Only a few hours into free agency and a number of Bucs fans are frustrated by a lack of moves by the organization. As PewterReport.com cautioned over the last week, the Bucs most likely wouldn’t be involved in trying to sign high-priced free agents, but instead would be looking to add more value and second-tier available players.
But relief may be on the way for the fans who have been disappointed in the Bucs involvement so far, as according to reports, Cowboys linebacker Bruce Carter is expected to visit Tampa Bay.
Carter is one of the fastest linebacker in the NFL and was timed at 4.39 at his pro day at North Carolina in 2011, and Bucs head coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht are looking to add speed to the linebackers this offseason. Even after missing three games in 2014, Carter still had 75 tackles and led Dallas with five interceptions. Carter was also a special teams standout in Dallas, blocking a punt in 2014. Carter will get some looks from other teams but isn’t expected to be asking for top tier money in free agency.
Carter may be viewed as Mason Foster’s replacement in the middle as the Bucs will allow their 2011 draft pick out of Washington to walk and test the open market. Tampa Bay is looking for more athletic linebackers, and in particular adding speed to the position. Carter was a ball hawk for the Cowboys in 2014, leading the team with five interceptions.
Former Chicago Bear Chris Conte is also reportedly on his way to Tampa for a visit with the Buccaneers. Conte was drafted by Bucs head coach Lovie Smith in Chicago, and could provide some depth for the safety position and also spelling the end of safety Dashon Goldson’s time in Tampa Bay. The Bucs have re-signed Bradley McDougald and Major Wright and McDougald is viewed as a starter heading into the training camp after a solid 2014 season for Tampa Bay.
In addition to Carter and Conte, Titans free agent pass rush Derrick Morgan could be in Tampa Bay for a visit, after stopping in Atlanta to speak to the Falcons. Tampa could be at a disadvantage to the Falcons as Morgan played his college ball in Atlanta for Georgia Tech. The Bucs thought they had a great shot at adding pass rush help when they hosted former Eagles defensive end/linebacker Trent Cole last week who had been cut by Philadelphia. but Cole signed a two-year, $16 million contract with the Indianapolis on Tuesday.
Late Tuesday evening a report came out that has Stefen Wisniewski of Raiders also coming to Tampa Bay for a visit. Wisniewski has played both center and guard for Oakland and could be plugged in at guard to opposite Logan Mankins while also giving Tampa Bay depth at the center position. The former Penn State standout was drafted in the second round of the 2011 draft and has started 61 games for Oakland.
Also late Tuesday it was reported that Henry Melton will be coming to Tampa for a visit. The 28-year old tackle drew interest from Tampa Bay last offseason before signing a one-year deal with Dallas. Melton posted five sacks as a rotational rusher in 2014, playing in all 16 games but starting just three for the Cowboys. Prior to his time in Dallas, he spent five seasons in Chicago (2009-2013) of which four were with Lovie Smith. Melton started 29 games for the Bears during Smith’s final two seasons, recording 13 sacks and 68 tackles from 2011-2012.