Cornerback is a position the Buccaneers must address in free agency, the draft, or both. We know they’re interested in Brent Grimes, but that isn’t the only option.
Brent Grimes has been a welcomed addition over the past two seasons. He is every bit as good as we expected him to be, making jaw dropping plays with his unrivaled athletic ability. For the Buccaneers, it certainly gave some stability to the secondary. Now that he’s become a free agent, two years may be all we get.
The Bucs expressed their interest in bringing Grimes back for the 2018 season at the very least that we know of. It was confirmed by Buccaneers.com senior writer and editor Scott Smith;
Mike Grimes, Brent’s wife, said on Twitter that Brent may not be done after all, but it all boils down to that almighty dollar;
So, if it’s strictly about the money, that’s fine. That’s how it is for most athletes, but very few – if any – are willing to admit it. NFL lives are short, so make the most of it while you can. Absolutely no problem with players pursuing every dollar they can before they can either walk away from the game or are forced out of it.
That said, what happens if the Bucs aren’t offering the “biggest bag” for Grimes’ services? Where do they turn?
As I stated on the latest Locked On Bucs Podcast, Johnathan Joseph would be a suitable “bridge” player for the Bucs at corner. He won’t command a ton of money given his age and longevity, but he’s still one of the best corners in the league. In just his tenure with the Houston Texans – seven seasons – he has 96 pass breakups, fourteen interceptions, and five forced fumbles. Joseph still has shut down ability and can bridge the gap for the Bucs while they either wait to draft a long term answer or while they continue to develop the young guys on the roster.
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Trumaine Johnson of the Los Angeles Rams is fixing to get paid. Coming off back to back franchise tags, Johnson has made over $30-million dollars in the last two season alone. Johnson will be a hot commodity come March and will get a long term deal from someone. The Bucs certainly have the money to spend on him if they decide they want to set up their secondary for the next five years with Johnson and Hargreaves covering the outsides.
Another player who is in for a big pay day is Patriots’ corner Malcom Butler. He was thrown into a lot of trade discussions – primarily surrounding the New Orleans Saints – through much of the last off-season, so it’s safe to say they may make a run at him this year. Butler is another player that will secure the position for the Bucs for the next four to six years opposite Hargreaves, but will command a lot of the cap room Jason Licht has to work with.
The Bucs can easily to get to around $80-million in cap space as I broke down here, but with extensions looming for Mike Evans, Jameis Winston, Ali Marpet, and Kwon Alexander they may be looking for more cost effective means of supplementing their roster. If they don’t have the money for Grimes for one or two seasons, they likely won’t have the money for Trumaine Johsnon or Butler for the long term deals they will receive.
It’s about acquiring players that will help you without putting yourself in salary cap hell, much like the Saints over the past few years and what the Kansas City Chiefs are currently facing.
I hope Grimes and the Bucs are able to work something out as Grimes has been more than a welcome addition to the team. He defies age week after week and makes play after play. However, if they can’t come to an agreement, there are plenty of open market options out there to soften the blow.