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Free agents interested in Buccaneers now that they're drafting a quarterback

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a massive splash in free agency last year, a splash that mostly failed to produce results. Part of the reason for that splash and the relatively low salaries the Bucs paid that year was the presence of Lovie Smith and the aura of success surrounding him.

This year, though, the Bucs didn't manage to sign a single highly-priced free agent. Or even a medium-priced one. Everyone they signed was already familiar with the Bucs' system, and the only one who wasn't was George Johnson, acquired in trade. On offense, they didn't add anyone of note despite that side of the ball being the main problem.

And that wasn't for a lack of trying, necessarily: they brought in several players they never ended up signing. Part of the reason was likely the fact that the Bucs were coming off a 2-14 season, which means many players suddenly lost interest in playing for them. Money could have fixed those issues, but for some reason, the Bucs didn't want to overpay for anyone.

That may be changing now, as NFL players are intrigued by the Bucs' new quarterback.

That's...a little weird, though. For one, no one left on the free agency market is a highly-coveted player. Those were all signed early in the process, so it's not like these players have a lot left to choose from. For two, it's been known for a long, long time that the Bucs will almost certainly draft a quarterback. So what's changed, exactly?

Still, it's good to see that NFL players are a little more optimistic about the BUcs.