In our final free agent spotlight, we look at a player that will not only help out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but hurt a division rival.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers can begin speaking to players and agents today to start working on a deal to bring in some free agents to help bolster this roster and get them to where many of us believed they would have been in 2017. In order to do so, many of us see the two most glaring areas of need are along the offensive and defensive lines.
With edge rushers being so scarce on the free agent market, it’s more likely the Buccaneers address offensive line needs in free agency, allowing them to focus on pass rush in the draft.
One such player that could be a target – albeit, an expensive one – would be former Carolina Panthers guard Andrew Norwell. Not only would that help out the Bucs’ interior offensive line, pass protection, and running game, but it would really stick it to a division rival. One Norwell is likely a little bitter towards for not bringing him back.
Andrew Norwell’s Career
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Norwell was an undrafted free agent in 2014 out of Ohio State who quickly proved his worth for the Panthers. Norwell started nine games his rookie season, followed by thirteen games in his second. The last two seasons, Norwell has started all sixteen games. Now although I personally don’t put a whole lot of stock in the rankings by Pro Football Focus, some find it valuable and would be interested in knowing that Norwell has ranked in the top ten every season of his career thus far.
Why The Buccaneers Need Him
Well, despite the poor yards per carry average in the run game and an offensive line that allowed Jameis Winston to be bludgeoned and beaten until he missed three games due to injury, the line was just dandy! The Bucs are bringing back Demar Dotson, but J.R. Sweezy was suspect and could still be a potential cap casualty. Donovan Smith will get the final year of his rookie deal to prove he’s the left tackle for this team moving forward while Ali Marpet seems to be the center moving forward – as things stand now. There is still a hole at guard with Kevin Pamphile and Evan Smith being free agents. Despite how high people are on drafting Notre Dame superstar Quenton Nelson to fill the guard position, there is no guarantee he’s there at seven – especially with the Browns no longer needing to draft a quarterback with one of their two top five picks.
What Norwell Will Cost
Spotrac has Norwell projected at around $11.7 million per year, comparing him to players like Kevin Zeitler, Trai Turner, and David DeCastro. These are all fair comparisons and for one of the best guards in the NFL to hit the market, a bidding war will ensue, driving the price up. Projecting him in the $11.5-12.5 million range annually is certainly not out of the question.
Will It Happen?
No. Unfortunately, this one seems nearly impossible. In fact, there are already rumors swirling that Norwell will end up a New York Giant, going so far to say it’s almost a “done deal.” As much as Norwell would create an instant upgrade across the entire line, it’s just not in the cards for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to bring him in at this point. Signing a center like Ryan Jensen and moving Marpet back to center would also create an immediate massive upgrade and would likely be the more affordable option.
There you have it, Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans. The final spotlight before free agent tampering kicks off later today. Who will the Bucs target? Who will they come to terms with? Who will be sporting the red and pewter when ink hits the paper Wednesday at 4 p.m.? We’re excited as the rest of you to find out!