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January 7, 2011 @ 10:15 am
Current rating: 4.50 Stars/4 Votes

Bucs' 2011 Free Agents - Who Should Stay, Who Should Go?

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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PewterReport.com has the complete list of Tampa Bay's unrestricted, restricted and exclusive rights free agents in 2011 and analyzes the outlook for each player next year and whether these Buccaneers fit into the franchise's future plans.
PewterReport.com takes an in-depth look at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 2011 free agents and analyzes whether or not those players should be back next year.

The following players have at accrued at least six years worth of experience in the NFL and will be on the unrestricted free agent market regardless of what happens between the NFL and the NFL Players Association with the new collective bargaining agreement this winter.

CB Ronde Barber
2011 Outlook: Finished with over 100 tackles and played well enough to earn a 1- or 2-year deal. Raheem Morris might want his best friend around for his playmaking and leadership skills with so many young corners on the team.
Should he return? Yes, Barber is one of the greatest Bucs in team history and is still playing a high level. He is playing too good of football to hang it up right now.

MLB Barrett Ruud
2011 Outlook: Bucs want a more physical presence on defense, but Ruud’s football IQ is special. He’ll likely overprice himself in free agency and Bucs are high on Tyrone McKenzie and this will be a deep LB draft in 2011.
Should he return? No, the Bucs run defense must improve and needs a more stout run defender that won’t cost as much as Ruud.

TE John Gilmore
2011 Outlook: Blocking tight end emerged as a secret weapon on offense with 13 catches for a career-high 160 yards and one TD in 2010. Gilmore was a big reason for the Bucs’ effective ground game.
Should he return? Yes, Gilmore is a high-character, blue-collar worker that serves as a positive locker room guy as well as a good player.

RB Cadillac Williams
2011 Outlook: Disappointed as a starter, but thrived as a third down back as a receiver, runner and pass protector. Williams is a team leader and proved he was more effective with fewer touches in 2010.
Should he return? Yes, after testing free agency Williams will realize that the best deal will reside in returning to Tampa on the cheap in his current role.

MLB Niko Koutouvides
2011 Outlook: Top special teams player didn’t contribute on defense and was passed on the depth chart by Adam Hayward. As an eighth-year player, Koutouvides may be too expensive to sign just for special teams.
Should he return? No, Koutouvides is a good special teams player, but the Bucs must churn the roster at the linebacker position.

The following Buccaneers have accrued at least four years of playing time in the NFL, which would make them eligible for unrestricted free agency under the previous collective bargaining agreement. Under the current system, the following players would be restricted free agents, which would give the Bucs the ability to match any offer sheets they receive from other teams and receive draft pick compensation.

DE Stylez White
2011 Outlook: Disappointing season as age (31) appears to have caught up with White, who led the team with 4.5 sacks but was demoted in favor of Michael Bennett. The Bucs must improve their pass rush next year.
Should he return? No, the Bucs must get younger and more athletic at defensive end next season and White bombed in a contract year.

LB Quincy Black
2011 Outlook: Black was a playmaker for the Bucs in his second year as a starter before a broken arm cost him the last four games. The problem was that there was not much drop off when Adam Hayward replaced Black.
Should he return? Yes, but only if the price is right. Given Black’s age, production, physique and upside he might command top dollar on the open market.

DE Tim Crowder
2011 Outlook: Had a good year and was productive in 2010, but needs to make more splash plays on a more consistent basis. Defensive end is the weakest spot on the roster, so good players like Crowder should stay.
Should he return? Yes, Crowder likely won’t command a huge payday and was the most complete defensive end on Tampa Bay’s roster in 2010.

LB Adam Hayward
2011 Outlook: Hayward, who has been a long-time special teams ace, saw his most extensive time playing on defense in place of the injured Black and at times was as good as the player he was replacing.
Should he return? Yes, there likely won’t be a big market for Hayward because he hasn’t accomplished much on defense, but he’s an asset to Tampa Bay.

RG Davin Joseph
2011 Outlook: Ended the season on injured reserve with a broken foot, which might affect his status in free agency. Bucs surprisingly didn’t have much of a drop off with Derek Hardman playing right guard down the stretch.
Should he return? Yes, he should return, but given that there will likely be a decent market for him in free agency he will be deemed too expensive to re-sign.

WR Maurice Stovall
2011 Outlook: One of Tampa Bay’s top special teamers, he’s never consistently produced as a receiver. Given his size and special teams prowess, there may be a small market for him in free agency.
Should he return? Yes, with Arrelious Benn on the mend this offseason, it wouldn’t hurt to have a veteran like Stovall around if the price is right.

