Even though the main wave of free agency is over, it doesn’t mean you can’t find any quality players still out in search of a new home.
For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they have some money to play with, but options will be very limited. There is always the potential of another cut to free up cap space (cough* Gerald McCoy cough*) but right now, it’s slim pickings in Tampa Bay.
Just in case a couple of more cuts come, here are a few players that the Bucs should consider looking at.
1. Johnathan Cyprien, S
He played very well for the Tennessee Titans, the only problem is that he appeared in just 10 of 32 possible games over the course of two years.
But that could work in Tampa Bay’s favor. The Bucs could lure him in with a one-year, prove it deal similar to Deonne Bucannon’s.
Cyprien is a tough, in-the-box safety that would automatically improve the Bucs’ run game. Before his 2017 injury, he never dipped below 100+ tackles in a season. He’s still young as well, evidenced by his 29 years of age.
2. Quinton Spain, G
With the announcement of Caleb Benenoch’s move to tackle and the Titan’s signing of Rodger Saffold, it’s all but certain that Spain is on the hunt for his new team.
It’s pretty obvious the Bucs need help at the right guard position. Benenoch’s absence, combined with Evan Smith’s departure in free agency made an already bad situation even worse.
Outside of Matt Slauson, Spain is the highest-graded guard left on the board according to Pro Football Focus. He’s good in pass protection and is slightly above average when it comes to opening up lanes for running backs.
He earned a career-high $1.97 million in 2018. There’s no reason to think the Bucs couldn't make that happen.
3. Morris Claiborne, CB
Well, it is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers we are talking about here, so naturally, we are going to be talking about the cornerback position.
While Claiborne will likely be the most expensive name on this list, he may make the most sense both financially and schematically.
He arguably had the best two years of his career under Todd Bowles in New York and only carried a $6.85 million cap hit in 2018. Claiborne is made for Bowles’ scheme and if the Bucs could get him in town for around the same price as last year, then it’s almost a no-brainer.
Claiborne would not only upgrade the secondary, but would also add depth to a position that was hit hard by injury a season ago.
4. Jason Verrett, CB
This would be a HUGE risk considering Verrett’s injury history, but if it were to work - talk about a major payoff.
Verrett is one of the league’s top cornerbacks when healthy, but that’s the key - his health. He’s played in just five games over the last three seasons, which would be an automatic red flag for any team.
But that also mean’s he’d be cheap. If he can get back to the player that recorded five interceptions in his first 24 games, it’d be akin to Tampa Bay striking the lottery.
You can certainly bet he’d be cheaper than Claiborne, plus he’ll have a chip on his shoulder in hopes to return to his prior form.
While this is mostly a gamble, oftentimes, a roll of the dice is what it takes to win in the NFL.
5. Markus Golden, DE
Another player familiar with the current staff, Golden had 12.5 sacks in 2016 before injuries cost him the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
12.5 sacks is no joke. The best part about that number is that they came while he played the EDGE position for the Arizona Cardinals.
It just so happens to be that the Bucs are in need of talented EDGE rushers now that they will likely move to a 3-4 base under Bowles. Combine that with the fact that Jason Pierre-Paul is going to cost over $14 million and it makes sense that the Bucs need to find other options that are effective, but cheaper.
This is another potential, low-risk/high-reward type deal that could really pay off in the end.