The Bucs Are Scared Of Free Agency

March 1st, 2010
Bucs running back Derrick Ward, one of the key free agent signings last year, had more success with a Kardashian than he did on the field for the Pewter Pirates.

Bucs running back Derrick Ward, one of the key free agent signings last year, had more success off the field with a Kardashian than he did on the field for the Pewter Pirates.

Joe has already documented the puzzling strategy the Bucs have undertaken, seemingly turning up their noses at free agents of any sort this offsesaon.

Joe strongly suspects the Bucs, like other clubs, are preparing to go to the mattresses, fortifying their coffers for a long and protracted labor outage in 2011.

But Anwar Richardson of the Tampa Tribune, via the Bucs Twitter feed, suggests the Bucs are not going after free agents for another reason.

Having been burned last year with free agents, the Bucs are now scared of free agents.

The Bucs were active in free agency last season and the result was 3-13. Can’t blame them for focusing more on the draft.

Well, that’s somewhat understandable with who they signed and how they were (not) used.

Striking out on Facestomper Haynesworth, the Bucs crowed about who they thought was a free agent coup, linebacker Angelo Crowell.

How’d that work out?

Then there was the signing of running back Derrick Ward. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson all but let him rot on the bench, infuriating a specific high-ranking Bucs official.

No wonder the Bucs are gun shy at signing free agents.

34 Responses to “The Bucs Are Scared Of Free Agency”

  1. JDouble Says:

    I don’t buy it. I think we are rebuiding this team for the long haul, and the draft is the way to do that. Signing a bunch of old guys that other teams are cutting loose is what got us to where we are today.

    The are some guys though, like Antrell Rolle, and Dunte Robinson that are young and could fit nicely here in Tampa.

  2. BucWonder Says:

    Its slim pickens this year in free agency with 200 fewer 5-6 year vet FAs because of the CBA mess.

    Conversely with the rookie salary cap to come, this is great year for the draft.

    Crowell could pay off for the bucs this year.

  3. BucWonder Says:

    The are not just 1 or 2 FAs away from contending. It doesn’t matter who the FAs are.

  4. bucfanjeff Says:

    I can’t blame them, but they still need to sign a couple.

  5. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    Who is talking about Contending. We need free agents just to go for .500 this season!

  6. Tommy Boy Says:

    I don’t want them to go crazy in free agency and sign te biggest names out there. I would like them to address a few needs so they are not as desperate for that position in the draft. Here are the positions I would like them to address in FA:

    1.) WR- Nate Burleson or Chris Chambers will do. Relatively cheap, and relatively reliable…especially compared to our current WRs.

    2.) CB- Dunta Robinson or Tramon Williams. Dunta will be more expensive but he could really develop under Rah. Tramon will be cheaper and
    could also become solid under Rah. Just as long as we don’t see Roberson out there again. Please!

    3.) DE- Aaron Kampman or Kyle Vanden Bosch. Veterans who have had success in this league and would definitely bolster our def line. Both are getting older so they won’t demand huge contracts….especially Kampman who is coming off an injury.

    In my opinion, these are all players who could make an impact for the Bucs next year. Some are short term solutions but others are (could be) long term solutions. I just want to avoid being desperate for a position in the draft. It’s when teams get desperate that they tend to reach for a player which typically for us, pans out to be a bust (i.e. Dexter Jackson in round 2).

  7. Louie Says:

    They’re not scared of free agents, they’re afraid to spend money. If they want to have better luck in free agency, maybe they should consider getting better pro scouts.

    Building through the draft is a noble thing to say now, but what happens when it’s time to re-sign those players? Recently, they have not even resigned their own FA’s.

  8. Chris Says:

    I agree with jdouble. To be active just to be active in free agency well you end up with trouble. Ask Dan Snyder. I am looking forward to the bucs draft and hopefully some super bowl mvp’s in the group.

  9. Eric Says:

    “We totally sucked last year with free agents, so were gonna give up and focus completely on the draft”

    I wonder what happens if the same folks also suck at the draft……………..whoooooooooooooooooooops.

  10. Kirk Says:

    I have said this before and will say it again. The Bucs do not need to bring in a lot of free agents. This team needs to build with youth, with some veteran leadership sprinkled in. The local experts have a hole in their pocket and want to see ownership spend just for the sake of spending. Look at Washington and all the money their owner spends. They got nothin’. Stay the course Bucs, I am willing to wait for ther pay off.

