The franchise tag deadline has come and gone, and just eight players were tagged. Branden Albert was the most surprising player to receive the tag, while Dwayne Bowe was extended just before the franchise tag deadline. It was an impressive day for the Chiefs, but a lot of the other teams will likely let some good players hit free agency now. And a few of those players will certainly interest the Buccaneers.
One caveat: free agency hasn't started yet, and teams can still sign their free agents despite not using the franchise tag on them.
SIgning both of the Bennett brothers has been a dream scenario for many Bucs fans this offseason, and it seems a little more realistic now that the Giants haven't franchise Bennett. The big tight end is an outstanding blocker and a quality receiver, albeit a bit inconsistent. The Bucs could target him and his brother defensive end in free agency as a pair, although that may leave them short of cap space to sign some much-needed cornerbacks.
TE Jared Cook, Tennessee Titans
If you want a very, very good receiving tight end with some inconsistency and not much use as a blocker, Jared Cook is your man. Is he the Bucs' man? Well, I doubt it, but they should at least take a look at him.
I'll go into this in more detail at some point, but if the Falcons don't re-sign him before free agency proper starts, he will be a Buccaneer. You can count on that. He's 30 and injury-prone, which should make him come relatively cheap -- although signing him will certainly be risky.
Another defensive back not franchised, and another player the Buccaneers could sign. The Bucs need a free safety if Ronde Barber does not return, and Goldson would fit. I don't think he's worth a large amount of money, but he'd certainly represent an upgrade over Ahmad Black.