10 UFL standouts Buccaneers should sign and bring to training camp

It's safe to say there is no shortage of NFL-ready talent available in free agency from the UFL's inaugural season in 2024.
Birmingham Stallions v Houston Roughnecks
Birmingham Stallions v Houston Roughnecks / Kevin M. Cox/UFL/GettyImages
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Andre Szmyt, K, St. Louis Battlehawks

Amid the Bucs' offseason full of re-signing their key players, the retention of placekicker Chase McLaughlin largely went unnoticed. McLaughlin, who bounced around seven different teams in his first four seasons, signed with Tampa Bay ahead of 2023 as the team's starting kicker.

In his debut season as a Buc, McLaughlin made 29 of 31 field goal attempts and a perfect 33-33 mark on extra-point attempts, both career-bests, while posting a 93.5% field goal clip, the most accurate mark by a Buccaneers' kicker in franchise history. This offseason, Tampa Bay re-signed McLaughlin to a three-year, $12.3 million deal, making him the second-highest-paid kicker in the league.

While McLaughlin is just 28 years old, the Bucs could upgrade the position, considering the new changes to the league-wide kickoff rules. In 2023, Battlehawks' kicker Andre Szmyt was downright impressive in his first season in the UFL, making 19 of 21 field goal attempts and a UFL-record 61-yard field goal, joining now Carolina Panthers' Jake Bates as the only UFL kickers to make a 60-or-more yard field goal.

Before signing with Seattle in the UFL, Szmyt was an All-American kicker at Syracuse from 2018-2022. Making 60 starts with the Orange, Szmyt made 85 of 105 field goal attempts and 199 of 203 extra point attempts to account for 454 career points. As a freshman in 2017, Szmyt made 30 of 34 field goal attempts and all 61 of his extra point attempts for 151 points to win the Lou Groza Award, which goes to the nation's most outstanding placekicker.

Earlier this offseason, Detroit signed Bates to a two-year deal worth $1.98 million after going 17-for-22 on field goals this year. Based on similar success in the UFL, along with a proven track record in college, Szmyt will likely get a similar, if not more lucrative contract to Bates' from another team in the UFL, whether that's with Tampa Bay or a team in need of a kicker.