Four-Letter Places Bucs Free Agents With Teams That Have The “Right Fit”

February 22nd, 2024

Where will he go.

Call this 4 + 1.

The Bucs have four big-named free agents they want to re-sign and a fifth guy who is all but forgotten because no one expects him to return. (And Joe emphasizes the critical kicker to be re-signed.)

NFL analyst and former NFL player Matt Bowen, who focuses on X’s and O’s for the four-letter, has the Bucs losing two of the 4 + 1 free agents.

First up is All-Pro safety Antoine Winfield. Bowen believes the pairing of Todd Bowles and Winfield is too special to be broken up.

Winfield played a key role in Todd Bowles’ defensive system as a three-level defender for the Bucs. Entering his peak playing years, he already has 15 sacks, 11 forced fumbles and 7 interceptions. Let’s run it back.

Winfield is a freaking game-changer. He damn near got the Bucs two wins just on hustle and smarts (last Carolina game and nearly the Dixie Chicks game at home). People talk about good defenders needing to “affect” the offense. Well, Winfield does just that.

Then there is future Hall of Fame wide receiver Mike Evans. Bad news for Bucs fans. Bowen thinks Evans is better off in Carolina reuniting with Dave Canales.

… Evans is still playing at an extremely high level, and he’d be an immediate (and needed) upgrade for Panthers quarterback Bryce Young as a multiple-level target with red zone upside.

Joe has already typed a few times that Carolina should not be dismissed — though Joe still believes Houston will make a run at him. Evans shined in Canales’ offense and seemed to have found new life, a second wind for his career. The Stinking Panthers would likly have to overpay to get Evans.

Up next is Baker Mayfield. Bowen believes Mayfield has finally found an NFL home. Stay home, Bowen types.

Yeah, here’s another big-name Tampa Bay free agent returning, but it makes sense. Given Mayfield’s production over the second half of last season and some impressive playoff tape (two postseason games with over 300 passing yards), there will be free agent interest for the veteran quarterback. But in this new Tampa Bay system — which will fit his aggressive throwing mentality behind defined play-action concepts and schemed verticals — I think Mayfield could keep posting big numbers.

It will be interesting to see how Mayfield does this year. Joe expects a little dropoff. Perhaps not much. Joe is not typing this to win a bet or wish any ill will on Mayfield. It’s just hard in the NFL to have back-to-back career seasons.

The next Bucs free agent Bowen weighed in on is Devin White. No one expects White to return and Bowen agrees. Bowen believes White is a good fit for the Dixie Chicks.

White could use his second-level range to make plays in both the run and pass games, while also being deployed as a blitzer in the Falcons’ loaded fronts. He has 23 career sacks over five seasons with Tampa Bay, and new Falcons coach Raheem Morris could scheme him up to maximize his skill set.

Joe doesn’t know what to think of White. Does he have talent? Sure. Did he ever grasp how to play pass defense in a zone? No.

Then his level of disinterest that surfaced too many times likely did him in with the Bucs and it sure did with many Bucs fans.

Lastly, there is Lavonte David. He should retire as a Bucs legend. Bowen sort of pleaded with David to stay.

It might just be a one-year deal for the 34-year-old, but the Buccaneers should really focus on bringing back David. The veteran linebacker is a key player in Bowles’ defense, as he can key and diagnose with speed at the second level and join the front as a blitzer. In 2023, David finished with 17 tackles for loss, tied for seventh in the league.

The Bucs icon is irresponsibly underrated and Joe strongly would argue for David to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He may have to wait many years but David was as good if not better than many of his fellow top-shelf contemporaries at linebacker like Luke Kuechly and Bobby Wagner.

44 Responses to “Four-Letter Places Bucs Free Agents With Teams That Have The “Right Fit””

  1. sdm5821 Says:

    Forgot Chase McLaughlin. After Winfield, Mayfield, and Evans, re-signing him is more important than David or White. David either returns or retires. White, who cares? Just my 2 cents.

  2. Bobby M. Says:

    There’s going to some guys available for us to consider if Evans does bolt. Ridley is likely to be available, Higgins, Pittman JR…..are they as impactful as Evans, probably not but paired with Godwin and more cap space, the roster might benefit. Hopefully Evans stays but there are options.

  3. Jerseybuc Says:

    I’ll say it again. No way evans goes to Carolina no way. That team is years away from being competitive. Rookie HC below average QB and an owner who can’t help but stick his hands in the team. Nope not Carolina

  4. BuxfaninTX Says:

    We still have Russell Gage. Zzzzzzz

  5. adam from ny Says:

    hang on tight people, it’s about to get interesting in the coming weeks!

