Wed Feb 24 5:27pm ET
By FRED GOODALL
AP Sports Writer
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady looks at the Vince Lombardi trophy after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. The Buccaneers defeated the Chiefs 31-9 to win the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are open to giving Tom Brady a contract extension.
General manager Jason Licht reiterated Wednesday that the Super Bowl champions would like to keep the 43-year-old quarterback in uniform for as long as Brady wants to play. Licht declined to characterize any conversations the team's had about that prospect.
''We don't typically talk about those discussions publicly,'' Licht said during a video conference call in which he and coach Bruce Arians discussed free agency and efforts to retain several potential free agents instrumental to the team's championship run.
''Bruce and I both have a great relationship with Tom. I have a good relationship with his agents. We thought Tom played incredibly well this year, along with the entire team, and we would love to have Tom play here - and I can speak for Bruce, I think - as long as he continues to want to play,'' the GM added. ''If that comes to fruition at some point, then we'd be elated. But I'd like to keep those conversations private that we have right now.''
Despite not having normal offseason workouts and preseason games to prepare for his first season in Tampa Bay, Brady threw for 4,633 yards and 40 touchdowns to lead the Bucs to their first playoff appearance since 2007.
The seven-time Super Bowl champion signed a two-year, $50 million contract in free agency last March following a historic 20-season stint with the New England Patriots. He'll turn 44 in August and has said he's liked to play until he's at least 45.
The Bucs, meanwhile, are hoping to keep as much of the championship roster intact as possible.
Signing Brady to an extension could provide some flexibility in efforts to re-sign a group of upcoming free agents that includes linebackers Lavonte David and Shaquil Barrett, receivers Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown, tight end Rob Gronkowski, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, and running Leonard Fournette.
Licht is optimistic.
''We don't want to do anything that's going to mortgage or completely disrupt the future, but we have flexibility ... and the ability to keep this team together,'' the general manager said.
Interview with the King
The Seattle Seahawks re-signed running back Alex Collins to an undisclosed deal on Wednesday. Originally a fifth-round pick by the Seahawks in 2016, Collins played in 11 games as a rookie before he was cut in 2017. He rushed for 973 yards in 2017 with the Baltimore Ravens but was injured in 2018 and was waived in 2019 when he was arrested for marijuana and handgun possession. The 26-year-old ran the ball 18 times for 77 yards (4.3 yards per carry) and two touchdowns in just three games (one start) in 2020 in his return to the team that drafted him. Even though both Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde are set to be free agents next month, Collins will likely represent running back depth in 2021 behind the likes of Rashaad Penny, Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said that quarterback Tom Brady (knee) is expected to be ready to participate in team drills by June after he had surgery on his knee this month. The 43-year-old had minor cleanup surgery on his knee after winning his seventh Lombardi trophy by beating the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. He will return for the final year of his two-year deal in 2021, and the Buccaneers are now considering a contract extension for the GOAT after he didn't show any signs of slowing down in 2020. With most of the team's offensive weapons expected to return next season, Brady should continue to have a high floor as at least a midrange QB1 for fantasy managers.
Chicago Bears LB Roquan Smith's 139 tackles in 2020 ranked sixth in the NFL, and among players who ranked in the top 10 in tackles, he was tied for first with 18 tackles for loss and ranked second in passes defensed, sacks and interceptions.
Los Angeles Chargers impending free-agent TE Hunter Henry is likely to receive the franchise tag, according to Shelley Smith of ESPN.com.
Fantasy Spin: Henry had a career-high 60 catches in 2020 as he topped 600 yards for the second consecutive season. If Henry does return, his second season with Justin Herbert should result in TE1 production.
San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch said Wednesday, Feb. 24, the team will look to add a backup quarterback this offseason to insure against potential injury to starter Jimmy Garoppolo. 'Being available is a big part of this thing,' Lynch said. 'So we ... probably as a stated goal ... we have to insulate ourselves better. We got to have better options if he's not there.' Josh Rosen and Josh Johnson are the only other QBs under contract for 2021, along with Garoppolo.
