With Free-Agency right around the corner, the Bucs are faced with replacing 11 starters between their offense and defense. That amounts to one entire side of the ball. With the retirements of Tom Brady and Ali Marpet this year’s offseason will look different than last year’s “Run it Back” philosophy.
With that said, GM Jason Licht said during interviews at the NFL Scouting Combine that Tampa Bay will be trying to retain many of their personnel from the 2021 season. Below we will look at the starting roles currently vacant giving you three options that the Bucs may look at to fill the void. Option A will be the previous year’s incumbent (or in his absence the best available option on the market), option B would represent a mid-level external free agent, and option C will look towards an unproven or otherwise risky flyer.
This series will be broken up into three pieces. Offensive Playmaker, Offensive Line and Defense.
Option A- Ryan Jensen
Jensen is at the top of his game. He has shown to be a high-level pass protector, a strong communicator and a solid run blocker in the Bucs gap-blocking scheme. In addition, he brings a mean-streak mentality that helps elevate the attitude of the entire line. The way Jensen will win and finish a block can give the entire offense a morale boost. With all of that said, Jensen is on the wrong side of 30 and is reportedly looking to reset the center market for the second time in his career. If he does, he will most likely price himself out of the Bucs range. Projection: 3 years, $37.5 million
Ravens C Bradley Bozeman – Photo by: USA Today
Option B- Bradley Bozeman
Four years ago the Bucs signed an offensive lineman from Baltimore to be their starting center. That contract turned out to be a value as Ryan Jensen ascended to a top 5 center in the league. Tampa Bay just might want to try and return to that well again. Bozeman has improved as a pass blocker each year he has been in the league, and works out of a gap system in Baltimore. He should be able to transition easily into Bruce Arians’ offense. Projection: 3 years, $22.5 million
Option C- Austin Reiter
Reiter has only started one season in his career, and comes with plenty of warts. He can be summarized as a Jekyl/Hyde player. Reiter makes his living as a plus pass protector. His lack of size and power make him a liability in the running game. Reiter could be a great option as a veteran signing to help push Robert Hainsey for a starting role. Plus, Reiter also can be had for cheap. He is most likely looking at a 1-year, league minimum ($1.12 million) deal.
Option A- Alex Cappa
Cappa has steadily improved all aspects of his game each year he has played, turning into a reliable piece on a great offensive line. He would help maintain some semblance of continuity on the interior, and still has room to continue to grow and improve. He won’t come cheap though. Cappa will likely get a 4-year pact in the neighborhood of $35-37 million.
Bucs RG Alex Cappa – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Option B- Trai Turner
Turner has been elite in the past, but those days were over three years ago. However, Turner showed he still has the ability to be an average starter last year in Pittsburgh. At 3 years, $16-18 million, he represents decent value in AAV, though a bit of a worry in term length.
Option C- AJ Cann
Cann is a below-average starter, but represents an above-average backup. That makes him the perfect candidate to be a 1 year veteran brought in to push Aaron Stinnie in camp. Projection: 1 year, $3 million.
Option A- Austin Corbett
Corbett has proven to be scheme versatile and shows well as a pass protector. He will command a pay day very similar to that of Alex Cappa. Projection: 4 years, $35-38 million
Option B- Connor Williams
Williams is a solid, yet unspectacular option. He will never be the best or the worst link in a unit. His tape will show some ugly reps in pass protection, but he will give you average play for a reasonable price. Look for a 3-year contract around $18 million.
Option C- AJ Cann
Chances are the Bucs won’t risk their interior line with both guard spots being filled with Option C players or rookies. So I feel comfortable listing Cann as the option C for both guard spots. Projection: 1 year, $3 million.