5 free agents the Buccaneers can still sign after start of OTAs

The Buccaneers can dip back into the free agency pool to sign a key difference-maker with several quality free agents still unsigned
Miami Dolphins v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Miami Dolphins v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages
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DE Jerry Hughes

Unlike middle linebacker or the offensive line, defensive line wasn't a notable area of need for Tampa Bay entering the offseason. Led by star defensive tackle Vita Vea, as well as defensive ends Calijah Kancey and Logan Hall, Tampa Bay's d-line totaled 91 tackles for loss and 48 sacks, the sixth and seventh marks in the league, respectively.

Even so, the Buccaneers chose to still upgrade the position group in the offseason, re-signing defensive tackle Greg Gaines and defensive end Will Gholston, while inking Randy Gregory to a one-year deal. Those moves are good on their own, but the addition of Hughes would cap off a successful offseason for Tampa Bay.

At 35 years old, Hughes will enter his 14th year in the NFL, but has still shown signs as a competent pass rusher in the NFL. Since debuting with Indianapolis in 2010, Hughes has recorded 479 tackles, 96 tackles for loss, 70.0 sacks, 21 pass breakups, 19 forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, and two touchdowns.

During the 2022 season in Houston, a 34-year-old Hughes posted 35 tackles, ten tackles for loss, and nine sacks in 17 games (16 starts), his highest sack total in the last eight seasons. With Kancey, Hall, and 2024 second-round pick Chris Braswell all 24 years or younger, Hughes' veteran leadership would prove to be valuable in 2024.

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