With the Darrelle Revis trade on life support, and the Buccaneers reportedly shopping Eric Wright, one has to wonder who will line up at cornerback next season in Tampa Bay? Does Mark Dominik plan on drafting Deion Sandcastle? Draft pundits everywhere are calling this a weak draft and one in which a lot of teams will find disappointing players. It’s probably time for the Bucs to think about heading back to the bargain-basement for some free agent help, at least to add some depth to a roster that has seen more turnover than we all expected. Who can help? Here are three options that could help bring depth and add extra competition for the Buccaneers.
CB Mike Jenkins: Now that the market has cooled, it might be a good time to look at a hometown product who was drafted in the first-round in 2008. The 28-year old Bradenton product has been with the Cowboys for the past five seasons, but his career has been hampered by injury and a less than stellar relationship with Dallas coaches and front office. In the 2012 season, after the ‘Boys drafted CB Maurice Claiborne with their first pick, Jenkins allegedly demanded a trade and then sulked when it was not forthcoming. This could be a red flag or just run-of-the mill frustration that was blown out or proportion. At 5’10” and 198 lbs, Jenkins brings decent size to the position, and his speed remains above average. Though he did miss a lot of time in 2011, Jenkins is not a major injury risk and has a lot in the tank. Its unlikely he would start on the outside, but he would make a good slot corner and could be signed for a pittance with little risk. Time is of the essence because as teams go through their final draft prep, second-tier free agents will begin to find landing spots and Oakland is already talking to him.
DT Alan Branch. The former Seahawk washed out with Arizona after being drafted by the angry birds at the top of the second round in 2007. At 6’-6” and 325 lbs, Branch is hard to move and a force in the run game. The ex-Michigan star is a solid run-stuffing defensive tackle in a 4-3 front and he would add depth with a possibility to start. In 2012 he started all 16 games for the Seahawks and had 29 tackles and a sack. At this point in his career, Branch is not going to be a Pro Bowler, but he brings veteran experience and durability to a position where the Bucs have a definite need and where they cannot count on a draft pick performing as well.
QB Kevin Kolb. Let me get one thing straight – Kevin Kolb is not going to be anyone’s starter in the NFL. He had a great collegiate career at Houston, but has never been able to translate that success into the big leagues. He has had seven years to prove himself and history says he is a career backup, which is why the Bucs should be interested. He would be a definite upgrade of Dan Orlovsky and could maybe push Josh Freeman a little bit in training camp, though it is extremely doubtful he would unseat him. The point is that Kolb could bring the perception of competition, which Freeman needs to keep focused. After a white hot start last year, the Bucs’ QB flamed out in the stretch. Having Kolb on the bench as the city’s most popular player might help avoid the same fate in 2013.
These are just a trio of the many players still left on the market who could help the Buccaneers in 2013. What free agents do you want to see the Buccaneers pursue? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.