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June 23, 2013 @ 11:10 am
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Bucs Could Have 20 Unrestricted Free Agents In 2014

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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Tampa Bay general manager Mark Dominik could have his work cut out for him next offseason as the team could have as many as 20 unrestricted free agents, headlined by quarterback Josh Freeman and wide receiver Mike Williams.
The good news for general manager Mark Dominik and the Buccaneers is that the team will once again be under the salary cap as it enters the 2014 offseason. The bad news is that he will have plenty to do next winter after the 2013 season as Tampa Bay could have as many as 20 unrestricted free agents and four restricted free agents. Here is a look at which Buccaneers are in contract years heading into the 2013 campaign.

Buccaneers offense – 10 free agents
QB Josh Freeman
QB Dan Orlovsky
WR Mike Williams
WR Tiquan Underwood
FB Erik Lorig
RB Brian Leonard
TE  Zach Miller
C Ted Larsen
C Cody Wallace
OL Jamon Meredith

Bucs offense free agency notes: The biggest priority in the 2014 offseason will likely be re-signing Freeman – unless he tanks it in his contract year and the team fails to make the playoffs. Dominik is open to giving Williams a contract extension prior to training camp, but only if the price is right. The Bucs want the playmaking Williams back because he and Vincent Jackson form such a powerful one-two punch in the team’s vertical passing game. The other key component to the offense is Lorig, who keeps better on offense as he learns the position, in addition to his work on special teams where he was tied for the team lead with seven tackles. Underwood, Larsen and Meredith provide proven depth. While the team will attempt to re-sign them if they have a solid 2013 campaign, all three are ultimately replaceable.

Buccaneers defense – 10 free agents
DT Gary Gibson
DE Daniel Te’o-Nesheim
LB Dekoda Watson
LB Jonathan Casillas
LB Adam Hayward
LB Jacob Cutrera
CB Eric Wright
CB Danny Gorrer
CB Myron Lewis
S Cody Grimm

Bucs defense free agency notes: It should be noted that the Bucs have four linebackers slated to hit free agency, which means that could be a position that needs to be restocked in the 2014 offseason. The biggest names on this list of defensive free agents are two linebackers – Watson and Hayward – along with Te’o-Nesheim and Wright. Watson and Hayward have been impact special teams players for the Bucs the last couple of seasons, and either Watson or Casillas will emerge as the team’s starting strongside linebacker during training camp. Te’o-Nesheim is  valuable, versatile defensive lineman that the team wouldn’t be opposed to re-signing if he’s productive in 2013 and is affordable. Wright is the most talented of the three cornerbacks that are on the free agent list as he figures to start, although there is no guarantee that either Gorrer or Lewis will make the team out of training camp this summer. The same could be said for Grimm at safety.

Buccaneers special teams
LS Andrew Economos

Bucs special teams free agency notes: Economos has been one of the steadiest long snappers in team history, but he’s older and more expensive than Andrew DePaola, who has a shot of beating him out in training camp.

Buccaneers offense – 2 free agents
TE Nate Byham
WR Eric Page

Bucs offense free agency notes: Byham and Page are not locks to make the team in 2013. Byham has the best shot as the third tight end spot on the depth chart is currently wide open. Page could make the team as the Bucs’ fifth wide receiver if he wins the return specialist duties.

Buccaneers defense – 2 free agents
DE Aaron Morgan
DE Markus White

Bucs defense free agency notes: Morgan and White are not assured of roster spots this year. They each spent some time on the active roster late in the year, and White also spent time on the practice squad. Both are undersized pass rushers that will need to surprise the Bucs with some improved pass rushing ability and sack production in the preseason to stick around.

Last modified on Monday, 24 June 2013 06:48

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  • avatar

    The underlined sub-heading says "2014 Undrafted Free Agents". Should say "2014 Unrestricted Free Agents"
  • avatar

    Toofamiliar17, I think you're 100% right in everything you said. I'm not a fan of Wright off the field and I think he is marginal on the field. One thing I want to emphasize from my post though is that those were guys I would offer contracts to depending on how well 2013 goes. However, I didn't say how big a contract. In the case of Wright, if he plays lights out I would offer him a contract reflective of the position he would be playing...slot CB. It would be a low-paying contract that would probably be less than what he could get as a starter in the open FA market. So I would expect Wright to turn down any reasonable offer from Dominik. But you never know. Wright surprised me by taking such a low contract to keep playing for the Bucs after we blocked his attempts to get more money from the Bucs in court. If Wright is willing to play for $1 million/year as nickel CB (if he proves to be fantastic...which I doubt) then I would offer him that contract.
  • avatar

    Dominic may have been part in overpaying to keep guys that didnt contribute in the past but how many can you think of that have been let walk out the door who ever amounted to anything anywhere else? Maybe Talib but we can all see where that came from, not a contract issue. Seems as though talent is not allowed to just leave. Myron Lewis will not be one of those guys MD.. Let him go already!
  • avatar

