While the Bucs aren’t expected to go 2014 crazy in free agency this season, they will be looking to upgrade a number of positions. PewterReport.com takes a look at the offense here is this feature, showcasing who the Bucs could lose, and who they might replace them with, including our Bucs Best Bets.
2017 Bucs Free Agents: Mike Glennon The Bucs have accepted that Glennon is most likely gone via free agency this season, but not before offering him a reported $7-8 million per season to stay. That tells you how much they value a quality backup. With Glennon set to test the open market, and get considerably more than what the Bucs offered, Tampa Bay now must decide if they can live with Ryan Griffin as the backup.
Top NFL Free Agent Quarterbacks Available
1. Mike Glennon – Buccaneers 2. Brian Hoyer – Bears 3. Josh McCown – Browns 4. Geno Smith – Jets 5. Ryan Fitzpatrick – Jets
Outlook: The free agent quarterback market is as it usually is – not very good. The Bucs may pass completely and go with what they have and just pray Winston stays healthy all season long. It is a gamble, but even the best available backup is just that, a second string player who isn’t going to save a season that takes a turn for the worse.
Bucs Best Bet: Mike Glennon While highly unlikely, if Glennon doesn’t find a team willing to dish out big bucks later this week, he could settle for a one-year deal to return to the Bucs as he has established himself in Tampa Bay. Most likely Glennon is a goner and the Bucs keep Griffin as their insurance plan.
RUNNING BACKS 2017 Bucs Free Agents: Jacquizz Rodgers, Antone Smith
With the Doug Martin situation still in limbo, the Bucs will bring Rodgers back, but can’t do anything officially until Thursday, due to a little known NFL rule. Tampa Bay is much more likely to address the position via the draft after most likely bringing Rodgers this week. A decision on Martin doesn’t need to be made until later on, but most expect the Bucs to rework his contract, at the very least, if not release him all together. If that is the plan, then the Bucs will need to add a potential game changer at running back, as they don’t believe Charles Sims or Peyton Barber are three-down backs.
Top NFL Free Agent Running Backs Available
1. Adrian Peterson – Vikings 2. Jamaal Charles – Chiefs 3. Isaiah Crowell – Browns 4. Eddie Lacy – Packers 5. Latavius Murray – Raiders
Outlook: The Bucs are certainly unsettled at the running back position but not likely to address it in free agency, other than re-signing Jacquizz Rodgers. Instead look for them to add a running back in the draft.
Bucs Best Bet: Jacquizz Rodgers
Barring some type of disaster, the Bucs will sign Rodgers once free agency begins Thursday at 4:00pm EST. Both sides want a deal done and it will happen. The “Peterson to Tampa” rumors have cooled considerably and most likely aren’t going to happen due to Peterson’s age and injury history, in addition to his salary demands being much higher than the Bucs are willing to fork out.
WIDE RECEIVERS 2017 Bucs Free Agents: Russell Shepard, Vincent Jackson. Cecil Shorts “Weapons for Winston” has been the unofficial mantra for the team this offseason and one way to quickly add weapons is to bring in a veteran wide receiver who can stretch the field. The Bucs love Mike Evans, of course, and are pleased with Adam Humphries performance in his role, but know they need more firepower for their franchise quarterback.
Top NFL Free Agent Receivers Available
1. DeSean Jackson – Redskins 2. Terrell Pryor – Browns 3. Alshon Jeffery – Bears 4. Pierre Garcon – Redskins 5. Kenny Stills – Dolphins
Outlook: The Bucs need players at that position and don’t necessarily want to draft one and wait on them to develop. While Mike Evans had a very good rookie campaign, think about how much better he is after three seasons. Still, the Bucs won’t overpay to nab a veteran, although they will be very active in trying to recruit one to Tampa.
Bucs Best Bet: DeSean Jackson Jackson makes the most sense, if they can come to an agreement on a price. The Bucs need juice on offense, and Jackson would provide that immediately.
OFFENSIVE LINE 2017 Bucs Free Agents: Gosder Cherilus, Joe Hawley A lot of fans aren’t happy about it, but the likelihood Tampa Bay does any type of overhaul on the offensive line this season is slim and none. Tampa Bay likes their projected starting five (Donovan Smith, J.R. Sweezy, Ali Marpet, Kevin Pamphile, Demar Dotson) and even feel they have good depth with Evan Smith, Ben Gottschalk, Leonard Wester and Caleb Benenoch. So much so it could make Hawley expendable.
Top NFL Free Agent Receivers Available Kevin Zietler – Bengals Russell Okung – Broncos T.J. Lang – Packers Andrew Whitworth – Bengals Ricky Wagner – Ravens
Outlook: The Bucs aren’t expected to pursue any offensive lineman in free agency, and as reiterated last week in Indianapolis, the Bucs have said they are happy with the current group of players, especially with the return of J. R. Sweezy from injury, which frees the team up to possibly shift Ali Marpet to center.
Bucs Best Bet: Mike Remmers
Remmers isn’t an elite tackles, but would fill the role of Gosder Cherilus who isn’t expected to return to Tampa Bay. Remmers has plenty of starting experience but most likely wouldn’t push Demar Dotson or Donovan Smith. he could, however, come in and perform in a pinch.
TIGHT ENDS 2017 Bucs Free Agents: Brandon Myers Selfish Austin Seferian-Jenkins helped put this team in a bind at the tight end position, after the Bucs were forced to release him following a number of immature instances, including the final straw, a DUI early last season. Thank goodness for the development of Cameron Brate, but it was apparent there was no one of the current roster who could fill his shoes after he went down late last season. The position is a critical one for the Bucs to improve on this offseason.
Top NFL Free Agent Receivers Available
1. Martellus Bennett – Patriots 2. Jordan Cameron – Dolphins 3. Jared Cook – Packers 4. Vernon Davis – Redskins 5. Luke Wilson – Seahawks
Outlook: The Bucs do need tight end help, but the available free agents represent slim pickings. Bennett is easily the best available, however, he is expected to ask for a $9 million a year deal, and the Bucs won’t pay that. Most likely it is another position that the team will look to improve on in this strong tight end draft class.
Bucs Best Bet: Brandon Myers
While the Bucs may not do anything in free agency with the tight ends, Myers would be an option, especially if he is still a free agent following the offseason workouts. He knows the system and would come cheap.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at email@example.com