Free agency is officially underway, but the Buccaneers aren't expected to be big players in terms of signing some of the top players available like defensive end Julius Peppers or linebacker Karlos Dansby, among others. Bucs fans are encouraged to temper their enthusiasm in regards to free agency.
The 2010 free agent signing period is officially underway, but Tampa Bay fans should temper their enthusiasm, as the Buccaneers aren't expected to make much of a splash on the open market.
The NFL has embarked on the first uncapped year since 1993 in 2010, which is the final year of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Teams are essentially able to spend whatever their budgets will allow, but several clubs, including the Buccaneers, are looking for ways to reduce player payroll, not increase it.
That said, the Bucs, who have been linked to financial stress associated with Manchester United and burnt by free agent signings gone bad in recent years, aren't expected to be in contention for some of the better players available in what many consider a weak free agent class. That means Tampa Bay likely will pass on the opportunity to sign players like Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers or Arizona linebacker Karlos Dansby, among others.
The longer veteran players sit out on the open market the cheaper they could get, which could prompt the Bucs to get involved in terms of recruiting them to Tampa Bay. The Bucs are also believed to be interested in signing lesser-known players that they believe can make an immediate impact in Tampa Bay, just as DE Jimmy Wilkerson did for the Bucs a few years ago.
The conversations the Bucs will be linked to the most likely will involve trades. Tampa Bay general manager Mark Dominik has already went on record and stated the Bucs' desire to build the team through the draft, where Tampa Bay owns 10 picks in April, including five selections in the top 99 picks. The Bucs could use one or more picks and/or players to trade for a veteran player(s), just as the team did last year when Tampa Bay acquired tight end Kellen Winslow from Cleveland on the first day of free agency.
The Bucs will attempt to address some needs in free agency, but they're not expected to break the bank doing it.
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