The PewterReport.com Roundtable features the opinions of the PR staff as it tackles a topic related to the Tampa Bay Bucs each week.

This week’s topic: Who is the Bucs’ best free agent signing?

Scott Reynolds: OLB Shaquil Barrett
This is a tough one for me because I think both Barrett and Deone Bucannon are real quality pick-ups by the Bucs in free agency. Because Bucannon has gotten the most publicity in the media thus far and Arizona’s former first-round pick is more well known around the NFL, I’ll focus on Barrett and what his addition means.

Tampa Bay’s linebacker corps was decimated with injuries last year with four players – Kwon Alexander, Jack Cichy, Kevin Minter and Kendall Beckwith – winding up on injured reserve by season’s end. The Bucs needed to reload at this position, especially with the team converting to Todd Bowles’ 3-4 scheme, which features four linebackers in base defense. Where Barrett helps Tampa Bay is his ability to rush off the edge as a pass-rushing SAM (strongside) linebacker. He’s expected to rotate with Carl Nassib and provide the Bucs with a different body type at 6-foot-2, 251 pounds.

Bucs OLB Shaq Barrett
Bucs OLB Shaq Barrett – Photo by: Getty Images

Barrett, an undrafted free agent, is a hard-working, blue collar linebacker that has Super Bowl experience with Denver playing opposite Von Miller. Now playing in a one-year, prove-it deal in Tampa Bay worth $4 million, Barrett has every incentive to rack up the sacks and forced fumbles – he has 14 career sacks and 14 forced fumbles – in order to cash in next year in free agency, either with the Bucs or another team.

Not only is Barrett, who will become a core special teams player in Tampa Bay, a good edge rusher, he can also line up over guards and blitz effectively inside. His versatility to play inside and outside can allow Bowles to really get creative on defense, and the Bucs might use Nassib and Barrett on the field at the same time in some nickel rush packages.

Mark Cook: WR Breshad Perriman
Losing Adam Humphries to free agency and then also trading away DeSean Jackson to the Eagles has left a void in 2018’s strongest unit. Paying Humphries $9 million a season didn’t make good financial sense, nor did keeping an unhappy Jackson at $10 million, but the Bucs do lose 1,500 receiving yards of production that will need to be replaced.

Perriman won’t replace those two on his own, but he can fill the speed void left when Jackson was traded. Behind the scenes, the organization is really excited about what Perriman brings to the table, and at just $4 million, he is a steal if he can come in and duplicate even close to what Jackson did last season, where he totaled 774 yards and four touchdowns.

Bucs WR Breshad Perriman
Bucs WR Breshad Perriman – Photo by: Getty Images

Besides the fact the team believes he can equal those numbers and can do so for $6 million less, Tampa Bay believes he will fit into the Bucs locker room a lot better than Jackson did. Receivers can be divas to a degree, and ask any quarterback and they will tell you that all receivers think they are open every play.

Perriman has already stated he wants to work with Jameis Winston this offseason to work on chemistry. That’s something that Winston and Jackson never really developed. The Bucs also are excited about Perriman’s size (6-2, 211), and believe that his big catch radius will help the two connect.

Add in the fact Perriman signed just a one-year deal means he will be motivated to cash in next offseason – in Tampa Bay or elsewhere. Perriman’s big question mark over the last few years has been his drops, but if he can improve his hands, the Buccaneers might have found a replacement for Jackson, and dare I say, maybe even an upgrade.

Matt Matera: LB Deone Bucannon
If the Bucs really want to change the culture, it’s best to do it with a player that has seen and experienced first hand in how Bruce Arians can affect a team. Bucannon is a playmaker that the Bucs have desperately needed on defense. It doesn’t matter if he’s playing linebacker, safety, or a hybrid of that in the “moneybacker” role, he is bringing leadership to this group.

Bucs LB Deone Bucannon
Bucs LB Deone Bucannon – Photo by: PewterReport.com

While it’s not exactly rocket science to learn a new defense, Bucannon is the perfect player to bring in and help along his defensive teammates in understanding the new system. Having played one year under Todd Bowles in 2013, Bucannon flourished under his scheme, recording 83 tackles, two sacks, two pass deflections and a forced fumble, earning him a spot on the NFL’s all rookie team even while splitting his starting position. He will look two get back to that form coming here to Tampa.

