Buccaneers: Examining free-agents from eliminated division round teams
Buccaneers fans are all too familiar with the Atlanta Falcons. One of two teams to sweep Tampa Bay in the NFC South this past season, there aren’t likely to be many fans willing to admit how much they’d enjoy some of this rivals talent on their own roster.
Still, looking at it objectively, the team made it back to the playoffs one year after making it to the Super Bowl. Bucs fans can poke fun all they like, but the team is finding consistent success.
Let’s look at who the team might lose in 2018.
Defensive Tackle, Dontari Poe
Defensive End, Adrian Clayborn
Kicker, Matt Bryant
Wide Receiver, Taylor Gabriel
Safety, Kemal Ishmael
Wide Receiver, Andre Roberts
Defensive Tackle, Courtney Upshaw
Defensive Tackle, Ahtyba Rubin
Offensive Tackle, Austin Pasztor
Cornerback, Blidi Wreh-Wilson
Linebacker, Sean Weatherspoon
Cornerback, Leon McFadden
Guard, Ben Garland
Linebacker, Jordan Tripp
Fullback, Derrick Coleman
Wide Receiver, Nick Williams
Must Read: Defense Should be a Priority
Most Likely to Leave: Defensive End, Adrian Clayborn
The former Buccaneers draft pick, Clayborn has had a pretty good run for the Falcons. Unlike his time in Tampa, he’s also stayed relatively healthy.
Playing in all but three games in his three seasons in Atlanta, the defensive end has seen quite the improvement since he played in nine fewer games despite being in Tampa for four years.
In 2017, Clayborn led the Falcons defense with 9.5 sacks and has seen his sack total rise each year with the team.
Turning 30 before the 2018 season begins, this is his last chance at getting a big payday. With the Falcons in a tight situation, they won’t likely be willing to compete once his price tag starts getting raised.
Most Likely to Re-Sign: Kicker, Matt Bryant
I told myself when I sat down to write this I didn’t want to talk about special teamers, but I’m making an exception here.
Another former Bucs player, Bryant has been a crucial source of consistency for the Falcons. Look around the league and you’ll see plenty of teams still searching for their answer at the position, so don’t expect Atlanta to let the 42-year old walk any time soon.
Something, something, offer he couldn’t refuse.
Best Target for the Buccaneers: Defensive Tackle, Dontari Poe
This is a guy most Buccaneers fans wanted their favorite team to take a run at in the 2017 off-season. Alas, he ended up in Atlanta.
Whether or not he played up to the $8 Million he got paid is up for debate, and goes beyond stats. He did come away with two and a half sacks, and the most tackles he’s had since his 2015 campaign.
The price tag on Poe is going to be high if the Bucs want in on his negotiations. The Falcons’ salary cap situation isn’t good, and if the team wants to start securing space to re-sign some key players in the near future it isn’t going to be easy to find the money to bring back Poe.
In 2017, Tampa went with the cheaper and perhaps funnier Chris Baker. It didn’t really pan out. If the team breaks away from him, they could very well turn and try to bring in Poe to team up with Gerald McCoy in the middle of their defensive line.