Bruce Arians, the man who brought unparalleled success to Arizona Cardinals franchise is retiring at age 67. The decision comes as a surprise after only two losing seasons in his six years with team and was one of the most successful coaches ever. What might be next for Bruce?
The “buccaneers head coach” is the latest in a long line of NFL coaches to retire this offseason. Bruce Arians was supposed to lead the Buccaneers for many years, but instead he retired after only one season.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and head coach Bruce Arians have won the Lombardi Trophy in less than 13 months. However, the retirement of all-time great quarterback Tom Brady has shifted the franchise’s trajectory dramatically, and now another important offensive player, guard Ali Marpet, has opted to follow suit.
At only 28 years old, the intriguing Pro Bowl offensive tackle is retiring from football, and the Buccaneers’ future is much more unclear than it was just a few days ago.
Ali Marpet, an offensive lineman, unexpectedly retired at the age of 28.
#Bucs Pro Bowl guard Ali Marpet has made the decision to retire at age 28. The Super Bowl champion started since he entered the NFL from little Hobart College and has been stellar. Now, calls it quits. pic.twitter.com/JCcjRLPlkg
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 27, 2022
On Sunday, February 27, Tampa Bay Buccaneers guard Ali Marpet announced his retirement from the NFL on Instagram, despite the fact that he is just 28 years old.
“After seven illustrious years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I’ve made the difficult choice to leave the game that has given me so much,” Marpet wrote. “This organization and the individuals that surround it have not only helped me realize a goal, but they have also helped me grow into the person I am today.”
Marpet played seven seasons in the NFL, all with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the club that selected him. His first five clubs went a total 32-48 in his first five seasons. Tom Brady arrived in 2020 and completely transformed the franchise’s — and Marpet’s — fortunes.
Bruce Arian’s Buccaneers had a 24-9 record, five playoff victories, and a Super Bowl championship in the previous two seasons.
The Bucs’ success was largely due to the 6-foot-4, 307-pound guard. In the previous two seasons, he has started 29 of 33 regular-season games and all six playoff games. In each of the previous two seasons, Marpet helped pave the way for Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones II to carry for over 1,200 yards. Brady was likewise shielded by him in 2020 and 2021, when he passed for 4,633 yards and 5,316 yards, respectively.
In 2021, the Westchester County (NY) native was finally recognized for his achievements by being named to his first Pro Bowl squad. Marpet earned $37.4 million over the course of his career, but by retiring with two years remaining on a five-year, $54.1 million contract extension inked in 2018, the guard will be out $29.6 million.
All of this is shocking, but what’s even more remarkable is how Marpet ended up here.
Marpet is one of the most successful small-school teams in NFL history.
Ali Marpet is a true renaissance man. Hobart educated, plays the yukele, his mother a musician, his father a fashion designer in New York City, and a beloved Bucs player. His decision to retire is his own and respected, but his personality will so sorely be missed by @gmfb crew.
— Peter Schrager (@PSchrags) February 27, 2022
According to Buccaneers.com, Ali Marpet grew up roughly 15 miles north of New York City in the little Westchester County community of Hastings-on-Hudson. He was a member of the Hastings High Yellow Jackets football team.
In a 2015 Sports Illustrated interview with Peter King, Marpet said, “My high school was really little.” “I’d always wanted to play at Alabama, but it wasn’t even close to being a possibility.”
Marpet ended up at Division III Hobart College in Geneva, New York, a long way from Mobile. His physical dominance, football IQ, and extreme athleticism for a big man earned him the first DIII invitation to the NFL Draft Combine in 25 years.
Marpet wowed evaluators at the combine and dominated his offensive line competition. At 310 pounds, he completed 30 bench press repetitions and ran a 4.98 40-yard sprint. The interior lineman was selected in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 61 overall).
Since HB Fred King played one season for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1937, he was the first Hobart Statesman to be selected and play professional football.
With such a unique past, it’s not surprise that Marpet chose to retire in his prime, something that most NFL players would never do.
What’s next for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Bruce Arians?
Ali Marpet | Getty Images/Mike Ehrmann/Ali Marpet .
Tom Brady was the first to step down, followed by Ali Marpet. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ football future is becoming more questionable by the day.
On top of the $21 million in cap space currently available, Marpet’s retirement frees up extra cap money for the organization. That’s critical if the Buccaneers want to re-sign their marquee free agents. Mike Evans, Lavonte David, and Devin White are among the big-name players remaining under contract for next season.
WR Chris Godwin, DE Jason Pierre-Paul, DT Ndamukong Suh, C Ryan Jensen, TE Rob Gronkowski, and RBs Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones II, and Giovani Bernard are among the team’s 2022 free agents.
Even with the extra room created by Brady and Marpet’s departures, it’s difficult to imagine the Buccaneers re-signing all of these big-name players, particularly with their quarterback position still undetermined.
Kyle Trask, a 2022 second-round selection out of Florida, is the lone active quarterback on the team right now. The rookie quarterback has never played in an NFL game during the regular season.
Finding a new quarterback is priority one for general manager Jason Licht, head coach Bruce Arians, and returning offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. Following that, the team may focus on replacing Marpet, re-signing free agents, and bringing in fresh players.
If all of those things don’t fall into place this offseason, the Buccaneers may have a difficult time in 2022 and beyond. That possibility might have been on Marpet’s mind when he chose to leave.
Pro Football Reference provided all numbers, while Spotrac provided contract statistics.
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