Free Agency Recap- Tampa Bay Buccaneers

(Photo via Arizona Cardinals)

Bucs Fail to Make a “Splash Signing”

It was obvious that the Buccaneers wouldn’t be making any major “splash signings” this offseason as a team in the bottom 5 of available cap space. There were some rumors and hopes for big-name players such as Tyrann Mathieu who recently got $26.8M guaranteed from the Chiefs, but ultimately the front office couldn’t make moves like that with such limited cap.

Tracking all the moves

The Buccaneers offseason began with talks of losing WR Adam Humphries, MLB Kwon Alexander, aging veteran DT Gerald McCoy, and whether or not young LT Donovan Smith should be franchise tagged or not. Losing key players is what indeed happened to the Bucs. Star MLB Kwon Alexander signed with the 49ers for $13.5M a year, a contract the Bucs couldn’t have offered. The Bucs also lost reliable slot WR Adam Humphries, who signed with Tennessee. Licht decided to not tag Donovan Smith and signed the big left tackle to a 3 year, $41.25M contract. Many Bucs fans were displeased to pay Smith and not Kwon, but fail to realize the market is just THAT expensive for left tackles, who must protect the quarterbacks’ blindside. Smith isn’t a STAR left tackle but he’s big, solid, and quite reliable, not missing a game since he entered the league in 2015. They retained him and didn’t have to break the bank. The Bucs signed former Cardinals RB Andre Ellington who played under Arians in AZ for depth early on. They then made their biggest signing in LB/S Deone Bucannon. Buccanon is ultra-versatile as he can play in the box or deep if needed and is very fast. He was signed to a one year, $1.5M “prove it” deal. He will be efficient in Bowles scheme and was a crucial signing.

Trade Along the Way

The first trade went down on March 12th when the Bucs traded disgruntled WR Desean Jackson back to Philadelphia along with their 2020 7th round pick. In exchange the Bucs gained Philadelphia’s 2019 6th round pick, a pick the Bucs lacked in this draft. The Bucs also cleared $10M in cap by trading Jackson.

Methodical Offseason

After the shocking OBJ to Cleveland trade, young Browns WR Breshad Perriman realized he had no place there and was allowed by GM John Dorsey and his agent Drew Rosenhaus to not follow through on verbal agreements that were made. We then signed him to a one year $4M contract to help fill the holes made by losing receivers Humphries and Jackson. Tampa also signed former San Fransisco Punter Bradley Pinion to a 4-year deal after releasing aging punter Bryan Anger. The Bucs made another Buccanon type move that will benefit the Bowles 3-4 hybrid defensive scheme by signing former Broncos edge rusher, Shaquil Barrett, to a one year/$4M deal. The third former Cardinal from the Arians AZ regime was signed to a one year deal yesterday- Guard Earl Watford. Watford is big and could definitely help an offensive line where Caleb Benecoch was the best option at right guard in 2018. These aren’t huge moves, but Licht/Arians are methodically building towards the schemes that will be run next season along with filling any major holes. The Bucs re-signed many backups from last season including: CB Devante Harris, LB Adarious Taylor, DT Rakeem Nunez-Roches, LB Kevin Minter, QB Ryan Griffin, and RB Peyton Barber. It is also noted that K Cairo Santos will return next season along with DT Beau Allen who took a $1M pay cut to stay. Re-signing Peyton Barber was huge for Arians who’s in love with the powerful back’s ability. Lastly, the Bucs didn’t retain S Andrew Adams who had 3 INTs in a game for them in 2018, along with DT Mitch Unrein who failed another physical.

Image result for SHAQUIL BARRETT
(Photo by MSN.com)
Recently Acquired EDGE, Shaquill Barrett

Takeaways

The NFL offseason has been wild with crazy moves like OBJ to CLE, Earl Thomas to BAL, Terrell Suggs to ARI, Landon Collins to WAS, Le’Veon Bell to NYJ, Antonio Brown to OAK etc. The Bucs were not one of those teams to make splash moves like that and a big part of that was cap space. Bucs fans need to stay patient and know that the key to next season is not how many stars we sign, but rather how effective this new Arian’s led coaching staff is. The key to our success is more of a Patriots-approach than a Browns-approach, where coaching and scheme is the key. It is expected that the Bucs will take future star LB, Devin White, out of LSU in this year’s draft. White won the Butkus in college and will bolster the defense, immediately filling the hole left by Kwon. The Bucs could also go edge rusher, who knows what Licht and Bowles want to do on draft day. Either way, the draft will fill any holes not already filled in this year’s free agency. No one is certain about the future of this team but Bucs fans just need to keep the faith and trust Bruce Arians’ process.

-Anthony Milan

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About Anthony Milan 2 Articles
Owner of @buccaneerscentral on Instagram. Sports-Journalist, I write about many sports topics but tend to focus on the Bucs.

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