At age 26, Bucannon is still a young player that can excel on the Bucs defense. His numbers may have dropped last season, but the Cardinals also changed their defensive plan. Now that he’s back in a role that he knows well, there’s nothing like a change of scenery and rejoining some familiar faces that could rev up the engine. Playing that linebacker-safety role, Bucannon fills two voids for the Bucs and should certainly be a big part in reshaping the Bucs’ defensive image.

Taylor Jenkins: Deone Bucannon
The Bucs have made a series of moves, on a limited budget with primarily one-year deals, in order to fill holes at positions of needs so far throughout free agency. Tampa Bay added Bradley Pinion to get younger (and cheaper) at the punter position, added Shaquil Barrett to bring in some much-needed depth off of the edge, added depth at safety with Kentrell Brice and brought in Breshad Perriman to add explosiveness on offense and fill a void left by DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries.

My favorite addition to the Bucs’ roster this offseason has to be Bucannon, though, because of just how many boxes he checks for the team.

Bucs LB Deone Bucannon
Bucs LB Deone Bucannon – Photo by: Getty Images

The first – and most important – thing that Bucannon brings to Tampa is his presence on a linebacking corps that has lost Kwon Alexander and Adarius Taylor, while the futures Kendell Beckwith and Jack Cichy have become huge question marks, all within the span of a year. Bucannon was drafted as a safety out of Washington State and can play inside or outside linebacker depending on the package, but he will likely play primarily in the “moneybacker” role that was carved out for him during his time in Arizona.

The next key to Bucannon’s addition is the trust and familiarity he has from Bruce Arians and his staff. Bucannon was drafted to Arizona in 2014 and spent four years under Arians’ staff, including a year under defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. This experience should make it an easy transition to the Bucs’ new defense for Bucannon, and his familiarity with the scheme and staff should allow him to assist other players around him as they get up to speed and make the necessary adjustments to learn.

Bucannon does come with risk, and his one-year deal is not only a mitigation for that risk but a chance for him to make big money next offseason if his play warrants the pay day. He was forced to miss the final three games of the 2016 season due to an ankle sprain that would later require offseason surgery, and he’s missed 10 games over the past three seasons due to injury. But if he can stay healthy, Bucannon could immediately step in and be a key, impact player on defense this season for the Bucs.

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Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]

28 COMMENTS

  1. Best signing?? The PUNTER obviously. He can kickoff and punt. He will be instrumental in every game at pinning the other team deep. Plus, he’s the only player they signed that will be a Buc in 2 years.

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  2. SR – Im confused regarding switching to a 3-4 and the Bucs being short on linebackers…Aren’t Nassib, Spence, and JPP now considered linebackers? Doesn’t a 3-4 eliminate the need for a traditional 4-3 strong side linebacker?

    Don’t the Bucs have David, Griffith, Bond, Minter, Cichy, and possibly Beckwith at ILB.

    —DE———–NT———-DE—
    Nassib——ILB——-ILB——–JPP

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  3. @bigsombrero Bond is a STer, Beckwiths career is over, Cichy is coming off a serious knee injury (and has been injury prone in college) and Minter is just ok. Ohh and who is Griffith?

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  4. Oops…I meant Barrett not Griffith. Lol

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  5. I am going to say Ellington. When healthy Ellington has the potential to break off huge runs. But the greater value with Ellington is his receiving ability where he could probably squeeze out 25+ catches easily.

    Basically Ellington replaces the pass catching that Rodgers brought but trades it off with having the ability to break off a big run.

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  6. each of these players will either bust and hurt the bucs’ 2019 season, or they will thrive and play their way out of affordability for the team next year. whether the guys above are good or bad, we unfortunately are left with the same holes to fill next offseason. beyond mccoy and maybe a ryan jensen – maybe a JPP if he declines as steeply as Robert Ayers did – the bucs have little salary relief coming. If the bucs find the makings of a sustainable roster in 2019 it will be because what remains of Licht’s last 2 draft classes have stepped way up

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  7. If Breshad Perriman has 700+ yards 4+ TD’s next year without too many drops as the Front Office predicts he’s going to get paid in 2020 up to what Adam Humphries did thanks to his size-speed combination, prior draft status and relative youth.

    The Bucs would be unlikely to retain Perriman under that scenario given the cap space used on Mike Evans and expected cap space to be used on extensions for Chris Godwin and OJ Howard down the road.

