16 March 2008

Tampa Bay Buccaneers offseason (to date) round-up

The Bucs have been an aggressive team in free agency this offseason, as they could afford to be with more than $40 million of cap room. The argument could be made that the Bucs haven't been this aggressive since 2002, when they signed, among others, Keenan McCardell, Roman Oben, Michael Pittman, and Joe Jurevicious - all players who were crucial for their super bowl run.

Will this year's crop turn out that well? We can only hope so (furiously knocking on wood). I'm taking a look at the top 4 signings only - these are the guys who, I think, will make the biggest impact.

C Jeff Faine, 6 years, $37.5 million
Faine is considered the top center in this year's free agent market. He's slightly undersized at 6'2", 292 lb. but is strong and skilled. He should be an anchor for the line for the next several years - and he'd better be, since the Bucs have given him the biggest contract of any center in the league.

WR Antonio Bryant, 1 year, $600 thousand
This deal is a tremendous bargain for Tampa. Bryant is a big, skilled receiver, albeit one with some issues, who could (with luck) become a valuable complement to Joey Galloway. He's 27, so he's still young, and he's demonstrated the ability and talent the Bucs need. There's a 50% chance he busts and does nothing - but there's probably a 25-30% chance that he turns into exactly what the Bucs need to make their offense work.

TE Ben Troupe, 2 years, $ unknown
Troupe is big, he's fast, and he's got good hands. He was a tremendous talent at UF, but got buried, for whatever reason, with the Titans. I see him as a player, like Graham, who, if given the chance, can excel. He'll probably be the second TE for the Bucs, but will have ample opportunity to display his skills in the Tampa offense, which often employs two tight ends.

RB Warrick Dunn, 2 years, $6 million
Dunn looks to be a backup at this point - but he should be a valuable one. The Bucs' RB corps has a lot of depth, but - with the oft-injured Carnell Williams and the still-inexperienced Earnest Graham - could use a steadying veteran presence. Dunn knows how to play the game, and he'll be an ideal mentor to Williams (a slightly undersized back who dances too much) and Graham (a gutty back who has trouble blocking).

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