Akeem Spence – Defensive Tackle
Akeem Spence seems like one of the most sure returns on this list. His ability to be able to rotate to various spots along the defensive line provides depth across the board that the Bucs still desperately need.
Thanks to performance escalators in 2016, Spence increased his income from $675,000 to $1.671-million dollars. A new contract with the Bucs certainly won’t break the bank, but Spence fills a role that the Buccaneers have to address one way or another.
A fourth round pick out of Illinois in 2013, Spence will likely be one of those rare breeds at One Buc that is drafted and retained by the Bucs. They’ve had issues retaining their own players for one reason or another but to keep Spence would show emphasis on the draft and develop philosophy they’ve been preaching.
One thing that may cause a bit of a snafu is that Spence was part of the final draft class pre-Licht, so there isn’t that tie to the GM of being one of “his guys”. Now, that’s not a sole reason Spence won’t be retained, but it is something to keep in mind.
It seems unlikely Spence will go elsewhere. He won’t garner big money on the open market and would benefit more from staying put under Jay Hayes and Mike Smith than venturing elsewhere.