The Bucs Should Focus More on the Draft and Less on Big-Named Free Agents
The Buccaneers know they will need to improve their team if they want to compete for a playoff spot in 2017, let alone a Super Bowl. They have young stars on offense, but have experienced players on defense, creating a nice balance.
Before the draft in a few months, they will look to upgrade in free agency. Every year, there are free agents who get paid a lot of money and some do not live up to the hype. There are some big names available for the Bucs to look at, but it may be smarter to look at players who can still produce and don’t have the big names, but not cost the Buccaneers a ton of money.
If the Bucs look at the blueprint on how to win a Super Bowl, it does not involve going out and spending a lot of money during free agency. Teams develop chemistry by staying together, many of the players getting drafted by the team that drafted them.
Eight of the last ten Super Bowl winners, drafted the quarterback who won them the game. The Buccaneers did a great job in drafting their quarterback two years ago, who seems to be an excellent fit in Tampa Bay.
The Bucs have one of the best young quarterback-wide receiver threat in the NFL with Jameis Winston and Mike Evans. They desperately need to upgrade at running back, but signing an expensive Adrian Peterson would really hurt the cap space of the Bucs. Peterson, 31, isn’t getting any younger and has dealt with his fair share of injuries over the course of his career.
If you’re a free agent running back, chances are you’re already passed the prime of your career. There are cheaper options the Bucs could look at older backs like DeAngelo Williams, Darren McFadden, or Rashad Jennings. If the Bucs want a younger runner who shouldn’t cost them too much, Latavius Murray should also be available.
Winston could use one more receiver to throw to besides Evans. Vincent Jackson is 34 and coming off an injury. There are young receivers like Kenny Britt and Kamar Aiken who could be an upgrade for the Bucs.
The Bucs also need to upgrade at safety. Eric Berry is the biggest defensive free agent and the Bucs could really use him. The problem is, paying a ton of money to a defensive player has yet to work out for teams as of late. None of the top ten highest paid defensive players have won a Super Bowl since signing their deals.
That transitions right into the interest some Bucs fans have stated with wanting Jason Pierre-Paul. He is another highly paid defense player. He proved last year that he can still play, despite fingers and thumb on his hand from a firework accident. Charles Johnson could be a younger, cheaper option out of Carolina.
The Bucs have the third most available in cap space with $84 million, but they have to look down the road when they will have to sign Winston and Evans to long-term, expensive deals. They can afford to sign one big free agent, but drafting and coaching players out of college have been how teams have won it all as of late.