Buccaneers Best Free Agent Replacements for Ali Marpet

Ali Marpet, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Ali Marpet, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The loss of Ali Marpet has already become a much talked about story in the NFL landscape. How it impacts the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is obvious; his stalwart presence in the center of the Buccaneers’ offensive line has been a key reason for the team’s recent success.

What is just as obvious is that a new crucial need has opened up for the Bucs in this much-anticipated offseason. Fortunately for Tampa Bay, there are a series of excellent Guards hitting free agency across the league.

Listed below are some of those players that the Buccaneers should be calling about immediately.

1. Brandon Scherff

Brandon Scherff has been more than just one of football’s best guards in his seven years in Washington. He’s been one of its best offensive lineman, period. Over the course of his seven-year tenure as a member of Washington’s football team (through all its name changes), he accumulated 5 pro bowl nods, including a first team All-Pro just two years ago.

Scherff has never played a season at below a 93% total snap share in games in which he played, and has only totaled 29 overall penalties in his career, all per Pro Football Reference.

The knock on Brandon Scherff is twofold; his injury history and the price it will cost to acquire him. Regarding the former, there is a legitimate argument to be made that Scherff is injury prone. He has missed 24 games in the last 5 season combined. That being said, however, his excellence on the field is too notable to pass on just in case he misses some games.

And the amount of money he would ask for should be a small speedbump. The Buccaneers, tasked with the ultimate goal (perhaps the only goal that matters in football) of finding a franchise quarterback, need to give whomever they roll with the tools to succeed. And protection is the most important tool of the bunch.

No quarterback performs well under constant pressure, and any building of a case for a QB of the future must begin with a solid foundation. Scherff would provide that.

2. Connor Williams

Connor Williams has had a career of tremendous highs and extremely poor lows. After posting the best season in his extremely young career in 2020, the 2021 season turned into an exceedingly poor one for the Cowboys’ guard.

Williams’ play last season was subpar, as he was one of the most penalized linemen in the league, and briefly lost his starting spot to the savvy veteran Connor McGovern – before earning it back by the playoffs. But despite this, he has shown flashes of elite potential during his time in Dallas.

Two years ago, he earned a high PFF grade of 70.8, and only committed 2 penalties, stats that are on-par with his other seasons. There is a very real chance that this past year was the anomaly for Williams.

Fortunately for interested teams, Tampa Bay surely being among them, it doesn’t seem likely that Dallas keeps Williams around. They have a similarly talented backup already in place, and Williams’ play surely has left a bad taste in their mouth. It also worsens Williams’ power on the free agency market, meaning that he is an option with tremendous upside who will not command too much against the salary cap for Tampa Bay.

Jason Light and the crew should take a swing at Williams in the upcoming free agency period.

3. Austin Corbett

The Cleveland Browns and the Los Angeles Rams have had two of the most dominant offensive lines in the past few years, and both have rostered Austin Corbett as a contributing member of their line during that period. Corbett is still a new face in the league, having only played for four years, but he has been a large piece of two different stellar offensive lines in that span.

Corbett was traded from the Browns, a team with incredible offensive line depth, to the Rams midway through the 2019 season. Since the trade, Corbett has played in 99 percent of all available snaps for Los Angeles, and has not missed a game for them. Over that two year time period, Corbett has averaged a 70 PFF grade and has committed just 6 penalties.

Additionally, Austin Corbett is a versatile protector, with history at Center as well as Guard. Depending on how the rest of the Buccaneers’ free agents pan out, this skillset could prove extremely valuable. Corbett would be an excellent addition to the needy Buccaneers in 2022.

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