If you believe the words of Davin Joseph‘s agent, Ben Dogra, then it’s unlikely the Buccaneers will opt to use a franchise tag on Joseph. A fifth year guard out of Oklahoma, Joseph is arguably the Bucs best lineman and their biggest priority this off-season.
There’s two ways to read into this news, most likely negotiations (or even initial discussions) are going well enough that the Bucs are comfortable not using the tag. Chances are the Bucs don’t want to have to pay Joseph what it would cost to tag a guard and Joseph wants a long-term contract.
Not that they aren’t already thinking this, but the Bucs need to give Davin that contract. Joseph provides experience and stability on a line that was surprisingly deeper than anyone expected it to be last season. If the Bucs could lock up Joseph they would go into the season with a talented, deep group in the trenches.
The other way to read the news is that the Bucs may try to use the tag on Barrett Ruud. I doubt they will, Ruud is certainly not worth the pay that comes with the tag but it’s a possiblity. I think the Bucs could look to upgrade in the middle in the draft or possibly even if there’s free agency (less likely on both counts).