The sudden retirement of left guard Ali Marpet leaves the Bucs in a tricky spot coming into free company. Middle Ryan Jensen and proper guard Alex Cappa are free brokers who the Bucs won’t be prepared to pay important cash. It’s not out of the query that an entire new inside offensive line may line up in Tampa Bay this season.
If solely Jensen and Cappa had walked, the Bucs wouldn’t have panicked. Tampa Bay drafted Robert Hainsey final yr, and have been inspired with the expansion of Aaron Stinnie, Nick Leverett and others. Nevertheless, the prospect of shedding all three starters goes to spur extra aggression in free company. Earlier than, Tampa Bay might have been content material to easily add an inexpensive middle to compete with Hainsey. Now, they’ll doubtless search for a starter. Particularly if Cappa strikes on.
Listed here are the highest choices accessible in free company.
RG Brandon Scherff, Washington Commanders – 30 years previous
PFF Contract Projection: 3 years, $16.67M avg/yr ($30m assured, $50m complete)
Somebody will in all probability give Scherff this sort of cash, however it gained’t be the Bucs. Scherff is an excellent participant, however he’s growing old and already been damage susceptible. He hasn’t performed a full season since 2016! That’s not going to get higher as he will get older. Scherff is the very best guard accessible in free company, however these are the contracts it’s a must to avoid. And the Bucs will do exactly that.
LG Laken Tomlinson, San Francisco 49ers – 30 years previous
PFF Contract Projection: 3 years, $9m avg/yr ($16.5m assured, $27m complete)
Tomlinson is an efficient instance of a strong participant who simply doesn’t slot in Tampa Bay. He’s rather a lot higher within the run sport than he’s in go safety, which makes him ideally suited in San Francisco. Tomlinson is a bodily, excessive character participant, however he’s extra of a zone blocker than a super hole scheme guard. He may work in Tampa Bay, however at 30 years previous with a giant scheme change forward of him, it’s not ideally suited. Particularly at $9 million per yr. Simply pay Cappa as an alternative.
LG Andrew Norwell, Jacksonville Jaguars – 30 years previous
PFF Contract Projection: 3 years, $7.25m avg/yr ($15m assured, $21.75m complete)
Norwell continues to be a strong participant who may slot in Tampa Bay. He’s a superb go protector who gained’t break the financial institution. However he’s 30 years previous taking a look at over $7 million per yr. The Bucs could wish to go youthful on the place. I like Norwell as a risk nevertheless, particularly if Tampa Bay can get him a bit cheaper. If they will front-load his contract, he’ll assist bridge to youthful gamers the Bucs will draft over the following two years.
Finest Of The Relaxation For Bucs
Connor Williams, James Daniels and Austin Corbett are zone scheme heavy guards. Williams additionally isn’t good, and Daniels has his points in go safety. Corbett is an efficient participant, I’m simply unsure the match is there.
Trai Turner had a good yr in Pittsburgh, however he’s a proper guard with issues in go safety. There’s comparable points with the Colts’ Mark Glowinski, who’s a greater run blocker than go protector. Plus, he’s almost 30. After that, the choices are fairly slim.
Bucs Ought to Look For Assist Early In Draft
There merely aren’t many high quality guards accessible in free company for the Bucs to contemplate. Scherff, Tomlinson, Corbett and probably Daniels are good gamers, however in all probability not good suits. Norwell is a risk in Tampa Bay as a stop-gap. Nevertheless, the Bucs are unlikely to discover a long-term substitute for Marpet in free company. Their cash can be greatest spent re-signing Cappa.
Meaning Tampa Bay should look to the draft for assist. The Bucs may try this as early because the workforce’s first spherical decide at No. 27 general. Proper now, each the highest two consensus guards within the draft, Texas A&M’s Kenyon Inexperienced and Boston Faculty’s Zion Johnson, may very well be accessible. In my latest mock draft, I had the Bucs addressing the offensive line in Spherical 1.
It’s true that the Bucs have constructed their inside offensive line with out utilizing first spherical picks previously. Nevertheless, drafting on the finish of Spherical 1 is a bit bit completely different, particularly in a category that leaves one thing to be desired. Additionally, Tampa Bay may very well be attempting to exchange three starters on their inside offensive line. All of that mixed is grounds for anticipating a break from the norm in GM Jason Licht’s drafting philosophy.