One Buccaneers Free Agency Target from Each NFC North Team

A "throwback Bucco Bruce Flag" of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
A "throwback Bucco Bruce Flag" of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images) /

Continuing in the series of articles highlighting one free agent from every NFL team that the Buccaneers should give an offer to in the free agency period, is the NFC North. Here is a quick restatement of the rules for this exercise: The only limit to this list is that, to avoid repetition in the choices, only one member of each position group has been chosen per division.

That means that if Davante Adams appears on the list (spoiler alert: he does not) then Allen Robinson cannot appear, since he is in the same position group and division. With that out of the way, let’s dive into what the NFC North has to offer.

Previous articles in this series: AFC North

Detroit Lions: Alex Anzalone – LB

It’s no secret that the Detroit Lions have a weak roster. The few stars they do have are either locked up (T.J. Hockenson) or on a rookie deal (Amon-Ra St. Brown & D’Andre Swift). So if the Buccaneers are looking to plunder the Lions’ roster, they are looking at best for a quality backup or depth piece. Alex Anzalone fills that role well.

The former Saint and current Lion has had an unspectacular career, with the occasional good game amongst what has been mostly mediocrity. That makes his inclusion on this list somewhat unexciting, but unexciting is a pretty good description of these Lions. Anzalone would be a depth piece in preparation for the potentially imminent retirement of Lavonte David.

Anzalone is in the middle of his playing career (he is 27 as of the writing of this article) meaning that he has the physical longevity to earn a contract that takes him into the post-Lavonte era in Tampa Bay. But he also has enough veteran presence to be a valuable voice in the locker room if the Bucs decide to draft a LB. His familiarity with multiple defensive systems (including the Saints’, which can’t hurt) only serves to make his input more valuable.

To cut a long story short, the addition of Anzalone would allow the Buccaneers to build for the future at LB without spending much money. A quality addition from the lowly Lions.

Chicago Bears: Allen Robinson – WR

Again, this pick is predicated on the loss of Chris Godwin. If Godwin returns, the Bucs’ need at receiver is filled. But, should he decide to take his tremendous talents elsewhere, Robinson would be a very good replacement.

Allen Robinson is a true WR1, a physical and tough player with tremendous jump ball ability and underrated route running. In those ways, he is much like Mike Evans, though Evans has solidified himself above Robinson in the WR rankings by a significant amount. Some of that difference, though, can be blamed on Robinson’s QBs.

In his career, Allen Robinson has played for the Jaguars and Bears, both of whom have been laboring in QB purgatory until this past year. And while Justin Fields may prove to be a significant upgrade for Chicago, his first year in the Windy City proved to be Robinson’s worst year as a pro yet. The WR put up just 410 yards and 1 TD, the worst showing in both categories of his career (not counting 2017, when his very first target resulted in a season-ending injury).

This could prove to be a blessing for the Buccaneers, though, since Robinson’s value has plummeted. IF the Bucs can get Robinson for a middle-of-the-road deal, that would be a big win for the organization.

At his best, Robinson is a receiver capable of absolutely taking over games, and his Mike Evans-like skillset gives whomever is throwing passes for Tampa Bay another excellent and safe option to throw to.

Minnesota Vikings: Xavier Woods – S

The Buccaneers can always use safety help. Jordan Whitehead is a solid player, but he very well could demand more money than the team is able to give him in this offseason. If that’s the case, Xavier Woods could be a tremendous option for a Tampa Bay secondary lacking a true coverage safety.

Woods has put together a very solid career with the Cowboys and Vikings, recording multiple turnovers in four of his five years in the league and an average PFF grade of 68.8 over that span. Worth noting, however, is that the only two years of a rating under 70 were the last two, which could influence the Vikings’ opinion of him to be lower than his actual value.

That’s perfect for another team like the Buccaneers who are looking to acquire him. And the Vikings, should they deal Kirk Cousins as they have been insinuating for some time now, could be in the middle of a slight rebuild. In such a scenario, giving a long-term contract to a safety that hasn’t been quite what they hoped might now be something the folks in Minnesota are inclined to do.

Jason Licht and the Bucs should jump on the opportunity to add Woods to the secondary. A long, rangy safety would pair perfectly with the hard-hitting, sure-tackling Antoine Winfield to truly take away the long ball from opposing QBs

Green Bay Packers: Robert Tonyan – TE

Now that the Packers have officially brought both Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams back, the hopes of supremely optimistic Bucs fans will have to cool off a little. The good news for this exercise, though, is that the Green Bay Packers have a very talented roster even excluding Rodgers and Adams.

With that talent, though, comes a priciness that could turn off the Buccaneers’ interest. But for relatively cheap, there are still players that could become instant contributors.

Jason Licht should continue building the supporting cast up, replacing Gronkowski (who is unlikely to return to Tampa Bay because of either free agency or retirement) with a proven red zone threat in Robert Tonyan.

Tonyan was the surprise story of the NFL two years ago, with 586 yards and 11 TDs. He was on pace to have another very good year this year, as he recorded 204 yards and 2 TDs on 5 starts before an injury ended his season.

As the Packers likely look to bring back either Adams or Rodgers, they could fall victim to the same trap of abandoning the strength of their supporting cast in order to keep their superstars around. If Green Bay doesn’t have the money to pay Tonyan, the Bucs should make a play. As another versatile TE threat, Robert Tonyan could prove to be the new QB’s go-to target in Tampa Bay.

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