TAMPA — The Bucs made some preemptive strikes by re-signing center Ryan Jensen and guard Aaron Stinnie before the start of Monday’s free agent negotiating period to make sure quarterback Tom Brady will be protected in 2022.
But just a few minutes after noon Monday, Bucs guard Alex Cappa had reached an agreement with the Bengals on a four-year, $40-million contract.
So Cappa goes from blocking for Brady to Joe Burrow and the defending AFC champions.
The Bucs, meanwhile, could fortify their offensive line after the retirement of guard Ali Marpet through the NFL draft.
It was inevitable the Bucs would lose at least one offensive linemen. Stinnie played well in three playoff games, including Super Bowl 55, when Cappa broke his arm in a wildcard win at Washington in the 2020 season.
Brady already has had a positive effect on free agency. Jensen was believed to be seeking a deal that would pay him $15 million per year. But shortly after Brady ended his retirement Sunday, Jensen signed for three years and $39 million.
Brady was only sacked 22 times in 17 games last season and the Bucs will do everything they can to protect their future Hall of Famer, who turns 45 in August. They also are high on the development of former Notre Dame star Robert Hainesey, who can play center or guard.
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