There’s a lot of talk about what free agents the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to pursue, but what about their own players that are about to hit the market?
This is the time of year when talk and articles abound regarding mock drafts and potential free agents that will join the 2018 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. We even have them here at The Pewter Plank as you’ve seen from our 40 Teams in 40 Days and now Free Agency Spotlight series.
However, before we go looking at the new faces that might be wearing pewter and red next season, let’s take a look at some familiar faces to see if we STILL want to see them wearing pewter and red next season.
This week on The PewterCast podcast, we took at look that the Buccaneers who will be free agents this offseason and played a game of Love ‘Em or Leave ‘Em to see who the Bucs should consider bringing back and they should let walk.
It’s worth noting that this conversation changes depending on whether or not you are talking about the 90 man roster into camp or the 53 man roster as we head into the season. For the purposes of this discussion, we will take it all the way to the 53 man roster.
Exclusive Rights Free Agents
These guys are players who have been with the team 2 or fewer seasons, but their current contract has expired. If the Bucs offer them a contract, the player either signs the contract and plays for the Bucs or they sit out the entire season.
Peyton Barber– Love Him! Barber was by far our best running back on this team. He has earned his next contract, and might possibly be the only back to return for the 2018 season, especially now that Doug Martin has been released.
More from Bucs Free Agency
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- 5 Buccaneers who probably won’t be back now that Tom Brady has retired
- Buccaneers are taking first step in the right direction for the offseason
- Why the Buccaneers should consider a near roster blow-up
Javien Elliott– Leave him. If this were a discussion about the 90 man roster, I’d say to keep him. But for the 53 man roster, Elliott is at best a back up player and one that should be easy to upgrade. He had a pretty decent rookie season in 2016 playing in six games, recording one pass defended, eight tackles, and two assists. However, despite playing in fifteen games in 2017, he recorded ZERO passes defended, only five tackles with no assists.
Restricted Free Agents
These are players who generally have 3 years of service, but their contract has expired. The Bucs can make them an offer, but they are free to negotiate with other teams. If another team makes the player an offer, the Bucs can either match the offer, retaining the player or let him go in exchange for a draft pick as compensation. Should Jason Licht choose to not tender them an offer, they convert to Unrestricted Free Agents.
Adarius Glanton– Love Him! Glanton has played well in his role as back up linebacker and on special teams. He had a nasty injury last season, so we will see how he does coming back from it. If he does well, we’d love to see him back with the team.
Jude Adjei- Barimah- Leave Him. Adjei-Barimah is coming back off a pretty serious injury…from two seasons ago. That’s a hard road to hoe, especially at a position of need. We learned the hard way with Noah Spence that it’s risky to depend on players coming off major injury. Unless he has a terrific training camp, we need someone with a known, recent track record to bolster our secondary.
Note: The Buccaneers have already informed Glanton and Adjei-Barimah that they will not tender them an offer, making them Unrestricted Free Agents come March. Which means they still could sign back with the Bucs, just not at the guaranteed rate of a tender offer.
Ryan Russell– Leave Him. Sure, Russell is a fairly inexpensive option at a position of great need, the defensive line. But with all the time he spent on the Inactives list this season, he’s a low man on the totem pole, and we could use that money elsewhere.
Cameron Brate– Love Him! Does this one really need an explanation? Jason Licht should put the highest tender offer on Brate and dare other teams to try to come take him away, despite what some other writers on this site have to say about it.
Adam Humphries– Love Him! This was almost a Leave Him, but Humphries has just been too good for the Bucs to not at least try to retain him. However, with the rise of Chris Godwin, it would be hard to justify a high round tender on him, and it’s easy to see another team swooping in to offer him more. So while we are going to Love Him, don’t be surprised if he Leaves us.
Unrestricted Free Agents
These guys are completely free. They can sign with any team they like, including the Buccaneers again, for any amount of money they agree to, with no compensation back to the Bucs.
Patrick Murray– Love Him! Murray was brought in to stabilize our kicking game, and even though he struggled there at the end (I suspect due to an injury sustained against Atlanta), we still love him and want to see him back next season.
Brent Grimes– Love Him! Grimes has been one of the best parts of the Buccaneers’ defense for the past two seasons. Despite his age, he has continued to impress and shows no signs of slowing down. But love is a two way street. The question is will Brent love the Bucs?
T.J. Ward– Leave Him! Ward has to be in contention for the Most Disappointing Free Agent Signing of 2017. There was so much hype when he was added to the roster just before the season began. But by mid season, we realized there was a reason he was available, and there’s a reason he’ll be available this offseason. In an interview on Barstool Radio, Ward himself basically said he doesn’t want to return to the Tampa. The feeling is mutual.
