Over the past week in various interviews, Jason Licht has spoken extensively on his philosophy: build through the draft, and search for value in free agency. With Licht's history as a front office executive with the Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals, that should be no surprise. Their philosophies have never emphasized expensive free agents, although the Eagles on occasion dabble in them.
Instead, the Patriots, Cardinals and Eagles have often opted to sign 'value' free agents. And, specifically, older players who can perform specific roles within the team's scheme. The general philosophy: ask what a player can do, not what he can't do -- and then put him in position to do the one thing he can do.
That's why John Abraham has been a Falcon (whose general manager comes from the Patriots' school) and Cardinal over the past years, and why Atlanta signed Michael Turner. It's why the Patriots have players like Rob Ninkovich and Danny Amendola. It's why the Ravens traded for Anquan Boldin. It's why none of the premium free agents in the past decade ever signed with those teams.
That doesn't mean big-name free agents can't ever represent value, but it's simply not what those front offices have done. And there's little reason to believe that Jason Licht's front office will be all that different. The one ray of hope for those wanting big-name free agents: Lovie Smith's bears did sign Julius Peppers to a ridiculous contract, which worked out fairly well.
But more likely the Bucs will go after older players who can probably do a few things in the team's scheme. Charles Tillman would be the most obvious available example, who still played well when healthy the past few years. Jared Allen might be another example, as he isn't likely to be too expensive due to his age. Other fits for that kind of philosophy might be Anquan Boldin, Danario Alexander, Ted Ginn, Brandon Myers, Fred Davis, Jordan Gross, Willie Colon and Shaun Lauvao. Effectively, anyone who could still be a serviceable contributor for a couple of years, but for whatever reason isn't too expensive.
Don't expect the Bucs to go after the expensive free agents, though. No Greg Hardy or Jairus Byrd or Bent Grimes or even Geoff Schwartz, probably. That's not Jason Licht's philosophy.