Three Free Agents Who Won’t Be Bucs
By Patrik Nohe
I figured I’d kill three birds with one stone, because two just isn’t that impressive anymore. Lately the Buccaneers have been a team circulated as a candidate in regards to a number of free agents. I’ve seen discussions about Nnamdi Asomugha, Tiki Barber and now Plaxico Burress, so let’s just step back for a moment and think about all the reasons that those three players won’t be in pewter next season.
First and foremost comes organizational philosophy, this is a team that has gone to painstaking lengths to get younger and more competitive not just for the season at hand but for the future as well. Typically, after riding a specific MO to success a team becomes even more set in their ways, not more lax on the philosophy.
All three of the aforementioned players will be over 30 on opening day next season, Asomugha being the youngest and he will not come cheap. This is a Bucs team that wouldn’t give Derrick Brooks an offer after being arguably the greatest player in its history during his career. He didn’t get a sniff and the team willingly alienated part of the fan-base to stand by that difficult decision. That was two years ago when he was 36.
You’re telling me that two years later the Bucs are going to make a play at 36 year-old Tiki Barber or Plaxico Burress who has been in prison for the last 20 months and is 34? That doesn’t vibe with any of the Buccaneers’ previous moves or their stated philosophy. Both players would be stop-gaps, standing in the way of younger players’ development and offering little upside. Neither Burress nor Barber would make the Bucs a better team. Heck, neither would even come into camp game-ready.
Those two obviously won’t be Bucs next season, the one who continues to be discussed though is Nnamdi Asomugha. I just don’t see that working out though. The Bucs haven’t decided on Aqib Talib yet and at 30 Asomugha still demands top dollar, but chances are he will regress ever year of the contract so the value of the deal diminishes in the future, which is what the Bucs are building towards.
The Glazers and the Bucs front office need to spend responsibly, this isn’t a frugality issue, it’s a common sense issue. The difference between Aqib Talib and Nnamdi Asomugha on the field isn’t that stark, off the field Asomugha is less of a risk to get into trouble but you have to pay him substantially more for it. The Bucs haven’t even made a determination on Talib yet, according to Ronde Barber he will probably still be around next season, that makes the need for Asomugha even less if that holds true.
Either way though, look for the Bucs to go after a second-tier corner with some tread still on the tires. Carlos Rogers is getting a little older (29) but a player like him or Jonathan Joseph of the Bengals would be serviceable in the Bucs scheme and give them a lot more financial flexibility.
The Bucs are building for the future, none of the three free agents we just talked about fit into that.