  6. Since76 Says:

    Winfield- Evans-David in that order the rest fill in with free agency and the draft. This team will make another run without busting the cap for years.

  7. Morgus the Magnificent Says:

    Btw, listening to WWL New Orleans sports radio last night, Bobby Hebert emphatically stated that both Mike Evans and Lavonte David were future Hall of Famers. (But they trashed Todd Bowles).

  8. geno711 Says:

    White could use his second-level range to make plays in both the run and pass games, while also being deployed as a blitzer in the Falcons’ loaded fronts. He has 23 career sacks over five seasons with Tampa Bay, and new Falcons coach Raheem Morris could scheme him up to maximize his skill set.

    I got the impression that the writer was suggesting that Raheem Morris would use White more in rushing the passer. It looks like in his 3 seasons with the Rams, that Morris top ILB had a total of 5.5 sacks in those 3 seasons. Less than 2 a year. Not really making him look like he pass rushes that ILB much.

  9. doolnutts Says:

    I hate White’s attitude lately I feel like he didnt get a new deal and instead of proving everyone wrong he sulked about it. That being said… If LVD retires do the bucs take a really hard look at White and at least offer him some kind of deal. I am not saying they will offer the reported 20 plus mill a year and I really don’t think anyone will be overpaying for white (could be wrong) but I could see us offering something if we lose LVD because its very difficult to replace 2 disruptive MLB’s in a 34 front.

  10. ATLBuc Says:

    Looking at that workout video, it looks like David is far from retirement

  11. Razor Ramone Says:

    Skiing in western Colorado, saw a kid on the slopes wearing ME13 jersey. I gave him big ups. Go Bucs.

  12. SlyPirate Says:

    Evans to Carolina is ridiculous. A) Evans wants 1K yards. No way he trusts Young with that. B) Evans is used to winning AND he remembers losing. C) He can get good money from a good team: Texans, Bucs, Buff would all pay him. I would say the Texans are the main competition. More Cap Room, in need of a WR, stud QB.

  13. Boss Says:

    Let the chips fall where they may….

    I’m fine with Bake going to ATL or Carolina

    I can’t see mike going to carolina, although I bet the surprise people next year.

  14. Okiejim Says:

    Chase was one of the reasons if not the reason the Bucs won the division and 9-8 could have been 7-10. Sign him! Without Evans, Mayfield would be talked about in the past tense instead of the future and Baker knows that. If Tampa can’t sign both, let them walk and build for the future.

  15. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Don’t forget about Chase….

  16. Pickgrin Says:


    So they have Evans bolting for the worst team in the league even though its obvious he’s sick of previous losing, wants to WIN, play in post season and have at least a chance for another ring…..

    They think Mayfield will “keep posting big numbers” without his HOF receiver who caught half his TD throws last year…..

    and they think Diva White will somehow magically learn how to “make plays” in the “pass game’…..

    These “4 letter” guys are constantly just throwing feces against the wall…

    They really know how to highlight the BS there at BSPN…..

  17. Boss Says:

    “he’s sick of previous losing, wants to WIN, play in post season and have at least a chance for another ring…..”

    He just had a chance and turtled up………chose him over team like always.

    say what you want about Keyshawn and some other headcase WR’s…….but they left it on the field and did not avoid contact in key situations.

    let him walk

  18. DungyDance Says:

    Evans seems to be the linchpin to a lot of these decisions, certainly with Mayfield. Here’s the rub – if we give Evans a top five WR contract, but play conservative ground and pound (as Bowles is wont to do), then Evans’ contract was a waste of money (and talent). But if we let Evans go, there’s a big risk that Mayfield won’t be as interested in staying. Which then means we have to tag Mayfield, which in turn means we can’t tag Winfield. Ergo, Evans is the linchpin, and possibly a conundrum.

  19. Marine Buc Says:

    The only way Mike Evans will go to Carolina is if they make him the highest paid WR in the NFL – 3 years $90M fully guaranteed.

    I wouldn’t put it past the Panthers owner to make this happen as it would both help his team and hurt a division rival.

    Just like when he hired Canales as his head coach…

    I would still list Houston as the #1 landing spot for Evans and KC as a close 2nd.

  20. Jeff Says:

    Sign Winfield and let the rest walk. It’s rebuilding time. No sense fighting it.

  21. Pickgrin Says:

    So of course, “BOSS” – the biggest idget posting on here of late has to chime in with some moronic ME13 hate….

