Shaquil Barrett: Tom Brady Makes Bucs 'Automatic' Title Contender over Jameis

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 26, 2020

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady warms up before an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Tennessee Titans, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Elise Amendola/Associated Press

Outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett thinks the Tampa Bay Buccaneers belong in the Super Bowl conversation thanks to the addition of Tom Brady.

Appearing on ESPN'sΒ Get Up!, Barrett said:

"I think Jameis [Winston] would have made a big jump, but I think with Brady, it just makes us an automatic contender for a Super Bowl. With Jameis, I think we would have been a playoff contender. It would have been still a battle, for sure, and it's still going to be a battle now, but having Tom, I think we're going to be over the edge, and everything on paper looks perfect. We just gotta put the work in."

The Buccaneers had the pieces in place to make the playoffs last season. Their offense ranked third in points scored (28.6 per game) and total yards (397.9 per game). Wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin both surpassed 1,150 yards and combined for 17 touchdowns.

Even though the defense allowed the fourth-most points in the NFL (449), Winston didn't help matters with his league-high 30 interceptions.

Going byΒ Football Outsiders' DVOA, which adjusts performance based on a variety of factors like down, distance and quality of opponent, the Bucs had the fifth-best defense in the league last season.

Of course, Winston was also capable of making big plays for the offense, as evidenced by his league-leading 5,109 passing yards in 2019.

Brady is coming into a situation with elite playmakers on the outside, and he will also be reunited with Rob Gronkowski at tight end. The six-time Super Bowl champion has never thrown more than 14 interceptions in a season. His 29 interceptions over the past four seasons are one fewer than Winston had in 2019.