Recent news that our General Manager and Head Coach are looking to make a significant amount of changes which would including being very active in Free Agency, has left many to ponder how the Bucs will manage this offseason. With a new look logo, and a new look staff, we can expect a new look team.
The OverhaulStarting at quarterback, a veteran with the ability to push Mike Glennon will be brought in. My gut feeling is that it will be Matt Cassel. Cassel is currently on a 3.7 million salary, so I would assume he would come in close to that figure but a little lower seeing as he is a year older and didn't perform like a world beater. So, lets say 3 million a year.
Seeing as the running back situation has already been acclaimed as one of our best, the next position to look at is fullback. Erik Lorig has been a good blocker for us but he doesn't bring much else to the table. Unless he is able to improve on his rushing and receiving he may not be brought back. He would still be a cheap option earning around what he gets now at around 1 million a year.
The wide receiver position has become more of need as of recent weeks with all of the Mike Williams news. Its a damn shame too. Whether or not we are in the market for a 2nd or 3rd receiver, we should look at Jeremy Maclin, who before injury, was considered to be a favorite option over DeSean Jackson. Maclin is a good possession receiver and can fill either the outside or slot receiver role. He is coming off of a serious injury so he shouldn't warrant a huge contract. 3.5 million a year on 3 years. If we have to trade/release/bench Mike Williams for his off the field issues then sign one of the three of Dexter McCluster, Andre Roberts, or Emmanuel Sanders. McCluster is dynamic and can bring a instant fix to the return game. I say sign him regardless. 2.5 million a year on 3 years. Roberts had really good production for being a #2 guy on teams with bad quarterbacking and sitting behind Larry Fitzgerald. Should be around 2.5 million on 3 years. Sanders also has been very productive. It is already being hinted he will leave, but he should get a decently high contract number around 4 million a year for 3 years.
Both Smith and Licht spoke about their surprise in Tim Wright, so at tight end, not much movement will be made. A bigger change will probably come through the draft than in free agency. A few names I like are Jeff Cumberland, Anthony McCoy, Jim Dray, Garrett Graham, and Ed Dickson. Cumberland, Dray, and Graham had pretty good years as under the radar guys. They all are capable of both blocking and receiving. Dickson is a bigger name guy who would cost more and push Wright to the bench. I would prefer to sign Cumberland who looks like a real up and comer. But he looks likely to resign with the Jets. McCoy could be a good move because he would be very cheap and looks to have a lot of upside. He was a good pass catcher for the Seahawks in 2012 as the 3rd tight end option. 700k a year on 1 year. See if he can earn more.
On the offensive line I expect multiple changes to be made. It looks likely that both Davin Joseph and Donald Penn will be forced into a pay cut or get cut situation with the recent interviews of Smith and Licht. For this, lets assume they are both released. I say, Rodger Saffold. He is a guard who prefers to play tackle. He is outstanding as a guard and still above average as a tackle. 6 million a year for 4 years
At guard, two former chiefs would be great signings. Both Jon Asamoah and Geoff Schwartz are free agents and while the 25 year old Asamoah gets the most publicity, the 28 year old Schwartz will likely be just as serviceable at a much lower price. 2.5 million a year for 2 years with bonuses for performance. Also, bringing back Ted Larsen for depth at both guard and center on another cheap contract of around 750k a year.
Defensive end is a tricky position because the Bucs have Clayborn, Bowers, Gholston, and Means who are all recent draft picks. I expect all of them to be back and make the roster because a few of them can move inside to tackle if needed or Means to linebacker. Some guys I would like to see brought in that aren't the biggest names but they also don't warrant the huge contracts. Robert Ayers and Corey Wootton. Ayers saw a productive 2013 season after a poor start to his career and Wootton saw the exact opposite. Ayers registered 5.5 sacks in more limited role while Wootton dropped from his 7 sack season to a mere 3.5 sacks after offseason hip surgery saw his production take a dip. 2.5 million a year for 3 years on Ayers and 2 million a year on 2 years for Wootton.
At defensive tackle, the Bucs could go after a guy like Clinton McDonald who overachieved on a good Seattle defensive line. He wouldn't be the cheapest option but could still be a good signing if he keeps his form up. 1.5 million a year on a 2 year deal.
I feel that the best option for the Bucs at strong side linebacker is to resign Dekoda Watson. He played well last year and graded out well for many different people. He is a cheap option to a position the Bucs rarely use. Bringing in a big signing would be a bit of a waste on a position that doesn't see the field on every play. At the very least its a good special teams player. 1 million per year for 3 years.
With Revis getting oodles of money and Banks looking like a good number 2, the Bucs wont need to break the bank for another corner. However, it might not be a bad idea to get a good 3rd corner rather than a sleeper or project guy. That could be the difference to a game. Walter Thurman III played really well for Seattle last year and could be a good signing. 2 million a year for 2 years. A guy I personally like is Cassius Vaughn. He had his best season last year and had 3 ints. 3 million for 3 years.
Apparently Lovie Smith and Jason Licht both like our starters at Safety and Keith Tandy. So, I wouldn't expect much here.
QB Matt Cassel- 2 year deal worth 6 million with the first year(3 million) guaranteed.FB Erik Lorig- 1 year deal worth 1 million with not much guaranteed. WR Jeremy Maclin- 3 year deal worth 10 million with 4 million guaranteed. WR/RB Dexter McCluster- 3 year deal worth 7.5 million + performance bonuses and 2.5 million guaranteed. TE Anthony McCoy- 1 year deal worth 700k no guarantees. LT Rodger Saffold- 4 year deal worth 24 million with 10 million guaranteed. G Geoff Schwartz- 2 year deal worth 5 million + performance bonuses and 1.5 million guaranteed. G/C Ted Larsen- 2 year deal worth 1.5 million with 250k guaranteed. DE Robert Ayers- 3 year deal worth 7.5 million with 3 million guaranteed. DE/DT Corey Wootton- 2 year deal worth 4 million with 1 million guaranteed. DT Clinton McDonald- 2 year deal worth 3 million with 750k guaranteed. SLB Dekoda Watson- 3 year deal worth 3 million with 1 million guaranteed. CB Cassius Vaughn- 3 year deal worth 9 million with 4 million guaranteed.
Total 2014 salary- ~30 million
That would shore up the quarterback, fullback, tackle, guard, defensive end, defensive tackle, outside linebacker, and corner positions. With the releasing of Penn, Joseph, and Koenen the Bucs would still have a few million to work with to get some more depth players and to pick up rookie contracts. Giving GMC a new deal could also free up a little more cap.
For the Draft
It appears that finally we are going to go best available player regardless of position. Thank you Licht/Lovie. I would expect at least one pass rusher. Can never have too many of those.
Round 1: DE Khalil Mack - The defensive line should just be called University of Buffalo.
Round 2: TE Austin Sefarian-Jenkins - Should definitly be here because of his fractured foot.
Round 3: Jadeveon just clownen yall we traded this for Revis.
Round 4: OT Cyrus Kouandijo - Give him a season to recover and he could be a big addition to the line in the future. Slide Saffold into guard and boom.
Round 5: LB Preston Brown - Can provide depth and develop into potential replacement for Watson.
Round 7: P Pat O'Donnell - Lets go. Yoked punter who can run like a receiver. Yes please. Oh and he won't cost over 3 million a year.All questions, comments, and concerns are welcome. Be friendly :)