Jan 4, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dexter McCluster (22) runs with the ball against the Indianapolis Colts during the 2013 AFC wild card playoff football game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mock Offseason: Predicting the NFL Draft and Free Agent Moves for the Bucs

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers face an important offseason in 2014, as a new coach and general manager set out to turn the team around after a string of losing seasons under the previous two coaches. So who will Lovie Smith and Jason Licht bring in to bolster their team and get the Buccaneers back into the playoffs?

Even though it’s only February, we’re less than a month from the start of the pre-free agency period when teams can begin to talk to players and agents. So before that kicks off, here are my early thoughts on what the Buccaneers offseason could look like.

Extend

Gerald McCoy, Five years, $12 million average, 30 million guaranteed.

Restructure

Davin Joseph, Reduce salary to $1.75 million per year average, no guarantees.

Release

Michael Koenen

Re-sign

Andrew Economos

Dekoda Watson

Jonathan Casillas

Ted Larsen

Erik Lorig (All players re-signed to reasonable, 1-2 year deals for the minimum, or slightly above.)

Free Agents

QB Kellen Clemens, 2 years, $3.5 million total

WR/KR/PR Dexter McCluster, 3 years, $10 million total (Similar to the deal for Jacoby Jones in Baltimore a few years ago.)

WR Seyi Ajirotutu, 1 year, $900,000 total.

TE Ben Hartsock, 2 years, $2 million total

G Jon Asamoah, 4 years, $12 million total

T J’Marcus Webb, 1 year, $800,000 total

DE Corey Wootton, 4 years, $9 million total

DT Peria Jerry, 2 years, $2 million total

DT Fred Evans, 1 year, $850,00 total

LB Akeem Jordan, 2 years, $2 million

CB Drayton Florence, 1 year, $1.5 million total

S Darian Stewart, 1 year, $800,000 total

NFL Draft

1st Round: Khalil Mack, LB/DE, Buffalo

2nd Round: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

4th Round: Chris Davis, CB, Auburn

5th Round: Brett Smith, QB, Wyoming

7th Round: Jeremiah George, ILB, Iowa State

7th Round Compensatory Pick or Priority Undrafted Free Agent: Steven Clark, Punter, Auburn

Rationale

Extending Gerald McCoy is the story of the offseason, as the Buccaneers must do what they can to keep McCoy around for the long haul. He’s arguably the best at his position in the NFL, and deserves a hefty contract and the role as the centerpiece of the franchise.

While they don’t need to free up any money, the Buccaneers make a couple of money-minded moves in this mock offseason, re-working Davin Joseph’s deal to fall more in line with his present value, while also letting go of overpaid punter Michael Koenen.

The Bucs also bring back a few key role players on cheap contracts to maintain depth and special teams coverage ability. Dekoda Watson and Jonathan Casillas return mainly for their special teams prowess, but also for depth at linebacker.

The team doesn’t make any big splashes in free agency, opting to make some depth-building moves instead. The biggest addition is wide receiver and return man Dexter McCluster, who provides an instant impact as a third receiver and a special teams ace. The only other “big” signings are defensive end/defensive tackle hybrid Corey Wootton and guard Jon Asamoah, who will take over for Davin Joseph or Carl Nicks, depending on Nicks’ health.

The rest of the free agent moves shore up weak positions on the depth chart, with Drayton Florence proving to be the biggest name among them. Florence steps in to play nickel corner and help take pressure off of Johnthan Banks.

And of course, the Buccaneers add an experienced, veteran quarterback in Kellen Clemens who wasn’t awful last season for the Rams and provides an upgrade over Dan Orlovsky as the emergency plan at QB.

In the draft, the Buccaneers add Khalil Mack with the thought of either turning him into a defensive end, or using him in a hybrid role. They follow up the pick by adding Brandin Cooks, who provides a ton of speed and playmaking ability at wide receiver.

Chris Davis helps solidify the depth chart at corner as an undersized but capable cover corner. Brett Smith provides a project quarterback for Jeff Tedford to work with and develop while Glennon and Clemens compete for the starting job.

Jeremiah George is a productive middle linebacker who can backup Mason Foster and provide a slightly different skillset from Mason, while Steven Clark replaces Koenen as the punter.

What do you think of these picks? Who would you like to see the Buccaneers target? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Next Buccaneers Game View full schedule »
Sunday, Sep 2828 Sep1:00at Pittsburgh SteelersBuy Tickets

Tags: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

comments powered by Disqus