dependable presence familiar with the defense.

New England Patriots

Cap Space: $72.6million

Bill Belichick has rarely been one to spend big in his storied tenure as head coach and de-facto GM of the Patriots.

However, possessing a talent-poor roster and in danger of being left behind in the AFC East, this could be the year where he changes course, and Belichick has already made a significant move, bringing back offensive tackle Trent Brown in a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders.

New England must make a decision at quarterback after an unconvincing season from Cam Newton as Tom Brady's successor.

Regardless of who is under center, the Patriots will not compete if their quarterback does not have dynamic weapons among their pass-catchers.

Belichick has typically had a blindspot for wide receivers in the draft, so more experienced options with playmaking upside like Corey Davis and Marvin Jones could find a home in New England. Hunter Henry may also be a target if the Los Angeles Chargers decide not to pay the tight end who was franchise-tagged last year.

Indianapolis Colts

Cap Space: $50.5million

The Colts have the man they hope will be the answer at quarterback following Philip Rivers' retirement, backing Carson Wentz to rehabilitate his career under Frank Reich and acquiring him from the Philadelphia Eagles.

In terms of a support system, Wentz is heading into a team with a strong one in place, yet it could still be improved and the Colts have the wiggle room to be aggressive.

They may be an attractive destination for the aforementioned Williams, who would be an upgrade on the retired Anthony Castonzo at left tackle.

Veteran wide receiver T.Y. Hilton could leave in free agency and it would not be wise for the Colts to rely too heavily on Michael Pittman Jr at wideout despite a strong end to his rookie season.

As they look to maximise Wentz's chances of being successful, a move for a high-profile receiver like Allen Robinson could make a great deal of sense for a team looking to challenge the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cap Space: $18.1million

The outlier here in terms of cap space but, having blown out the Chiefs in Super Bowl LV, the Buccaneers will surely not be short of players wanting to join them on short-term deals to link up with Brady and make another push for a Lombardi Trophy.

Tampa will be busy enough trying to hold on to as many in-house free agents as possible, but the Bucs will find intriguing potential temporary options in areas of need on the open market.

Reinforcements may well be required on the defensive line given the possibility of Barrett going elsewhere.

The Bucs have seen one veteran, Jason Pierre-Paul, thrive on the edge. Perhaps Justin Houston, who has 19 sacks over his last two seasons with the Colts, could be tempted by the chance to chase a ring in Tampa.

On the interior, the Buccaneers have a monstrous presence in Vita Vea, and their strength in that area could allow them to take a swing on a former first-rounder in Sheldon Rankins, who has seen his career with the New Orleans Saints stall because of injuries but had eight sacks back in 2018.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are Super Bowl champions. So job done for Tom Brady and company, right?

Wrong.

In the aftermath of their crushing 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, Brady was already speaking on the podium about running it back for another year.

And, having added a seventh Lombardi Trophy to his impressive collection, it's impossible to question the 43-year-old's confidence in pushing for number eight.

However, the reality is that, regardless of how dominant their playoff campaign was, the Bucs have significant issues to resolve if they are to emerge triumphant again next February.

Here we reflect on the season that delivered the Buccaneers' second Super Bowl title and examine the offseason challenges that will be critical to their hopes of successfully defending their crown. 

Offense

Though Brady's first season in Bruce Arians' offense was not without its growing pains, things eventually clicked for the Bucs through the air.

Brady was third in passing yards per game (289.6), behind only Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.

Over the last four weeks of the regular season, however, Brady led the league in pass yards per game, racking up 333.3 as they surged into the postseason.

The move from New England to Tampa Bay also revived Brady's fortunes as a deep-ball thrower. Tampa had 67 completions of 20 yards or more, the third-most in the NFL behind the Houston Texans and the Chiefs.

Where they will hope to improve next year is in the explosiveness of the running game.

Leonard Fournette was the top running back in the postseason, rushing for 300 yards and three touchdowns, including one in the Super Bowl. 

He had five rushes of 10 yards or more in the playoffs but, in the regular season, it was a different story.

