The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have $70.5MM in cap space to spend this off-season and storing some money away for players on the team already will potentially give them anywhere from $40MM to $50MM to spend.
Here is a list of players I think the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should target via free agency this year that should and could help put the team over that hump.
Lastly, positions not targeted here will be pursued in the draft. So in the draft expect the Buccaneers to draft a defensive end, running back, third quarterback, offensive lineman, safety, and cornerback.
Ryan Jensen – C – Ravens
2017 Stats: 16 games started, 74.9 overall grade from PFF
Jensen had a breakout campaign with the Ravens last year and he will cash in on his performance. He will receive a three or four-year deal, as he is only 26.
According to Pro Football Focus, Ryan Jansen was the ninth best center in the league and scored strong 74.9 grade.
Jensen is also a versatile lineman by being able to line up all over the line, but very familiar with the interior spots and from a comfort level too.
Josh Kline – OG – Titans
2017 Stats: 16 games started, 75.8 overall grade from PFF
Kline will not break the bank and he is a durable and serviceable guard that can play either guard spot.
According to Pro Football Focus, Josh Kline was ranked 22nd out of 77 eligible guards in 2017 with a solid 75.8 grade. He was graded 84.0 on the pass but just a mere 46.4 on the run. I do think as he gets more experience, that run blocking grade will improve.
Bringing in Kline and Jensen will result in Ali Marpet moving back to the right guard position and J.R. Sweezy receiving his walking papers.
Lastly, Kline would be perfect on a two-year deal, as he will turn 30 when those two years are over.
Clinton McDonald – DT – Bucs
2017 Stats: 5 sacks, 29 tackles (combined)
The Buccaneers need to bring back McDonald, as he is a vital piece in the defensive tackle rotation and especially after finishing second on the team in sacks (5). Good locker room guy to have as well. Give him a two-year deal. Need a good 3-technique backup to Gerald McCoy.
Bennie Logan – DT – Chiefs
2017 Stats: 52 tackles (combined), 1.5 sacks
The Buccaneers finally find that run stopping monster that they have been lacking since Roy Miller left. Logan was on a one-year prove it type deal last year with the Chiefs, but I think he is deserving of a two-year deal.
Logan is not going to get much pressure on the quarterback, but he will eat those double teams.
Malcolm Butler – CB – Patriots
2017 Stats: 60 tackles (combined), 1 sack, 12 pass deflections, 3 forced fumbles, 2 interceptions
Butler had one questionable week during Super Bowl week (last week as a Patriot), but besides that, he is one of the better corners in the league. The Buccaneers need a shutdown corner like Butler, who can play zone coverage and man-to-man coverage.
Butler as the number one corner, Grimes (free agent, Bucs want him back) at the two, Hargreaves in the slot (fits him), and lastly, Ryan Smith as the third outside corner. That group has potential to be fun to watch.
Butler should receive a three or four-year deal.
Tre Boston – S – Chargers
2017 Stats: 5 interceptions, 8 pass deflections, 79 tackles (combined)
Justin Evans was the only bright spot in the safety group last year and he was a rookie, despite Conte getting a solid grade from PFF. I do not know how early the Bucs will draft a safety, but I think Boston should be a target for the Buccaneers, as he could provide stability at that spot. Boston will be a stop-gap player holding that spot till the potential draft pick is ready to take over the job.
Boston has familiar ties as he used to be a Carolina Panther. He had a one-year prove it deal with the Chargers and cashed in on it. He is another guy that should receive a two-year deal like Bennie Logan.
Boston is up and down on making tackles, but when it comes to coverage, he is one reliable defender, which the Bucs need in their secondary.
Patrick Murray – K – Bucs
2017 Stats: 19-of-24 FGs made (82.6%), 21-of-22 XP made (95.5%), longest kick made was 50 yards.
The Buccaneers have had issues in the kicking game in the past, but I expect them to bring back Murray, who slowed down the bleeding. Expect the Bucs to bring in another kicker via free agency after the draft or drafting a kicker (not in the second round) later in the draft (seventh round).
Those two options could include Daniel Carlson from Auburn or Caleb Sturgis (Eagles). A little competition does not hurt.
Overall note: Butler and Jensen will be the only two players on this list who will receive a contract over three years.