The 2023 NFL offseason is officially up and running. Free agents are already signing their new deals with their teams, picturing a shape of what the league will look like in 2023. Still, organizations such as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a lot to work on as they go through a rebuilding phase.
In the 2022 season, the Buccaneers clinched the NFC South division despite finishing with an 8-9 losing record. They then fell to the Dallas Cowboys 31-14 at Raymond James Stadium in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
Following the team’s elimination, the franchise is going through some major changes. The Buccaneers waived longtime starting offensive tackle Donovan Smith. They also traded away guard Shaq Mason to the Houston Texans in order to clear some cap space.
Most notably, Tom Brady announced he is retiring “for good” this time. With him on the roster, the team made it to the playoffs in three consecutive seasons after a 12-year absence. That includes winning Super Bowl LV, just the second title in franchise history.
To replace the seven-time champion, the front office signed Baker Mayfield to a one-year deal. The Heisman winner and 2018 No. 1 pick spent last season with the Carolina Panthers and the Los Angeles Rams.
Other than that, the Bucs managed to bring other important veterans to the roster. With that being said, here is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ sneakiest signing in the 2023 NFL Free Agency.
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Buccaneers’ sneakiest 2023 NFL free agency signing: RB Chase Edmonds
Another veteran who is leaving the organization after many years is Leonard Fournette. The running back spent his last three seasons with the Buccaneers and played an important role in the team's Super Bowl campaign in 2020-21.
In the 2022 season, Fournette had 189 carries for 668 yards and three touchdowns. While those numbers were down from his previous seasons, Fournette compensated through the air. He had 73 catches for a career-highs in both yards with 523 and touchdowns with three.
Tampa Bay ended up releasing Fournette to clear about $3.4 million. With such a complicated financial situation, the Bucs thought it would be better to sacrifice the veteran's contributions to re-sign others or bring new names.
Without him, the team went after a new running back. The Bucs signed Chase Edmonds after he was released by the Denver Broncos. This past season, he spent time with both the Miami Dolphins and Broncos.
In 2021, his last season as a full-time starter, Edmonds had 116 carries for 592 yards and two touchdowns in 12 games for the Arizona Cardinals. He also recorded 43 receptions for 311 yards.
Last year, the Bucs ranked last in total rushing yards with only 1,308. Now without Brady, head coach Todd Bowles might opt for more run plays until the team is fully adapted to Mayfield's style.
At the age of 26, Edmonds is younger than Fournette and could be an important piece of this transitional period. Although he is young, Edmonds could still help fellow running back Rachaad White, who is entering his second season in the league, develop his skills.
Perhaps most importantly, Edmonds signed a one-year deal worth $1.08 million. This is equivalent to the league's veteran minimum. With such a friendly deal, Tampa Bay was able to focus on other needs such as re-signing linebacker Lavonte David and cornerback Jamel Dean.
All things considered, Chase Edmonds was a steal for the Buccaneers. They addressed a big need on their roster while not compromising the salary cap, which could come in handy down the line.