The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have a lot of room to spend in free agency this season. Some $67 million in cap space, in fact, a number that leads the league according to Over The Cap.
That’s great news for the Bucs, who need a talent infusion, as they do every season. They could use a pass rusher (Chandler Jones might be available), a running back (Le’Veon Bell is...probably not going to hit the market), a safety (Eric Berry miiiiiight hit free agency), and a receiver (Alshon Jeffery says hi). In other words: plenty of needs, plenty of players who might fill some of those needs.
The problem, of course, is that building your team through free agency is really difficult and likely to backfire. Highly-priced free agents displace others, and often underperform. As Bucs fan have seen over and over again over the years — though at least this past year was reasonably successful in free agency.
The Bucs also have to take into account future contracts. They have a number of players who will demand big-time paydays in the near future, most notably Jameis Winston and Mike Evans. Some of that will be offset by losing aging veterans like Robert Ayers and Brent Grimes, as well as by a salary cap that’s likely to keep rising.
And then there’s a third issue: general manager Jason Licht does not like spending big money on big time free agents. He likes to shop a tier lower: aging veterans who may have a few years left, second- and third-tier free agents who can play but won’t transform your team — and won’t break the bank. So the overall spending power may be limited simply by Licht’s strategy on the market.
Still, overall, there’s a lot of money to go around and a lot of holes the Bucs could fill. Which means that we could, once again, see a renewed Tampa Bay Buccaneers team come August 2017.