Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
A comprehensive look at the Buccaneers' free agents reveals they have plenty of work to do before free agency proper starts.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a lot of free agents they could lose this offseason. They have 10 unrestricted free agents and three restricted free agents, and looking at this list it is likely they will attempt to re-sign most of them. The Bucs have already made it clear they want to keep safety/cornerback Ronde Barber around for a seventeenth season, but it remains to be seen whether he wants to return. But Barber shouldn't be the priority: Michael Bennett should be.
Bennett led the Buccaneers in sacks with 9, and had a terrific year as a left defensive end. If the Bucs fail to re-sign him, they will have failed miserably. But he's not the only player worth bringing back. E.J. Biggers may perhaps not be a good starter, although he did have a good (albeit short) season, but he's certainly good enough to re-sign for depth. Dallas Clark was mediocre, but can still play a decent role -- although he's more likely to be signed after the draft if necessary. Roy Miller is certainly worth re-signing, as he has turned into a good, active run-stuffing nose tackle, and he should be fairly cheap.
Jeremy Trueblood is almost certain to leave, however, and Brandon McDonald should be gone, too. Roscoe Parrish was a barely adequate punt returner, and the Bucs will look to upgrade that spot, while Stroughter has been so troubled with injuries that he may not be returning, either.
The restricted free agents may be more interesting, as extending a tender can be expensive. A tender carrying a first-round pick as compensation will cost $2.88 million, while a second-round tender will come in at $2.03 million and an original-round tender would cost the team $1.33 million. See the details here. Daniel Te'o-Nesheim is likely to at least receive an original-round tender, which would come with third-round compensation if signed elsewhere. But those prices may be too much to keep special teamer Jacob Cutrera and Legarrette Blount, who barely even saw the field this season. In fact, it seems exceedingly likely that Blount will walk. It was obvious this past season that the team did not trust Blount to carry the ball, and the presence of Michael Smith on the roster may make him superfluous.
Unrestricted free agents (accrued seasons):
S Ronde Barber (16)
DE Michael Bennett (4)
CB E.J. Biggers (4)
TE Dallas Clark (10)
LS Andrew Economos (7)
CB Brandon McDonald (6)
DT Roy Miller (4)
WR Roscoe Parrish (8)
WR Sammie Stroughter (4)
T Jeremy Trueblood (7)
Restricted free agents (accrued seasons):
RB Legarrette Blount (3)
LB Jacob Cutrera (3)
DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim (3)