RB Adrian Peterson – Photo by: Getty Images
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. 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
Here is my free agent wish list. Obviously, can’t get all of these players, but I am hoping for some to come in and make a difference. I think D Jackson will be too expensive, but would like it a lot if we were able to sign him. I am a little worried about his attitude, but he would be a good addition for Winston. My alternative WR for Winston, if we can’t land Jackson is K Britt. I really like his size and it would be more like what we are losing in VJax. He would be a very capable #2 WR. I then would love to get SS T Jefferson to help our secondary out. He would be my #1 free agent priority. Then, I would love to get C. Baker or N Fairley to play DT next to G McCoy. That would give us a really good push up the middle and neither should break the bank. Then, for some TE depth, I would get J Doyle. Again, good solid depth without breaking the bank. Most of these FA acquisitions would fall right in line with the Bucs not spending a lot on the tier 1 guys. The only splash I would make would be for the Safety.
I couldn’t agree more with you. I like Doyle at TE a lot more than Willson with 2 l’s . I think he is a better TE and should have been at least 4th on Marks list of avaliable TE’s. Kenny Stills wouldn’t be a bad choice if Jackson is to expensive also. We def need to address DT and Safety in FA also. I just think Jefferson is to expensive. I wouldn’t mind Micah Hyde or church at SS. They would probably be a little cheaper.
TE Luke Willson (two L’s) is better than people give him credit for. At 6-5 250 he runs a 4.5 – 40 and has good hands. Used correctly, he could be very effective and inexpensive!
I totally agree with this Willson would be a perfect TE2 for the Bucs, make it happen Jason!
Willson is a good choice, probably not too expensive either.
I could be wrong here but my belief is that the Bucs are addressing WR, secondary and D-line in free agency and then I see them leaving all the AP talk behind and not addressing the running back situation until the draft IN WHICH, I think if we are getting some quality players in free agency to fill some of the holes, Licht is gearing up to move UP in the first round of the draft to take Dalvin Cook IF he does not fall to 19 which I don’t think he will.
We have to get a new deal done for Evans that will make him one of the highest paid receivers in the league. I don’t see the Bucs adding a high priced F.A. wide out for that reason. It would be better having your number one getting paid while having a long term cheap #2 playing opposite. This draft is deep at the position so why pay for a thirty year old who doesn’t like to practice? Rookie receivers have come in and contributed to their clubs right away, so I reject the notion that we’d have to wait on their development. For example, Mike Williams, or Cory Davis could have instant success playing along side Evans, and Winston being in his 3rd season in this offense. While we need play makers, we need them young enough to grow a long with the crew we already have in place. Let’s keep building for the long haul instead of looking for a quick fix. When Chip Kelly was hired as H.C. in Philly it was assumed his offense was a perfect fit for Jackson, yet Kelly couldn’t wait to get rid of him. Now the Skins don’t care if he walks? Something smells fishy to me.
There’s no rush at all to do a long term deal with Mike Evans … he’s not going anywhere, we’ve got him for at least two more seasons without any negotiation at all if we exercise our fifth year option.
We’ve got far bigger fish to fry than extending Mike Evans in 2017. A no. 2 WR, another TE, another DE or DT, more depth on the O-line (not a makeover, but more depth), another linebacker and a safety, and a running back.
Evans is at the very bottom of the priority list for 2017.
Free agency is like a box of chocolates …. we never know what we’ll find til we unwrap it.
Mark- I was starting to like you again till you said “Brandon Myers” for Bucs best bet, I don’t care that he knows the system what does that mean? The guy has been a huge disappointment for the Bucs has done virtually nothing he and Stocker are just faces on a roster sheet, lets raise the bar here in Tampa with what we expect for our players and stop settling for mediocrity at best
Oh he isn’t my personal best bet. Just dying to forecast what the team will so. Why it’s called Bucs Best bet no Cook’s best bet.
I’d be very surprised if overpaying for Desean Jackson is going to work out for the Bucs. I don’t like the locker room presence with him and I think this will end up being a Revis 2.0 move.
I think the Bucs should rework Martin’s deal to something more appealing to most teams and then try to trade him. He’s got some value to him, I’m sure of it. Why let him go for nothing. If no one bites then keep him around until camp, and then through an injury, or something, some team may be more willing to make a deal for him. If not then he might serve as a good backup to our newly drafted RB. We should have traded Glennon last year when we had a chance. Then we might of been in a better position to know what we have in Griffin this year. Luckily we didn’t need either of them. Take what you can get when you can get it, the rest always works itself out in the end!
While I agree on reworking Martin’s deal, I think we should keep him on. When he’s got his stuff together he is very productive. Hopefully this is his wakeup call and he becomes year 1 and 4 Martin in the future. A prove it deal works out great and we can still dump him if need be.
As for Glennon, sure we could’ve traded him last year but hindsight is 20/20. If Winston had gone down we would be stuck with Griffin and we still have yet to find out what we have with him. Keeping Glennon was smart, and if not for the inflated QB market (surprising after the Osweiller fiasco) we probably would’ve made him the highest paid backup in the league.
You make some pretty good points plopes808. I agree Osweiller ruined it for teams wanting to keep their good backups, and he also ruined it for those QB’s like Glennon to go out and get a ridiculous deal like what he did. Well, I guess it looks like Glennon is going to get paid, but if Osweiller would have been better, Glennon probably would have even gotten more money.
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