Remember These Names
Keep an eye on Broncos free agent linebacker/defensive end Patrick Chukwurah, who is not expected to be retained by Denver.
The Bucs brought him in for a visit last season but didn't sign him. Now it appears he's on their radar again. Chukwurah had an impressive season for a reserve player in 2006, notching 4.5 sacks though not starting any of the 14 games he played in.
Chukwurah is a key contributor on special teams and has shown the versatility to play strongside linebacker and, in rushing situations, left defensive end. The Bucs don't have much depth at either position. Ryan Nece starts at SLB with little experience behind him. And the Bucs are expected to lose DE Dewayne White in free agency, which would deplete their depth at that position.
Chukwurah would address several needs, so the Bucs' interest in him would be logical. But there's also a reason Chukwurah might be interested in coming to Tampa: his former defensive coordinator in Denver is the Bucs' new defensive line coach, Larry Coyer. Coyer was quite popular with Denver's players.
The Bucs might also hone in on Dolphins left tackle Damion McIntosh, whose negotiations with Miami stalled earlier this week. McIntosh started 13 games for the Fins last season and would fill a void for the Bucs who have decided to pursue a left tackle in free agency or the draft. Considering the Bucs can't say with any certainty they can land Wisconsin standout OT Joe Thomas on draft day, acquiring McIntosh might be one way to take care of a glaring need.
Sorry we don't have some more glamorous names to pass along, but let's see what else Friday has in store. That's when the bullets start flying and free agency begins.