Buccaneers begin rebuilding offensive line with two key free agent signings

The Bucs are slowly trying to fix things in front of Baker Mayfield.

Atlanta Falcons v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Atlanta Falcons v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

After a relatively slow start to free agency, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are starting to dive in and make some moves.

To be fair, the reason things got off to such a slow start in terms of signing new players was due to the Bucs working on bringing back guys who were already in the building. This extended from bringing back Baker Mayfield and Mike Evans to re-signing Chase McLaughlin and Lavonte David.

On Wednesday, after its key free agents had been brought back, the Bucs turned their attention to the open market and haven't looked back. The action started with Jordan Whitehead returning to Tampa Bay and on Friday included the team looking deep into the offensive line pool to try and get things back on track.

Last season was another disastrous one for the Bucs offensive line. Injuries played a role, again, with Ryan Jensen being lost for what turned out to be the rest of his career in training camp. Matt Feiler, who was signed to be a veteran guard, was replaced by Aaron Stinnie not long after the season started, and everything outside of Tristan Wirfs left a lot to be desired.

That's an area of the roster the team is looking to improve this offseason, which started on Friday. Tampa Bay signed Ben Bredeson and Sua Opeta, both interior lineman the team is hoping will give things a boost.

Bredeson comes over from the New York Giants, and essentially swaps spots with Stinnie. Not long after news that the Bucs had signed Bredeson broke, Stinnie agreed to a deal with the Giants. It would seem that he's the frontrunner to assume the starting left guard role, something that the Bucs signed Feiler to do last season but he failed to fill the gap.

Opeta comes over from the Eagles, where he started six games last season and has been a pretty consistent presence on an outstanding offensive line.

He'll get a shot at winning the starting job this summer, but the main thing here is that the Bucs are dipping deep into the guard market to add depth at a serious position of need. This all lines up with what seemed to be the strategy when the offseason started, as the NFL Draft -- which is also deep with interior lineman -- will be a place Tampa Bay looks for additional help.

Wirfs is the clear leader on the offensive line, but outside of him the rest of the line is full of questions. Will Robert Hainsey be able to take over for Jensen as the team's long-term center? Can Cody Mauch take a step forward in his development at right guard? Will any of the guys the Bucs signed be able to improve an interior that was pretty brutal to watch last season?

Time will tell what happens, and how the Bucs continue to address the offensive line, but it's clear that the team knows its a need and isn't wasting time trying to fix things.

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