Don’t Buy The Light-Spending NonsenseMarch 4th, 2013
Over the weekend, Joe was somewhat appalled to see this headline from the Tampa Bay Times, “Unlikely Bucs Spending Spree In Free Agency.” Joe’s not buying it.
First, if the Bucs don’t score two starting-caliber cornerbacks in free agency, then rockstar general manager Mark Dominik essentially will be telling the world that he’s planning to draft a cornerback and count on him to start in 2013. Joe sees that as an extremely risky move in this draft, and very risky for any team trying to win the NFC South.
Can the Bucs get a corner at a good value in this draft? Absolutely. But they shouldn’t rely on that corner out of the gate. Joe would be surprised if Greg Schiano wants to trust a rookie before he even sees him in spring practice.
But what if the Bucs do only nab one cornerback in free agency? If that’s the case, then surely that lone cornerback signing is going to be a very highly paid, best-in-class kind of guy. And he will cost a fortune and be signed on opening day of free agency, in eight days. How could the Bucs not pay for the best cornerback available if they’re going to put a rookie on the other side of the field?
Also, the Bucs are working on trying to re-sign Michael Bennett. If he signs, he will be one of the highest paid guys of the free-agency season. If not, the Bucs will have to replace him with a proven pass rusher (motivated, versatile John Abraham would be an intriguing stop-gap), and that guy will cost big money, too.
So out of the gate, that puts the Bucs at scoring at least two big-money free agents. Therefore, Joe has no idea why the Tampa Bay Times wants us all to believe Dominik won’t be throwing around bags of Team Glazer’s cash next week.
Throw in the fact that the Bucs are $30 million or so under the salary cap, plus another $10 million or so under when Eric Wright and Quincy Black are cut, and the fact that teams have to spend a high percentage of their available money, and it’s a no-brainer that the Bucs will be strong spenders in free agency.
As Joe’s written previously, the notion of preparing for future contracts of Josh Freeman and Gerald McCoy, doesn’t add up.
The great mystery surrounding the 2013 Bucs is how Schiano and Dominik evaluated the team since January. If they feel they Bucs are ready to contend with their roster, which now features plenty of veterans, then there’s no reason not to go all-in on free agency. The new culture was established last season. The offense is built to win now. There’s no reason to wait.