An Early Look at Who I Want Tampa to Target in Free Agency
February has just left the building, and we are now in the month of March. We are twelve days away from the start of free agency and at the beginning of the NFL combine. We are in the midst of the most speculative period of the offseason. People are trying to break news about what teams will and won’t do when it comes to signings, releases, trades etc.
During the combine, Jason Licht was recently asked about free agency, and he said that they want to keep all of their good players, but He also added that they would be active in free agency. After explaining the different levels of the free agency, Ie. “Day one splashy guys,” and “weeks three and four guys,” he added that he likes the later free agency guys because that’s where he believes the real value is found. Licht likes hungry players with something to prove and the later weeks of free agency are where he believes these guys are found. Historically for Licht, that’s where they have been, and they have worked out for Tampa in the past.
So let’s take a look at some of those hungry players who could benefit the Bucs.
Teddy Bridgewater (Contract reconstructed and money voided. Set to hit Free agency as one of the most coveted QBs) – Now pump the brakes and lets me explain myself. This is not to replace Winston, but the Bucs do need a backup QB behind Winston. Both of the Ryans (Fitzpatrick and Griffin) are free agents, and neither is expected to return. Bridgewater by far has had the most success of any of the QB’s in free agency except for maybe Fitzpatrick. He would be a solid option in case of injury or any other unforeseen circumstance.
John Brown (If released) and Cordarrelle Patterson (If not re-signed by New England)- The Bucs are set to lose one if not two wide receivers to free agency and roster moves, so both of these guys would be smart and cheap options. Brown would be the front runner because of his familiarity in Arians offense. Patterson is a special teams nightmare and an underrated pass catcher who has blazing speed. Patterson would present a lot of matchup nightmares on an offense already full of weapons.
Leonard Wester (Tampa should re-sign him) – Now I’m not trying to be funny, but I feel that I should clarify this choice. Leonard Wester is a restricted free agent for the Bucs. The Bucs, before any cuts or trades, are $14 million over the cap. With that said, if Donovan Smith and the Bucs can’t agree to a long term deal, there’s a possibility that he might be tagged. Tagging him for $14 million would take up the majority of Tampa’s cap space, and we still have 26 free agents to re-sign or replace. Jason Licht also made a couple of statements about moving players around, especially in the O-line. Alex Cappa and Caleb Benenoch were two names mentioned. Which brings me to Wester and why the Bucs should give him a shot to either start or be the backup. The market for guards and tackles is weak, and the Bucs could benefit from the low price tag that Wester will command.
EJ Gaines (If the Browns do not re-sign him) Here we are again. A corner who was linked to the Bucs and even visited previously with team officials, yet a deal never materialized. Fast forward a year and he takes another trip to the IR. He could be a cheap one-year deal for depth and could materialize into something more. The Bucs secondary is young with one projected starter being a veteran. Gaines, being young himself, could fit right in and become a surprise acquisition for the Bucs.
I only picked one defensive player because, as of now, we don’t know for certain what defense the Bucs will run. I feel that the Bucs might have the need to bring in players for the defense through the draft, so the staff can mold them from day one, setting a foundation for years to come. Now that I have added to the speculation, I must remind you to keep it locked into All Things Bucs and Bucs Life News for all of your coverage concerning the Tampa Bay Bucs!