The Buccaneers passed on overpaying for offensive linemen in free agency, and gladly watched the likes of some average players like guard Mike Iupati, tackle Bryan Bulaga and the versatile Orlando Franklin cash in on lucrative deals worth $7 million or more per year. Tampa Bay’s free agent plans this year include targeting more mid-tier players, believing that the talent discrepancy between a player like Franklin and Stefen Wisniewski, a versatile lineman from Oakland whom the Bucs are targeting, isn’t as big despite the fact that mid-tier free agents can be signed for millions less per year.
Wisniewski has played center in Oakland for the past three seasons, but was a standout guard at Penn State, and also played guard during his rookie season with the Raiders. The Bucs signed Evan Dietrich-Smith to play center last year and believe his play will be improved in his second year in Tampa Bay.
Where the Bucs need help is at right guard, where Patrick Omameh underwhelmed last year in his first season as a starter. That’s where Tampa Bay sees Wisniewski fitting in along the offensive line if he ends up signing with the Bucs. The fact that the 6-foot-4, 307-pound lineman is also well versed at center helps the Bucs tremendously and brings value to the team, but Tampa Bay plans on using him to fill the right guard spot.
Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org