The Houston Texans released defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes on Wednesday. The 26-year-old opted out of the 2020 season due to concerns over COVID-19 after playing in three games for the Texans in 2019, collecting eight tackles while playing 78 defensive snaps and two special teams snaps. Vanderdoes was originally drafted in the third round out of UCLA in 2017 by the Raiders, playing in 16 games (13) starts in his rookie season while tallying 18 combined tackles (two for loss) and two QB hits. But he suffered a torn ACL in Week 17 that season and missed all of the 2018 campaign before being released by Las Vegas in 2019. He was due $990,000 in 2021, and his release won't trigger a dead-money hit against the salary cap.
Free-agent DL J.J. Watt 'is making progress' in narrowing his options for his new team, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN Wednesday, Feb. 24, but 'nothing is imminent.'
Updating a previous story, Las Vegas Raiders WR Tyrell Williams was released Wednesday, Feb. 24.
Fantasy Spin: Williams didn't play last season due to injury so there's no production to be redistributed. WR Nelson Agholor is set for unrestricted free agency, so Henry Ruggs III, Hunter Renfrow and Bryan Edwards are in line to be the top options in the Raiders' passing game next season.
Houston Texans DT Eddie Vanderdoes was waived Wednesday, Feb. 24.
Free-agent RB Alex Collins (Seahawks) signed an undisclosed contract with the Seattle Seahawks Wednesday, Feb. 24.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers impending free-agent LB Lavonte David is a player the team will try hard to re-sign this offseason, according to general manager Jason Licht.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady (knee) probably will not be able to participate in any practice drills until June because of his offseason knee surgery, according to head coach Bruce Arians.
Fantasy Spin: Brady likely will not do much this offseason but should be ready for training camp. He is coming off a terrific 2020 season and should have most of his pass catchers back next season. He can be a low-end No. 1 quarterback in some deeper fantasy leagues.
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Marcus Mariota has generated a lot of trade interest around the league this offseason, but the maximum value of his contract has been an issue for interested teams. He's due a little over $10 million in 2021, but he has incentives in his deal that could allow him to make an additional $12 million. As a result, trade interest in Mariota has dried up considerably, and there's a chance that he could be outright released by Las Vegas. The Raiders have made it clear that Derek Carr is their guy under center, so it looks like Mariota will be the one on the move this offseason. The 27-year-old looked really good in place of an injured Carr late last season and he still has some dual-threat capabilities, but Mariota would likely be just a bridge QB for any interested teams.
San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo will be the starting quarterback for the 49ers next season as long as he is healthy, according to general manager John Lynch.
Fantasy Spin: Garoppolo was limited to six games this season because of injuries but has thrown 34 touchdowns over the last two seasons. Fantasy players can monitor the situation to see if anything changes, but Garoppolo can be a No. 2 fantasy quarterback if he starts for the 49ers.
Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry is only one of two running backs that has forced at least 50 missed tackles in each of the last two seasons.
Fantasy Spin: Henry posted a career-high 2,027 yards this season and has recorded at least 12 touchdowns in each of the last three seasons. He will continue to be one of the focal points on offense for the Titans and is a must-start option in all fantasy leagues.
Baltimore Ravens impending free-agent WR Dez Bryant said he hopes to play two more seasons but indicated that he likely will not re-sign with the Ravens.
Buffalo Bills impending free-agent DE Trent Murphy is not expected to re-sign with the Bills this offseason.
Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz (back) announced on his Twitter page on Wednesday that he's undergoing back surgery after the injury kept him from playing in the team's Super Bowl run in this year's playoffs. The 31-year-old said the recovery process won't be too long this offseason, so he should be expected to be ready for training camp and the start of the 2021 regular season. He played in just six games in 2020, the first season of his career in which he didn't start all 16 games. Kansas City's offensive line was a patchwork unit in front of quarterback Patrick Mahomes in the Super Bowl without Schwartz and left tackle Eric Fisher, and it was a key to their downfall in the big game.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers DE Jason Pierre-Paul (knee) underwent knee surgery Wednesday, Feb. 24.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady could receive a contract extension in the offseason, according to general manager Jason Licht.
Fantasy Spin: TB12 was seventh among QBs in fantasy points this year, and while the pieces around him were in and out all season, that feels about right heading into 2021.