The deadline to use the franchise or transition tag to retain key free agents has passed, and the free agency market still looks solid at a number of positions. Despite a record number of franchise tags taking a number of high-profile free agents off the market, there are several key free agents the Bucs could and should target still available.
At wide receiver, Vincent Jackson is the best player still available and perhaps the prize of this free agency class. Guard Carl Nicks is another high-profile player who will be available, as are linebacker Curtis Lofton and cornerback Cortland Finnegan. Safety LaRon Landry, wide receivers Brandon Lloyd and Marques Colston and tight end Martellus Bennett are a few other players who are scheduled to hit the market. Any of those players would immediately help the Buccaneers, and the team has promised to spend in free agency this year.
As always, though, any of these players could still re-sign with their own teams before free agency starts on March 13. Expect a couple of players to do so, and the free agency market to look less appealing once every unsigned player becomes free game. But there will be options for the Bucs, and they must make the most of those opportunities.
Hit the jump for the full list of franchised players.
Arizona Cardinals: DE Calais Campbell
Atlanta Falcons: CB Brent Grimes
Baltimore Ravens: RB Ray Rice
Chicago Bears: RB Matt Forte
Cincinnati Bengals: K Mike Nugent
Cleveland Browns: K Phil Dawson
Dallas Cowboys: LB Anthony Spencer
Denver Broncos: K Matt Prater
Detroit Lions: DE Cliff Avril
Indianapolis Colts: DE Robert Mathis
Jacksonville Jaguars: K Josh Scobee
Kansas City Chiefs: WR Dwayne Bowe
New England Patriots: WR Wes Welker
New Orleans Saints: QB Drew Brees
New York Giants: P Steve Weatherford
Oakland Raiders: S Tyvon Branch
Philadelphia Eagles: WR DeSean Jackson
San Francisco 49ers: S Dashon Goldson
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: K Connor Barth
Tennessee Titans: S Michael Griffin
Washington Redskins: TE Fred Davis