The Buccaneers re-signed Doug Martin, Keith Tandy, and Chris Conte. They brought in Brent Grimes, Robert Ayers, J.R. Sweezy, and Josh Robinson. That doesn’t mean the signings should stop.
There is little to no question about it: the Buccaneers have improved this offseason. From coaches to free agents, we’re seeing the Bucs trend in a positive direction.
Then again, we’ve said that before.
Something feels different this time. Maybe it’s the faith in Dirk Koetter, Maybe it’s the faith in Jameis Winston. Maybe it’s both, among other things. But that doesn’t mean they’re a finished product or even a division contender yet. There is a lot of work left to be done, both in free agency and the draft.
The Bucs will continue to spend their remaining $25.8 million dollars in cap space just as economically as they have thus far. Granted, there isn’t anyone left to “break the bank” for, but Jason Licht has done a fantastic job of walking that fine line of giving players what they want, but in a way beneficial to the team long term. There is no reason that shouldn’t continue.
Now, I mentioned here on Pewter Plank before a list of free agents the Bucs should be pursuing. Since then, all but two have been signed. One, Reggie Nelson, does not appear to be garnering any interest at all from the Bucs. The other? Well, he’s still out there.
Jameis Winston had an outstanding rookie season outside of the team’s final win-loss record. Third most passing yards by a rookie in NFL history, nearly thirty total touchdowns, and spearheading the Bucs’ most successful team offense in franchise history. And he did it with virtually no weapons.
Vincent Jackson missed time due to knee injuries, Mike Evans missed a game (really two if you count him basically being a decoy against the Saints), Austin Seferian-Jenkins missed over half the season (again), and Louis Murphy missed most of 2015. Winston was relegated to using Adam Humphries and Donteea Dye.
There is some size, but virtually no speed. And that needs to change.
Enter Percy Harvin.
Yes, he has an injury history and a reputation of not being the best of teammates. One would think (and hope) that seeing his stock plummet the way it has, his attitude in the locker room may have begun to change. Also, given the leadership, especially on the offensive side of the ball now, his ego may quickly be put in check. His demand is minimal and he may not even be signed to a team until camps begin and a team suffers an injury. One thing is certain; whoever brings Harvin in will do so on a short-term, likely one year, prove it deal for minimal expense.
This is exactly what the Bucs want.
Harvin, who turns 28 in May, provides that explosiveness the Bucs offense is sorely lacking. He has major game changing ability by being the big play threat that made him one of the most exciting players in the NFL while with Minnesota.
On top of that, Harvin is also a huge threat on special teams, another area where the Bucs need improvement. Bobby Rainey was sufficient, but how many punts did we witness him muff in 2015? Too many. Harvin is one of those rare players that, as soon as the ball is in their hands, they’re a threat to take it to the house.
And it wouldn’t hurt to gain a little more attitude on offense. We’ve heard people, including ourselves, discuss how important attitude on defense is. How about offense? Yes, there’s Joe Hawley at center that brings some nastiness to the line, as will J.R. Sweezy. Outside of them, the only attitude we get is Mike Evans, and his attitude is usually targeted towards the officials, and we know how well that goes.
Now, Harvin is not the end all be all of remaining free agents, but he certainly could add another layer to the offense’s capabilities. He would add a legitimate threat to the return game. And he would do that for a very inexpensive price tag. It’s certainly worth looking into.