The Buccaneers’ season is over. Now it’s time to shift focus. There is a huge cap issue, especially if Tom Brady doesn’t come back that needs to be worked through. Ultimately though, there will be ways to get under the cap. Once there the Buccaneers will need to focus on who they want to bring back. Here are my free-agent priorities not named Tom Brady.
First of foremost is a player who has been here longer than any other. A stalwart leader whose production has not dropped despite his age. A man who should end his career after playing for only one team, much like Buccaneers’ legend Ronde Barber. Lavonte David. Spotrac has a market value with him taking a one-year deal worth $9.7 million. Would he be willing to take a hometown discount?
Jamel Dean is another player that comes to mind. This team will be thin a corner and will need to ensure they bring back some very solid depth who can start. If he can get back to his rookie season and have double digit pass deflections it will be a solid re-signing. Spotrac has his potential deal worth three years and $26 million. That’s $8.7 million a year. Again, would he take a home town discount too. If not he may find himself suiting up elsewhere.
Additionally, depth on the offensive line in my mind is key. Josh Wells, Aaron Stinnie, and the player who showed he has some real talent, Nick Leverett (restricted free agent) all need some attention. I prefer to build my teams from the trenches out. So these are essential for me and that’s why they are in the top tier.
Here in the second tier I target some youth from the Buccaneers’ list of free agents. Sean Murphy-Bunting, Anthony Nelson, and Mike Edwards have shown they can fill in nicely when called upon. Not only do they have youth on their side here, they won’t break the bank.
For Anthony Nelson, his production in 17 games, eight starting, and playing mostly as a rotational player has been enough to warrant his return. 5.5 sacks, four tackles for loss, and 46 total tackles on around 55% of the defensive snaps is pretty good.
Sean Murphy-Bunting has had some ups and downs but as you look across the entirety of the NFL cornerback depth is hard to come by. Need proof, just ask Cincinnati why Eli Apple still starts. He’s still young and can improve.
Mike Edwards brings solid depth and at times played well. Though he made mistakes he never gave me the feeling that his reliability was detrimental to the team. He can certainly improve as well.
Lastly, in this category, I’d also ask for Carl Nassib to come back. Much like Nelson, he was set for a rotation sub role. In so and during a little over 250 snaps he made an impact. Notching 3.5 sacks, six tackles for loss, and six quarterback hits.
Many great teams are built upon reliable depth. Strong teams weather storms better with quality depth. The following players represent that need. Blaine Gabbert, William Gholston, Rakeem Nunez-Roches, Breshad Perriman, Scotty Miller, and Keanu Neal all could come back if I were in charge. But it would depend on money and other free agent acquisitions.
These players I would allow to move on from the Buccaneers. Weather it’s injury issues or capability, its time for a new home and I wouldnt extend an offer to them at this moment. All the following will need new homes; Julio Jones, Kyle Rudolph, Akiem Hicks, Giovani Bernard, Pat O’Connor, Deadrin Sneat, and Genard Avery.
I would suspect that some of these offensive players could move up or down a tier. For example Breshad Perriman an Scotty Miller could come back depending on the new offensive scheme (assuming Byron Leftwich is fired). They were very misused this season and could of contributed better with a better scheme.
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