I’m going to get comfy into my favorite armchair and be GM of the Buccaneers for this bit.
With the official NFL off-season looming large on the horizon let’s have a look at the Unrestricted Free Agents in Tampa. When the off-season starts, the Bucs will have 15 guys heading to Free Agency as Unrestricted Free Agents. These guys are veterans who can negotiate with any of the 32 teams in the NFL as they bid for more playing time or more money. Of those 15 guys its likely that only a handful will be back for training camp; so let’s see my picks for these 15 as temporary GM of the Bucs.
Brent Grimes – Stay Please – Work out a 1 year deal with Grimes and use his ability on the field and experience off it. Brent Grimes has been around the league for a while now and knows how to get his job done. The longevity of his career shows he knows how to train and look after himself and he could be an asset to the rookie cornerbacks who will be around camp.
TJ Ward – Don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split you – far too many problems for too little value. When Ward was speaking out against the scheme and his playing time you would expect his performance to back up his mouth. He was rarely close to that with very little influence and the Drugs arrest for me is the icing on the cake.
Evan Smith – Bye Felicia – I don’t see what Smith offers the team that a rookie can’t. Smith is out the door and a rookie with potential to develop or a free agent with better upside is in.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – It’s not you, it’s me – Fitzpatrick was everything the Buccaneers needed when they needed it. Being able to step in and run the offense at a moment’s notice is the number 1 requirement for a backup quarterback, but I’m keeping Griffen around. I’m going to go with the guy I think has more upside and in this case, I think it’s the younger guy. He shouldn’t be more than a guy holding a clipboard, but the hope is to develop him enough to get a draft pick later down the line.
Clinton McDonald – Take it or leave it – if McDonald is willing to accept the same pay as last year he’s earned a new deal. If he’s looking for more I’ll move on to a new DT; probably a free agent who should offer the better value.
Nick Folk – Don’t miss the exit wide left – Folk is an average kicker and I can get that for less in Free Agency. If he had better accuracy and range than what he offered last year, he’d be back. Someone from free agency or an undrafted player is kicking next year.
Sealver Siliga – Bring your playbook – Siliga is a great guy, but that doesn’t stop the run or rush the passer; much like Siliga. Sealver has a great upside but it’s just not working in Tampa. He gets the chance to revive his career elsewhere.
Keith Tandy – Sign here please – I’m giving Tandy at least 1 more year. He’s shown that he has fantastic potential, but his play has been inconsistent. He stays to get a last chance to show what he’s got and be the undisputed starter.
Garrison Sanborn – We barely knew ya. Long snappers are a dime a dozen so I’m looking for better value or a player that offers more than just a good long snap.
Justin Trattou – Au revoir – Down the bottom of the depth chart and there are better players available for Vet Minimum. Trattou becomes a victim of upgrading the defensive line.
Adam Gettis – See you later alligator – Much like Trattou, Gettis is another casualty of upgrading his position group. Adam Gettis hasn’t shown enough to warrant sticking around and a higher caliber player fills the void.
Robert McClain – See you in camp – McClain has a high upside and has performed well at times. Keeping him keeps some consistency and experience in the CB room.
Charles Sims – Imagine the exit is your running lane – Charles “stutter step” Sims isn’t the guy and won’t be. In the chances he’s had he hasn’t offered anything to suggest he can be that player who’s breakout year seemed to be a fluke. Pass catching is a great ability in a running back, but that’s all Sims has given the team and been inconsistent at best.
Will Clarke – Rush off – Another player who offers depth and nothing else. Clarke is on a cheap enough contract, but without offering anything, that’s dead money.
Kevin Pamphile – Prove it – Pamphile is another player with great potential, but struggling to show it consistently. He gets a one year “prove it” deal and gets the chance to either win the starting job outright or be a reliable backup. Kevin Pamphile may feel he’s worth more than that so might test free agency to see what his value is on the market.
Stay tuned for the next installment featuring the Restricted Free Agents.