Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Unlikely Bucs spending spree in free agency

TAMPA

Although the Bucs have more than $30 million to spend in free agency, don't expect the cash to burn a hole in the team's wallet when the NFL signing period starts March 12.

For starters, the salary cap is expected to remain flat at about $121 million for 2013 and 2014. Considering that the Bucs' potentially big-ticket players QB Josh Freeman and DT Gerald McCoy are eligible for free agency after each of the next two seasons, respectively, the team will want to plan accordingly.

That said, a few intriguing options could be available to try to improve the league's worst pass defense.

"I think we need to do a better job of playing pass defense," coach Greg Schiano said. "There's a lot of reasons for it and why and what we have to do to it to get better. It's a combination of personnel, scheme, coaching, luck, it all comes into play.

"You keep tweaking it in each area until it starts to jell. It started to jell in some areas, and others it didn't."

The team is expected to cut ties, perhaps this week, with CB Eric Wright, who was suspended four games last year for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy. Wright says the suspension was for using Adderall. Dumping him would void $7.5 million in guarantees this season.

What the team won't do is start two rookie cornerbacks. Leonard Johnson and Danny Gorrer had some good moments when pressed into starting roles last season, but they're not going to be counted on in starting roles this year.

The free agent cornerback wish list for many teams begins with the Dolphins' Sean Smith, who could command as much as $10 million per year. The Bucs would love Smith's size (6 feet 3, 218 pounds) to match up with some of the league's big receivers. If there's a downside, he has had only four interceptions in the past two seasons.

Another player that might attract the Bucs' interest is Falcons CB Brent Grimes, who missed last season with a torn ACL. He'll be 30 in July, but in the past, Grimes has been a bit of a ball hawk.

The other position that would help the pass defense is a defensive end who can pressure the quarterback. Lions free agent Cliff Avril, 26, has 39½ sacks in five seasons. The Falcons recently released John Abraham, who had 10 sacks last season, in a cost-cutting purge that also claimed CB Dunta Robinson and RB Michael Turner. The Bengals' Michael Johnson, coming off an 11½-sack season, might command the most money and interest.

Tackle would seem to be more of a priority because the Bucs seem content to let Adrian Clayborn and Da'Quan Bowers work as bookend defensive ends. They also believe Daniel Te'o-Nesheim can be a credible nickel pass rusher.

Because the draft is deep at corner and Alabama's Dee Milliner is the only certain first-round talent, the Bucs could target a defensive lineman in the first round. They also have an extra fourth-round pick from New England for last season's Aqib Talib trade, currency that could help them move up in the draft if need be.

"I think any time in the draft, if you have picks, you have some ammunition to do things, whether you pick at that spot or you move around with those picks," Schiano said. "That was something that was very helpful to us last year, being able to move up and get Doug Martin. So to have some ammunition helps."

MILLER TIME? Roy Miller was less than impressed with the team's preliminary offer last week, so much so that his agent announced the defensive tackle will test free agency and look to catch on with another club. Miller, playing a tilted nose tackle position, had a lot to do with the team's No. 1 rush defense last season. But he's not an every-down player, and the Bucs must like what they've seen in the draft and free agency. The only option on the roster is 30-year-old backup Gary Gibson.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "I think the obvious things are when we take care of the football and take the football away, we win. And when we don't, we don't always lose, but more times than not we lose." — Schiano.

Comments
Bucs defensive end Will Gholston says ‘no excuse’ for disappointing 2017 season

Bucs defensive end Will Gholston says ‘no excuse’ for disappointing 2017 season

Will Gholston is painfully honest about a 2017 season that wasn't anything close to what he wanted it to be. Ask him about last year, and there are no parentheses in his world to soften what he remembers here."I just played (crappy), completely. That...
Published: 06/18/18
Ex-Bucs WR Lawrence Dawsey worked with team during OTAs

Ex-Bucs WR Lawrence Dawsey worked with team during OTAs

The Bucs had four extra coaches during organized team activities last month as part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, including former Tampa Bay receiver Lawrence Dawsey.Dawsey, 50, played for the Bucs from 1991-95, finishing his time ...
Published: 06/18/18
Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

TAMPA — There's always a lot of attention on the rookie class this time of year, rightfully so. There's a reason the Bucs focused on defense, and DT Vita Vea, CBs M.J. Stewart, Carlton Davis and S Justin Whitehead all look like they could have ...
Published: 06/16/18
Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Times wiresVISTA, Calif. – Former Bucs and Hurricanes tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was jailed without bail Friday after pleading not guilty to nine counts of kidnapping, rape and other charges.If convicted on all counts, Winslow, 34, could face...
Published: 06/15/18
Bucs still don’t know when Jameis Winston will throw another pass that matters

Bucs still don’t know when Jameis Winston will throw another pass that matters

TAMPA — The last pass thrown by Jameis Winston in a regular-season game was his best. The perfectly arced, 39-yard strike to Chris Godwin for a touchdown with nine seconds left gave the Bucs a 31-24 win over New Orleans at Raymond James Stadium...
Published: 06/15/18
Bucs busy on next Ray-Jay renovation with East Stadium Club

Bucs busy on next Ray-Jay renovation with East Stadium Club

The first Bucs home game of the 2018 season is still three months off, but the franchise is busy getting Raymond James Stadium ready with the fourth phase of its $160 million renovation, highlighted by a new East Stadium Club.Construction continues t...
Published: 06/15/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Gerald McCoy sounds off

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Gerald McCoy sounds off

The Bucs wrap up minicamp as Gerald McCoy sounds off on the team getting help for him, defensive line coach Brentson Buckner yelling at the veteran defensive tackle and advice for the young players who now have five weeks off before training camp.Plu...
Published: 06/15/18
Gerald McCoy: ‘Stop saying Gerald got help. No, the Bucs got help’

Gerald McCoy: ‘Stop saying Gerald got help. No, the Bucs got help’

TAMPA — On the last day of minicamp, DT Gerald McCoy made it clear that the new additions to the defensive line are what the entire team needed, not just himself."It's not about me. It's about the team," McCoy said of the addition of five new l...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Bucs hit summer break with optimism, eager for training camp

Bucs hit summer break with optimism, eager for training camp

TAMPA — This week's three-day minicamp was the final push in the Bucs' offseason, with about six weeks now until the team reconvenes in late July for training camp and the real preamble to the 2018 season.So what, if anything, can be gleaned fr...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Maybe 2018 is the year the Bucs take that step forward

Maybe 2018 is the year the Bucs take that step forward

TAMPA — The Bucs wrapped up a three-day minicamp on Thursday.“I’m going on vacation,’’ Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said.The next time we see the Bucs will be in five weeks. Just around the corner. That’s when, official...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18