The Bucs ranked 29th in the NFL with an average of 94.9 yards per game, while their 34 runs of 10 yards or more were tied for second-last in the NFL.

If Tampa can improve in that regard in 2021, it will take a lot of the pressure off Brady's shoulders.

Defense

Brady may have won Super Bowl MVP for the fifth time, but it was the Bucs' defense that ensured the Chiefs had no way of coming back into the contest.

They pressured Mahomes 33 times in an effort that derailed the Chiefs' offensive game plan, with that performance reflective of the dominance the Bucs' defensive front produced throughout the season.

Indeed, Tampa Bay registered 48 sacks in the regular season, with the 366 negative yards those sacks produced second only to the Pittsburgh Steelers (-384).

Given the pressure they consistently generated, it is no surprise that the Bucs produced the fourth-most takeaways in the NFL (25).

A talented young secondary capitalised significantly on the disruption the front seven created, vindicating investment in the defensive backfield that had previously been questioned.

Safety Antoine Winfield enjoyed a stellar rookie year but the star of the show in the secondary was cornerback Carlton Davis, who had four interceptions and 18 pass breakups.

As a result of their ability to create pressure and turnovers, the Bucs ranked eighth in pass yards per play allowed (5.93).

The rush defense was even stronger, Tampa Bay leading the league as they gave up just 3.6 yards per run play.

Excelling at shutting teams down through the air and on the ground, the Bucs were sixth in opponent scoring efficiency and 10th in successful plays allowed.

Todd Bowles' defense was critical to the Bucs emerging from the 2020 season with the Lombardi in their possession, but difficult decisions loom as they attempt to keep the group together for another run in 2021.

The offseason

In a year where the salary cap could fall from $198million to, at the most optimistic estimate, $185m, the Bucs find themselves in a better position than most teams.

Assuming a $185m cap, the Bucs have nearly $28m to spend, yet the sheer number of free agents they have means Tampa will likely be bidding farewell to some key names from their championship team.

Shaquil Barrett, the edge rusher who had 13 pressures of Mahomes, is an unrestricted free agent in line for a monster payday. Veteran linebacker Lavonte David is also set to hit the open market, along with wide receivers Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown, tight end Rob Gronkowski and running back Fournette.

Gronkowski has already vowed to return and, given that the Bucs triumphed over the Chiefs with Godwin making just two catches, Tampa may be willing to say goodbye to the former third-round pick to facilitate them paying others.

Barrett and David figure to be the toughest players to re-sign, with the former likely to command something at least in the region of Joey Bosa's market-setting contract for edge rushers, which has an average annual value of $27m.

David may be willing to take a discount after nine seasons with Tampa, but the Bucs might have to face up to the possibility of throwing rookies into the mix on the edge and at linebacker, meaning there could be more pressure on that talented defensive backfield to deliver without the same level of play in the front seven.

Having won it all, the Bucs are effectively playing with house money - at least to those outside the building - and have several options with the 32nd overall pick in the draft.

But edge, linebacker and wide receiver all stand as potential areas of focus for a champion team that may have to revise their expectations of keeping the core of the band together.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht revealed they may explore signing Tom Brady to a contract extension.

Brady signed a two-year deal with the Buccaneers last offseason following his departure from the New England Patriots after two storied decades in Foxborough.

The quarterback added to the greatest CV in NFL history by proving he can win away from New England and Bill Belichick, claiming his seventh Super Bowl title by leading the Bucs to their second.

Brady will be 44 by the time the 2021 season starts but has previously said he would be open to playing beyond 45.

And Licht appears open to helping Brady fulfil that potential ambition in Tampa.

"That's a possibility," Licht said about extending Brady in an interview on The Rich Eisen Show. 

"He certainly didn't look like he slowed down any this year. So, that's a possibility. We'll have to see how that goes.

"I talk to Tom often. Probably keep that under wraps, right now.

"It appears that he really had a good time this year, winning the Super Bowl. Likes our organisation, likes our coaches, likes our head coach and ownership.

"And we certainly love him. Usually when you have those things going for each ... it's a match made in happen, so we'd like to keep this going."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.