RT Jeremy Trueblood
2011 Outlook: Trueblood lost his starting job to James Lee when he sprained his knee and was never able to reclaim it. Trueblood’s stock in free agency had to have taken a hit from that.
Should he return? No, Lee showed the Bucs he could play just as well – and without the penalties – and the Bucs have Demar Dotson, too.

The following Buccaneers have accrued three years of playing time in the NFL, which would not make them eligible for unrestricted free agency under both current and former collective bargaining agreement. The Bucs have the ability to match any offer sheets they receive from other teams regarding these players.

K Connor Barth
2011 Outlook: By making 23-of-28 field goals (82.1 percent) in 2010, Barth proved that he was a reliable kicker and a big reason for the team’s success this year. The Bucs have struggled to find a good kicker and now they have one.
Should he return? Yes, Barth has proved himself over the last year and a half and deserves a long-term contract rather than a one-year tender.

RT James Lee
2011 Outlook: Had a breakthrough season in his first real shot at playing time on offense and put a stranglehold on the starting right tackle job while he was replacing Trueblood. Lee showed he has some real upside.
Should he return? Yes, the Bucs should sign him to a one-year tender and make him compete with Dotson.

FS Corey Lynch
2011 Outlook: Gained a lot of experience while starting the last five games and held his own quite well. Lynch showed he could play defense as well as special teams in Tampa Bay.
Should he return? Yes, Lynch should be thrown in the mix to start at free safety with Tanard Jackson and Cody Grimm next year.

CB Elbert Mack
2011 Outlook: One of Raheem Morris’ favorite players, Mack slid down the depth chart with the emergence of E.J. Biggers and rookie Myron Lewis. He didn’t make any plays on defense in limited duty.
Should he return? Yes, Mack should return to challenge the new corner or two that may come from draft and free agency this offseason.

DT Frank Okam
2011 Outlook: When Gerald McCoy went down with a season-ending biceps injury, the Bucs turned to the young, 6-foot-5, 350-pounder, who played well down the stretch. His size and power makes him an intriguing player for 2011.
Should he return? Yes, Okam filled in well for McCoy and has way more upside than Ryan Sims had. He should be brought back as McCoy’s backup.

WR-KR Micheal Spurlock
2011 Outlook: Had four returns of 65 yards or more in 2010 and averaged 25.7 yards per kick return. Spurlock also made an impact on offense where he caught 17 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns.
Should he return? Yes, Spurlock is the Bucs’ best return man, although he needs to be more aggressive and consistent, and he’s an emerging threat at receiver.

The following Buccaneers have accrued less than three years of playing time in the NFL, which would not make them eligible for unrestricted free agency under the previous collective bargaining agreement. The following players are exclusive rights free agents, which gives the Bucs the exclusive ability to negotiate with these players.

DE Michael Bennett
2011 Outlook: Bennett flashed some playmaking ability in his most extensive playing time on defense. He finished the season as the team’s starter at right defensive end, beating out White.
Should he return? Yes, Bennett has real promise as a pass rusher, which the Bucs need more of next year, but must turn it on in 2011.

QB Rudy Carpenter
2011 Outlook: Had a strong offseason and preseason and showed that he has the ability to be a backup quarterback at the NFL level – not just a No. 3 QB. Carpenter is a smart, savvy player that maxes out on the field and in the film room.
Should he return? Yes, Carpenter is an integral part of the team and well liked in the Bucs’ locker room.

RT Demar Dotson
2011 Outlook: An unfortunate knee injury robbed him of the 2010 season, but Dotson had impressed enough during the OTAs to work his way to the top of the depth chart during Donald Penn’s absence.
Should he return? Yes, Dotson has bulked up while rehabbing his knee and could challenge Lee for the starting right tackle job.

RB Kareem Huggins
2011 Outlook: Suffered a major knee injury early in the season after a very promising, breakthrough preseason. Huggins is the team’s fastest back and will have to regain his speed as he rehabs this offseason.
Should he return? Yes, the Bucs hope he comes back healthy and can develop into a complimentary back to LeGarrette Blount.

DT Doug Worthington
2011 Outlook: Spent half the season on Tampa Bay’s practice squad and was activated to the 53-man roster at the end of the year. Worthington has a big frame and some upside.
Should he return? Yes, the Bucs need to find talented defensive linemen and Worthington knows the defense from being on the practice squad.
Last modified on Tuesday, 15 March 2011 09:37

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  • avatar

    I agree bith the pewter report on these guys. How in the world wouldn't you want to bring Joseph back. I say by gone to jump off size Trueblood. Plus with these Rookies that has help the offense kick in. This gives us a chance maybe get a good backup OT and OG and OC in Rds 4-5-6. I think that WE should get the Best DE, OLB & ILB available In Rd-1, Rd-2 and Rd-3. If we have two 5th Rd Picks I say OC,OT,OG and If a GOOD CB in Rd-4. But again lets see what is available. Teams do shocking sistutations when they are under pressure to win. Espically with the Playoffs teams that favorites that loss they may want to jump up to #20 id there player is available. So we can get more draft picks, that means more quality players to select for the bucs in 2011.GO BUCS
  • avatar

