Another veteran free agent the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be interested in has hit the open market. The New York Jets will release former All-Pro center Nick Mangold, as he first announced on Twitter.
Mangold has been named to seven Pro Bowls and two first-team All-Pro teams, but missed eight games last year with the first longer-term injury in his eleven-year NFL career.
That makes him exactly the kind of veteran free agent Jason Licht would pursue: someone with some question marks, who’s likely to come cheaper than the top of the market, but with the potential to play very good football for a couple of years. See also: Grimes, Brent.
Of course, the Bucs could also go with Evan Smith, who’s still on the roster but spent two years on the bench, or Joe Hawley, who started the past two years but is now set to be a free agent.
All of these options are short-term solutions, though. Nick Mangold because he’s very close to the end of his career at 33 years old, Joe Hawley and Evan Smith because they’re not good enough to be secure, long-term options.
So even if the Bucs decide to pursue Mangold, or sign Hawley, or roll with Smith — they’ll need to find a longer-term solution at some point. That might be Ali Marpet, who plays right guard now, or a draft pick — we’ll have to wait and see.