    The more likely outcome is for Perriman to have something along the lines of the 400 yards 2 TD’s he had in Cleveland with a couple of big plays, bad drops and some missed games due to injury with no guarantee of a return in 2020.

    For those looking for a team with some former first round picks playing on a one year deals before free agency hits I submit to you: The 2019 New York Knicks (14-58) aka the worst team in professional basketball. Lots of young former lottery picks playing on one year deals going into free agency (Mudiay, Hezonja, Vonleh). I wouldn’t call it an ideal strategy.

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  8. Who would compare picking up a handful of former first round picks to fill holes on a 53 Man team to a team in a completely different sport with a maximum of 15 total players?

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  9. The only players virtually guaranteed a starting role are the new Punter/Kick-Off guy and the new Deep Snapper.

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  10. Barrett is the biggest steal, and it’s not particularly close. He’s shown ability to be an above average pass rusher and we got him well below market value. Think we’ll see Perriman really add a dimension to this passing game as a bigger bodied deep threat who can compete for balls if they aren’t perfectly thrown. But you know what? I think the Pinion is one of the best additions we made. He’s been a young, above average punter who we added for cheaper than Anger, he can handle kickoff duties, and has held for some elite FG kickers (for those who believe maybe Anger’s holding has contributed to our kicking issues lol).

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  11. A better question is who is a good free agent signing there’s not a single impact player there every one of them fill rosters the punter average is 5 yards less fun than the one they got rid of

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  12. The Giants the San Francisco 49ers Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns have all improved their teams drastically there’s no one left for this team to to get win from . Do you think other teams or experimenting with coaches worst in the League last year and they went out and hired a female defensive line coach with no NFL experience as a player or coach do you think the other teams in the NFL or experimenting trying to break ground as a first team to have a female coach what’s next first female player why not 0 and 32 is staring this team straight in the face.

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  13. I dont care if the BUCS sign Pee wee Herman,….Just WIN

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  14. I like all of the moves/trades/signings the FO staff has made so far, but I don’t see how this roster of starters is any better than last years roster. Throughout the entire 2018 season the offense was in the top 3. Down the stretch the defense shaped up a bit and became fairly average, but we still couldn’t win! We kept making the simple mistakes that would either stall the offense, reverse the momentum, or allow the big splash play on D. Hopefully this new coaching staff can get more out of the obvious talent on this roster and push for the playoffs.

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    • Talent was never this teams biggest issue. It was the lapses, mental errors, and lack of effort that always did us in. The best pickup this offseason is clearly BA and his staff. The biggest improvement this season will not be in adding better players, it will come from getting a better and more consistent effort from all the players on the roster. The guys we already have will be pushed and perform better than they have in the past and the new additions will help provide depth and experience to the roster.

      As far as FA pickups go, I think Shaq is the most likely to stand out ahead of the rest. The guy has proven to be a consistent pass rusher and the real reason he hasn’t started was some guy named Von Miller. Perrimen has the potential to be the darkhorse though. Just imagine, a big bodied speed threat who’s willing to put in the work to develop chemistry with his QB. DJax + size and effort could easily eclipse the other FA pickups.

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  15. This is not as good as last year’s team that got rid of five high price starters, they’re replacing them with backups from other teams the other teams are in the bottom we’re getting better the general managers roll of the the dice the last couple of years with high-priced players & lost now the cap is squeezing them out. This is the new Cleveland Browns in the making.0-32 is possible . I have much as anybody want to see the Bucs win but I also have my eyes open.

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  16. A lot of experts here, but not a great deal of humility. I will be the first to admit that I don’t know who–if anyone–will prove to be the best addition to the roster. I do like the strategy and, until rpoven otherwise, I give the benefit of the doubt to Coach Arians. He knows a lot more about football and building a roster than anyone posting on this board and you better believe that his influence is all over this strategy and the particular players chosen. The consensus–if there is one–is that the Buccaneers are doomed due to the salary cap and the track record of the GM. But we’ve consistently won the Free Agent signings season with practically nothing to show for it and I’m betting that all these overpriced, first week FA’s will make little difference to their teams. I’m optimistic about the upcoming season because I’m all in with Bruce Arians. I’ve watched him for the last 40 years–I was at Temple was he was the coach there. He’s a special man and, in my opinion, one of the top five head coaches right now in the league. If you want to get psyched up for the season watch the one hour special on you tube, “Bruce Arians: A Football Life.” If that doesn’t get you going, nothing will. I liked Dirk Koetter. He has a good offensive find, but he was no head coach. He mishandled Winston repeatedly and he didn’t have the guts do do what needed to be done with the defense. How often did you see him hug his players and smile on the sidelines. He was always tense and overly cautious. Those days are over.

