Bucs May Back Off From Free Agency

January 22nd, 2015
Word seeping out of One Buc Palace suggests Lovie Smith has had his fill of big-name hunting in free agency.

Word seeping out of One Buc Palace suggests Lovie Smith has had his fill of big-name hunting in free agency.

Last March, Bucs fans were absolutely giddy when Lovie Smith broke out Team Glazer’s checkbook and went drunken sailor in an attempt to restock the team’s roster.

Anthony Collins, Alterraun Verner, Michael Johnson, Clinton McDonald, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Brandon Myers and Josh McCown all quickly came in weighted down with Team Glazer cash ready to march the Bucs back to both respectability and the playoffs.

Instead, all but two of the free agents were flops and the Bucs became the laughingstock of the league. The only thing they won was the Chase for Jameis.

Joe even wrote that the free agency swing-and-miss was so much worse than a Karlos (with a “K”) Pena strikeout, that Team Glazer was going to change checking account numbers claiming to their banking institution they were victims of fraud.

(Yes, Joe is well aware there is a cash-spending floor Team Glazer must adhere to.)

Woody Cummings of the Tampa Tribune appeared yesterday on WHBO-AM 1040 with Tom Veit and said Bucs fans wishing to blow off work when the free agency dinner bell rings March 10, and spend all day at work hitting F5 on their favorite website looking for new players, likely will be sorely disappointed.

“Fans are probably not going to like this answer because it is probably not what they want to hear,” Cummings said. “But what I am hearing from inside the Bucs is that they will be involved in free agency but I don’t know if they are going to be that involved where they are going to be looking at some of these big[-name] guys. I tell you right now, the general manager of the Buccaneers, he is a big believer in the draft. He knew last year they had to go get several pieces. They knew they could not get everything in the draft. They are big – I think Lovie Smith is the same way – Jason Licht is very big of bringing the players in, developing them and building them in the Buccaneer Way.

“They want to bring in players and teach them. So I don’t think they are going to be that active in free agency. I think they will go after a couple of pieces. But who is it going to be?

“I have to be honest. I don’t think they will be real active in free agency. I think they might pick up a few pieces. But I don’t think they are going to be big-name guys, maybe one, but I don’t think you will see any more than one or two at the most.”

This seems fair. Look, how many times has Joe written over the years that teams that go apes(p)it in free agency are usually garbage teams? It seems just recently Jerry Jones figured this out. Danny Snyder hasn’t.

As is the cliche in the NFL, if you win the free agency battle, which the Bucs did last year, you will likely lose the war. And, boy, did the Bucs ever do some losing last year.

Teams generally don’t let good players walk. As Derrick Brooks is fond of saying, if a team wants you, they will find a way to keep you.

34 Responses to “Bucs May Back Off From Free Agency”

  1. Pickgrin Says:

    Glad to hear our GM wants to do this the right way. Go find and sign a few McDonald and Verner type FAs who are good players willing to come to Tampa for a reasonable amount of $ (with no GUARANTEED $!!!) and then build this team through the draft over the next 2 years.

    Draft Winston and 2 or 3 OL players in the 1st few rounds – and this team will be a hell of a lot better in a hurry.

  2. OB Says:

    Maybe this time since Lovie could not be in the basement doing whatever he was doing and came up picking pretty bad, maybe he was watching “The Price is Right” and got confused, they might pick better, I sure hope so.

  3. BirdDoggers Says:

    Stick to the value free agent signings and draft well. Go back to what works. Draft and develop the talent instead of overpaying another teams players.

  4. Tom Edrington Says:

    Geez Lovie, what a revelation, understanding how bad you screwed up in free agency…..

    Unfortunately, there’s no basement in Lovie new home…..

  5. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We need too many pieces to depend totally on the draft…..

    Oline, DE, MLB, CB, WR, P, PR/KR…..Maybe S…

  6. Dean Says:

    Everyone agrees that the Bucs “swing and miss” with free agency last year was appalling. But there is just too many holes to fill on the team right now, to expect the draft to do it all.

    If you get three starters out of this year’s draft, it is a very successful move.

    But the Bucs need:

    2-3 offensive linemen, 1 DE, 1 MLB, 1 nickel back, 1 QB, 1 slot receiver/special teams returner, 1 punter. That’s 8-9 starters needed and only 3 filled by the draft. The rest need to come from trades and free agency.

    The Bucs have the $$$, so go get some PROVEN players, not projections that take your money and sit on their ass.

  7. finsher Says:

    You don’t need big names you need guys who fit what your doing.

  8. JoeJoes Fungi Nails Says:

    Are they still paying Eric Wright ?

