The NFL’s free agency period begins on Tuesday, but the “legal tampering” period is well underway, with plenty of news and rumors swirling about which players and which teams are likely to meet and sign deals once the new league year begins.
Here are some of the latest bits of information from around the web:
- Pewter Report’s Mark Cook is reporting that the Buccaneers will pursue Dexter McCluster once free agency begins. McCluster is a return man who can play running back and wide receiver, and definitely fits Jeff Tedford’s idea of “speed in space.” Cook even notes that McCluster may give the Buccaneers a hometown discount (the former Chief is from Largo.)
- McCluster would be a nice pickup to add depth and explosiveness on offense, but that’s not the only move the Bucs will make. Cook also reports that the team has been in talks with “as many as four” big name free agents and discussions of salary have entered the $10 million range. Michael Johnson is almost surely one of them, with Eugene Monroe possibly representing another.
- The Buccaneers are definitely still on the hunt for a veteran quarterback, and according to this set of tweets, Josh McCown might be their top target. The former Chicago Bear is looking to start, so don’t expect him to come to Tampa just to hold a clipboard. He’ll compete with Mike Glennon should he sign a deal with the Bucs.
- If the Buccaneers don’t get the pass rusher they want from the current crop of free agent options, they may have another choice that Lovie Smith knows from Chicago. The Bears have attempted to trade Julius Peppers, according to Adam Schefter, but there seems to be an implication that Peppers could be cut if a trade isn’t found. Peppers isn’t young, nor is he as productive as he once was, but on a cheap contract he might be worth a look in Tampa. The Bears are pursuing Lamarr Houston to bolster their defensive line, instead.
- Michael Bennett re-signed with the Seattle Seahawks, despite rumors that he was set to head elsewhere in free agency. The contract will be worth $28.5 million over four years, which seems to be a bit less than he could have commanded on the open market. That, or the Vikings overspent on Everson Griffen.
- The Buccaneers won’t be the only team pursuing Charles Tillman, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Biggs says that Tillman may land in Carolina, although the Panthers certainly won’t have much cash to throw at the veteran DB.
- Possible Bucs’ guard target Jon Asamoah is reportedly favored to head to Atlanta once free agency begins, according to Adam Caplan. The Bucs will almost certainly add a guard during the free agent frenzy, and Asamoah represented a cheaper option at the position.
- Daniel Te’o-Nesheim will reportedly test free agency this year rather than sign a deal to return to Tampa next season. We’re not too worried about where he winds up.
- Curious about how much your favorite free agent might cost? Joel Corry, a former agent, did his best to come up with contract amounts for some of the top targets this offseason.