About a week ago I first posted on here about the mock offseason that is currently being held on Cat Scratch Reader; I am representing as the Bucs GM. At the current stage of this exercise we are through the most active part of Free Agency and I have secured multiple Free Agents and have a good idea of others that I am likely to land. The toughest part of this has been the limitation that has been placed on the cap situation of each team. As a baseline, each team was allowed $25 to spend. This hurt me in multiple ways as it cut down my potential spending and also allowed teams such as Dallas, Carolina and other cap inhibited teams to spend more than normal. I do feel I have accomplished my main goal of filling key spots, thus allowing me to have a little more freedom in the draft. A synopsis of how Free Agency has played out:
- Trade: 1st Round Pick (13), 5th Round Pick, Jeremy Zuttah for Jayron Hosley (CB), Giants 1st Round Pick (19)
While Zuttah is a capable center, I felt he would be able to be cheaply replaced in free agency. I also felt, fairly correctly, that there would be a large demand for the few good CB's available and they would be quite expensive to sign. In Hosley the Bucs get a young CB who showed a lot of promise for the Giants last year as a rookie. I think he could become a long term piece for the Bucs on the outside.
- Franchise Tag: Michael Bennett - DE - $10
I decided to franchise tag Bennett even though he was a large hit to my cap. He is just too good by all metrics to let walk and risk not being able to afford him later in free agency. This feeling of mine was later justified when Michael Johnson was signed for $9 and Bennett likely would've commanded more.
- Signed: Jason Jones - DT - $2
My first actual signing, Jones was highly rated as a penetration DT by both Walter Football and Pro Football Focus. Generally used by the Seahawks as a pass rusher, the same would likely be true for the Bucs. I was very surprised I was able to get him at this price and it allowed me to make a later move. He is still young at 27.
- Signed: Rob Turner - C - $1
Needing to find options for that center position as well as provide general depth along the offensive line, I turned to Rob Turner. Originally in the running for Dietrich-Smith of Green Bay, he became too expensive of an option and I had to pass. Turner instead provides solid center play at a low cost and thus was a good fit.
- Signed: Chris Houston - CB - $7
In what will be my biggest free agency signing, Houston provides very good CB play at a still young age. He and Keenan Lewis represented my two biggest targets and I was willing to spend to get one of them. This along with the Hosley trade has now started to revamp the Bucs secondary in a very positive way. I still like the idea of pursuing a CB in the draft but I am now free to look at one in the second round or later instead of feeling hard pressed to possibly reach in the first.
- Likely Sign: Barry Richardson - OT - $4
Still looking to add depth across the O-Line, I look likely to win the bidding for Richardson. Coming for St. Louis he could potentially start but I view him more as a top flight back-up who you have no qualms in turning to for a spot start. At 27 he still has some room to develop as well. I am very happy with this signing, especially after seeing the price other OT are demanding.
- Possible Sign: Junior Galette - DE - $1
Having already used $24 of the possible $25, I am now looking to pick up one more player on the cheap. Galette provides good edge rush and was luckily not tendered a RFA tag in this exercise by the Saints. At only 25, he comes highly rated from Walter Football and PFF and I believe he could see more snaps in Tampa. If I do sign him it allows me some nice flexibility as I have been approached about a possible deal for Bowers.
With my money used up, I will now turn to trades and the draft to feel other weaknesses. I have received interest in possibly sliding a bit further into the 1st round and picking up an extra pick, which does interest me. As I also mentioned, I have received interest in Bowers and could potentially move him if the deal is right. The potential offer is coming from the Raiders who currently own picks 3, 66, 94 and later picks. I doubt I can get my hands on the #3 pick unfortunately.
At pick 19, I do now feel I gave myself more freedom. I have firmly pushed myself out of the Milliner range, I believe I was already out at 13, but Xavier Rhodes could be an option at this pick. I feel it may be early to look to fill Barber's Safety shoes as well as a little early to look at WR. I do like playmakers though so a WR could work into the mix. My main targets here based on need are likely Rhodes, Swearinger, Sharrif Floyd, Arthur Brown, and Jesse Williams at this point. I really want to look for a playmaker at this juncture in the draft so need may not feel so relevant when the draft approaches. In the whole draft my "need" positions will likely be looked at as SOLB, WR, CB, S, and TE in no particular order. If I do move down to add an extra pick, it would be into the mid 20's range.
I would love if people would rate how I have done so far as well as help me examine my updated needs and likely draft targets based on this scenario. Thanks for your hospitality.