This time of year is always exciting due to free agency. I find myself constantly checking the news feeds to see who is available, and who has been re-signed. I know that GM Mark Dominik has said that we won't be big players in free agency, but where's the fun in that? I have composed a list of guys that are already out there or expected to be released in the next few days. Of course this list is going to grow, but as of today this is what I have come up with. Please feel free to add any players I have forgotten to include in the comments section and offer your analysis on whether or not you think they would be a good/great/horrible fit for the 2010 Buccaneers.
The analysis offered is solely my own. I don't claim to have any inside information or expert analysis. I'm a regular guy, just like you, that loves this team and wants it to succeed. I'm not sure if the Bucs even have any of these guys on their radar, but for this article I have decided to engage in a little of what I affectionately call "rosterbation" (before you guys start telling me I'm a comedic genius again, please note I did not invent this term, although I wish I had). This is where I simply fantasize about the Bucs being able to sign any of these guys regardless of the contracts they would demand, or whether or not they would want to come here.
Check out the list after the jump.
Safety: Antrell Rolle
Status: Expected to be released by Arizona this week.
Analysis: A former first round draft pick, Rolle transitioned from CB to FS this past season and made the Pro Bowl as an alternate. He amassed 71 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 4 interceptions last season. He will be the most highly sought after safety in free agency by far. Obviously we already have an outstanding free safety in Tanard Jackson, and Rolle is not suited to play strong safety. If the Buccaneers were to sign him I imagine they would ask him to transition back to cornerback, a position he is still extremely capable of playing. Having somebody as versatile as Rolle on the defense would improve the secondary tremendously. Chances of landing Rolle are slim as Arizona wants to re-sign him, and he will demand a hefty price tag. They were only forced to release him due to an extremely large bonus he was due from his rookie contract.
Linebacker: Karlos Dansby
Status: UFA, not franchised.
Analysis: Yet another Arizona player that could make us better in so many ways. Last season Dansby tallied up 109 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 interception. Although Dansby has played the last few years as an inside 3-4 backer, he is extremely versatile and is quite capable of playing either the strong side or weak side in a 4-3 scheme. He could easily play this season with Ruud and Hayes, and offer insurance should Ruud walk in 2011. Dansby will be sought after by any and all teams with a hole in the 2nd level of their defense, and will command a huge contract. We've got the cap room. Let's make it happen.
Wide Receiver: Torry Holt
Status: Released by Jacksonville
Analysis: If you would have asked me if I wanted Holt prior to the Bryant situation I would have told you no, but now bringing someone like him in is almost a necessity. Assuming we somehow obtain a #1 WR, we are still going to need a # 2 (unless you think Stovall is ready). Holt quietly had a decent little season last year in Jacksonville. He caught 51 balls for 722 yards, but did not find the end zone at all. These numbers are far from fantastic but are significantly better than any Buccaneer WR (aside from TD's) in 2009. Holt is a tremendous route runner and would still be an asset in 3rd down situations. He is a consummate professional and would be valuable in a "locker room" capacity as well.
LB/DE: Adalius Thomas
Status: Expected to be released by New England
Analysis: Thomas has had issues with Bill Belicheat in New England pretty much since he arrived from Baltimore. If the Bucs were to sign him it would obviously be at defensive end, a position he was successful at early in his career. Does he still have it in him? I think it's worth a shot if he's cheap enough, which he may very well be since he just had his third disappointing season in a row.
DE: Julius Peppers
Status: UFA, not franchised
Analysis: Peppers is finally getting his wish and will be allowed to leave Carolina. I feel like Peppers only plays hard when he feels like it (as in, it's a contract year). I'm not sure if he is worth the money it will cost to bring him in, but he would be an immediate improvement over the players currently on the roster. I feel like we would be throwing money away on Peppers and although I know he is a talented player, I don't want him on my favorite team. Thanks but no thanks, Julius. Go get paid somewhere else.
CB: Adam "Pac-Man" Jones
Status: Released by Dallas
Analysis: I know what you are thinking, but maybe Raheem the Dream is exactly what this guy needs to get his head on straight. Jones is a first round talent with a 7th round head. His physical tools are exemplary and almost unmatched in the NFL. If it were up to me I would invite him to camp and see if he can keep it together. He is working out for pro scouts on March 19th, which happens to be my birthday, so let's see if Pac-Man can give me a present and finally realize his potential without getting into hot water with the law or Mr. Goodell.
LB: Joey Porter
Analysis: Miami just did some roster juggling (see link above) that left many wondering on whether or not Porter is going to be released. He certainly has expressed his desire to be let go. I don't think he would be a good fit for us at all. His attitude and age are a huge turn off for me. Maybe it's just because I have never liked him and view him as a "bad guy", but I don't want him playing for my beloved Buccaneers.
LB: Antonio Pierce
Status: Released by NYG
Analysis: Pierce only played nine games last year, and he didn't play well in those nine games either. All indicating factors point to the obvious conclusion that he is done. He would be a downgrade to Ruud at this point, but is probably unwilling to accept a 2nd string contract.
Center: Kevin Mawae
Status: Expected to be released by Tennessee
Analysis: While we are set at center with Jeff Faine, it would be nice to have a back up plan. The sixteen year veteran can still perform at a very high level, and even made the pro bowl last year. According to his agent Mawae wants to start somewhere, but if we could convince him to become a 2nd string player, he would add a ton of depth to the offensive line.
WR: Terrell "I love me some me" Owens
Status: Released by Buffalo
Analysis: No thank you. It's really that simple. The last thing Freeman needs is a drama queen like Owens whispering in his ear. I knew you guys would want me to include him on the list, but that's all I really have to say about him. He could probably be a decent #2, but his ego will never allow him to be.
RB's: LaDainian Tomlinson, Brian Westbrook, Thomas Jones, and Darren Sproles
Status: In the order above; Released by S.D., Released by Philly, Expected to be released by NYJ, and Unsigned by S.D.
Analysis: If I could have any of the players above, it would be Jones. He is a bruiser and is still producing at a very high level. I always thought it was a mistake we let him go the first time, and would love to have him back in Tampa. Of course this means someone currently on the roster would have to go, which is not likely to happen. Sproles is interesting, but I think we have too much money tied up in the back field to sign him. If we were to release Ward it would be very feasible to sign Sproles and let him back up Caddy. Heck, he may even warrant a look as a starting running back, as he has never been given the opportunity.
L.T. and Westbrook are just too old and injury prone to provide a spark for this offense. They may help with ticket sales, but since I don't own the team, I don't give a crap about ticket sales. I suspect both will find homes somewhere for 2010, but I hope it's not here.
Well, that's what I've got so far guys. Like I said at the beginning, please feel free to sound off in the comments section with your opinions on the players listed or players I may have forgotten to include. Looking forward to the discussion.