  9. Robert 9 Says:

    It’s good to hear they are not going to just sign guys cause they are ranked high. I mean why do we have scouts, when last year they just picked the top names on the list and signed them?

    It just seems from what you read that lovie is so far removed from this sort of stuff, that it doesn’t even matter that much. I would like to read a piece for once on how they are doing MORE than other teams to search for talent.

    It is good to know though that we are not going to go after the top hired gun that isn’t even wanted by their own team.

  10. R.O. Says:

    Hope that last comment was meant as a joke. Even though a bad one…. People whine when we we do sign FA’s and they don’t work out. They whine when we don’t sign recognizable names… Shhhhhhhh!!!

  11. BK Says:

    Sir, why insult Joe? No need for that. Also, realize that Joe’s been criticized and told nobody would come here since Day 1 in 2008, when Joe started writing in the third person, and engaging in all kinds of content and advertising-related processes that go against the norm. All those negativity spewers were wrong, and here stands Joe 6 1/2 years later with 20,000 visits to the website daily. Joe points this out because Joe only wants to invest his time in covering the Bucs like no other, not on keeping everybody happy. Sorry you don’t like Joe’s business model. –Joe

  12. Bird Says:

    Just make em count. Either a tackle or guard is a must and can get a good one in 4 to 7 mil range a year

  13. The Fridge Sez Says:

    If you’re dead set on drafting and starting a rookie quarterback on this Buccaneer squad you’d better start advocating getting experienced offensive line help now to protect that investment.
    This year there are many affordable free agent options available.
    This team still has to cover the mistake of letting Penn and Zuttah go last year. Dietrich-Smith, Mankins, Cousins and Collins did little for the run and for passing blocking, did nothing but provide Josh McCown an excuse to suck.

  14. Bird Says:

    But on other side. Dunno if necessarily true cause lovie and licht don’t have a whole lot of time to draft and develope players thru draft. They need to win now so they will be in free agency or may be looking for a new job

  15. Bama Rich Says:

    Wish List:
    1 FA Guard (Seattle or San Fran’s)
    1 FA Tackle
    1 Trade (Arizona’s MLB Daryl Washington)
    Round 1 Winston
    Round 2 OT
    Round 3 OG
    Round 4 DE
    Round 5 DT
    Round 6 MLB
    Round 7 CB

  16. JoeJoes Fungi Nails Says:

    Well said BK
    “Your cavalier attitude makes you really look like an ass.”

  17. Joseph Mamma Says:

    They need to trot out better football player’s, and I don’t care how they do it. This roster needs many upgrades. “Developing player’s the Buccaneer way”, what is that, how to constantly lose? Just sign some guy’s that can play, and stay under the cap.

  18. Architek Says:

    It kills me how some idiots attack the creators and moderators of this site for communicating about technical issues people may be experiencing.

    BK – I hope you know that chances are the Joes aren’t web administrators or IT specialists. So why come to this site and complain about nothing that had to do about the Bucs or losing – you’re complaining about a “attitude”????

    You always go to ESPN!?

  19. bucrightoff Says:

    Pickgrin Says:
    January 22nd, 2015 at 9:08 am
    Glad to hear our GM wants to do this the right way. Go find and sign a few McDonald and Verner type FAs who are good players willing to come to Tampa for a reasonable amount of $ (with no GUARANTEED $!!!)

    Good luck with that. Guys are always going to follow the guaranteed, as they should. If Peyton Manning can get cut, anyone can. No loyalty in this league at all. Players owe it to themselves to make as much as they can.

  20. Bucs4lyfe Says:

    people are killing lovie over last year’s free agent class as if they forgot about the no flyzone free agent class with all their pro bowls that won a total of 4 games. it happens to a lot of teams for instance the colts giving up and 1st round for trent Richardson. value is the way to go in free agency, im tired of bringing in big names free agents because more often than not they want to get paid for more than their old team thinks they are worth, bring in players that are trying to put in the work to get a big contract and leave it at that. so many people think the way to build a team is free agency even though it’s proven throughout the league it doesn’t work….like all the free agents Denver broncos brought in and it still didn’t make a difference.

    it’s time for the glazers to close up the bank and keep their wallets in their pockets until lovie proves he can develop the talent he has in house…..this isn’t a talentless squad and that can’t be judged by the overall record of the team

  21. DallasBuc Says:

    “big-name guys”?…none of the players we acquired as FAs last year were “big-name guys”. Big salary and therefore big mistake guys when you factor in the guys that we sent packing to make room but to call any of these losers we paid to suck asshole all year “big-name” is laughable at best buy certainly not true.

