The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are heading for free agency, as is the rest of the NFL. Which also means writers get lots and lots of opportunities to analyze what they should do. Today: the always interesting Bill Barnwell of ESPN (and formerly Football Outsiders), who went through every team in the NFL, division by division, listing their top 5 offseason moves.
Barnwell has one no-brainer: get a number two wideout. The Bucs don't have one. They need one. It's not rocket science. The interesting thing is the range of options Barnwell provides for the position.
They could use more speed downfield to stretch teams, given that the only notable burner on the roster right now is Evans, who is almost always attracting extra attention anyway. The need for speed could push them toward DeSean Jackson or Kenny Stills, although Stills likely had a career year in terms of touchdown percentage in 2016.
The search for a more well-rounded target could push Tampa toward veterans such as Kenny Britt or Pierre Garcon, or it could consider a lower-end option such as Robert Woods or Andre Holmes. Under any circumstances, the Bucs will need to have a beefier depth chart at wideout come July.
In other words: the Bucs have a lot of different options, and could look at any number of players in free agency — and that’s before we even get to the draft. I would think that adding some explosive speed would be a priority — but there’s something to be said for a more steady possession receiver as well.
Barnwell also suggests the Bucs release Alterraun Verner and Evan Smith, while keeping Doug Martin. It seems the Bucs are listening: just hours after that column was published, the Bucs released Verner. I guess it's just a matter of time on Smith, who hasn't lived up to his contract, and Martin could stick around for a while as he goes through rehab -- the Bucs can then re-evaluate how likely he is to play well this year. Of course, that may be a little late for their plans in free agency and the draft, forcing them to make a decision sooner than Martin would like.
One interesting topic is safety: Barnwell thinks the Bucs should re-sign Bradley McDougald and start him next to Keith Tandy, who did well the last weeks of last season. I’d like to see some added depth and possibly a new starter at that position, though, either in free agency with someone like Tony Jefferson, or in the draft with someone like Budda Baker.