Buccaneers Top-5 Free Agent Signings All-Time


With the reports that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are releasing outside linebacker Shaq Barrett we wondered, who are the Pewter Pirates best free agent signings of all-time?

So we decide to gather the troops here at Bucs Report and see who they rank as the Top-5 free agent signings in team history. Enjoy!

AJ Turn-Up 

1. Tom Brady– The GOAT elevated the
franchise historically unpopular to
champions and gained recognition and
more respect
2. Hardy Nickerson– Cornerstone defender
that stamped the identity of the Tampa
Bay-2 defense
3. Vincent Jackson– Receiver worth every
penny with skills and character
4. Simeon Rice– HOF worthy pass rusher
5. Shaq Barrett– Franchise single-season sack record holder

Devin Sanguinett

1. Tom Brady
2. Ryan Jensen
3. Simeon Rice
4. Shaq Barrett
5. Ndamukong Suh

For obvious reasons, Tom Brady is number one on this list. He can arguably go down as the greatest FA pick up of all time. What more can be said? The man has one 7 Super Bowls for a reason and managed to set six records with the Bucs despite only playing three seasons. He has the most passing tds in a season, the most completions in a season, most attempts in a season, most yards in a season, and the best completion percentage and passer rating in a season. And because of him, we were able to get guys like Leonard Fournette and Gronk, more guys who helped the Bucs in the playoffs. Brady brought something to Tampa it hadn’t had in a long while, a winning culture.
As for the rest of this list, I know a lot of people have Simeon Rice second, but I think Ryan Jensen was crucial not just to keeping Tom Brady upright, but for setting the attitude on the line. Simeon Rice was a fantastic player and crucial to that 2002 run, but Jensen was also key to turning the culture around. Shaq and Ndamukong Suh were also absolutely crucial to turning around a Bucs defense that had been suffering a lot before their arrival. Shaq breaking the sack record was like a sign that the Bucs defense had finally turned the corner and their run in the playoffs was the stuff of legends.


Greg D’Cruz

Number 5 is going to cause quite a stir BUT he played a big role in Buccaneers championship. I contend that had he not melted down in New York, the Bucs would have played in back to back Super Bowls.
The two SB winning QB’s (Brady and Johnson) were both leaders in their own way.
A great defense needs a dominant pass rusher to take pressure off the interior defense. Shaq and Rice both fit this bill.

Carter Brantley

Boo, hiss, Tom Brady should be #1, alright I get it. But Simeon Rice was instrumental in taking an already elite defense and making it one of the greatest ever. Without him, the Bucs don’t win that first Super Bowl. Brady is #2 because, well, without him the Bucs don’t win the second. And at #3, Shaq Barrett was as under-the-radar as it gets, but he turned in the best pass rushing season we’ve ever seen out of a Buc, and it’s likely to be a while before we see it repeated. 

Rounding out the list, Jackson was as solid and professional as it gets in a tumultuous time for the Bucs, and you could argue the signing of Suh was the starting point for the building blocks of the Brady era. He gave the Bucs an identity defensively, and allowed Vita Vea to become the player he is today. 

Jeremy Morrow

1. Tom Brady
2. Simeon Rice
3. Vincent Jackson
4. Ndamukong Suh
5. Antonio Brown

Picking a top five free agent list really revolves around those who contributed to the biggest winning efforts in Buccaneer’s history. Each winning team had key contributors that without their help the Buccaneers may not have hoisted the Lombardi Trophy. For me, Brown, even with his issues, was a key weapon while Suh and Simeon Rice pushed the Buccaneer’s defense over the top. Tom Brady was instrumental in tying all the weapons together. Each, in their own regard, was one of the largest catalysts to Buccaneer’s history. Vincent Jackson makes my list as he was just one of my favorite Buccaneers and a great man.

Bucs Report Staff

1. Tom Brady
2. Hardy Nickerson
3. Simeon Rice
4. Donald Penn
5. Vincent Jackson

This wasn’t as easy as you’d think. Obviously Brady is at the top, but Nickerson was the catalyst in turning this team’s culture around well before a Lombardi Trophy came to Tampa. Simeon Rice was also part of that culture shift and is arguably the best pass rusher top to bottom in team history. Donald Penn was a stalwart at the tackle position for seven seasons. His nasty streak set the tone for the entire offensive line if not the team. Oh, and he caught a couple of touchdown passes too. Finally we have Vincent Jackson. The consummate professional. Jackson was thee guy in Tampa and had a hand in mentoring everybody’s favorite receiver Mike Evans. After Jackson’s untimely death in 2021, Evans tweeted, “V Jax thank you for everything. I love you, big bro. Praying for your family, Rest in Paradise.” What more is there to say?

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