Evan Smith- Leave Him! In 2014, Evan Smith signed a four year contract worth $14.25 million dollars to come in and be a steady center. By game two of the 2015 season, Coach Koetter called Joe Hawley and his beard to come rescue the center position. Yet Smith managed to secure a back up spot. And let’s not even get started on the revolving left guard position of 2017, which still has us scratching our heads.
Ryan Fitzpatrick– Leave Him! I know, Fitzpatrick made a lot of Buccaneers fans believe in Fitzmagic when he took over for an injured Jameis Winston and won 2 out of his 3 starts, plus not doing so bad when having to step in mid-game. His calming influence on Winston has been palpable. However, the Bucs have invested a lot in backup quarterback, Ryan Griffin, and it’s time to see what he can do. Griffin had arguably the best training camp of 2017 for quarterbacks; had he not been injured in the preseason, Fitzpatrick probably would not have been on the 53 man roster last season.
Clinton McDonald– Love Him! McDonald is one of the more stable and respected men in the locker room. He was the team’s nomination for the Walter Peyton Man of the Year Award in 2017. And he has been one of the most efficient players on the Defensive Line. The Buccaneers will not be able to completely turn over the D-Line roster this offseason, so McDonald gets the nod to be brought back.
Nick Folk– Leave Him! A kicker has one job. That’s to make the kick. Going 6 of 11 through 4 games didn’t cut it and Nick Folk has since been cut.
Sealver Siliga– Leave Him! Siliga only played in eight games in 2017 and didn’t have much of an impact. He’s a deep, rotational player. One that should be easy to find a better replacement for.
Keith Tandy– Love Him! There is a caveat to this one- for the right price. Tandy had quite a drop off in 2017, but has also proven to be a servicable back up safety with some special teams upside. Which means that Tandy probably won’t command a lot on the open market, making it easy for the Bucs to bring him back cheaply.
Garrison Sandborn- Love Him! Long snappers have one job. Sandborn does his job well. As long as he wants to keep playing, I see no reason to spend time looking for another long snapper when that time could be spent looking for a position at which we actually have a real need.
Justin Trattou– Leave Him! Who is this you might be asking yourself? He’s a Defensive End whose stats barely show up. If you still don’t know who he is, don’t worry about it. He spent all of 2017 on Injured Reserve. The Buccaneers could bring him back for camp again this year, but that’s about all we would expect to see out of him.
Adam Gettis– Leave Him! Gettis was signed off the street in the last two weeks of the 2017 season and was inactive for both of his games. At the time, he was added for some depth when JR Sweezy joined Ali Marpet and Demar Dotson on injured reserve. There’s no reason to bring him back.
Robert McClain– Love Him! McClain was brought in last season for a bit of veteran help, ostensibly to replace Javien Elliott at the nickel spot. He proved far more valuable on the outside throughout the season with the surprising under-performance of Vernon Hargraeves and a sometimes injured Brent Grimes.
Charles Sims– Love Him! For a long time, Charles Sims seemed to be on the Doug Martin path. He had a stellar 2015 season, being a part of the “Best One-Two Punch at Running Back in the NFL.” But 2016 saw Sims unable to step up the feature back role followed by an injury that plagued Sims, leaving him unable to repeat that performance. While healthy for most of 2017, he still didn’t seem to have it anymore. However, in the last few weeks he had some really remarkable plays, and it was enough for me to want to see him back next year.
Will Clarke– Love Him! Clarke is another one we want to love and bring back, but to do so with the caveat of doing it for the right price. Which shouldn’t be a problem. Clarke was never a stand out player, but was a serviceable rotational player, playing in fifteen games, recording two and half sacks with eleven tackles. Those numbers won’t jump off the page at anyone, but it is enough to warrant another year at depth while Licht continues to rebuild the defensive line.
Kevin Pamphile– Love Him! Pamphile was long touted as our number one back up, but earned a starting role on the 2016 squad and did rather well. Well enough that it should have solidified him as the starting Left Guard for 2017, but some weird idea of a rotating Pamphile and Evan Smith undermined any solid ground Pamphile had. To be honest, he had a rather weak season rotating out. However, once injuries forced Evan Smith into another role along the offensive line and Pamphile was able to just be the full time left guard, he was back to his 2016 form.
To hear more from Brent Allen and a more in-depth discussion on the Buccaneers’ 2018 Free Agents, be sure to check out The PewterCast podcast. Available on most podcatchers like iTunes, Stitcher, Podbean, or click below to listen to this particular episode.