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Bucs 1st SB Winner Since 1979 to Return Every Starter After Fournette Contract

Adam WellsMarch 26, 2021

Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Less than two months after winning the Super Bowl, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made history in free agency. 

Per ESPN's Field Yates, the Bucs will be the first team in the salary cap era (since 1994) to return all 22 starters from the Super Bowl the following year. 

Field Yates @FieldYates

With Leonard Fournette re-signing with the Buccaneers, Tampa Bay will now become the first team in the salary cap era (since 1994) to bring back all 22 starters from their Super Bowl victory, per @EliasSports.

Andrew Holman from the Bucs' PR department added more context:

Andrew Holman @andrew_holman2

The Buccaneers are set to return all 22 starters from the 2020 Super Bowl season.<br><br>Last team to return Week 1 starters of Super Bowl season: 1979 Steelers (repeated as SB Champs).<br><br>Last team to return Super Bowl starters: 1977 Raiders (reached AFC title game).<br><br>H/T @EliasSports

The last remaining holdout from that starting unit was Leonard Fournette. He told NFL reporter Josina Anderson via Facetime on Friday that he was re-signing with the team. 

Fournette was a late signing for Tampa Bay last season after being released by the Jacksonville Jaguars on Aug. 31. He played sparingly during the regular season but was excellent in the playoffs, with 448 yards from scrimmage and four total touchdowns in four games. 

There was concern in the aftermath of the Super Bowl that the Bucs wouldn't be able to keep all of their free agents. Fournette, Chris Godwin, Lavonte David, Rob Gronkowski, Shaquil Barrett and Ndamukong Suh were all due new contracts this offseason. 

Godwin never made it to free agency, but everyone else could have explored their options. 

Instead, all of them chose to remain with the Bucs as the team attempts to repeat in 2021. No franchise has won back-to-back Super Bowls since the New England Patriots in 2003 and 2004. 

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