Buccaneers to fill needs in free agency

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers say they will try to fill their needs in free agency, so they can use the draft to take the best available players.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been surprisingly candid about their offseason plans this year: add competition at every position, especially quarterback. Build through the draft. Look for value in free agency. The latest: they'll fill as many needs and holes as they can through free agency.

"We're going to try to be proactive," Licht told the Tampa Tribune. "We're going to try to fill as many holes as we can in free agency, because I don't want to go into the draft with our first pick, having to pick a position."

The Buccaneers currently have around $22 million in cap space, and are likely to create a little more than that through a few more cuts in pay -- or simply outright roster cuts. That means they have plenty of cash to address the big needs on the roster, although the Tribune uses the word "prudent" to suggest that they won't spend big -- at least not on "short term" solutions.

Oddly enough, the Tribune notes that Licht thinks every position requires an upgrade, except for running back and safety. The latter seems like an odd choice. Mark Barron and Dashon Goldson are both outstanding starters, but Keith Tandy and Kelcie McCray are not what I would call solid backups. Ah well, can't fix everything in one offseason, I guess.

What all of this means in practice remains to be seen. The Buccaneers have a few needs, and a number of them are pressing. They need much better offensive line play, with the biggest problem point being offensive guard. Lovie Smith really wants to get a dominant pass-rushing defensive end, but those are either ridiculously expensive, or old, short-term solution with significant uncertainty as to their future production.

The Bucs have made it clear they want to at least add competition at quarterback, if not outright replace Mike Glennon, while tight end and receiver could do with some upgrades as well. You can never have enough cornerbacks, either, and the team lacks any quality defensive tackles outside of Gerald McCoy. Oh, and they don't have a strongside linebacker right now. There's plenty of work to do.

In other words, we still don't have a clue as to what's going to happen this offseason, especially in the draft. The Bucs are likely to be active in free agency, but we don't know who they'll target, and who they'll actually end up signing. And all of that will heavily influence what they do in the draft.

Stay tuned. Looks like we'll have another fascinating offseason for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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