To begin I would just like to say hello and introduce myself as this is my first time posting here, or anywhere for that matter. I was born and raised in St. Pete and moved to Denver about two years ago, I did go to see them when they came last year how could I not? In any event I have read this and various other blogs from time to time, and have finally decided to add my voice to the mix of fandemonium on the internet. My handle is RL_Bauer you can call me either or both, as in RL, Bauer, or RL_Bauer.
So the exciting time of FA, I hate typing common abbreviations will be used frequently, is upon us and it roared in not so much with a bang, much more like a whimper. The three day tampering period has seemed to make FA much less exciting than it was before. Remember the good old days when we signed Nicks and Jackson within hours of the midnight opening bell? I do. No longer do we live in that world. The NFL has allowed tampering, but somehow slowed down the process. I think the most obvious answer to that little quandry is the fact that right before it started the NFL came out with this weird letter threatening to fine teams if they locked up a player during the time when they were supposed to be negotiating with players. Just so they could create some kind of national signing day like atmosphere. I will forego talking about how making a spectacle of 18 year olds choosing their college is a little sick. And get to the point of saying that the NFL took a system that was working, and exciting by the way, and turned it into a long drawn out process.
You could make the argument that their were not as many big names out their to be swooped up early, like a Nicks or Jackson say, but I think that is wrong. I do not think you could honestly say that the Wallace and Kruger deals would not have been done at 12:01 under the old system. Not to mention that Avril would have had a deal done with someone, and probably for more money. The quick rush of pre-negotiated contract signings evaporated this year.
The whole process seems more drawn out and less exciting this year. I think the flattening of the cap could have some small part in the smaller deals. The lack of quick signings though makes FA much less exciting for me. As someone much better than myself once said The Thrill is Gone. Hopefully next year the threat will be less and the rush of signings will be better. The other option is collusion, but we all know the NFL doesn't engage in that right Washington and Dallas? The collusion would be to slow down FA drag it out and force prices down, by making players nervous and wanting to sign so going for less money. This could be a wild conspiracy or a perfect storm of rule changes, threats, and not enough big names, but either way I hope it changes next year.
This year is also the last year anyone can accuse the Glazer's of being cheap. They have spent large in two years in FA, and brought in top players for our team. You could argue that they only spend because they are compelled by the new CBA, but I am trying to not be that cynical anymore. Either way, because they want to win, or because they have to, they are spending now, let's all be thankful for that.
I will say that FA is looking good for us so far this year. I feel we over payed slightly for Goldson, but he was the best safety on the market by far, but will get good ROI, return on investment if you don't know, from him. I believe he is a large upgrade at the Free Safety position, love you Ronde but let's be real. This will hopefully allow Barron to do what he does, which is roam the line of scrimmage and lay the wood. I have dreams of Barron becoming a Polamalu like player. I believe, hope really at this point, that Goldson will allow Barron to be that guy and be good enough to cover him over the top. Not only will he be a single high safety who can make plays, read interceptions, but he lays the wood like a grown man. I was especially excited to hear him talk about being a leader. He will be able to teach Barron to see the field like safety. This was something Ronde couldn't really do, because he had never done it before. If we can have a pair of hard hitting safeties who play well together it will go along way to shoring up our shameful pass defense.
Speaking of pass defense what's up with the cornerbacks? I get the impression that the guys over at PFT have this one right. The new GM in New York is scared into indecision. He is afraid of appearing to get had by the new savvy guy on the block, and having the loving NY media eat his lunch. His main problem is that he has no leverage. No leverage to use against Revis, can't franchise him next year. No leverage against us, because only one year left on the contract and we can't franchise him after it either. The only issue here is how desperate can Dominik make the kid feel to unload Revis to us. All reports have it we are the only game in town. So it become either play ball with us or have one last year with him while you are rebuilding an entire roster, goodluck with that.
