Bucs players wooing free agents to come to Tampa Bay

Former Carolina defensive end Charles Johnson, now a free agent, forces an incomplete pass against the Bucs in a 2011 game. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
Former Carolina defensive end Charles Johnson, now a free agent, forces an incomplete pass against the Bucs in a 2011 game. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
Published March 1
Updated March 1

NFL free agency is still 11 days off — and it's March 14 before players can actually sign with new teams — but that hasn't stopped high-profile Bucs players from openly lobbying on Twitter for stars to come join them.

The latest wave started Wednesday, when Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu tweeted out "It's a business" with a link to news that Arizona might opt not to pay Mathieu's $18.75-million option for 2018. The prospect of him becoming a free agent was exciting for another former LSU player, Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander.

"Tampa bay would love to have ya 5," Alexander tweeted, and it was only the beginning.

On Wednesday night, Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy — who had expressed an interest in bringing Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett back to Tampa two months ago — had more humble suggestions for his front office.

McCoy tagged three players — newly released Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, newly released Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson, and Mathieu. "We're ready for you!! We have room. Just saying!!" he wrote.

The Bucs courted Johnson two years ago, bringing him in for a free-agent visit only to see him re-sign with Carolina. Wilkerson, who might fit best in a 3-4 defense, has underperformed the last two years with the Jets since signing a huge contract.

Even the biggest of Bucs players only have so much sway with the front office and the folks writing checks to potential free-agent additions, but the shoutouts might help the Bucs get on a player's radar as they make big decisions in the next few weeks.

Advertisement