    At least 5 of these spots will be filled with rookie contracts next season. As for the players who are labeled as "replaceable" you still have to sign a contract for the guy replacing him. Looking at the list actually makes me feel very confident in Dominic and the way its set up. This time the last few years we've talked about the lack of quality/proven depth on this team. Looking at that list which is comprised mostly of depth players and a coulple looking to prove worth as a contributing starter, I see depth, I see potential but I also see guys who have motivation to prove something this year or we move on. Lots of contracts equals lots of motivated guys to weed through. Make it or break it guys.
  • avatar

    I'm thrilled to have the team we have right now, but I'm pretty nervous about the cap situation for 2014, and maybe even more-so for 2015 (Gerald McCoy's resigning). If we resign Josh, which I think we will, and we extend Mike Williams, which I think we will, we're going to have a lot of high dollar contracts on the books. That can work, but we have to be crafty and prudent in other areas to make it work. I am confident that MD hasn't handed out any of these contracts the last 2 years unaware of the realities of future caps, but as a fan sitting here, it has me sweating a bit.
  • avatar

    I think Lorig is a very interesting player and maybe one that PR could do a story on with the unique skills and upside he brings to the table. I definitely think we resign him
  • avatar

    I would definitely re-sign Williams now. Freeman, Lorig, Teo-nesheim, Watson and Wright are all guys I want to see play one more year before I would give them a contract. The most of the rest are good players, but easily replaceable in my opinion.
  • avatar

    pinkstob, I'm confident that Eric Wright won't be a Buccaneer in 2014 no matter how he plays this season. Think about it. If he plays well, we almost certainly will not be able to afford his services the year after. On top of that, we have Revis - enough said - and we have a 2nd round draft pick the team believes in. Even if Banks struggles mightily (which I don't think he will), the team will be patient with him, and you don't pay #3 CBs tons of money when you're tight against the cap. If Wright plays poorly, driving his price down, we won't have any interest anyways.
  • avatar

    I agree leonard johnson anthony gaitor n tandy have potential to push for that nickel position.
  • avatar

    Josh freeman mike williams lorig meredith larsen wallace n underwood for the offense. Freeman will be resigned no matter what i think he is playin for starting qb money or backup money. Lorig williams n freeman shouldget the longest contracts while larsen meredith wallace n underwood get 2 year contracts. They are good depth players and underwood might prove to be somethin at the slot with his speed. Teo nesheim hayward wright n casillas could get similar 2 year contracts. Watson would be the only defensive player to get a long term contract. He is young n makes plays on special teams n he could prove to be a playmaker if he starts as the strongside lb position. Wright is gettin old n shouldnt be worth the 5 year 7 mill a season contract that he recieved last offseason 3 or 4 mill tops.
  • avatar

    svavg3, I disagree about Freeman. Unless he plays God-awfully bad, he'll be a signed as a starter in 2014 whether that's here in Tampa or elsewhere. He would have to truly $h!t the bed this season to be a backup in 2014.
  • avatar

    What about WR C. Owusu?
  • avatar

    I see resigning Freeman, Williams, Lorig and on Defense Wright, Watson, Gorrer; the rest are all about the money.
  • avatar

    Horse, there's very little chance that Wright will be resigned in 2014. You can see my reasoning in an above post.
  • avatar

    20 Free Agents headline hooked me in. I certainly thought there would be a slew of names I would care about. Turns out there are only three. Lot of hot air over nothing.
  • avatar

    Quality depth isn't that easy to replace, guys. There is significant depth along both the offensive and defensive lines on this list, and Tiquan Underwood has a chance to prove that he's something other than an everyman. Losing 4 LBs is signficant, too, even if none of them are stars. No matter what, our starting SLB for this season is currently scheduled to be a FA next year. I'm the first to say how unimportant that position is in our defense, but that's still significant. In the era of the salary cap, all of these things are big deals.
  • avatar

    PR - I think it'd be interesting to write up an article about who yall think are the top 10 best players on the roster right now??
  • avatar

    Agreed. Other than Free and Williams, who cares. The rest of them are all replacable.
  • avatar

    Basically 8-9/20 are keepers and truthfully I'd be fine if they just kept freeman and Williams....
  • avatar

    Sounds a lot worse than it is. I'd keep freeman, Williams, lorig, Larsen on O, and teo, whoever wins between Watson/casillas/Hayward, whoever wins between wright and gorrer, and I personally like Aaron Morgan and Nate Byham. The rest should be upgraded.
  • avatar

    Very interested in seeing how Eric Wright does this season. I think he is going to have his best year ever because of all the talent around him in the defensive backfield now and this yeah is most likely is the last year he has to prove that he is worth a long term contract. I really hope they get Mike W signed by camp hes too damn good to let go in my book.
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