What happens if we don't get Revis? Well surprisingly the cornerback market has not seen a lot of early action. This bodes well for us, as it should drive the price down and allow us to get one or two middle tier cornerbacks in FA. This has to be seen as a big win for us. The question really becomes who will set the market and sign the first one? I feel we are one of the more attractive FA destinations. Lots of cap room an offense seemingly on the rise. We could easily compete with Atlanta for the division if we could stop the pass, get a slot/TE, Freeman acclimating to the new offense,hopefully, and a little pass rush. We aren't that far away.
Speaking of pass rush, you like how I used the same gimmick twice in my first post don't you? Well get use to it. That DE market looks awfully flat this year. Kruger is the only pass rusher who got payed significant money this offseason, and I feel he has a real high bust potential. First it's Cleveland right? Second he feels a lot like Dexter Jackson to me. I am sure y'all remember him right? That safety of ours from that Superbowl that we happened to win. Then went to Arizona, got paid big money, and got cut two years later. Big post season got him paid, but never reproduced. But I digress. With Avril excepting a marginal, almost prove it, deal with Seattle. The odds of us getting Bennett back look a lot better with every passing day. I am of the opinion though that if we could get one of the older guys, i.e. Abraham, Freeney, Dumerville, on a one or two year cheap deal. Their presence in the Defensive Line meeting room might help develop Clayborn and Bowers into better pass rushers. On obvious passing downs we could move Clayborn inside and the pass rush would hypothetically be ferocious. I mean Clayborn on a guard seems like a big mismatch for us. Would feel a little like the Giants Dline when they had all those stud pass rushers on their team. I feel the only other thing we need is a big body to eat the run on first down, and hopefully not second. We can solve this cheaply through low level FA or the draft, and I am OK with either or both. Now that I have so cleverly mentioned the draft can you guess what is coming next?
Speaking of the draft, that's right no fear a third time after telling you, I have high hopes for Dominik. I feel he has shown enough at this point to get credit for a job well done. Last year's draft was as close to perfect as you can get. If we get three impact players in every draft we will be the new dynasty. So the question this year is what to do with that 13th pick. I feel CB is a reach at this spot, but if we go that way Desmond Trufant is my guy. Although the Seattle Times reports that there were no Bucs reps at his pro day, and he apparently had a meeting with a Jacksonville Rep. I would not put to much stock in that though as both Schiano and Dominik strike me more as film guys than measurable guys, thank goodness, and this time of year is all about smoke screens anyway. Trufant has the bloodlines , both older brothers are in the league and Marcus is a 10 year starter in Seattle, and the skill set that would match our system. Also, I actually watched the DB combine workout on NFL network and Trufant looked much more fluid than Xavier Rhodes did. Plus he looked like the guy you would least want to get in a fight with.
I am not sold on the CB in the 1st though. Kiper seems to think we will go after Star Lotulelei. I can see the reasoning, dominant Dline and fills a hole left by Miller plus more pass rush, also, pushes McCoy a little bit to have another big time guy lined up right next to him. I find this unlikely, however, I do not think Dominik will swing that big with 13th pick. He would rather deal it or pick someone without the obvious health concerns, although he has faith in Bowers potentially letting Bennett walk. I hope that one of the tackles falls out of the top ten. Both the Bills and Cardinals could go QB in the top 10 pushing one of the tackles down, most likely Lane Johnson. I think that is best case scenario bingo for the Bucs. Have a very good right tackle for a year or two who can take over for Penn whenever he is done. I feel the 2nd round pick is almost surely spent on whoever the front office thinks is the best slot receiver/TE left on the board. We can not rule out a trade up to maybe get one of the top two TEs if they fall into the start of the 2nd. Dominik has shown no fear dealing up to get someone he wants. No matter the case I have faith in Dominik at this point, and I hope I am rewarded for it.
Well for the first time out I am going to call this a successful summary and analysis of the off season up to this point. If you disagree I am sure you will tell me about it in the comments section, and since I am new I will probably even read and reply to them.