Earlier we highlighted the top 10 free agents the Buccaneers need to re-sign. And while they the are still hard at work trying to do so, eventually they may turn their attention to outside free agents. Adding new talent to the team to drive competition, add depth and keep things fresh is a pivotal part of roster construction. Over the past few seasons, there have been few better at doing so than Buccaneers’ GM Jason Licht. Looking at the team as currently constructed, could definitely stand to add some experienced depth a various positions.
Kerrigan isn’t the player he used to be but still managed to tack on 5.5 sacks in year that saw his lowest snap count since he entered the league. After totaling a career low – Six tackles – and seeing Montez Sweat and Chase Young cut into his playing time it looks like a hard bet that he will return to Washington. Unable to finding a starting role in free agency, the soon to be 33-year-old may settle on a one-year deal to be a sub rusher and chase a ring.
Even on the down urn of his career, Griffen was still able to get to the quarterback seven times in 2020. As he transitioned into more of a situational role – the 33-year-old – played less than 50 percent of snaps splitting time with the Cowboys and Lions last season. Much like Kerrigan, Griffen must decide between playing time with a potential non-playoff team or joining a contender in pursuit of a championship opportunity.
Just two years removed from a 10.5 sack campaign, Fackrell is still trying to recapture that production. Unfortunately for Fackrell, Lorenzo Carter started to emerge for the Giants and he saw his snap count decrease. A season ending injury to Carter thrust Fackrell into the starting line up and saw him start 9 games before an injury of his own cost him four games. Through it all Fackrell was still solid in coverage, run-defense and pressuring the quarterback delivering four sacks and two turnovers on the year. At only 29-years old he should still have plenty left to prove and may come on a cheap deal after making only $2.6 million in 2020.
The rumors have been rampant about White joining the Buccaneers this off-season and why shouldn’t they be? White and Tom Brady have tallied up over 320 receptions and 2809 yards during their time playing together. Given the Buccaneers have a clear need for a pass catching back and White’s proficiency, combined with his familiarity with Brady make it a perfect fit. White did however, miss two games last season, although they were not due to injury. Making only $3 million on the last year of a back loaded deal in 2020 – the veteran running back shouldn’t cost much either. Add in the fact he’s from Florida and it seems like an excellent match.
Another familiar face for Tom Brady, Burkhead compiled 75 receptions and 664 yards while playing with Brady. A slightly better runner White, Burkhead is still best utilized as a pass catcher out of the back field. After making $3 million 2020 and missing six games last year it would be hard pressed to think he gets anything close to that in 2021.
Sticking with the pass-catching running back theme, Johnson is another veteran who can step in and make an impact right away. Like the aforementioned running backs Johnson did miss games in 2020 but he was solid when healthy. Reeling in 28 balls for 249 yards and a score on a staggering 8.9 yards per reception. For his career Johnson has over 300 receptions and 2800 yards. Still only 27, Johnson could bring immediate credibility to the back field passing game.
Another former Patriots makes his way to Tampa. Roberts is a versatile linebacker that has experience as a starter on the inside and outside. Having started 44 career games, he gives the Buccaneers another layer of protection if injuries were to occur, while also providing special teams ability. Roberts made $1 million in Miami in while starting 11 games. I can see him getting a slight rise in Tampa.
One of the most intriguing things about the potential fit with Jenkins is his knowledge of the system. Having played for Todd Bowles with the Jets for three seasons, Jenkins should be able to seamless transition into a role with the Buccaneers. Jenkins brings years of starting experience starting 62 games over his five-year career with the Jets. However, Jenkins sack numbers dropped from eight to two in 2020. With those numbers and signing for only $3.75 million last offseason he should come on a reasonable contract.
The former Patriots keep rolling on in. This time in some much-needed depth along the interior, particularly at center. Ferentz has only started four career games but two of those came with Brady in New England. With the flexibility to also play guard getting Ferentz in here on a one-year short money deal is well worth it.
If you can’t beat em’ join em’. The former Niner, Dolphin and Chief has started over 60 career games throughout his 10-year NFL Career. More impressively the veteran has only been penalized 12 times during that span. Much like the signing of A.Q. Shipley last season, Kilgore provides leadership and an emergency presence at center if Ryan Jensen were to go down. After only making $1 million last year with the chiefs he should sign a relatively cheap deal.
The Buccaneers still need to open cap space to be able to re-sign players like Antonio Brown and Ndamukong Suh but there are multiple avenues to do so. If they are looking to add new players to the roster the players above would be good fits and solid value as well. Look for the Buccaneers to continue to be aggressive building the roster as they gear up to “go for two.”