The new league year kicks off in a matter of hours. With that, we prime you on all things Buccaneers as free agency begins.
There’s been a lot going on already during the open negotiating window – also known as the legal tampering period – but it appears that not much has to do with the Buccaneers. Outside of being strongly linked to DeSean Jackson, the Bucs haven’t been mentioned a whole lot when it comes to other free agents.
Here’s what we know;
DeSean Jackson is their number one target and they are pushing hard to get him according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network as well as Tiffany Blackmon, also of NFL Network. There’s no shortage of information out there regarding the Bucs and Jackson, but what else is in the works? Well, should they miss on Jackson, the receiver market has already been hit pretty hard.
Brandon Marshall has signed with the Giants, Pierre Garçon has agreed to terms with the 49ers, Kenny Stills is returning to the Dolphins. Outside of Jackson, the receiver marker for a top tier threat is down to Alshon Jeffery and Terrelle Pryor.
More from Bucs Free Agency
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On the defensive side, the Bucs have recently been linked to safety J.J. Wilcox of the Cowboys whom they appear to have serious interest in. Scott Reynold of Pewter Report said the Bucs will gauge Wilcox’s market against free agent safeties Bradley McDouglad and Chris Conte to see if pursuing him is the right move.
The Bucs are obviously no longer in the mix for defensive lineman Calais Campbell as he is now expected to sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars per reports. They were also linked to former Redskin Chris Baker to help fill a need along the defensive line which seems like a stronger possibility with Campbell off the market.
It doesn’t appear the Bucs will be in the market for Nick Mangold. Scott Reynolds also mentioned the Bucs have had no interest in him from the jump and that’s not likely going to change. Tony Jefferson agreed to terms last night with the Ravens, taking him off the market.
There are still questions at running back but it’s becoming more and more apparent those will be addressed in the draft and the Bucs won’t be spending money on a back outside of re-signing Jacquizz Rodgers.
Should the Bucs land Jackson and give him the rumored $10-Million per year – per Michael Lombardi – they likely won’t be signing another high priced free agent.
Last off-season, their big money acquisition was Doug Martin while the rest of free agency was used to fill needs with second tier guys on affordable deals. Buccaneers fans should expect more of the same this season unless the Glazers give the green light to Jason Licht to sign whoever they want by any means necessary.
One last player to keep an eye on is Russell Shepard. A special teams captain and a favorite in the locker room, he was given an offer by the Bucs but is entertaining other offers that would allow him more snaps at receiver per Jenna Laine. As much as the Bucs and their fans would love to have him back, there’s a price tag they aren’t willing to go over and he may have played himself on to another team in 2017.
Keep your eyes and ears open as the new league year kicks off at 4:00 p.m. EST today.