NFL free agency signings start Thursday; expect Bucs to lose Mike Glennon

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon (8) calls a play in the third quarter of a preseason game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon (8) calls a play in the third quarter of a preseason game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016.
Published March 9, 2017

TAMPA — It's amazing what playing in only one game in the past two seasons has done for Mike Glennon's career.

The Bucs backup quarterback, who owns a 5-13 record but has not started a game in two seasons, will hit the free agent lottery, most likely joining the Bears when the free agent signing period begins at 4 p.m. today.

In a depressed free agent quarterback market, Glennon has become one of the more coveted players, drawing interest from the Jets and Bears, and possibly earning a contract worth as much as $12 million per year.

He's not the only passer on the move. Bears backup Brian Hoyer reportedly has reached an agreement with the 49ers. Tony Romo is expected to be released by the Cowboys today and could find work with the Texans or Broncos. It appears Tyrod Taylor will rework his contract to remain with the Bills.

Glennon, 27, still has a lot of upside. He also has NFL film to study. As a rookie in 2013, he started 13 games and passed for 2,608 yards, with 19 touchdowns and only nine interceptions.

But Jameis Winston, who was drafted No. 1 overall by the Bucs in 2015, started all 32 games in the past two years. Glennon appeared only in mop-up duty in a loss to the Falcons. But Glennon's 4,100 career passing yards and 18 starts are still much more than Brock Osweiler had in landing a four-year, $72 million contract in Houston last year. Osweiler had only 2,126 yards passing and seven starts.

The Bucs have offered Glennon $8 million per year to stay, but this is his chance to lead a team, and he should take advantage of it today.

DeSean Jackson heading 2 … ?

The Bucs' biggest free agent target still appears to be Redskins receiver DeSean Jackson, who has drawn the interest of several teams, also including the Eagles, Patriots and Cowboys.

Jackson, 30, added to the intrigue Wednesday when he posted a picture of his feet up, looking out of a window of an unknown location and wrote Headed 2 … ?

Social media came alive trying to analyze the picture closely for clues to Jackson's location. It was a warm-weather spot, to be sure, but judging from the haze, Jackson could have been at his home in California.

Whether he finds a new home in Tampa Bay will depend on if the Bucs can outbid their competitors. The Bucs have more than $66 million under the salary cap, the fourth-most space in the NFL.

They are looking for a No. 2 receiver who can stretch the field. Vincent Jackson is a free agent and has said he wants to resume his career, but he won't do it in Tampa Bay.

Safety first

The Bucs' starting safeties from 2016, Bradley McDougald and Chris Conte, can become free agents today. Tampa Bay would like to re-sign both at the right price, but it appears they will test the market.

"I'm not talking about 'improve,' or 'upgrade,' " coach Dirk Koetter said. "It's just we don't have bodies at safety right now. We've got Keith Tandy under contract, who played very well at the end of (last season). … We got to find another starting safety, and probably two more safeties, because we're going to keep Ryan Smith at corner."

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Cardinals safety Tony Jefferson was on the radar, but he agreed Wednesday to join the Ravens. Cowboys safety J.J. Wilcox also has drawn interest. He started four games last season and had 49 tackles.

Bucs watch Mixon

Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, who was not invited to last week's scouting combine, put on a show Wednesday at the Sooners' pro day, running the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds and doing 21 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press.

The Bucs sent an area scout to watch Mixon, and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy also attended. But some teams might take the 20-year-old off their draft board because of an incident caught on a surveillance camera 2½ years ago. Mixon hit a woman with a punch powerful enough to break her jaw and three other bones in her face. He was suspended for Oklahoma's 2014 season. Last season he rushed for 1,274 yards and 10 touchdowns as a redshirt sophomore.

The Bucs will do their homework on Mixon, but he's a long shot to be drafted by Tampa Bay.