One Buccaneers Free Agency Target from Each NFC West Team

The entrance of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers headquarters in Tampa, Florida, on February 1, 2022 (Photo by OCTAVIO JONES / AFP) (Photo by OCTAVIO JONES/AFP via Getty Images)
The entrance of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers headquarters in Tampa, Florida, on February 1, 2022 (Photo by OCTAVIO JONES / AFP) (Photo by OCTAVIO JONES/AFP via Getty Images) /

As the Buccaneers, along with the rest of the NFL, rapidly approach the beginning of free agency it is important to highlight the players available to Tampa Bay’s eager team. This article is the next in this series of articles highlighting one available free agent from every other NFL team who would be a strong fit for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The guideline for this exercise, for those who have not read the previous articles, is: 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. This means that if, for example, someone like Allen Robinson appears on the list then Davante Adams could not, because they play the same position and share the same division.

Previous articles: AFC West, NFC North, AFC North

With the specifics out of the way, lets take a look at today’s focus, the NFC West.

Seattle Seahawks: Rashaad Penny – RB

The Buccaneers have a need at RB. If Leonard Fournette leaves because of the Buccaneers’ tight cap situation then the need grows even deeper. And Rashaad Penny could be the steal of the offseason if he becomes available.

Penny languished in Seattle for the past 3.5 seasons, but put together an absolutely phenomenal final 5 games to revitalize his career. In the previous 3.5 seasons he rarely saw the field, but given his chance in 2021-2022, Penny put up a staggering 671 yards and 6 TDs. In fact, if you take out the one game against maybe the league’s top rush defense in football (LAR) Penny really had 632 yards and 6 TDs in just 4 games.

That is a phenomenal pace, and one that certainly warrants attention from RB needy teams like Tampa Bay. What’s more, if Seattle decides to deal Penny away, he would be incredibly cheap to sign. 5 good games does not give him enough leverage to ask for a large contract when compared to the past 3 seasons, so the Bucs could very well sign him to a small single-year deal and ask him to prove it again.

That would be a big gain for Tampa Bay, as we would be paying low money for extremely high potential. Since the Seahawks have needs everywhere else on their team and still roster a solid RB in Chris Carson, its very possible that they let Penny go. Lets hope the Bucs can get him into red and pewter.

San Francisco 49ers: Jason Verret – CB

Moving from a promising youngster to a veteran coming back to form, we have Jason Verrett. With Carlton Davis likely hitting free agency, and plenty of teams looking to add him to their rosters, the Bucs could have a significant need at the CB position.

In steps Verrett, whose 8 years in the league have had plenty of ups and downs. From 2014-2016 he was a truly phenomenal CB for the Chargers, but his play fell off a cliff due to injuries in 2017-2019. Recently though, after having been added to the 49ers roster, he has stepped it up again, posting two years of PFF graded 77.6 and 67.6 respectively in the last two years.

And so, while his stretch of poor play may have tanked his value on the open market, Verrett clearly still has the tools to return to the elite CB he has been. For the Buccaneers, who are cash strapped but roster some great coaching talent, the name of the game this offseason is getting upside for low costs and turning them into consistent playmakers. Jason Verrett is the perfect player to practice that strategy with.

Arizona Cardinals: Zach Ertz – TE

Though it may not seem like it, it wasn’t that long ago that Zach Ertz was one of the consensus top-3 TEs in all of football. And while a recent stretch of uninspiring play in Philadelphia has lowered public opinion of him, to the point where Philly traded him for scraps at midseason of last year, Ertz is still a very good TE.

He displayed that during his limited time with the Cardinals, catching for almost 600 yards and recording 3 TDs in 11 games, even as the team imploded down the stretch around him.

With Gronkowski rumored to have a connection to a number of other teams in free agency, and the O.J. Howard/Cameron Brate duo clearly not being the answer for the Bucs, Ertz could step in and be a big contributor immediately. Lets hope that, if Gronk leaves sunny Florida, Jason Light can attract another big TE to replace him.

Los Angeles Rams: Austin Corbett – G

The Ali Marpet retirement stings. Maybe even more so than Tom Brady’s. Everyone knew Tom Brady was reaching the end of his rope, so his retirement was a surprise but not entirely unexpected. But Marpet was a true stunner. His dominance in the center of the Buccaneers’ offensive line will be sorely missed as the team moves on without him.

That being said, the Buccaneers now have a glaring need at guard. Fortunately, Austin Corbett is on the market. Corbett has been a contributing member of the Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Rams – two of the best o-lines of the past five years – and is still not very expensive.

Corbett is still a new face in the league, having only played for four years, but the Bucs have a tremendous coaching staff and the ability to elevate his play and then have a very good lineman for years to come.

In 2019, Corbett was traded from the Cleveland Browns in part due to their depth of talent at the o-line positions. He went to the Los Angeles Rams, where he has graduated into an extremely talented player. Since being traded, Corbett has played in 99 percent of the available snaps in LA.

He has not missed a game for the Rams, and has been called for just 6 penalties in that span. He also has some experience working at Center, so if the Buccaneers lose Ryan Jensen (as is expected) the versatility of Corbett would allow us a little more leeway to go after the best talent available rather than potentially reaching to fill needs in the draft.

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