National Football League
'Undisputed' debates who's No. 1: The Kansas City Chiefs or Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
National Football League

'Undisputed' debates who's No. 1: The Kansas City Chiefs or Tampa Bay Buccaneers?

Published Mar. 31, 2021 11:22 a.m. ET

Now that the bulk of the business on the free-agent market is in the books, which team is at the top of the NFL pecking order?

It's Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs at the summit, followed by Tom Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to ESPN's post-free-agency poll.

Both teams have had busy offseasons, but the Chiefs did enough to retain their spot at the top following the outlet's initial post-Super Bowl rankings for 2021.

Kansas City has spent the offseason retooling and revamping the offensive line, which was decimated by injuries in the 2020 playoffs.


Those injuries came to a head in the team's 31-9 loss in the Super Bowl, in which Mahomes was sacked three times, threw two interceptions and was on the run for most of the contest.

To headline their offseason, the Chiefs waved goodbye to their two starting tackles ⁠— Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz ⁠— and signed big-ticket guard Joe Thuney as a free agent from the New England Patriots.

They also were able to coax former Chicago Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long out of retirement, thanks to an assist from Mahomes.

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Meanwhile, the defending champions pulled a rabbit out of their hat and kept their Super Bowl-winning roster largely intact.

Brady's contract extension paved the way for that wheeling and dealing, opening up roughly $19 million in 2021 salary-cap space for the Buccaneers.

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Brady tweeted a picture of himself putting pen to paper on the extension, writing "we're keeping the band together," and he wasn't blowing smoke.

The Buccaneers re-signed all of their potential departing starters, including pass-rusher Shaquil Barrett, wide receiver Chris Godwin (who's on a franchise tag ), linebacker Lavonte David, tight end Rob Gronkowski, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, running back Leonard Fournette and kicker Ryan Succop.

With all 22 starters from the Super Bowl staying in the fold for 2021 — something that hasn't been done in the league since the implementation of the salary cap — Tampa Bay is running it back in full.

Those moves bumped the Buccaneers from No. 4 on ESPN's initial 2021 rankings to No. 2.

But should they be leading the pack? On "Undisputed," Skip Bayless laid out his case for the Buccaneers as No. 1.

"Over the final seven quarters that these two teams competed with each other, the score was 55-19 in favor of Tom Brady's team. ... Because they kept everybody, you can't tell me that they're not better than the Chiefs."

Bayless' counterpart on "Undisputed," Shannon Sharpe, argued the other way, saying the Chiefs deserve to be ranked at the top.

"I'm looking at: Did the team improve? ... I like what [the Chiefs have] done. I think they've addressed needs. Did Tampa get any better? That's the question. ... Tampa re-signed all their guys, and we'll see if that pays off because the year before, Kansas City re-signed all of their guys, and it didn't work out in the end. So I love what Kansas City was able to do."

Shannon Sharpe: Chiefs deserve to be ranked No. 1 over Tom Brady's Bucs in Power Rankings | UNDISPUTED

Hear what Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe have to say about the latest NFL power rankings.

There is still ample opportunity for roster adjustment before a ball is kicked off for the 2021 season, with April's draft the most prominent upcoming calendar event.

While it's fair to debate which team is in the best situation, there's no denying that both the Bucs and Chiefs are in a good place heading into the season.

But to find out, once and for all, which squad is truly No. 1, we might very well have to wait until Super Bowl LVI.

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