Bucs hope to keep core together to chase another Super Bowl

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) and Rob Gronkowski (87) celebrate their win in the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game against the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. The Buccaneers defeated the Chiefs 31-9 to win the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

TAMPA, Fla. – Tom Brady’s coming back. So is Bruce Arians.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are already thinking about what it’ll take to repeat as Super Bowl champions. The challenge begins with trying to keep some key components together for next season.

Brady threw three touchdowns passes on the way to claiming a record seventh NFL title with a 31-9 rout of the Kansas City Chiefs — two to Rob Gronkowski and one to Antonio Brown, both of whom played on one-year deals after being lured to Tampa Bay by the 43-year-old quarterback.

Leonard Fournette ran for the team’s other TD. He, too, joined the Bucs on a one-year contract after Brady reached out to the talented running back after he was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars late in training camp.

If Brady, Arians and general manager Jason Licht have their way, Gronkowski, Brown and Fournette won’t wind up being one-season rentals.

The team is also interested in signing linebacker Shaquil Barrett and receiver Chris Godwin to long-term deals. Defensive starters Lavonte David and Ndamukong Suh can become free agents, although there’s been no indication either of them is eager to leave.

“I’m very very confident,” Arians said Monday of keeping the bulk of the roster together for next season. “I have all the trust in the world in Jason and what he will do. There will be dollars involved, but I think this group is so so close that sometimes dollars don’t matter. But we’re going to do everything we can to get the dollars right, too.”

The Bucs likely have about $38 million in salary cap space, though the 2021 cap number has not been set yet.