PewterReport.com has learned that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are prepared to let wide receiver Adam Humphries and middle linebacker Kwon Alexander test free agency. Negotiations with both pending unrestricted free agents have stalled and the Bucs are not expected to re-sign either player prior to the start of free agency on Wednesday, March 13.
The agents of Humphries and Alexander can begin soliciting offers at noon on Monday, March 11, but cannot sign deals with other teams until the start of free agency on Wednesday, March 13 at 4:00 p.m.
Humphries, who is considered the Bucs’ No. 3 receiver, is believed to be seeking a deal between $8 million – $10 million per year, while Alexander, who is recovering from a torn ACL, is believed to be seeking a deal north of $11 million per year.
Bucs general manager Jason Licht signed Humphries as an undrafted free agent in 2015 and drafted Alexander in the fourth round that year. He has a good relationship with both players, and he and new head coach Bruce Arians have publicly stated the team’s desire to re-sign Humphries and Alexander if they can make the numbers work. But that doesn’t look likely, especially for Humphries.
Tampa Bay believes it will have the opportunity to match any offer Humphries or Alexander gets in free agency, but the Bucs expect to lose Humphries to another team that can meet his financial requests, as PewterReport.com previously reported in February.
Tampa Bay is more hopeful that it can re-sign Alexander, whom Licht has called “the heartbeat of the defense,” and his current injury status may help the Bucs as what other teams would be willing to pay for a middle linebacker coming off an ACL injury is simply unknown until he hits the market and gets offers from other clubs.
The Bucs are expected to attempt to get restricted free agent running back Peyton Barber signed to a multi-year extension prior to Wednesday, March 13 at 4:00 p.m. If not, Tampa Bay will have to tender Barber a one-year offer – likely at $3 million, which would come with second-round draft compensation to the Bucs if another team were to sign Barber to an offer sheet.
The Bucs are believed to have less than $4 million in salary cap room available, and would have to restructure the contract of at least one player, or make some roster cuts to create more salary cap room to re-sign Humphries, Alexander or Barber – let alone add players in free agency.