According to the Tampa Tribune's Ira Kaufman, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still interested in free agent middle linebacker Curtis Lofton - but only at the right price. The Bucs reportedly have an offer on the table for the former Atlanta Falcon, and they had him in for a visit early in free agency - only to see him leave without a contract. Supposedly his contract demands were too high, and if the rumors of $9 million per year are true, I can see why.
Still, the Bucs have a need at linebacker, and they must fill that need. The linebacker market has been slow to develop, but it finally took off today with the signing of Stephen Tulloch in Detroit and the Philadelphia Eagles trading for Demeco Ryans. The Eagles gave up a fourth-round pick and swapped third-rounders with the Houston Texans for Ryans' services, according to Adam Caplan. Ironically, the fourth-round pick they gave up was acquired from the Bucs in the Luke Stocker trade. Yes, the Eagles essentially traded Luke Stocker for Casey Mattews and Demeco Ryans. Good work, Eagles.
Some fans may ask why the Bucs would not give up a fourth-round pick and a swap of third-round picks for a former Pro Bowler like Ryans, but that question is easily answered: aside from the fact that they have no fourth-round pick, the Bucs don't need to give up picks to get a good starting linebacker - they can just pick one up in free agency, be it Curtis Lofton, Jameel McClain or David Hawthorne. I am convinced the Bucs will do exactly that - because they don't have much choice, at this point.
I'm going to make a prediction (also knows as an educated guess or 'flinging poo at a wall'), here: the terms of Stephen Tulloch's contract will be known by tomorrow, Curtis Lofton will then sign a basically identical contract (in terms of value) with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Bucs will have their middle linebacker. That would leave them with only one major need: third down back.