  11. Eric S Says:

    You can’t just rely on the frickin draft. My god this gets tiring. Read Shelton’s column. I agree 100% with his assessment. Rookies usually don’t make huge impacts. Only a few really do. So if they think that only the draft is needed to turn the team around, then they are indeed idiots. I shell out a couple grand every year for season tickets. I expect the Glazers to reward long time season ticket holders by actually spending some money. Ridiculous.

  12. Vince Says:

    Joe: who was the “specific high ranking official” that was furious with Olson over Ward’s playing time? Obviously not the same “specific high ranking official” that extended Olson.

  13. Jake Says:

    Eric S. you are not alone, trust me. I have dished out money over the past 24 years for season tickets and am growing tired of the same ol” build through the draft” rhetoric as well. There are a small minority of fans out there that view it as disloyal or not being a fan to question or disagree with the management of the team and follow every word and explanation like sheep. Anybody with any business sense understands whats going on here and it has nothing to do with upgrading the quality of the roster and everything to do with minimizing payroll and spending in the forseeable future.

  14. Eric Says:

    It is not the “building through the draft” concept that bothers be. Getting a Franchise QB and building around him is a legitimate plan. There is a long list of successes with that philosophy.

    Trying to do it with an inexperienced coach, GM, and offensive coordinator is another thing. Not to mention a suspect scouting department.

    Combine last years fiasco with the early decisions so far this year (keeping Clayton but not Bryant), isnt giving the fan base much confidence.

    Its early of course, but these guys have not yet demonstrated that they are ready for prime time.

  15. Vince Says:

    Eric: Clayton already under contract. Do you know what AB was asking for?

  16. Eric Says:

    Nope, but surely not 9 million.

  17. Radio Mushmouth Says:

    I wouldn’t exactly say we were active in free agency.

    We signed quite a few of 2nd tier bums after the 1st wave of high priced guys was over , but does that really count?

  18. Tom Says:

    Dear Joe and anonymous high ranking Bucs official,

    Derrick Ward ran 68 less times than the season prior with the Giants when he rushed for over 1k yards and had a ypc of 5.6.

    Ward averaged a full two yards less per carry this year than he did the year prior. (3.63.6) and had more TD’s (4>1).

    To conclude, no, Derrick Ward did not “rot” on the bench. He just wasn’t very good and outplayed by a generally mediocre RB for most of the season.

    Pay attention to what happens instead of what we want to happen and we all might learn something.



  19. Tom Says:

    Note to self ‘s really screw with your posts.

    I was trying to say: Ward averaged two yards less per carry this year 3.6 versus 5.6 the year before.

    He scored one time on 114 rushing attempts.

    He was not good. He wasn’t even average. The unnamed source that was “furious” should be fired for being completely out to lunch. OK, so you made a signing that didn’t work out, but for the love of God don’t bitch because your “guy” didn’t get enough PT even though he clearly didn’t deserve it and was ineffective when he got any.

  20. Eric Says:

    Reading between the lines on Joe’s previous references to this, I believe the General Manager is the displeased one concerning Ward’s playing time.

    Not entirely sure, but thats the way I interpreted it.

    If so, I wonder if he is laying the ground work to throw Rah under the bus if this plan doesn’t materialize this season.

  21. adam Says:

    even though ward has a caybrew in hand he is thinking “why am i doteing on this b*tch, when reggie bush and lamar odom got the top b*tches in the fam”………

    please look, he is also holding her extra appletini as well like a good lil boy

    adam from ny

  22. adam Says:

    tommy boy:

    i would really like to see dunta robinson here…he is yet to hit his prime but i think its coming real soon….he would be a real nice piece of the puzzle…..adam from ny

  23. Vince Says:

    Eric, isn’t is a little premature to refer to AB’s departure as a “fiasco” when we don’t know what he was asking for. He made $9 or $10 mill last year. Do you think he volunteered to take a substanial cut bit the Bucs refused?

  24. JDouble Says:

    I think he was an average reciver that had one great year and then showed signs of being a sloth again. He’s turning 30 this year and his knee is questionable. We want some young talented recievers that are gonna be here for the long haul and decided to let him go. I’d hardly consider that a fiasco.

    Keeping Clayton, now that’s a fiasco.

  25. Eric Says:

    “fiasco” was my description for last years season.

    As to AB, my thinking on that is the bucs had a choice in keeping AB or Clayton. I think Clayton signed a 35 million dollar contract and was paid seven (7) million with bonuses. That equates to Sevn (7) million per season, which I am assuming is his salary for 2010.

    So, would it not be the case that if they released Clayton they could have signed Bryant?

    29 is not old for a receiver. Mr. Clayton himself has “played” six seasons. Bryant eight. And they tendered a deal to Caddy, with five years experience and two bad knees.

