With FA almost upon us, speculation has been running rampant From Shockley, to Coleman, to Crumpler, to Samuel, a list of players are popping up under rumors and agent talk. Whether or not the Bucs will truly be a player in this FA period remains to be seen, but there are some good players out there that address some key needs.
The Bucs main off-season needs are Center, Wide Receiver, Defensive Tackle, and Corner Back. Running Back and Defensive End are positions that could use some bolstering too, but we could get by with what we have in place now. The CB spot is probably the least worrisome of the needs, but could be addressed by a couple of corners that could hit the market, most notably Asante Samuel from New England. Rumors have him already signed to New Orleans, which would be tampering, but it could all be a ploy to drive up his value.
The Center position has some options out there like Faine and Newberry, but the Bucs may look to draft a Center while relying on Buenning to pick the position up. They could also resign Lehr or Wade, but it's not likely that they want to go with the centers they used last season as most of the pressure came from up the middle. Shoring up the Center position with a long term younger player, like Buenning, would be idle and would allow us to grow our strong OL unit to become one of the upper echelon units (wouldn't THAT be a refreshing first around here!).
Wide Receivers are going to be available in FA, with guys like Stallworth and Moss getting a chance to test the waters (though Moss may be planning to go nowhere). So the Bucs have some options out there. Javon Walker has been linked to the Bucs through trade, but I don't see that happening. If the Bucs don't pick up a top flight FA receiver, count on them snagging one in the first 3 rounds. There's some depth on day one in this draft, but it thins pretty quickly.
But one position I expect the Bucs to try and find some talent to address is the DT spot, more specifically the UT. The Bucs absolutely must get more pressure from the UT spot. If Haye is still here, he may do well enough to make some impact, but the Bucs will likely look to bring someone in that can be rotated through the DT spots to give the Bucs more consistentcy by keeping players fresh. Coleman looks to be the best option there as he can be rotated and kept fresh along with Haye, and we could see double digit sack numbers from the UT spot as a whole. If the Bucs can get the pressure level up to a more consistent level, and maybe add another 10 sacks from the line, then you will see this defense dominate again.
We'll see how the draft will start shaping up by the moves they make here during the next few weeks. Should be a more interesting FA period than last year with more players availble for their need areas. Hopefully, they continue to spend wisely, but make an impact move here or there.