    Davin Joseph is over rated Stylz, Ruud, Stovall and Trueblood can all hit the pavement
  • avatar

    has anyone noticed that charlie looks a little like barrett ruud....charlie could be his little crackhead brother.....just an observation....luv ya charlie...hope you stay around a lot longer than barret robbins....adam from ny
  • avatar

    i agree, ruud has a high iq...he's really smart...when he is getting run over by a running back he precisely knows how to move his head to the side so they just run right over his chest and then back onto the playing field....thus he's protecting his noggin in the process.....and every once in a while he makes a shoe string tackle while on his back and the runner only has a gain of 15 to 18 yards....now look at the sweet handfuls to your left bucs fans....adam from ny
  • avatar

    I too like Ruuds intelligence but he is just too soft for my tastes. His IQ just doesn't help him get off of blocks. Its almost like he's scared to take a ball carrier head on because he's afraid he'll get balled over like against the Saints. No nuts no glory son!
  • avatar

    i agree with most except, Stylez G White. If you would have said he's older or not a good fit in the locker room, that would make sense but to say he whiffed during a contract year is stupid. He's a compliment pass rusher, meaning he works well when others work well, the coaching staff did everything they could not to feature him. He rotated on running downs, played outside linebacker and covered tight ends half the time while being the only d-lineman that was double teamed when he did actually get to pass rush. Mix that with the fact that McCoy was non existent in a defense that relies on the under tackle to cause havoc, and you'll see why White's numbers were low. His sacks and QB pressures led the team and have done so for nearly 4 of his 5 years on the team. For reporters who pride themselves on watching film, why dont you try watching the film vs making blanket statements to fill a quick column. I see White as a great compliment on the left side and the bucs drafting a defensive end for the right side. Ultimately, nobody will have success unless McCoy and Price start making plays. Thats what the defense is built on, QB pressure, bend but dont break.
  • avatar

    "Corey Lynch... held his own quite well" Seriously? Were you watching the same games as me? You know we're talking about that guy who's constantly screwing up his run fits and missing tackles right? Grimm really should be moved to Strong with Jones as his backup. This team needs a true Free... that can actually play the run as well.
  • avatar

    Personally, I think Dominik will try to re-sign as many of our free agents as he can and let them compete in OTA's (if there are any) and training camp. There's nothing to lose and it could make some of them candidates to be traded. The only ones who should be allowed to leave are the two players who have no chance of making next year's squad; Gregory White and Niko Koutouvides. Money will not be a factor unless a player's demands are ridiculous or another team is willing to overpay.
  • avatar

    Favorite of the Coach just means the Coach may be less than objective. Mack is under size and should go. White definitely should go. His practice habits do not fit. Okam is a starter. Put McCoy at Defensive end. Ruud should go. Need bad *censored* , Big Mean linebacker. Need another 250lb Running Back. Put sign up outside One Buc Place. Go Bucs!!!! A+ for Morris and Dominik. Truth is the whole World loves a winner and has little time for a loser. Not too original but damn sure true. Maybe there is a job for Brooks and Ronde. They are winners.
  • avatar

    That's not a bad idea! McCoy has a great first step and he wouldn't have to be as strong on the edge as he would in the middle.Once Okam learns how to beat double teams on a regular basis he would really disrupt in the middle allowing the ends a better chance at getting to the qb. If the qb can't step up in the pocket then thats going to disrupt the passing game.
  • avatar

    Agree with all but need Mack and Stovall to go. Need to sign Joseph - he's pro bowl caliber player and the competition from the young guns will make him better. Don't care how smart Ruud is when RB's run over him. David Harris from the Jets is 26, 6-2, 250. Question is his pass coverage, but thumper in the middle would be a nice change of pace.
  • avatar

    I agree that Mack and Stovall need to go. Briscoe has the same body type as Stovall but appears to have better hands. Why keep both? Mack simply gets beat too often in coverage. He's a special team guy. With Morris' ability to spin straw into gold with DB's we can do just as well with a 6th round pick at CB rather than Mack.
  • avatar

