2012 Free Agency: Cornerbacks


The Buccaneers need help, but that’s stating the obvious. By firing Raheem Morris and his minions, the Glazers have publicly shouted from the to of a mountain that they are rebuilding their rebuilding mode. But as we inch closer to free agency the question is how will this effect the Bucs image for potential free agent targets.

First thing’s first: the Glazer’s don’t have to spend money this offseason as has been stated numerous time on The Pewter Plank Radio Network. But to draw in fans (and obviously to make immediate improvements) the Bucs need to spend in free agency.

So who would they target? Nothing can be ruled out at this point, from the biggest name to kicker from a practice squad.

Tampa has four major gaps that need immediate help: cornerback, offensive line, linebacker and safety. The draft will be used to assess these needs but the reason Raheem Morris was fired was he didn’t get results and when you don’t get results you don’t get respect and when you have a locker room of young players no respect equals cancer.

One way to plus the biggest hole (leadership) is to add veteran voices who can not only provide a voice of reason and discipline in the locker room but can also back it up by playing hard and producing results.

Over the next week I’ll be taking a look at potential free agent targets at the key positions they need help starting today with the most obvious need: cornerback.

It seems we are right back where we were last year at this time. The Bucs looked like they were going to be major players in a free agent market rich with top flight cornerback talent. This year’s class is just as flashy and the Bucs saw what happened when they slept on the available talent. Hopefully this year they won’t make the same mistake.

Ronde Barber 

With Aqib Talib the only real cornerback on roster, Tampa is in trouble. The Glazers may be forced to bring back Ronde Barber which would only be a bad thing when it comes to their youth movement. Barber returning to the Bucs would help provide a veteran voice on defense but most importantly it would provide continuity for these young guys. Everything they’ve known as pros was fired on New Years Day and they’re pretty much rookies again with a rookie coach. Barber would be a comforting carry-over, something to ease the transition along. He’s a Tampa staple and his ride into the sunset would be perfect as a tip of the cap to the young guys in the form of one last hand holding session.

Cortland Finnegan

Simply put, he should be avoided like the plauge because he is one. Despite his obvious talent, Finnegan is more off the rails then Aqib Talib and the last thing the Bucs need is two of him. Actually the last thing they need is someone more insane and despicable then Talib and that’s Finnegan. One thing adding him may do is not make Talib look so bad. The guys is that nasty. Talib was busted for fighting off the field, Finnegan was busted for fighting on it — during a game. He will command a high salary and he’s not worth the massive headaches and rifts he will create. However the Lions are looking into him: can you say match made in Heaven?

Brent Grimes

Tampa has seen this guy enough to have a proper scouting report on him. With the Falcons Grimes has been a real hassle for offenses and their passing game. His last two seasons have been his best. Bucs fans may remember him possibly intercepting the Bucs out of a playoff spot and last year he made the Pro Bowl. At 28 years young he fits the youth movement the Bucs are pushing and he knows how to win. While the Bucs have been figuring out how to be a franchise again, Grimes has been in the playoffs. He’d be an isnant upgrade and would put pressure on Talib’s heels as the teams number one corner. Add him in the mix with Morris Claiborne and potentially another name from this list and you’re looking at a completely revitalized cornerback situation. He’s number uno on my list.

Tracy Porter

If Grimes is my number one target, Porter is my second best option. I honestly think the Glazer’s should go hard after both for two reasons. One of the reasons is obviously to upgrade at the position. But the other is by adding Porter and Grimes the Bucs will have plucked two of the best corners from the division and transplanted them into their secondary. It won’t be cheap, but when has winning ever been that way? Porter is 25 so he fits the youth movement even more so the Grimes. But unlike some 25 year olds on this roster, he’s a winner. He has a Super Bowl ring and he has more experience then this entire defensive secondary at the moment combined. If the Glazer’s stepped up and added Grimes and Porter they instantly become the best secondary in the South and that’s before potentially adding Morris Claiborne. The Glazers have the money, they just might not have — well you fill it in. But just imagine the hype this team can get with a secondary that has Porter and Grimes before the draft.

Carlos Rogers

Rogers is the most likely candidate because he’s a one year wonder. He had success in Washington but only slightly, and once he got to San Francisco he took off. I had him high on my list of targets last year for the Bucs but adding Rogers may turn out the same as it probably would have then. A lot of the success of Rogers can be attributed to Jim Harbaugh and the rest of the Niners defense that was nearly perfect the whole season. The Niners made their name on run defense and the passing game was the only way teams could beat them was through the air. If Rogers comes to Tampa it will be at a price given his success in San Francisco and he will be expected to produce at at high level as well. I frankly don’t see ROgers being capable of the kind of success that will be demaded if he’s chosen over Grimes, Porter or even Barber. It could end up being a free agent bust and the reason the Glazers become recluses again in the market.

Brandon Carr

A name that probably won’t command a high salary is Brandon Carr. He doesn’t have light them up stats but he can provide the Glazer’s with a free agent signing that they think can make an impact. They’d be appeasing those calling for a signing outside the organization and they’d also be keeping their pockets nice and shallow. Carr would be a number two to Talib and would probably be challenged by Morris Claiborne as the number two. That’s not the signing you want, but don’t count Carr out. He has something to prove and by coming to Tampa it could be viewed as the bottom of the barrel, his Fight Club moment where it takes losing everything to realize your free, that the only way is up. This can benefit both Carr and the Bucs but it’s a stretch. There are better options available but at the end of the day the real question is: Who really wants to play in Tampa Bay?