    Im sorry, but id rather go into camp with Bryant, not Clayton. If someone would beat him out, OK. Seems like the team took a big step backwards to me. But, I do admit it is early.

  26. Vince Says:

    Eric, I think Clayton signed a $26 million total contract with a $10 million guarantee, not a $35mil contract. In normal circumstances the Bucs would be stuck with him, but with an uncapped year they could let him go and at least not feel the cap hit. That said, the reason he has stayed (so far) has to be the guaranteed contract. The Bucs would be better served to try to get something for him and let him play another year.

    AB is an entirely different story and one we do not know enough about to pass judgment. Unlike Clayton, AB was NOT under contract. That is a KEY difference. Plus, AB was previously franchised at, I think, $10 mil per year. Much much more than Clayton.

    In any event, we do know that Clayton and AB was not an “either or” proposition as you suggest. The only similarioty between the two players was position.

  27. Eric Says:


    I think if you check the record Clayton was paid 7 million in 2009. Pretty close to AB.

    I can’t say what Claytons salary is this year, or what portion is guarranteed. However, they surely would save a sizable chunk of money if they cut the guy. Perhaps they would have to get off the pocketbook to then turn around and sign AB. Not as much as you think though. I thought the Glazers had manipulated things to be way under teh cap (which I know is no more), and yet they can’t re-sign AB and have to keep Clayton? – hogwash.

    I dont think they are unrelated players. In my mind they are directly related to the passing game of the bucs. Bryant a key component, Clayton a disaster.

    I think leaving the team totally without a bona fide number one receiver is inviting disaaster. Perhaps the bucs will address it and overcome, with an even better player, but I still believe it would have been better to sign Bryant. I think it is “dreaming” to think a rookie can replace him. Well see.

  28. Vince Says:

    I respect your opinion but you draw a connection between the two players that is not there. The Bucs did not decide to let AB go so as to keep Clayton. Clayton is under contract with $10 million guaranteed. They decided to let AB go because of contract demands, knees, attitude and, apparently, route running. They could have kept Clayton and AB. Not sure why you think they decided they could not. Never seen that reported anywhere. Again, two separate players kept/cut for different reasons.

    I do agree that they are hurting at WR, but I don’t think that means you spend $10 mil on AB just to spend it. Making that kind of “now” decision is what got the Bucs where they are right now.

  29. Eric Says:


    Wow, I did not appreciate they owed Clayton ten million guaranteed. Thanks for informing me me on that. Must suck to be them! No wonder the Dream is hoping like hell the new receiver coach can turn him around!

    I see my AB vs. Clayton anlaysis is flawed.

    Damn, ten million for Clayton………….unbelievable.

  30. Louie Says:

    Vince, can you let us all know your source that says AB was let go because of contract demands? According to the Bucs, they let AB go because he didn’t run crisp routes.

    I think most fans (and Josh Freeman) are VERY nervous the team doesn’t have a bonafide #1 receiver. That along with Dominik’s claim that the team won’t be active in free agency, we’re led to believe the Bucs will rely on the draft to find a #1 receiver. The odds of a rookie being able to carry that load is pretty scary.

    Everyone should check out Steve White’s blog. He’s got a great analysis of the AB situation.

  31. Eric Says:


    Thanks for the link to Mr. White’s opinion. I agree it is great!

  32. Vince Says:

    Louie, even the Bucs do not let a premier receiver go because of route running. He would not be a premier receiver if he ran that bad of routes.

    I was just pointimg out that a GM has to do what none of us are willing to do, which is to place a value on a player. It’s easy to say the Bucs erred in letting AB go, but what do we really know about what happened? We all do the easy part. Without considering the contract side, of course it is a mistake to let AB go. But, what if we add to the equation that he wants $10 million per season over 5 years with a $20 million guarantee? Is he still worth it? What if he wants $8 mill per season with a $12 mil bonus? Worth it? How about if his knee is bad? What is he has an attitude problem? What if he runs poor routes? That’s the point: it’s premature (some would say foolish) to condemn the decision to let AB go without more information.

  33. Louie Says:

    Vince, you didn’t give your source for your claims. I could just as easily say the Bucs never negotiated with AB, which is accruate according to most reports. Joe spoke to AB and it sounded like his demands would have been reasonable.

    If AB is successful with his next team, the Bucs are going have egg on their face (I know it’ll be hard to tell with all the other egg thats already on their face). AB’s replacement better be just as good or better because the fan outrage will be defening.

  34. Finerdetailz Says:

    So if our draft is bad this year will just keep the players we have.