    I agree with the not too much spending in FA's but this guy would be great for the team. Charles Johnson the DE that plays for the Panthers. If this guy becomes a FA he is just what the Bucs looking for. He is young at the age of 24 (this will save a draft pick also) and he is productive: 62 Tackles, 11.5 Sacks and1 FF. Another DE I think we should sign if the price is right is Ray Edwards the DE for the Vikings. Charles Johnson is a RE and Ray Edwards is a LE so none would have to change position. Ray Edwards is also pretty young at 26 and just turned that on 1/1/10. He was also productive with 8 Sacks. This would also lead to a huge Pass Rush and only one of these guys: Gerald McCoy, Ray Edwards or Charles Johnson would get doubled teamed. This defense would just be amazing if this happend. Out of Ray Edwards and Charles Johnson I believe Charles Johnson is more likely because he is really young still and I think Ray Edwards would be a stretch but it would just put the icing on the cake since he is a LE instead of a RE which would give us a Elite Defensive Line with a good RE, LE and DT.
  • avatar

    I think the Davin Joseph analysis is quite telling. Despite the fact that he should be back as an integral part of the team, he will be deemed "too expensive". So I guess we are all resigned to the fact that our team owners can't afford to keep our best players after their rookie contracts? I guess we can expect Talib to move on in a couple years. We certainly won't be able to afford that.
  • avatar

    So basically Trueblood, White and Ruud. I agree with those guys being gone. They will draft another OT and LB and DE. I also think Stovall is gone because Benn will be back and Parker and Briscoe show promise
  • avatar

    Well PR I guess we don't have to have much of a draft since we are signing almost everybody back including most the guys on IR? Maybe we might want to think about trading a 2nd,3rd, or 4th pick this year for a higher pick next year?
  • avatar

    Shouldn't Tanard Jackson be on this list?
  • avatar

    what kind of deal is Legarette Blount under1, 2, or 3 yrs?
  • avatar

    Blount...2 year I believe.
  • avatar

    Nice work,Scott. I probably saw 98% of all Buc snaps this year..thanks NFL Ticket..and would agree-except for Mack.I found his play to be cringe-worthy.
  • avatar

    Ruud - I think he gets the shaft too much. What he lacks in 'thumping' ability, he makes up for in IQ. He understands the opposing offense and gets us in the right defense which is half the battle. YES, we need a thumper in the middle, but if you're lined up wrong or incorrectly audible, I don't care what kind of talent or thumper you have, it won't matter. I don't think fans give the mental side of football, or in this case Ruud's intelligence, enough credit. We need Ruud to teach a young guy for a year - we can't afford to NOT re-sign him.
  • avatar

    The point is that you need both IQ and thumping ability at the mike. He needs to be replaced.
  • avatar

    I totally agree I think Ruud gets the short end of the stick on this one. He's definitely not a thumper in the middle of the defense, but he's still a good football player in my opinion. I think that instead of keeping Quincy Black, who was more than adequately replaced by a special teamer and a rookie, you let him walk and re-sign Ruud to compete on the weakside where Geno could use some competition. That way you can draft a thumper or stick with Mackenzie in the middle and all the while you have the super-intelligent Ruud there to push Hayes (or play better than him) and also help a new MLB with the defense. Win-win.
  • avatar

    We should tag Joseph with a 1st or 2nd round tender and let the bidding begin....if we get a low first or high second we can get Pouncey or Stefen Wisniewski with that pick to replace him
  • avatar

    letting him go for nothing would just be stupid
  • avatar

    There is almost zero chance that the next CBA will allow a player with at least 4 years to be a RFA
  • avatar

    Mack needs to go as well hes a liability whenever hes lined up opposite anyone Along with Stovall as we need to develop our younger talents at WR like Parker and Briscoe
  • avatar

    If the Bucs aren't spending money on Ruud or Joseph, then this isn't much of a payroll. On this "yes" list, Barber is the only guy that will command decent money. If there is going to be a cap floor, and I assume there will be, the Bucs will have to bring in some quality FAs. Exciting!
  • avatar

    If there is a floor, I doubt that they would initiate it during a shortened season, so I'm doubtful that they'll spend much of any money on FA's...they'll do as before, stay the course, build through the draft, stay young. They might pick off a medium-good serviceable player or so, but not a high priced guy. The true quality MLB's and DE's either get locked up, or their price is way higher than their ability. That's not on the Buc's menu.
  • avatar

    The Bucs may have the "right" to match offer sheets, but it remains to be seen if they have the "ability" to do so - it would take a lot of money to put all of these players under contract.
  • avatar

    Great article, Scott. It's hard for me to disagree with your analysis. I'm still disappointed that the season is over. I had fun watching these Bucs play.
  • avatar

    Thanks SR for listing all of these guys out with their current status. You make good points as far as player's ability and contributions this season. All of your "No" votes are right in line with player production. It's hard to guess just how radical the LB & DE roster changes are going to be. Dominik has surprised most of us with his aggresive pursuit of rookie players. He's paid above board with Briscoe, and he's moved up in the draft 2 years in a row, with Freeman and Benn. There's a decent chunk of change here if all of the "Yes" votes make it in. In the end the agents will be the ones' who affect these choices the most.
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