    Lemme get this straight BOSS. You are allegedly a Bucs “fan” – yet you believe the greatest offensive player in team history is a pu$$y and want him gone….

    Apparently Evans efforts grabbing 8 receptions for 147 yards (18.4 yards per catch) and a TD in his last playoff game was a substandard performance… (eye roll)

  22. Pickgrin Says:

    So of course BOSS – the biggest idget posting here of late chimes in with some moronic ME13 hate….

    Apparently Evans 8 catches for 147 yards (18.4 per catch average) with a TD in his most recent playoff game was a substandard effort….. (eye roll)

  23. uhmmm Says:

    If Mayfield is going to regress next year the the Bucs sure as Hell should not pay him. Only want the dude if he is improving. He really wasnt great last year. A step down is lame

  24. Ed Says:

    Mike Evans isn’t going to get Carolina or Atlanta into more than a .500 team. Neither team has an experienced enough QB to throw the ball downfield to Evans.

    I believe at this point in his career certainly contract numbers are priority but if he can go to a playoff contender or a Super Bowl contender, why would he want to taint his legacy playing in a smaller market for a loser team or a loser team with a loser owner (Panthers).

    Why not go to a team like KC, Dallas or Houston? He is from Texas and if either Texans or Cowboys want him, he would go far deeper in the playoffs with those teams than with Carolina or Atlanta.

    Look at the legacies of Devonte Adams and DeAndre Hopkins. 2 of the most elite receivers when they bolted in free agency for the money. How much better were the Raiders or the Cardinals when they gave them top 5 money?

    Its a business and its about the money but Evans is a sure hall of famer and if he finishes his career and gets another SuperBowl thats better than toiling with the Jets or Falcons or Panthers and not getting into the playoffs.

  25. Glass Half Full Guy Says:

    We definitely need to hang onto Chase McLaughlin. He was impressive this past season.

    As for D. White, Bowen says “scheme him up to maximize his skill set”. Pretty much the same thing Joe has said about not only him but our “other White” (Rashaad). They finally started using R. White’s receiving ability but kind of kept trying to use D. White in ways that don’t really maximize his strengths (like zone coverage as Joe said).

    If David retires and/or Shaq is gone, we’re in a bit of a pickle at LB. White excels as a blitzer and does well in the run game. I realize making a big position switch isn’t easy, but I’ve always wondered how White would do on the EDGE, if even just “a situational role”. He’s 2″ shorter and 9 lbs lighter than Shaq. His speed and quickness could overmatch some younger, less experienced RTs though.

    The big problem is the elephant in the room. The gap between what the Bucs are willing to pay and what he thinks he’s worth. I think his ego is too fragile, so he pouts and it affects his play and I think Bowles has had enough of that nonsense. Such a waste of talent.

    White is blessed with tremendous athletic ability, blessed that there’s an NFL where those abilities are richly rewarded and, ego aside, is a really decent guy. I still hold out hope that he gets it one day.

  26. My Momma Says:

    Pay attention to what Mr. Beckles said late in the season. ” This team is going to look very different next year.”

    Right, Joe?

  27. Not Says:

    ME to Carolina .
    That would be even further removed from being a football great ! Tampa Bay is far from the media epicenter but Carolina would be solely for the most money but to be forgotten in no man’s land !
    ME, if KC wants to pay you more to and try for a SB and let a few million go, rather than exile yourself all for some extra bucks for your great great grandchildren.

  28. WyomingJoe Says:

    Joe, please stop talking about Baker regressing from a “career” defining season in 2023. It’s not like he hasn’t had good seasons before. In 2018 (as a rookie) he threw for 27 TD’s and 3800 yards in 13.5 games. In 2020, he had another good year (26 TD’s and 3700 yards) and brought the Browns to the playoffs for the first time in decades without a true #1 receiver.

    He’s played for some sh*t organizations and through some serious injuries in 2021, and in my opinion, he hasn’t reached his ceiling yet.

    You may disagree, but that’s simply your opinion.

  29. Capt.Tim Says:

    Or suppose we build a decent offensive line.
    Then develop a running game.
    And what if we get a PRODUCTIVE TE, to add with an Improving Ottman and Payne


    Without those handcuffs the Mayfield faced last year- an intelligent guess would be that Mayfield would be even better.

    There are alot of talented Young WRs there, that we can sign if Evans leaves.
    I hope Evans stays.
    But we have Godwin. Add Josh Reynolds and a great TE, and our passing game would actually improve. We got nothing from the TEs last year.

