Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Top 10 free agency signings in team history

Tom Brady, Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Tom Brady, Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Simeon Rice, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) /

Number 2: Simeon Rice – DE (2001-2006)

We just got done with Nickerson, who was a big reason that from 1997-2003, the Buccaneers had a legendarily elite defense. They had made the playoffs every year with that defense, but never really got over the hump as a unit, and as a team, until they signed pass-rushing master Simeon Rice from the Arizona Cardinals in 2001 (the same offseason they signed the aforementioned Johnson at quarterback). Rice would go on to have double-digit sack seasons every year he was with the Buccaneers save for his final year in Tampa in 2006 where he only had two playing in only eight games

The most sacks Rice had during his Buccaneers career came in 2002 when he recorded 15.5, which just so happened to be the year the Buccaneers won the franchise’s first Super Bowl. The three-time Pro Bowler was named first-team All-Pro for the first and only time in his career that year. The former Defensive Rookie of the Year was also named second-team All-Pro in 2003.

Related Story. Why Simeon Rice should be in the Hall of Fame. light

His crowning moment with the Buccaneers came in Super Bowl XXXVII. Rice lead the team with two sacks, including another tackle with a forced fumble and recovery. He made Oakland Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon’s life a living nightmare and a case could easily be made that Rice should have won Super Bowl MVP instead of safety Dexter Jackson.

Rice would total 67.5 sacks, four interceptions, and 15 forced fumbles during his time in Tampa Bay, and should hopefully be getting the call from Canton sooner rather than later. It would take a lot for someone to be able to top this signing for the Buccaneers, and seems almost impossible. It would literally take signing the greatest player of all time to top the signing of Rice.