Flipping The Draft/Free Agency Script

March 4th, 2022

Imagine how much simpler the Bucs’ pending free agency decisions would be if the NFL would just alter its offseason schedule.

Joe believes the thinking man would agree that the NFL Draft should come before free agency opens. But it doesn’t.

Having the draft first, say the last week of March, would allow teams to get their hands on rookies sooner and also let them know their exact needs in free agency. The draft is more unpredictable than free agency, so let that play out first. Besides, rookies need more time with the team compared to veteran free agents. The extra few weeks for newbies can make a big difference in their adjustment.

Imagine if the draft came first this season and the board fell to the Bucs with a steal of an edge rusher in Round 1 and, say, a defensive tackle they were targeting in Round 2. The Bucs’ free agency priorities sure would become clear in a hurry. Or suppose the draft fell to Tampa Bay with a guard they loved in Round 1 followed by a man-coverage cornerback in Round 2, then that would be an entirely different Bucs free agency approach.

Joe thinks this leaguewide change would spark more furious bidding in free agency because teams would feel more desperation. They wouldn’t be able to say, ‘Well, if we don’t get him, we’ll replace him in the draft.” It would certainly make free agency even more interesting.

Bucs general manager Jason Licht has what feels like a crazy complicated slate of decisions and if-then scenarios in front of him as we sit here 10 days from the free agency siren on Monday, March 14, at noon.

All those Licht options got Joe thinking today about Joe’s old wish of having the draft before free agency.

25 Responses to “Flipping The Draft/Free Agency Script”

  1. PSL Bob Says:

    Makes all the sense in the world. Plus to bolster your argument that “rookies need more time with the team compared to veteran free agents,” the league has moved in the direction of a shorter preseason. Even more reason to get rookies into camp so they can be evaluated and begin learning the playbook.

  2. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I totally agree that we should be having the draft before free agency.
    But just try to get Roger Goodell to change it

  3. Buk50 Says:

    This will never fly….Simply because The players union will not approve .Fringe veteran will have no bargaining power which means lost money.

  4. Marine Buc Says:

    The draft is simple. After free agency this team will still probably have several holes to fill – WR, RB, TE, OL, DL, CB, OLB –

    BA already said we will probably draft best player available at #27. If we lose C. Davis we need to pick up a solid CB FA then draft a CB in round 1 or 2.

    I would like to see the Bucs draft a WR in round #1. The Bucs need a true WR3 for this offense to work properly. I do not trust any of the wide receivers we have outside Evans and Godwin (if he returns).

    Look for D-line, O-line, RB and TE in rounds 3-5.

  5. Alanbucsfan Says:

    3 possible reasons why draft is in late April instead of March:
    1- Don’t want to compete with March Madness
    2- Don’t want to compete with MLB opening day
    3- Allow draftees to focus on college graduation requirements ( this is probably a low priority)
    Late April is ideal for tv ratings.

  6. David Says:

    I thought it used to come first? Or did they just move the free agency timeframe but it was always before the draft?

  7. Lamarcus Says:

    Why would you give rookies who never played a down before in NFL…give them jobs before proven veterans? Just because Licht needs time??

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:


    I like the WR in round 1….but I think we may need to replace Davis with a CB or Suh with a DT…..I’ll trust Licht to go with the best player at any of those positions…..
    We must hit a HR with our first 3 picks…..

    As for the draft first…I agree, there are some good reasons for that….but I also agree the players union will not let 250 plus players be picked in front of FA signings…..

  9. Letsbuccinggo Says:

    Doesn’t make any difference the players you draft won’t show if they are a bust until the fall. If you draft for depth it should not be an issue.

  10. Marine Buc Says:

    @ TBBF

    Davis, SMB, Dean, Whitehead, Winnfield…

    All drafted after round 1.

    WR position is thick in this draft but there are only a limited number of sub 4.4 guys. Speed kills and we need a burner who can catch and run precise routes.

    We won’t find that guy after pick #27. We probably sould move up in round 1 in order to draft the stud this offense needs.

