A Bucs life: free agency in Tampa Bay


Anthony Baamonde, Staff Writer

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers went 7-9 at the end of the 2019 season, finishing 3rd in the NFC South behind the Atlanta Falcons.

Finishing 3rd, the Bucs are a team with potential for the future, if they continue to play their cards right. They currently have a total of 19 players set to hit free agency this offseason. With an estimated $90-million in cap space, the Bucs will be sure to make some necessary moves.

Head coach, Bruce Arians, said his first priority is keeping the defense together. The Bucs had the best run defense in the NFL, holding their opponents to only 3.3 yards a game, combining for only 73.8 yds against the Bucs in 2019.

Leading the Bucs high-octane defense is outside linebacker, Shaquil Barrett. Barrett leads the NFL in sacks with 19.5, he is also the Bucs franchise leader in sacks, surpassing Warren Sapp.

Barrett is set to become a free agent on March 18. Joining Barrett in free agency is defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.

The other issue is the quarterback problem.

On the offensive side of the ball, they have another interesting situation. Their former first-round draft pick, Jameis Winston will also be a free agent on March 18. Winston had a very unusual season in 2019.

Throwing for 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions, made him the only player in NFL history to have a 30-for-30 season.

Winston also threw for a league-leading 5,109, which is quite striking to some people.

The Bucs could go and re-sign Winston, or give him the franchise tag. However, they could go in a different route and move on from him altogether.

Rumors of former Los Angeles Chargers quarterback, Philip Rivers, joining the Bucs have been floating around since mid-January. Even rumors of New England Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady getting the job in Tampa.

With less than a month until free agency begins, the Bucs have a lot to do this offseason. With a decent position in the draft at #14, the Bucs have a lot of holes in their offense. They are desperate for a legitimate offensive lineman.

They also need a powerful running game to keep the pressure off Winston and keep his turnovers down. Their current running back, Ronald Jones, rushed for 724 yards in 2019. Jones has great potential to be a star in the NFL.

The Bucs have a lot of questions to answer and holes to fill. If they get the job done, they will no doubt be contenders for the playoffs in 2020. This offseason could make or break this team for years to come.

So the question is: Will the Bucs fire the cannons or will they be another shipwreck?