What are the Bucs’ biggest needs heading into the 2023 offseason?

After an early exit from the playoffs for the second straight year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers now face a daunting offseason full of big decisions, and bigger question marks.

Free agency and salary cap constraints could leave the Bucs with some massive holes on both sides of the ball, and not much money with which to address them. That will make the 2023 NFL draft vital for the Bucs in terms of adding new talent, and they’ll once again need to find economical options on the veteran market.

Let’s take a look at those positions the Bucs could be looking to fill this offseason:

Cornerback

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The Bucs are set to lose two of their top three cornerbacks (Jamel Dean, Sean Murphy-Bunting) to free agency this offseason, leaving little in terms of proven depth behind Carlton Davis III. Even if fifth-round rookie Zyon McCollum makes a big leap in his second season, the Bucs will need another starting-caliber corner if they lose both Dean and SMB.

Safety

(AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)

Another unit that could be depleted by free agency, the Bucs have three safeties on expiring contracts this year. Mike Edwards is on the final year of his rookie deal, while veterans Logan Ryan and Keanu Neal are both on one-year contracts. Bringing them all back is highly unlikely, so look for the Bucs to spend a draft pick to help reload their depth here.

Outside Linebacker

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Anthony Nelson and Carl Nassib are both set to hit the open market, while Shaq Barrett is 30 years old and will be coming off a torn Achilles when he returns next season. Joe-Tryon Shoyinka has flashed lofty potential at times, but still needs to be more consistent, especially against the run. Tampa Bay will need to reload their stable of edge defenders of they want to keep getting after opposing quarterbacks.

Inside Linebacker

(AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

Bucs fans may not want to hear it, but it’s time to start planning for life without Lavonte David. The team’s longtime defensive captain is set to become a free agent, and even if he returns, he’ll be 33 next season. Tampa Bay might not need an immediate replacement in the starting lineup, but they need to start grooming his eventual successor sooner than later.

Offensive Line

(AP Photo/Alex Menendez)

All-Pro Tristan Wirfs is obviously the anchor of this unit for the foreseeable future, and there are some other veterans (Ryan Jensen, Shaq Mason) that should keep it solid for a while, but there are still improvements to be made. The overall depth is a huge issue, and it’s time to start thinking about a long-term replacement for Donovan Smith at left tackle. Quality competition should be added at both tackle and guard this offseason.

Defensive Line

(AP Photo/Zach Bolinger)

Vita Vea is arguably the best nose tackle in the NFL, and he’s locked into his current contract for a while yet. Akiem Hicks, Will Gholston, and multiple backups are free agents. This year’s second-round pick, Logan Hall, has flashed potential as a pass-rusher, and could see an increased role on early downs next year of Hicks or Gholston aren’t retained. No matter what, this group will need to be bolstered in some way this offseason.

Kicker

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Ryan Succop was solid and reliable for the most part again this season, but he turns 37 next September, and his long-range ability is already coming into question. The Bucs spent a fourth-round pick on a stud punter in this year’s draft (Jake Camarda), and might be inclined to spend another selection this year on Succop’s replacement.

Quarterback

(AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Kyle Trask is the only quarterback currently under contract for the Bucs next season, which should tell you all you need to know about this quarterback situation. Tom Brady could return for another year, as could Blaine Gabbert, but even if the Bucs want to give Trask next year to prove himself as a full-time starter after being inactive for nearly every game of his career so far, that should be a last-resort if they can’t find a better solution. If Trask is their guy for 2023, they’ll still need a quality backup plan in case things go south.

Story originally appeared on Buccaneers Wire