clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Best remaining free agents for the Buccaneers

New, comments
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Going into the offseason, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers really needed to upgrade their defense. So far, the Bucs re-signed Doug Martin, signed J.R. Sweezy, and added absolutely no one on defense. They need to fix that. Not only do they need to add some kind of edge rush help this offseason, they also need to add depth to the secondary. The defensive backs played poorly last year, and it seems like the team is intent on not re-signing their best cornerback in Sterling Moore.

So let's take a look at who the Buccaneers could still sign to improve their defense -- and perhaps a few names for the offense, too.

DE Robert Ayers

The Bucs brought in Ayers for a visit on Tuesday, but he left without signing a deal. He's visiting the Jacksonville Jaguars today. Ayers is one of a very few veteran edge rushers still on the market, and really the only free agent who could significantly upgrade their edge rush. Ayers wasn't very productive at the start of his career, but has played well in recent seasons. Given that he's 30 years old, the question is whether he can reproduce last season's nine sacks.

DE Chris Long

Long's the other veteran defensive end available. He has just four sacks in 18 games over the past two seasons, but was one of the best edge rushers in the NFL between 2010 and 2013. He'll turn 31 this month, so he might be done as a productive defensive end. The Bucs need all the help they can get, though.

CB Brent Grimes

Grimes used to play for Mike Smith, has been to the Pro Bowl for the past three seasons and is still playing reasonably well -- though at 33, he's rapidly nearing the end of his career. It's telling that the Dolphins cut him in part because of his wife's social media presence. Miko Grimes drew attention for an arrest at a Dolphins game last season, and was a local sports radio host for a while. Those are certainly distractions, but Mike Smith had few problems dealing that when the Grimeses played for the Falcons -- and passing on a player because his wife's a little too loud for your tastes is one of the silliest things I've ever heard of. Grimes as a player would certainly boost the Bucs' secondary.

S Reggie Nelson

The Bucs need some help at safety. They've had talks with Chris Conte, but it's not clear whether he'll re-sign. They have a few other options, most notably Reggie Nelson. The Bengals free safety had a career year with eight interceptions last season and has generally played well the last few years, despite a slow start to his career. He also played for Mike Smith as a rookie. But, like the other options, he's old: 33.

CB Casey Hayward

Tired of all the old players? Try Casey Hayward, a 26-year-old cornerback who played well for the Green Bay Packers last yaer. He's more of a slot cornerback than someone who can start on the outside, though he's done that too. He should also come somewhat cheaply, given that he didn't play much in 2013 and 2014.