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Tampa Bay Buccaneers Free Agents: Who will return, and who won't?

Here's the Bucs' list of unrestricted and restricted free agents, and my quick thoughts on each of them.


Quincy Black, LB
Black is a solid linebacker who has played adequately, but has not played to the level of his physical tools. The Bucs will try to bring him back, but won't give him a lot of money and he could get a better offer elsewhere. San Diego seems like a logical landing spot, since his old special teams coach signed there. 

Tim Crowder, DE
A decent backup defensive end who can start if needed. He has experience and should not be expensive. He will probably be back as a backup, or even as a starter if Da'Quan Bowers is not ready and he can beat Michael Bennett. 

John Gilmore, TE
A decent blocking tight end but not much more than that. The Bucs have several others who can block, and the addition of Luke Stocker makes it unlikely the veteran will be back. 

Adam Hayward, LB
A good, versatile backup and a core special teams player who the Bucs should bring back for depth. 

Davin Joseph, G
While Joseph hasn't quite lived up to his draft status, he is a powerful run blocker in a man scheme, and should fit new Offensive Line coach Pat Morris very well. He will be the Bucs' top priority and should be back. 

Niko Koutouvides, LB
Koutouvides is a special teams player only, and offers little else. I have no idea whether he'll be back, although free agency signings at LB could push him off the roster. 

Barrett Ruud, LB
Ruud is the smartest player on defense and has value in this scheme, but the Bucs have made no efforts to re-sign him, did not use the franchise tag on him and have brought in two young players who can both start at his position. I think he walks. 

Maurice Stovall, WR
Stovall always teases with his potential but never puts it together. The fact that he's a very good special teams player may get him a contract, though. 

Jeremy Trueblood, T
Trueblood could be re-signed, but only as a backup or as competition to a cheap contract. Davin Joseph loves him, and Pat Morris should be a better fit for him, but he is a horrible pass blocker and that will keep him off the field. 

Stylez G. White, DE
Stylez has been the Bucs' best defensive end these past seasons, but he is old and is a notoriously poor practice player who will likely sign elsewhere as a situational pass rusher. 

Cadillac Williams, RB
Cadillac is a great third-down back, but has lost the skills to contribute as a starter. The Bucs have little else on the roster for that role, though, and Cadillac has proven his value in protection Freeman. I see him back in a Buccaneers uniform. 


All of the following players have been offered tenders by the Bucs and can only sign with another club if that club gives up compensation, and the Bucs refuse to give them the same contract. This seems extremely unlikely, and they should all be back with the Bucs. 

Connor Barth, K - Compensation: 2nd-round pick
He's been a good, reliable kicker. He's struggled to get the ball deep on kickoffs, but the rules change that forces the ball back 5 yards should mitigate that. He'll be the starting kicker barring some amazing performance in training camp by whatever undrafted free agent the Bucs decide to bring in for competition. 

James Lee, T - Compensation: 2nd-round pick
Lee ended u p being the starter after Trueblood got injured, and hung on to that job even after Trueblood returned. I expect him to beat out Trueblood if the Bucs re-sign the penalty-prone pass-blocking nightmare, but he could face some serious competition if the Bucs bring in someone else. 

Corey Lynch, S - Compensation: 6th-round pick
Lynch got some playing time last season after Tanard Jackson was suspended and Cody Grimm was injured. Lynch is a terrific special teams player who has some range as a deep safety, but struggles to contribute against the run. He will struggle to beat out Ahmad Black and Larry Asante, though he could hang on to a roster spot as a special teams player. 

Elbert Mack, CB - Compensation: none, right of first refusal only
Elbert Mack is the worst corner the Bucs have (unless Anthony Gaitor is a major disappointment). He'll be in training camp, but I doubt he makes it to the regular season. 

Frank Okam, DT - Compensation: 5th-round pick
Okam is easily larger than any other Bucs defender, and could hang on to a roster spot because of his unique build. He showed some power and skills when he played late last season. 

Micheal Spurlock, WR/KR/PR - Compensation: none, right of first refusal only
Micheal Spurlock is the Bucs' main punt and kick returner and has done a good job in that role, even being the first Buccaneer to return a kickoff for a touchdown. He's also made some key catches as a wide receiver and can contribute in that role. His versatility should see him on the roster next season.