That time of year, akin to Christmas, has arrived on the NFL landscape. It’s started with fireworks as teams leap into action. Free agency is a time of hope and dread for football fans as players come and go. For many it’s the excitement of a big trade or hallmark name. For others, the pain of seeing a star player say goodbye.
At this early stage in free agency, many fans in the Bay Area are hitting the panic button. But why? It always hurts to see marquee players walk onto another team. Arguably two of the most loved faces from the Buccaneers, Adam Humphries and Kwon Alexander, have been tempted elsewhere. The talented but unhappy DeSean Jackson has also left. Brian Anger, the ever popular punter, has been cut in an effort to loosen the stranglehold of salary cap restraints. Get ready though because more loss could be on the way.
But I’m eager to share why nobody should be panicking!
The loss of both Humphries and Jackson appears to have affected the wide receiver position. But that is only on the surface.
Mike Evans remains number one with Chris Godwin taking the number two spot (read more about this in our in-depth article).
Next comes a fierce competition between Justin Watson, Breshad Perriman, Freddy Martino and Bobo Wilson. Plus any further signings through free agency or the draft.
OJ Howard and Cameron Brate are a two-headed monster for the tight ends, so the pass catching side of the team is just fine.
The Bucs are putting in an effort to strengthen the run game by strengthening their offensive line and looking at depth for the backfield. Duke Johnson is also currently being admired by those inside Bucs HQ.
The backup QB competition will include Ryan Griffin, although what he offers is still a mystery.
The defense looks to have taken a hit with the departure of Kwon Alexander. He is a great player and a popular guy, both in the locker room and with fans. The Buccaneers couldn’t compete with a contract that saw Alexander become one of the highest paid for his position. Cap casualties are inevitable.
Those who caught this week’s “BritBuc’s Bites” will have heard that the signature of Kevin Minter was highly sought. Many, including Bruce Arians, consider Minter to be the successor of Alexander, and the coaching staff feel he will thrive in the new defense. Let us also not forget the NFL draft and a certain LSU linebacker who is likely to be available at number five. Who could serve as a replacement as well.
The defense also received an additional boost with the signing of veteran safety Deone Bucannon from Arizona. The Bucs have resigned Cairo Santos and have secured the services of punter Bradley Pinion.
The biggest job of Jason Licht and Bruce Arians will be to form a team of players that is cap friendly. So it’s time to take a breath because things are changing in Tampa. Changes for the best.