Tampa Bay Buccaneers guard Ali Marpet announces retirement from NFL

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers guard Ali Marpet (74) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pro Bowl guard Ali Marpet announced his retirement from the NFL at the age of 28.

“After seven formidable years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I’ve come to the decision to retire from the game that has given me so much,” Marpet posted on Instagram. “This organization and the people surrounding it have helped not only fulfill a dream but also helped build me into the person I am today. I’ve made Tampa Bay my home and I look forward to serving this community in the coming years. To the coaches and teammates, family and friends, an Instagram post simply can’t express the profound impact you’ve had on me. I’m eternally grateful. Thank you Tampa Bay.”

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A second-round pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, Marpet earned the starting gig early in his rookie season. He ended up starting 101 regular-season games and six postseason games during his NFL career and was rewarded with a five-year, $54.125 million extension in 2018.

The Division III product quickly became a mainstay on the Tampa Bay offensive line and went on to play 700 or more snaps every year of his seven-year career. He started his career at right guard, moved to center in 2017 and played his final years at left guard — and he never graded below 72.3.

Marpet earned his first Pro Bowl nod this past season after earning a career-high 83.2 PFF grade, seventh among qualifying players at the position.

Ali Marpet: PFF grade and rank (2015-2021; postseason included)
Season Snaps PFF Grade Rank
2021 1,181 83.2 7th of 88
2020 1,123 80.7 7th of 93
2019 1,139 72.3 16th of 90
2018 1,117 75.9 11th of 86
2017 723 81.5 6th of 37
2016 1,135 82.7 10th of 82
2015 822 75.8 23rd of 84

Click here to view Ali Marpet's career in Premium Stats…

Bucs general manager Jason Licht released the following statement on the seven-year pro's decision to retire, calling Marpet “one of the NFL's best all-around offensive linemen.”

Marpet is the second Buccaneer to retire this offseason, joining quarterback Tom Brady. Veteran tight end Rob Gronkowski could potentially follow suit unless he decides to play for a different quarterback for the first time in his career.

Meanwhile, the Bucs' offensive line could have much more shuffling on the way, as center Ryan Jensen and right guard Alex Cappa are both scheduled to be unrestricted free agents.

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Marpet was going into the fourth year of his five-year deal with a cap hit of around $12.775 million. If the team processes his retirement after June 1, they will save around $10 million in salary-cap space for the 2022 NFL season.

According to Over The Cap, the Bucs had $2.37 million in cap space heading into the 2022 year, with a handful of big names set to hit the free-agent market. Though replacing Marpet’s talent is not ideal, getting some extra room to re-sign players is a needed consolation.

The Bucs could put that money right back into their interior offensive line and make moves to re-sign Cappa and Jensen.

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Before Marpet’s retirement, it was more likely than not that both would be elsewhere in 2022. However, this move makes the re-signing of Cappa a much bigger — and possible — priority and also opens what was a nearly shut door to Jensen's return.

Outside of their own guys, it’s unlikely the Bucs will make a splash at interior offensive line via free agency. They likely won’t have the funds for a player like Brandon Scherff.

Other interior offensive linemen among PFF’s Top 200 Free Agents, like Laken Tomlinson and Connor Williams, likely wouldn’t be prioritized over Jensen and Cappa. Baltimore Ravens center Bradley Bozeman could be an option as a replacement center.

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If the Bucs lose one or both of Capp and Jensen, along with Marpet, the 2022 NFL Draft is the most likely spot for a new starter.

They’d love to get their hands on Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum, but he likely won’t be available at pick No. 27. Instead, Boston College's Zion Johnson is a great target for them as a potential plug-and-play at the back half of the first round.

Dylan Parham from Memphis could also be a good center option to draft outside Round 1. As for some wild cards, Tampa could target small-school players like Trevor Penning or Bernhard Raimann and transition them from offensive tackle to an interior offensive line, similar to what they did with Marpet back in 2015.

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