Weekend wrap-up: Many moves pending for Bucs
The weekend didn’t produce much specific news on the Bucs, in large part because the NFL issued a strongly-worded warning to teams to not broker agreements during the current three-day negotiating window.
That left teams and player agents doing an awkward dance, trying to negotiate without getting too specific or, more likely, keeping those talks much more private than usual.
Nonetheless, there have been developments. So, let’s recap where we are one day before the actual free-agent signing period begins (Tuesday at 4 p.m.).
- We know that the Bucs have had conversations with free-agent defensive end John Abraham who was released by the Falcons recently. Abraham has visited the Seahawks and 49ers but it’s not clear whether he’ll also drop in to Tampa. Abraham would help bolster the Bucs’ pass rush, which has been inconsistent, to put it nicely.
- Along those same lines, the Bucs appear poised to lose defensive end Michael Bennett, who, we’re told, drew quite a bit of interest over the weekend. Bennett, who officially hits the market on Tuesday, is not a priority of the Bucs’ free-agent efforts at this point.
- The Bucs are working angles in the cornerback market, which should surprise you less than the sun rising this morning. Among those they’ve had discussions with are Miami free agent Sean Smith, one of the best available, and Jacksonville free agent Derek Cox, who probably belongs in the next tier of cornerbacks. That’s a position that could produce a signing as early as Tuesday.
- We learned over the weekend that running back LeGarrette Blount signed a 1-year deal recently instead of going through the restricted free agent process. But the Bucs are reported to be attempting to trade him.
This makes some sense. He’s obviously expendable judging by his workload. Whether the Bucs can actually find a taker is another story. There are going to be running backs available who won’t require a team to surrender draft picks, and that’s going to complicate things for the Bucs. Also, the draft is going to present some options that will appeal to other teams.
We’ll just have to see what happens on that front.
- You likely read the details of where things stand with Bucs great Ronde Barber. If not, he has discussed his future with the Bucs, and they extended an offer for him to return for another year. Still, there appear to be no guarantees about his role (probably nickel cornerback).
Of significance is the fact that the Bucs are moving forward with plans to sign a starting-caliber safety during free agency. That means Barber likely will be pushed aside after one year as the starting free safety. Whether Barber accepts their terms and returns to the Bucs is hard to predict. The more immediate question might be which safety are they eyeing – Dashon Goldson perhaps?
As you can see, there are a lot of balls in the air, metaphorically speaking. That means today and Tuesday and likely the rest of the week, could be quite eventful. It should be fun to watch it all unfold.