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Bucs won’t like Kenny Stills at reportedly $12 million per year

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Wild Card Round - Miami Dolphins v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers need a receiver. We don’t know whether they’ll try to find one in free agency or in the 2017 NFL draft, but we do know one thing: they’ll add one somewhere.

A recently popular pick for the Bucs is free agent Kenny Stills, who’s set to leave the Miami Dolphins and make a whole lot of money in free agency despite consistently lackluster production in his four-year career. In fact, the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero reports the receiver’s looking at $12 million per year — at least.

That’s a lot of money for a receiver who got traded for Dannell Ellerbe and a third-round pick just two years ago. To be fair, Stills has been productive and improved significantly last year — by posting 726 receiving yards. His best season came in 2014, when he had 63 catches for 931 yards.

Which is al pretty solid and worth a decent-sized contract, especially given his speed, the fact that he’s just 24 years old, and the potential for him to break out in the near future. But let’s be real here: this is Vincent Jackson money, and Stills is not worth Vincent Jackson money.

That doesn’t mean some team won’t jump in to pay him that kind of cash, though. Look at Olivier Vernon, who signed a five-year, $85 million contract with the New York Giants last year after a free agency period in which his value just kept rising, despite having posted double-digit sacks only once, in 2013.

Fact is, young players who have the potential to get better are worth a whole lot of money on the free agent market right now. The value instead seems to be in older veterans who might have one or two years left — no one wants to pay for those guys. The Bucs are a lot more likely to sign an old veteran at a cheap price, than someone like Kenny Stills at $12 million per year.