  22. poorglennon Says:

    Don’t forget about that 3M linebacker that barely saw the field. Add in our 2nd and 3 round picks…..how do these guys still have a job. Picking out of a hat would have landed better players.

  23. Tom S. Says:

    Build through the draft was the mantra of our last GM too. But you know what? You have to pick them right in order to do so. Not spending on free agency does not mean you will draft any better, as Mark Dumbinik can attest to.

  24. Brandon Says:

    When they talk about being not very active in free agency I then see people popping out their wish lists of the top free agents they want. It hopefully won’t be about that. It will likely be about finding good parts to better the whole. The mid-level free agents that don’t command the big bucks but will come in and continue fight hard to hopefully someday get that great paycheck.

    There are tons of guys that fit that profile.

    We do need a slot WR… but are there going to be any mid-level guys any better than what we have in Louis Murphy? Probably marginally, but Murphy is under contract and we know what we have with him. The draft is the best place to get a guy to play the slot and hopefully be a return ace. Guysa tthe Senior Bowl like Duke’s Jamison Crowder, Miami’s Philip Dorsett, K-State’s Tyler Lockett, East Carolina’s Justin Hardy, and Stanford’s Ty Montgomery are guys that can likely play the slot and definitely help out in the return game.

    As for the Oline, Anthony Collins-like backups are the perfect player to target in free agency just as long as they don’t pay the guy Anthony Collins-like money. James Carpenter of Seattle is decent, he can play OT or OG, I didn’t like him as a 1st round prospect a few years ago as I thought his best position was OG…and now that’s where he has landed. He’s got a grand total of one year as a starter, and he isn’t great, so if they can land a guy like him for a smaller contract, that’s what they want.

    DE-I don’t think they’ll find the elite DE type in free agency unless they want to break the bank, and even then, it’s hit or miss (Michael Johnson). Brian Orakpo might be a bargain coming off of multiple surgeries for torn pec muscles. Don’t laugh, but Greg Hardy is a free agent, and he will come cheap.

    MLB-Rolando McClain of Dallas is a free agent and Dallas starter, Sean Lee, is not. With Bryant and Murray being free agents, Dallas might not care to keep McClain, who has a very uneven history. He might be cheap but he can run, cover, and hit, plus he knows the T-2.

    These are the kind of bargains I think the team is looking for. Not making a splash.

  25. Joseph Mamma Says:

    Hey if Hardy is found not guilty of the domestic violence stuff, I don’t think he’ll come cheap, since he is one of the best pass rusher’s the last few seasons he played. And if he’s not acquitted then he ain’t playing anyway so…

  26. pick6 Says:

    a spending spree, even with a rookie QB in the fold, would probably put lovie more firmly on the hot seat. i think their biggest financial commitment this offseason will be a front loaded deal for lavonte david.

  27. Phil Says:

    Lovie doesn’t have time to wait

  28. Connor Says:

    They way I see it:

    They simply didn’t sign the right players!!

  29. Connor Says:

    “The Buccaneer Way”……whatever the hell that means.

  30. Mike10 Says:

    I’d like to see them go about this off season a bit more cool headed. Resign some of our current players that won’t command much for depth (at worst). You don’t need to kick guys to the curb that we’ve been accruing for the past 5 years just to make the statement that “they’re not our starter.” You sign some of these guys to 3+ year, non-guaranteed contracts and u get that depth we haven’t had for years!!
    You can’t say you’re building through the the draft and then turn around and show any draft pick that isn’t a stud the door…

  31. pick6 Says:

    @Mike10, that was the big flaw last year. despite having no shortage of cap space, the bucs repeatedly dumped guys without any certainty that they were going to get either a better player or a better value. hopefully they are more surgical in subtraction and don’t make any hasty cuts until they have seen how their free agents and draft picks perform in training camp. failed starters can often be solid backups, and they create a credible competition rather than a bust-from-day-one FA like collins or cousins vs an undrafted rookie. it’s not like every player on the patriots or packers depth chart is on track to start for the team at some point.

  32. pick6 Says:

    of course i’m not talking about the dashon goldsons or anthony collins’ of the world. cut bait with high priced guys who you didn’t miss one bit when their backups came in. Donald Penn, Zuttah, Revis, and others didn’t fit that description and were missed in a big way when their anointed replacements struggled.

  33. Mike10 Says:


    Dead on, that’s not going to happen tho. We will be singing the same song next year with Clayborn, Bowers, Foster, and probably Martin and Glennon.. Just flat out bad management upstairs

  34. Jack Says:

    If I were the ownership, I would say: Okay, you spent a lot of money and got your guys in free agency, so you are close. Right? I think they will try to build from the draft this year.