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News » Tampa Bay Buccaneers Strategy and Personnel 2009-02-28


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Strategy and Personnel 2009-02-28


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Strategy and Personnel 2009-02-28
TEAM NEEDS/OFFSEASON STRATEGY


The Bucs want to get younger on defense, which is why they released five veteran players - including Derrick Brooks - two days before the free-agent signing period began.

TEAM NEEDS

1. Defensive tackle: Jovan Haye is a free agent and nose tackle Chris Hovan is on the downside of his career. The Bucs lack significant push in the middle and it has had an impact on their lack of a pass rush. The under tackle always has been a critical spot in the 4-3 defense and they have never adequately replaced Warren Sapp. They re-signed Ryan Sims to a four-year deal.

2. Receiver: Antonio Bryant has received the franchise player tag, guaranteeing him a one-year contract worth $9.884 million. Joey Galloway and Ike Hilliard were released. Michael Clayton is a free agent. That leaves players like Maurice Stovall and Dexter Jackson.

3. Quarterback: The Bucs re-signed Luke McCown, but he is unproven at best with a 1-6 career record. Brian Griese and Josh Johnson remain under contract. At some point, the Bucs have to invest a high draft pick in the position. Kansas State QB Josh Freeman is a possibility with the No. 19 overall pick.

MEDICAL WATCH: RB Cadillac Williams is recovering from his second torn patellar tendon in as many seasons. This time, the tendon did not rupture but rather detached from the bone. The recovery is roughly the same. The Bucs don't expect him until mid-season. RB Earnest Graham had a high ankle sprain but should be ready for offseason workouts. FB Byron Storer had surgery to repair a torn ACL.

FRANCHISE PLAYER: WR Antonio Bryant: tendered at $9.884M; signed tender Feb. 27.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

--S Will Allen is a valuable backup and special teams captain who started two seasons at free safety. Lost his job in '07 to Tanard Jackson. Bucs will attempt to re-sign him.

--CB Phillip Buchanon was a starting corner with man coverage abilities that would work even better under new defensive coordinator Jim Bates. Buchanon is very close to Morris and re-signing him is a big priority.

--DE Kevin Carter is one of the Bucs' team leaders and still a versatile player who can be effective against the run. The Bucs want to re-sign Carter.

--DE/LB Patrick Chukwurah is a smallish defensive end in the 4-3 who was re-signed due to injuries. Bucs will have little or no interest in bringing him back.

--WR Michael Clayton has just two TDs since his rookie year, but Bucs would like to have him return. Does the dirty work in running game. Will test the market.

--QB Jeff Garcia wore down late in both seasons and was ineffective in the fourth quarter. He also struggled in the red zone and will be 39 at the start of 2009 season.

--WR Cortez Hankton is a solid special teams contributor who spent some time on the practice squad. Limited interest in re-signing him from the Bucs.

--DT Jovan Haye spent much of 2008 battling injuries and did not duplicate his '07 production. Undersized and not a consistent pass rusher, but the Bucs will have some interest in re-signing Haye.

--CB Jermaine Phillips is one of the best run stoppers at strong safety in the NFL, Phillips' career has been plagued by broken forearms - he's had four, including breaking each arm last season. Even with the emergence of Sabby Piscitelli at strong safety, the Bucs would like to re-sign Phillips.

--TE Jerramy Stevens has been clean off the field for the Bucs the past two seasons. He's led all tight ends in receiving and touchdowns the past two seasons, but is looking for a large deal after playing for the minimum.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

--LT Donald Penn (tendered at $2.792M with first- and third-round picks as compensation) is a solid starter who the team wants to sign to a long-term deal.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: Unknown.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

--WR Antonio Bryant: FFA; $9.884M/1 yr.

--QB Luke McCown: Potential UFA; $7.5M/2 yrs, $2.5M SB.

--DT Ryan Sims: Potential UFA; 4 yrs, terms unknown.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED

--TE Kellen Winslow (trade Browns).

PLAYERS LOST

--LB Derrick Brooks (released).

--RB Warrick Dunn (released).

--WR Joey Galloway (released).

--WR Ike Hilliard (released).

--LB Cato June (released).



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: February 28, 2009

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