Like the rest of us, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be watching the NFL Playoffs this year. Unlike the rest of us, the Bucs have a chance of making it to the post-season next year, and could potentially do so using the assistance of some guys getting a little playoff experience in 2020.
As the Tennessee Titans travel to face the New England Patriots, here are some guys doing so on expiring contracts who could become targets of Jason Licht and the Buccaneers when the new league year begins in early March.
2020 FREE-AGENTS: TENNESSEE TITANS
ILB, Daren Bates (29) WR, Cameron Batson (24)
CB, Tramaine Brock (32) RT, Jack Conklin (26)
ILB, Kamalei Correa (26) FB, Anthony Firkser (25)
RB, David Fluellen (28) DE, Reggie Gilbert (27)
RB, Derrick Henry (26) WR, Darius Jennings (28)
DT, Austin Johnson (26) RT, Dennis Kelly (30)
QB, Marcus Mariota (26) CB, Chris Milton (27)
OG, Kevin Pamphile (29) TE, MyCole Pruitt (28)
CB, Logan Ryan (29) WR, Tajae Sharpe (25)
CB, LeShaun Sims (27) CB, Tye Smith (27)
FREE-AGENT FOCUS: QB, MARCUS MARIOTA
It’s actually right tackle, Jack Conklin. Listen, if there’s a world where the Tennessee Titans let their former first-round draft pick into the open market, I’m here for it.
And on the off chance they do, it’s worth investing an afternoon of your time watching him so you have some knowledge of what the 25-year old brings to the field. Considering the Titans have the cap space, and the entire NFL landscape of right tackles can show you how valuable a solid starter is, they should be doing whatever they can to keep him in Nashville for the foreseeable future.
I know, kind of a let down. But, there’s also a guy by the name of Dennis Kelly who turns 30 before the Super Bowl and would potentially be a great three year signing while developing whatever draft pick is sitting behind him after April.
So, even if Conklin doesn’t come available, the end result could be Kelly getting the chance to find a team in need of a right tackle. And reports from Titans coverage is definitely encouraging pertaining to Kelly.
2020 FREE-AGENTS: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
CB, Justin Bethel (30) QB, Tom Brady (43)
DT, Adam Butler (26) OLB, Shilique Calhoun (28)
OLB, Jamie Collins (30) DE, Keionta Davis (26)
WR, Phillip Dorsett (27) FS, Nate Ebner (30)
OG, Jermaine Eluemunor (25) C, James Ferentz (31)
K, Nick Folk (35) C, Ted Karras (27)
FS, Devin McCourty (33) RT, Marshall Newhouse (31)
OLB, Elandon Roberts (26) DT, Danny Shelton (27)
WR, Matthew Slater (34) OG, Joe Thuney (27)
ILB, Kyle Van Noy (29) TE, Benjamin Watson (39)
FREE-AGENT FOCUS: QB, TOM BRADY
Just Kidding...or am I? Yes. I am. Right? Maybe.
Ok, so the guy I’m looking at in this game is actually Joe Thuney.
The New England Patriots have about half of the cap room the Tampa Bay Buccaneers do, and while re-signing a guard isn’t going to do much for the off-season highlight reel, it’s a good move if you have a good guard. Which the Patriots do. In Thuney. Was I not clear about that?
Anyway. So, once again, we’re looking at an offensive lineman who may very well not even make it to open waters. But, if Tom Brady leaves town, perhaps it signals Bill Belichick’s departure from New England as well. And if all of that goes down, then perhaps, this young lineman takes his chances in free-agency or forces the Patriots to tag him.
It’s a lot of what-ifs. But some of those very what-ifs are what helped spark the Patriots’ dynasty in the first place. Like, ‘What if the veteran starting quarterback got injured and it turns out the sixth-round back-up is actually the best quarterback of all time?’. That was one hell of a what-if. And it happened.
So, this could to. Don’t rain on my parade.
And no, I’m not saying Alex Cappa has to be replaced. But if there’s a potential upgrade to your offensive line out there, don’t you owe it to your franchise tagged quarterback to at least kick the tires? I think so.
Don’t like these picks? Make your own! And come back next week as the winner from this match-up gets to face-off against another worthy AFC (Eastern Conference) opponent.
We’ll be back with more looks at the teams competing in the 2019-20 NFL Playoffs!