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  17. To CG Master the fredster and Chef blowhole I am not a Jameis Winston fan but you know that if I was a Jameis Winston fan I would be screaming at the top of my lungs Bruce Arians isn’t going to fix s h i t what could help Jameis Winston would be an extra second to throw a running back they can take the focus off of Jameis and share it with the running back Humphreys back to pick up the third Downs when he has to have one.. instead everybody on this site just goes along with what this general manager does. Jameis is on the hot seat and in this general manager isn’t doing anything to help him re-signing a so-so tackle for big money doesn’t necessarily help anything. They needed to pick up three good offensive lineman for about 6 million a piece they needed to spend 10 million on a running back the cap money could have came from McCoy and jpp replacing those 2 with three solid defensive lineman a fixed Jameis could have outscored a lot of teams and made it for the defense

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    • ok so keeping Humphries @ $9+ million
      3 OL for $6 million each = $18 million
      RB @ $10 million
      + 3 solid D linemen

      According to my math, that’s $37 million + whatever those 3 solid D linemen cost. I guess you didn’t do the math when thinking up this wishlist as it would not come close to fitting under the salary cap. Not to mention the fact that the chances of these “solid D linemen” outplaying JPP are slim to none.

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  18. “Add in the fact Perriman signed just a one-year deal means he will be motivated to cash in next offseason – in Tampa Bay or elsewhere. ”

    @spitfire so because the analogy of a 2019 professional sports team using former first round picks “motivated to cash in next year” is basketball and not football then you can’t understand why this makes any sense in part because or roster limits? The concept doesn’t apply? Are you a big fan of ‘concrete’ by chance?

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  19. Bucannon is probably the safest bet aside from Pinion..Barrett’s potential is the most intriguing. Our best pick up this offseason is most likely to come draft day.

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  20. @devasher No, you can not compare the Knicks trying to use a bunch of Former first round picks as their starters on a team that places 5 guys at a time, to a team that adds a few former first rounders to plug 3 or 4 holes or possibly as backups… The comparison isn’t even close. Not even in the same ball park. If the Bucs went out and replaced 15-22 of their starters with former first rounders on one year deals then maybe it could be a comparison. Not sure about your concrete comment but if it’s anything like your New Your Knick’s analogy then I’m guessing it doesn’t matter anyways Hahaha.

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  21. Your not even worth responding to bob your such a stupid fool.

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  22. Troll somewhere else moron.

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  23. @spitfire ‘concrete’ was your way of looking at my analogy. And no surprise you didn’t get it there either.

    So basically I point out an example of a sports team who invested in failed first round picks who didn’t break out for a miserable franchise despite the incentive of going into free agency (the argument @pewterreportmc and PR is making) and you continue to talk about roster sizes which,
    like my your response about ‘concrete’…missed the point.

    Could Perriman break for 700+ yards for the first time in his career in year 5? Sure. But I wouldn’t bet on it. And in the random chance that he does he’ll be too expensive to keep. That’s not a player you rate as the best signing in free agency.

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  24. @spitfire concrete was your way of looking at my analogy. And no surprise you didn’t get the analogy there either.

    So basically I point out an example of a sports team who invested in failed first round picks who didn’t break out for a miserable franchise despite the incentive of going into free agency (the argument Mark Cook and PR is making) and you continue to talk about roster sizes which, like my your response about ‘concrete’…missed the point.

    Could Perriman break for 700+ yards for the first time in his career in year 5? Sure. But I wouldn’t bet on it. And in the random chance that he does he’ll be too expensive to keep. That’s not a player you rate as the best signing in free agency

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  25. Lookout Saints!! We’re coming for you! We signed Breshad Perriman and Shaq Barrett!! 16-0!!

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  26. The best free agent signing might be the one they still could make… Matt Bryant could be a solid pick for a couple more years. He has an awesome resume. He’s going to be putting up point for so some team this year…

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