Everyone keeps saying we won’t be good this year because we’ve been big spenders in FA, often citing teams such as the Raiders, Cowboys, or Redskins as examples of teams that frequently spend big in FA yet rarely ever seem to make the playoffs. But I think its important for those people to realize four key differences between what those teams have done in the past and what the Buccaneers are doing today. 1.) Frequent but controlled spending: This is the most common misconception. While it is true that the Bucs have spent the most money in free agency this year, they have done so in a controlled and well-organized manner. Jason Licht preaches about high-value signings and those are exactly the types of moves he made -- high-value signings. Notice that this year's Bucs FA class does not consist of many 5-star signings. Instead, we have turned the roster over in a way that has added solid depth throughout. We have spent the most money because we have signed the most players. 2.) Looking for the right fit: The Bucs aren't simply throwing money at a problem. Lovie Smith and Jason Licht deserve a lot of credit for making the right moves; they are not just going out and buying a guy's name. Instead, the Bucs have scoured the FA market for guys that fit in Lovie Smith's system. The previous regime was infamous for their inability to acquire talent that fit within Greg Schiano's system and thats what ultimately lead to the Glazers cleaning house this past winter. Any Bucs fan that followed the team during 2013 should be very happy about Jason Licht's philosophy in FA. 3.) Drafting is still the Bucs' main focus: Another misconception, people are confusing the Bucs' activity in FA with apathy towards the draft. This is understandable. Historically, teams that decide to spend big in FA mortgage away their futures by trading away draft picks for players or trade away multiple picks to move up in the draft in hopes of acquiring what they believe is that one missing piece. Anyone who's been paying attention knows that the Bucs are extremely focused on the daft and view it as their most major talent pipeline. Don't be surprised if the Bucs look to trade down next month and acquire even more picks to help strengthen the roster. 4.) Fiscal inheritance: Lovie Smith and Jason Licht inherited a roster that was filled with players who have been overpaid and underperforming for years. Many of the same people who've been begging for players like Joseph, Penn, Zuttah, and in same cases even Revis to be released because of their oversized and undeserved contracts are now criticizing the current regime for frequent spending in FA. But seemingly lost in translation is the high roster turnover they've been yearning for over the past several years. As a result of this turnover, we have been dubbed 2013's "Big Spenders" after the acquisition of nearly two dozen high-value free agents. The Bucs have proactively cut the fat off of our roster and replaced it with high-value depth. One should realize that what the Bucs are doing with the roster this year is actually the opposite of what teams like the Redskins, Cowboys, and Raiders do on a year-to-year basis.
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