The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have shown some interest in Cleveland Browns right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. She names the New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings as other interested parties, and notes that Schwartz is likely to get around $8.5 million per year on the open market.
Schwartz was originally drafted in the second round of the 2012 NFL draft, and the 26-year-old has been the Browns' starting right tackle for every game in the past four seasons. For two of those years, he was coached by George Warhop, who is now the Buccaneers' offensive line coach.
Schwartz is arguably the top tackle available in free agency, though he's mostly restricted to the right side of the offensive line. The Bucs' interest is a little surprising, given that they have Demar Dotson and Gosder Cherilus under contract at right tackle -- but Cherilus' $4.5 million price tag may be too high for a tackle who was adequate, but little more than that.
Dotson is under contract for one more year, and the Bucs could look to sign Schwartz as a long-term replacement. If they do so, they'd likely try to trade Dotson, who's one of the better right tackles in the NFL but is seeking an improved contract at 30 years old.
Of course, the fact that the Bucs are showing interest in Schwartz doesn't mean they're going to break the bank for him. It's possible they're just testing the waters. Most indications are that the Bucs are not going to hand out top-of-the-market contracts this offseason, despite having nearly $60 million in salary cap space.