WRITTEN BY: ANDREW SIEMER
In the video game world, nothing is more consistent than Call of Duty and Madden. Gamers and sports fans alike flock to their nearest store to pick up a copy of the best (and only, stupid monopoly) NFL game out there, Madden. Everyone wants to get in there and really give their two cents on how they would handle an NFL franchise. They want to showcase their knowledge on building a dynasty. With free agency starting today, players have already begun agreeing to contracts and quality free agents are flying off the board. So let’s have some fun with my franchise mode, writing style!
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have an estimated $56.29 million dollars (someone hit the lottery) in cap space. With some weaknesses on the defensive side of the ball, free agency is a great place to start to strengthen those positions. One place where the Bucs struggled was the pass game, and to be able to go get a player of Janoris Jenkins caliber would be a sure fire way help the defensive back position do a 180. The free agent from the L.A. (don’t call me St Louis) Rams is exiting his rookie contract and has played very well to deserve a big NFL payday. It’s gonna cost you big money to pull him away from the Rams, somewhere in the $9-11 million a year, but he is looking like a player you could build a future winning defense around.
With the Bucs issues in the defensive passing game, getting the defensive backs a game changer player is just as important as getting the line a guy who can come in and make an immediate impact. Malik Jackson just won the Super Bowl in Denver and now is looking to win in free agency. Getting him to come to Tampa is going to be . . . Just kidding. He has agreed to go to Jacksonville on a $15 million a year deal.(told you) OK, next man up. Miami Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon is looking for a similar payday. Miami is in a flux with their roster moves and may allow Vernon to go else where. We have an open competition for starting defensive end in Tampa to play along side All-Pro tackle Gerald McCoy. We also have $11-13 million other reasons to make a small move north (what a coincidence). Having an edge rusher to relive some double teams from McCoy would make this defense a force in the NFL.
The Tampa Bay offense looked like a group who knew what they were doing last year. For the first time in many years, the offense was not the source of all the problems. A huge reason was the ability to run the ball. Now, don’t get me wrong. Resigning The Doug Martin would be helpful for the Bucs, $6-8 million a year, but a player of his caliber could demand more. If he wants more, the Bucs would be wise to head in a different direction. The position I was going to talk about is that wonderful offensive line many people worried about last year (Including myself) With veteran Logan Mankins retiring, a hole has emerged and we need to fill it. Someone who is inexpensive but a solid replacement would be Denver Broncos guard Evan Mathis. Evan signed a one year deal last year, and is on the market again. Signing him to a $2-4 million a year deal would be a sure fire way to keep this line a success and an anchor for second year quarterback Jameis Winston to continue getting better.
Wide receiver isn’t a need the Bucs have to fill, however, it could use a little depth. Mike Evans going through his “sophomore slump” and still having a top 10 year and Vincent Jackson getting another year older, the reviving Corp needs a little help. Two guys they should target aren’t burners and won’t run the 40 yard dash at 4.4 speed, but will catch the ball when you throw it at them, veterans Roddy White and Anquan Boldin. Both would be overkill, but whoever would want to play for $3-5 million a year are more than welcome to be a solid third string receiver.
Overall, spending $35-41 million on a handful of players isn’t out of the question, these players would make immediate impacts for the Bucs while still leaving room for Draft pick signing and injuries through the season. But I’m no General Manager and the Bucs have to make noise early and often in free agency to make the progress they made last year all for not. But hey, that’s just my opinion.
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