  11. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    What if the Bucs took another QB in the 2nd? Boy, would that stir things up for us fans…

  12. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    A QB always slides.
    We need to start prepping a replacement for David.
    We’ll take a RB sometime in rounds 4-7, though we might be able to sign a free agent.
    We may not take a CB in round 1, but we’ll need to take one at some point.

  13. August 1976 Buc Says:

    The other side of it is, a Stud FA leaves by surprise and the draft already happened, what then. You lose a stud FA but have no recourse through the draft. So it works both ways in some cases.

    GO BUCS!!!!!!

  14. BA4President Says:

    Respectfully disagree. I would want to know who on my team is staying before I start looking to replace them with college kids.

    Think about the center position… Say we don’t draft a center because we have a 50+% chance of resigning Jensen, and then Jensen doesn’t resign with us. Well now we are empty handed.

  15. German Buc Says:

    Beeing drafted doesn’t guarantee you a job, Lamarcus. Welcome to the cold reality of the NFL.

  16. Craig Says:

    After free agency, the Bucs will look worse than they look now. We will see more wave goodbye than wave hello.

    If Davis slips away, a lot of the draft will need to be used to address that position, preferably in the later rounds. High round DBs seem to think they reached their destiny by being drafted, later rounders still have something to prove.

    Higher rounds should address the O-line, big drop off in later picks.

    D-line is not as great of a priority, so round 3 or so for a developmental guy.

    Make an RB the last guy, they always try harder.

    It would be great to flip the script, it would allow teams to draft the best player, not reach to fill a hole. Goodell has to go away first.

  17. Pewter Power Says:

    There are too many misses in the draft. Just because a guy goes in round one or two doesn’t mean they’ll be any good. Drafting a guy you expect to start and not addressing it in free agency would be a disaster but still I would love the draft to be sooner

  18. Stanglassman Says:

    The draft was reduced to 12 rounds, and moved to the spring. Prior to 1977, the draft was held in late January/early February.

    The draft was reduced to seven rounds, it’s current format.

  19. View from 132 Says:

    I think each team should be able to protect 25 players for the following season and then ALL unclaimed players – rookies and free agents – should go in the draft pool of 10 rounds. It would make it way more fun that teams have to weigh youth vs experience and cheap vs expensive. Imagine Aaron Rodgers going #1 THIS year, etc.

  20. SlyPirate Says:

    1. $,$$$,$$$,$$$. NFL free agents would be in a poor negotiating position if the draft came before FA. The NFPA would never allow this to happen.

    2. Team Needs. A team can draft for known gaps based upon who they lost in FA.

  21. sasquatch Says:

    View from 132 Says:
    March 4th, 2022 at 12:00 pm

    I think each team should be able to protect 25 players for the following season and then ALL unclaimed players – rookies and free agents – should go in the draft pool of 10 rounds.

    Well, that’s nice, but I doubt you’d get any interest from the players association or owners or the majority of fans… Other than that, it’s a great idea.

  22. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    Let’s see if I can get away with this. I copied this from another Web site. (No URL presented.)

    Best available CENTER
    Player Age Three-year PFF grade Pos Rank
    Ryan Jensen 31 75.4 1
    Ben Jones 33 81.0 2
    Matt Paradis 33 64.4 3
    Brian Allen 27 64.2 4
    Ted Karras 29 67.5 5

    Suppose we got Ben Jones for a significatly lower amount or moola than Jensen gets. What do you think?

  23. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    That’s supposed to be “of moola” ($). I’ve got typing dyslexia or fumble fingers and bad eyes, y’all. 🤗😎

  24. Oddball Says:

    Or you could have a draft at lunch. Maybe 2?

  25. Rod Munch Says:

    No way, FA first makes the most sense, because you know who you’re gaining and losing and can try to use the draft to fill those spots.

    Going into FA we don’t know if we’ll be able to keep Godwin or not, and on draft night, that’s a huge deal since the Bucs might be taking a WR in the first. If FA was after the draft, you’d be saying we got to fill the G/C spot, and you might reach to take somewhere there and now, going into the season, you’re starting Evans and Tyler Johnson. No thanks.