Buccaneers’ Free Agency: Budget Defensive Options


As free agency contunes across the league the Buccaneers still find themselves in a cap strapped situation. This means they still need to find depth across the board on defense. It also has to be inexpensive. Here is a defensive lineman and Linebacker who may be worth brining in.

Defensive Line

More help from previous Super Bowl Champions, Los Angeles Rams, is another defensive tackle that could come in with a low cap number and provide depth. They also may not have reached their true potential just yet.

Marquise Copeland is a young defensive tackle who, with increasing snap counts has become better with each opportunity. A space eater, Copeland possess size and length to disrupt the offensive line and I believe he can become a quality rotational player. Additionally the Rams have not tendered him (he’s a restricted free agent).

Though he only saw the field for three snaps in 2020 he has continued to carve out more of a role each year. Increasing in 2021. In 2022 he saw 343 total snaps and notched seven total pressures (one hit, six hurries) and 31 total tackles. Two of those tackles were for loss. He had one sack. He also graded well via PFF, with total defense ive grade of 67.3 and a run defense grade of 73.5. He can improve on pass rush but as depth and a rotational player he can first carve out a role as a run stuffer. Given his age, 25, he has not reached his ceiling just yet.

Not bad for a such small sample size. At this point he warrants more snaps and the Buccaneers should snatch him up while he’s inexpensive to sign.


Much like the lineman markets the linebackers are very thin. Either the players are top tier and will command high dollar amounts, aging vets, or fall on the wrong side of a lopsided bell curve of talent. That leaves the cap strapped Buccaneers looking for a signing that would be brought into camp with the hopes of showing promise to stay on the team. Enter Clemson Tiger third round pick Tanner Muse.

Primarily used, thus far anyway, in the box Muse has only seen a total of 80 snaps on the field. Of those plays he has amassed a handful of tackles and a pass deflection. What’s intriguing is the his size and speed. At the combine he was clocked at 4.41 in the 40 yard dash. At six foot two inches, 227 pounds, he has a vertical jump of 34.5” inches. In college he had 14 pass deflections and seven interceptions. Moreover, this came into play during limited assignment in coverage last season where he only allowed one reception on four targets. Given his attributes Muse may be worth looking into and having as a backup rotational player on obvious passing downs.

Ultimately Muse fits the Buccaneers linebacker style of play and with a PFF grade of 77.9 in coverage and 81.5 in tackling, he could be an asset moving forward.

Final Thought

These small signings though they seem insignificant are vital to a teams success. Depth and rotational players are hallmarks of winning teams. Even though the Buccaneers are pressed against the cap these players represent a way forward if the team chooses to bring them in.

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