The Tampa Bay Buccaneers recently signed safety Antoine Winfield Jr. to a historic four-year, $84.1 million contract, making him not only the highest-paid safety, but the highest-paid defensive back in the NFL, and he revealed what his reaction was when the offer came through.

“My agent called, and when he went over the details, I was like, ‘Wow',” Antoine Winfield Jr. said, according to Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk.

The Buccaneers drafted Winfield in 2020, and he has become one of the league's top safeties since then. Tampa Bay had a lot of business to take care of with contracts this offseason, and Baker Mayfield and Mike Evans were the two who got the most headlines and got done first. The Buccaneers then utilized the franchise tag on Winfield to give them time to work on a deal. The best news for the Buccaneers and their fans is that Winfield is still looking for ways to improve.

“Every year, I just want to be better than I was the year before,” Winfield said, according to Alper. “That's my goal, and to make that happen, for everything to come to fruition as I envisioned it, is an amazing feeling. … I still can't believe I accomplished that feat, but I've still got more in me.”

It will be interesting to see if Winfield can improve even more in 2023. Given how good he is already, it will be very hard to do that, but given the deal he signed, the Buccaneers seem to believe he can at least achieve what he did in 2024.

Buccaneers' outlook on 2024

The Buccaneers surprised in the 2023 season. It was seen as a transition year for the franchise after the retirement of Tom Brady. The signing of Baker Mayfield was a home run, and it led to a surprising playoff run. The chemistry between Baker Mayfield and Mike Evans was great, and the defense was good enough to secure the NFC South title. The goal is to continue to build on that in 2024.

It seems like the competition in the NFC South might be getting stiffer this year, as the Atlanta Falcons, a talented roster that seemingly lacked mainly in the quarterback room, added a quality veteran and Kirk Cousins. As a result of that, there is a lot of excitement about the potential of the Falcons finally hitting their potential with a quarterback that is capable to taking advantage of the skill position players they have.

The Buccaneers are trying to kill that hype and win the division for the third year in a row. That intention is shown by the retention of the three key free agents who were integral to their success on both sides of the ball in 2023.