The NFL free agency is about to kick-off on March 16th at 4pm EST. It may be harder this time around for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to bring everyone back. Considering they did not accomplish their goal of back-to-back championships, and the starting quarterback has just retired.
That said, the rumors do have them trading for a top tier talent at the position. If they are able to get the new face to the franchise at the cost of picks and re-signing certain members of the championship squad, they will look to free agency to fill those holes in the roster. With top names taking center stage, like Chris Godwin, Von Miller, Terron Armstead, to name a few. The Buccaneers will look at cheaper, younger, but still talented names. They will need that to compete for a championship again. Here’s a look at some of those players the Buccaneers could sign in free agency, if not re-signed by their respected team.
RB Marlon Mack
Previous Team: Indianapolis Colts / Market Value: estimated. $4M per year / Possible contract with Buccaneers: 3year $12M ($8M Guaranteed)
Breakdown: The Buccaneers will need to address the running back situation sooner or later. Whether that be new fresh legs from the draft, or someone who hasn’t seen too much playing time. Enter Marlon Mack. Mack is the 3rd option in Indy, seeing mostly garbage time snaps and 3rd downs, mostly due to the play of Jonathan Taylor.
He did have an injury in 2020 that took him out for the whole season. Before that, his progression in an ever-changing front office, kept him on the Colts roster. He increased his volume of yards every year, and had 8 or more touchdowns his last 2 years. Marlon has flashes to be everything Leonard Fournette was, and for a bargain of the price. A running game of Mack and Ke’Shawn Vaughn, with the probability of getting a pass-catching back in the later rounds of the draft, seems like a perfect fit for some fresh legs.
TE Evan Engram
Previous Team: New York Giants / Market Value: estimated. $6.7M per year / Possible Contract with Buccaneers: 2 year $11M (Plus Incentives)
Breakdown: Engram is a year removed from a Pro Bowl selection. He has also proven to be a good deep threat tight end, that our previous first round pick in O.J Howard has not developed into. Defenses would be forced to put a man on him for coverage. Evan Engram does come with some concussion concerns, and a slight injury bug. This is mostly due to him being put in some bad positions on receptions and routes. Engram is coming off his worst season statistically. With a lot of tight ends available in this upcoming draft, this could mean his asking price comes down significantly. The Bucs could easily guarantee a short-term contract, in order to fill a need with the possible departure of Rob Gronkowski.
WR Michael Gallup or WR D.J Chark
Previous Team: Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars / Market Value; estimated $12M / Possible Contract with Bucs: 3year $33.5M ($22M Guaranteed)
Breakdown: It’s going to be very hard for the Buccaneers to re-sign Chris Godwin. He is owed a big pay day, and is sought out by almost every team with cap space. With most attention on Godwin, the Buccaneers should start looking at the ‘damaged goods. Both Gallup and Chark are coming off a 2022 year where they sustained an injury, mind you at two different points of the season. Both have 1A or 1B Wide Out traits, and would fit exceptionally well in the Buccaneers offense. The price may be a bit more than the Buccaneers would like to pay for another WR2, but the current talent in house won’t be enough, and if the Buccaneers do make a trade for their new quarterback, taking coverage away from Mike Evans, will be crucial.
Previous Team: Buffalo Bills / Market Value: $5.4M / Possible Contract with Buccaneers: 3 year $15M
Breakdown: Defensive line help is going to start becoming pricey. With rushers and run stoppers earning hefty pay days, most teams will head to the draft and develop talent. The Buccaneers could easily go this route, but Phillips brings a scheme fit nastiness that can’t go unnoticed. Phillips’s stats don’t jump off the sheet screaming talent, but he has consistently gotten better, year after year, and would bring much needed depth with Gholston (if re-signed) and Nunes-Roches. Cheaper defensive line help won’t be easy to come by, as even Gholston looks for a pay increase.
OL Matt Pryor
Previous Team: Indianapolis Colts / Market value: $4.3M / Possible Contract with Bucs: 4year $18M ($8M Guaranteed)
Breakdown: Alex Cappa is about to be paid, but more than likely not by the Buccaneers. Finding his replacement shouldn’t be as hard as we think. There is a lot of talent in the deeper rounds of the draft at offensive lineman, but with retooling being the key word used around the facility, grabbing a player who knows how to bump and grind at an elite level becomes more of a need than interest.
Pryor can be inserted into that right guard spot instantly, and can be moved around to any of the 5 positions on the offensive line if needed. That type of flexibility is becoming more and more coveted in the league. It should be noted that Pryor had a higher overall PFF Grade this year then Taylor Decker, Orlando Brown Jr, and Terron Armstead, with 2 of those players looking to break out huge contracts. A steal like Pryor should be priority #1 after Ryan Jensen is re-signed.