We’re almost one week into free agency and things are beginning to slow down. That doesn’t mean the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are done signing players.
The anticipation for free agency is almost as rampant as the anticipation for the draft. Fans can see their team sign players that have been effective on the field every Sunday for other NFL teams. That doesn’t mean every signing is going to be a home run or a splashy name. As we’ve seen in recent years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, sometimes the splash names aren’t the best fits, and sometimes the second tier guys come through.
All that said, the Buccaneers have made a few splashes thus far. Obviously, the biggest splash was signing one of their own to an extension in Mike Evans. Locking up Cameron Brate to a long term deal was another. If any other NFL team signed those two players, they would be viewed as big time upgrades on any roster and that team would have “won” free agency.
Then, the Bucs were able to lock up coveted center Ryan Jensen and add solid rotational players to the defensive line in Beau Allen and Vinny Curry. It appears the model is simple – shut down the opposing team’s run game and make them one dimensional. In turn, you can put your pass rush specialist Noah Spence on the field and let him loose, assuming of course the shoulder issues don’t rear their ugly head again.
More from Bucs Free Agency
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- Buccaneers free agent tracker: Who’s coming and going in 2023?
- 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
This doesn’t mean the Bucs are done signing free agents. With holes still at running back, cornerback, safety, and guard, the Bucs will still look to fill out and improve their roster. That doesn’t mean there are going to be any “major” moves. No, they aren’t bringing Suh in. They aren’t signing E.J. Gaines. That doesn’t mean they won’t address weaknesses with second and third tier players.
Not every signing is a Pro Bowl player. Not every signing is an All-Pro player. No team is loaded with 53 players that will be named first or second team All-Pro. There has to be role players. Unfortunately, the long awaited return to the postseason has some Buccaneers fans pining for a crazy spending spree to bring in nothing but those mega names.
Jason Licht is doing his job appropriately. He is bringing in players that upgrade positions of need without paying the premium tax on sexy names. Look at some of the signings thus far. Is Donte Moncrief worth $10 million dollars? Was Ryan Grant worth $29 million dollars? Are Jerick McKinnon or Dion Lewis good enough to be paid like top five and top ten running backs? No.
The thing about free agency is when those early signings are coming fast and furious, the mark-up is insane. We saw it with Anthony Collins, Michael Johnson, Chris Baker, Eric Wright, etc. What teams are typically not involved in these kind of deals? New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers (minus this season when they locked up Jimmy Graham), Pittsburgh Steelers. These teams that have sustained success that understand you build through drafting and developing your own players and supplement role players through the second, third, fourth waves of free agency.
This doesn’t mean that the high priced free agents aren’t worth it or won’t have an impact, but more often than not you hear about them “not living up to the money” they received on the open market. That’s because bidding wars lead to over paying.
No, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not done signing players. However, things are going to slow down immensely until after the draft – for all teams. That doesn’t mean Jason Licht is “doing nothing” or is “sitting on his hands”. It simply means that he is going to do the best he can to fill out needs in the draft with young, affordable players that can grow and become cornerstones of this team for the long term. Then, when he misses at a position, he can dip back into the free agency pool to supplement, all while extending the players already in the building.
This is how teams are built for sustained success. Maybe we just aren’t used to it as Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans because we’ve never really seen it.