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 Minnesota Vikings visit the New Orleans Saints, 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: MINNESOTA VIKINGS
RB, Ameer Abdullah (27) | CB, Mackensie Alexander (26)
K, Dan Bailey (32) | OLB, Kentrell Brothers (27)
P, Britton Colquitt (35) | LT, Dakota Dozier (29)
DE, Everson Griffen (32) | FB, C.J. Ham (27)
SS, Anthony Harris (28) | OG, Rashod Hill (28)
C, Brett Jones (29) | S, Jayron Kearse (26)
QB, Sean Mannion (28) | TE, David Morgan (27)
SS, Andrew Sendejo (32) | CB, Marcus Sherels (32)
WR, Laquon Treadwell (25) | CB, Trae Waynes (28)
DE, Stephen Weatherly (26) | OLB, Eric Wilson (25)
FREE-AGENT FOCUS: RB, AMEER ABDULLAH
There were high expectations for Ameer Abdullah was drafted out of Nebraska by the Detroit Lions. Those expectations were never met, and it resulted in his transfer to the Minnesota Vikings last year.
Doing very little in 2018, Abdullah stepped into a depth role behind Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison.
His biggest draw for the Buccaneers this off-season would be his kickoff return ability. Especially given the injury to T.J. Logan and Bruce Arians’ assertion he wants competition at every position come time for training camp.
If Abdullah were to join the Bucs, and Logan were to come back from his injury for another season with Tampa Bay, then these two backs would be in direct competition. Abdullah also adds some receiving ability to his own resume, and caught 15 receptions for 88-yards with one touchdown in 2019.
Still young, Abdullah will be 27 entering training camp this coming season, so if he’s looking for a chance to jumpstart his once promising career the Bucs certainly look like a team he could try to do it with.
2020 FREE-AGENTS: NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
ILB, Stephone Anthony (28) | CB, Eli Apple (25)
CB, Johnson Bademosi (30) | SS, Von Bell (25)
QB, Drew Brees (41) | QB, Teddy Bridgewater (28)
WR, Austin Carr (26) | SS, J.T. Gray (24)
CB, Justin Hardee (26) | QB, Taysom Hill (30)
WR, Lil’jordan Humphrey (22) | WR, Keith Kirkwood (26)
OLB, A.J. Klein (29) | FB, Zach Line (30)
OLB, Josh Martin (28) | RT, Patrick Omameh (30)
DT, David Onyemata (27) | OG, Andrus Peat (26)
DE, Noah Spence (26) | FS, D.J. Swearinger (29)
ILB, Manti Te’o (29) | OG, Cameron Tom (25)
RB, Dwayne Washington (26) | CB, P.J. Williams (27)
LS, Zach Wood (27)
FREE-AGENT FOCUS: DT, DAVID ONYEMATA
The Saints project to have less than $5M in cap space for 2020, but have a few easy decisions they can make to free up space. Guys like Janoris Jenkins and Kiko Alonso are high on the list of guys who are likely to be moved, and the two alone save New Orleans almost $20M with zero dead money.
So, if they want to keep Onyemata, they’ll certainly have the funds to do it. Still, the Saints have some tough decisions ahead of them, and keeping Onyemata may not be a luxury they can afford.
At 27 years old, the former fourth-round pick has given the team that drafted him a solid return on their investment. He’s played in all but one game in his career, and started 15 in 2019 alone.
He only came up with three sacks on his own, but has shown the ability to impact opposing offensive lines and open up opportunities for his teammates. Hard to believe, but he’s been playing football for less than a decade despite having four full seasons in the NFL.
The Buccaneers have a coaching staff now known for their ability to teach and develop players. They also have Vita Vea and Ndamukong Suh (if he re-signs) who have shown their own ability to be disruptive and would be positive influences as Onyemata continues to refine his game.
Playing behind Suh for one year, Onyemata could develop into a starter, and would be a strong contributor from day one either way.
Abdullah and Onyemata are just a couple of the potential free-agents taking the field for Wild Card Weekend as the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints take part in the elimination game.
Let us know your thoughts on both of these guys, as well as any of the other upcoming free-agents you’ll be keeping an eye on.
We’ll be back with more looks at the teams competing in the 2019-20 NFL Playoffs!