Potential Free-Agent Targets
The Buccaneers don’t have any internal free-agents at linebacker, making their focus on the external an easy one.
Basically, they just need to get better. If a guy makes the group better, and he is affordable, then sign him. If not, then don’t. Easy. Right?
Well, unfortunately it’s never that easy. Still, here are a couple guys I have my eye on as possible additions through free-agency in 2018.
Previous Team: Chicago Bears
It’s all speculation right now, but there are deep rumblings about the Buccaneers hopefully switching to a 3-4 base defense. Now, I’m not necessarily in support of it, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was at least an intriguing idea.
Turns out, the best thing to ever happen to linebacker Christian Jones was the Bears switching to a 3-4 defense in 2015.
As a rookie in 2014, Jones played all sixteen games and started five. Considering he was undrafted out of Florida State, those are great numbers alone.
Moving to a 3-4 base in 2015, Jones made almost 20 more tackles, including 62 of them credited as solo tackles.
In 2016, the Bears brought in veteran talent, and Jones was dropped down to a back-up with special teams duties. His numbers obviously dropped, but not for long.
When 2017 came, Jones once again got his shot at starting for eleven games and turned in nearly 100 tackles as a result.
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Now, the Bears showed once they weren’t convinced he could be a feature cog in their defense. If the Bucs move to a 3-4, they don’t need Jones to be a star, they just need him to make plays. Which he’s shown he’ll do when given the chance.
Previous Team: Detroit Lions
Free-agency created the mercenary football player. No more were the days of Terry Bradshaw and Joe Green who started their careers in the same place they finished. Now, there would be movement, and guys could get paid for their specific set of skills.
Freeney might be the best example of this era. After carving himself a nice little career with the Indianapolis Colts, the 38-year old (Happy Birthday!) racked up 117 sacks in his first eleven years in the NFL.
Since then, he’s played for five more teams and given them a combined 18 sacks in the last five seasons.
I’m only talking about sacks right now, because it’s all we need to talk about.
Freeney is a specialist. A pass rushing one at that. Just so happens this is where the Bucs need the most help.
Signing him is a luxury. A roster spot reserved just for a holder on field goals and extra points would see the field more often. But this doesn’t devalue Freeney.
If the Buccaneers find themselves with an open spot, then hiring this sack-gun might be a move to consider.