    With or without Evans, Mayfield will be better this year

  30. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    “As good if not better…”. No. Just better.

  31. Joe Says:

    Joe have a coronary at the prospect of second-rounder Kyle Trask playing with the starters for the first time in 4 seasons? Asking for a friend.

    No. Joe will have a coronary if the Bucs don’t draft a quarterback in April at No. 26 (or higher).

    If that happens, better get used to reading a whole lot about Shedeur Sanders and Quinn Ewers.

  32. robbie Says:

    Joe Says: “If that happens, better get used to reading a whole lot about Shedeur Sanders and Quinn Ewers.”

    Like Johnny Manzell and Jameis Winston? Like that?

  33. Capt.Tim Says:

    Bucs are going to sign a young ProBowl QB, to a multiyear contract.
    He will be there start for years to come.

    Wasting a first round draft pick on another QB is an insane waste of resources.
    Prepare to check in to Bayfront- your Coronary is forth coming.

    On a brighter note, Jason Licht read this and smiled, knowing there is one more person totally incapable of taking his job.

    JoeBuc posters must give Jason an endless source of Job security

  34. admin Says:

    Like Johnny Manzell and Jameis Winston? Like that?

    Or Josh Freeman. 🙂 You conveniently forget that, don’t you hater?

    And no, Joe doesn’t give a sh!t how many picks you throw if you rack up 5,000 yards. Play some defense!

    Now, carry Mrs. Trask.

  35. HC Grover Says:

    Evans to Houston.

  36. BillyBucco Says:

    Just because we consulted Baker and then hired Coen, doesn’t mean Baker is back. It could just as easily be a way to lure him back for cheaper after he hits free agency and his suitors aren’t there. Either way it’s still the offense Bowels wants to run. He is a guy who has successfully RUN the ball. Also an SEC guy with a pulse on upcoming talent.
    There is no argument that points to either Baker or Mike playing for the Bucs right now. They both might, but Tampa is gonna stick to their LIMIT on both players because of what it means for the Team in future years.
    So glad the combine will at least SWAY the articles for a period.

  37. Hodad Says:

    Joe is interested in seeing how Mayfield does next year? Joe thinks there could be a little drop off in his play? If that happens Joe we’ll likely end up at 8-9, instead of that teriffic showing Baker had giving us a 9-8 record. Only difference being Baker will be making 40 million a year instead of 7. Actually Joe looking at the schedule, 9-8 again, or 8-9 seems about right.

  38. Pmike Says:

    Really think Mike will take a pay cut to party in KC with Mahomes. He wants to win similar to Brady taking pay cut with bucs

  39. JimBobBuc Says:

    The priority needs to be Winfield. Lock him in or franchise him. He will likely be a ProBowl safety for a while. Sign Chase but don’t overpay him. Hopefuly he kicks like he did this year.

    I want LVD back. A great player, leader, and good in the community. He should be in the HOF.

    I don’t see Mike going to Carolina. The Carolina offense will be marginally better next year, but Mike won’t have a 1k season, he won’t make any highlight shows, and he will have to uproot his family. I think Mike is smarter than that. I think KC is the best spot for Mike if they can afford him. He would likely go to the SB next year, and maybe Kelce will retire to be a Swifty.

    Houston is a good choice, but I don’t think Houston really needs Mike and won’t want to prioritize the money for Mike. Houston already has some good young receivers and Mike may not get enough targets to get to 1k next year.

    I can see Mike staying here if Baker is around. They have good chemistry and Mike would be WR1 to get to 1k again, and probably the playoffs again

  40. Jerseybuc Says:

    Hey fake jerseybuc. Stop freakin using my Twitter name and screen name dude!
    12 years with this name and you copy it.
    Your own name doofus!

  41. Ethan Says:

    Pmike Says: “Really think Mike will take a pay cut to party in KC with Mahomes. He wants to win similar to Brady taking pay cut with bucs.”

    Good point. Unlikely to win a Super Bowl here with Mayfield.

  42. ChiBuc Says:

    Chase scored 120 of the 348 points scored by the buccaneers in 2023. That’s nearly 35% of our scoring offense. Todd is staying so imo a reliable kicker is essential in Todd’s play not to lose game plan. I know we have some beloved big names heading into FA, but Chase should not be forgotten in this conversation

  43. ChiBuc Says:

    Chase also had a banner yr alongside AWJ, ME13, B-Boi, and the heart of organization, David

  44. Larrd Says:

    Houston has Nico Collins just coming into his own.