By: Chelsea Snyder
The Buccaneers were fairly aggressive in free agency and landed three players at needed positions. There were no groundbreaking signings, but retaining Doug Martin was definitely huge for the Buccaneers. J.R. Sweezy from Seattle, who is solid player, was also a big grab. Although Sweezy is deemed inconsistent, he is capable of making some pretty impressive blocks in the run game. The Bucs also helped the defense with defensive end Robert Ayers and corner Brent Grimes. Ayers should automatically boost the Bucs pass-rush, while Grimes boosts the back seven. We all can agree the Bucs are a mess in the secondary, so Grimes is a very much-needed addition.
Tampa Bay seemed to have a solid free agency period, but we wont know how well this free agency class is for at least a season. When all is said and done, the Bucs had issues they needed to address and they did, maybe not with stars but definitely with solid players. It is possible that the Bucs have found a solution to make the jump to the next level.
By: Anthony Pugliese
Although I believe that this Buccaneers team is definitely heading in the right direction, they haven’t quite done enough to jump to the next level. That’s also not saying that after the draft my answer would be the same. The Bucs entered today with just over $16 million in cap room. Around $6.8 million of that number needs to be reserved for signing their draft picks. That leaves $9.2 million in salary cap room, which means the Bucs had/have money to play with.
On defense, the Bucs signed Robert Ayers to a 3 year, $19.5 million deal. With only one season (last) with more than five sacks, Ayers seems to fit the bill of a DE2 more than the DE1 the Bucs were in need of. He definitely helps fill a need, but a defensive end will still need to be drafted who will compete for a starting job and secure the position for the future. The Bucs resigned Bradley McDougald to hold down the fort at free safety for 1 year at $2.5 million. They could have signed Reggie Nelson to play safety and make an immediate impact to the entire secondary, for a difference of $1 to $2 million against the cap, which they had. The addition of Brent Grimes bolsters the corner position, and although there were better options out there, he signed a team friendly deal that is a low risk, high reward situation for the team. Daryl Smith was an underrated signing, as he is a tackling machine.
Last season, the offensive line seemed to be coming together. There is a change now that Logan Mankins decided to retire, and the Bucs signed J.R. Sweezy to take his place. This is a time will tell move, as it appeared early in free agency there were better options, but Sweezy does have potential to be one of the better guards in the league. Again, time will tell. I believe the Bucs should also be looking for a third wide receiver. Taking a look at Anquan Boldin could come cheap, and having Boldin, Mike Evans, and Vincent Jackson on the field at the same time could account for many mismatches.
Although not quite there, fear not Bucs fans, your time is coming……
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