Tom Brady loves dumping passes off to the running back. Last year, four Bucs running backs caught a grand total of 84 passes and one touchdown while James White (by himself) caught 72 passes and five touchdowns. While Ronald Jones is coming back, they surely want to upgrade the position.
Even after signing Brady, Tampa will still have nearly $60 million in cap space to work with.
Here's a look at three options the Bucs could go after:
1) MELVIN GORDON- The L.A. Chargers decided to stick with Austin Ekeler over Gordon. Despite missing four games last season because of a holdout, Gordon was able to haul in 42 receptions while the most receptions a Bucs running had was 35 (Dare Ogunbowale). Gordon is also more of a complete back than any other back on the Bucs roster. He will command some money but the Bucs can swing it and he's the type of pass-catching running back that Brady loves.
2) TODD GURLEY- While Gurley isn't a free agent, the Rams are looking to move on from the pro bowl running back. The Bucs may have to swing a trade thanks to what the Cardinals were able to get in the David Johnson trade but either way, Gurley would definitely be an upgrade over what's on the roster now. Last year was considered a down year for Gurley and he was still able to rush for over 800 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also hauled in 31 receptions which is the lowest he's had in a season since his rookie year. Gurley still has four years left on his extension he signed with the Rams but should the Bucs make a trade for him, they could get out of the deal after just two years.
3) DEVONTA FREEMAN- Freeman struggled the last couple of seasons in Atlanta. He was limited to two games two years ago and in 14 games last season, only put up 3.6 yards per carry (ypc). Freeman enjoyed success early in his career and has caught at least 30 passes in every year with exception to his injury-plagued 2018 season. The Bucs could pair him up with a running back from the draft to go along with Brady and the two receivers on the outside and all of the sudden (at least on paper) this would look like a very scary offense.
One other guy to look out for could be Dion Lewis. He played with Tom Brady for three years in New England and would come cheap.
While we don't know who the Bucs will look to bring in, one thing for sure is that they are looking to upgrade the running back position to go with their signing of Brady.
Fun times ahead in Tampa Bay.
PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES