The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were one of the biggest spenders in free agency last year. For the third year in a row. And for the third year in a row, their return-on-investment has been terrible.
A primary example is the offensive line. They tried to overhaul the entire line. It hasn't worked, and the line was particularly disastrous against the Baltimore Ravens last week. Even Logan Mankins, who the Bucs gave up a fourth-round pick and Tim Wright for, has been a problem.
"Logan Mankins is by no means the player he once was," Greg Cosell said on 98.7 The Fan today. "In fact, in many games he's been kind of a detriment at left guard. He's been an issue, the whole line's been an issue."
Logan Mankins isn't all that's wrong with the Bucs offense, nor is he even the worst offensive lineman. But he just gets beats too often. There are too many plays, especially in pass protection, where he's made to look a fool. There are too many cases where the communication with Anthony Collins and Evan Dietrich-Smith is off.
Mankins the way he's currently playing isn't remotely worth what the Bucs are giving him in salary, nor what they gave up for him in trade. And from the looks of the offense and the offensive line in particular, his attitude and leadership haven't really made a difference, either.
And that echoes other free agent additions, too. Evan Dietrich-Smith hasn't been bad, per se, but he hasn't been a noticeable improvement over Jeremy Zuttah either. Josh McCown has been a massive disappointment. Michael Johnson has played some okay football on an injured ankle, but he hasn't turned into the edge rusher the Bucs want. Anthony Collins has been up-and-down. Only Alterraun Verner and Clinton McDonald have played relatively well.
Six games is not a lot for free agents to show what they have. A lot of the issues are related to a lack of familiarity with scheme, and a lot of those issues are fixable. But the very early returns on the team's free agent spending this offseason has not bee positive.