Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

NFL Free agent period the start to the answers for the Bucs

in Sports/Top Headlines by

The Tampa Bay Bucs need answers. At the moment, all they have are questions.

What are they to do with Doug Martin?

Who will be the wide receiver opposite Mike Evans?

Is there help on the defensive line? Is there a safety? Another linebacker? Protection for quarterback Jameis Winston?

The Tampa Bay Bucs enter their offseason when free agency begins Thursday. Between that harvest, and the draft, there is an opportunity for the 9-7 Tampa Bay team to get better.

But where to start?

How about wide receiver? The Bucs, supposedly, are hot after Washington receiver DeSean Jackson, who has averaged more than 17 yards a catch for three years. Jackson would be expensive, of course. But you know that going in. And if not Jackson, the team might be interested in Chicago’s Alshon Jeffery or Los Angeles’ Kenny Britt.

Then there is running back, which is complicated by Martin’s positive test for PEDs last year. Martin still owes three games to the Bucs, if he he’s here. It isn’t as good a crop in free agency, of course. Adrian Peterson and Jamal Charles are coming off injury, and Eddie Lacy has had weight problems. Latavius Murray might be a possibility.

On the defensive line, the Bucs have linked to Calais Campbell of Arizona and Washington’s Chris Baker.

Of course, free agency just leads to the draft, another starring vehicle for Jason Licht. Last year, Licht was able to sign one defensive end in free agency and draft another, then sign one cornerback in free agency and draft another. This year, the positions might be receiver, back and safety.

Time for the Bucs to go to work.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

Latest from Sports

Go to Top