The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made the playoffs last season, losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Divisional Round. Due to their postseason loss, quarterback Tom Brady has officially retired from the league, and there is a major hole with the organization. Unfortunately, the long-term answer will not be available in free agency or the draft.
Even with questions at quarterback, several of their potential free agents are in question. Players like Ryan Jensen, Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones, and Rob Gronkowski are scheduled to be free agents, and they will receive quality offers across the league. So, here are the three guys that the Buccaneers should target during free agency.
Cordarrelle Patterson, Running Back/Wide Receiver
One of the most versatile players last season, Cordarrelle Patterson is a triple threat. Depending on whom the Bucs decide to keep at running back, you would not think Patterson as an every-down back. The calling card on Patterson is his versatility: the ability to play multiple positions.
With the Buccaneers possibly keeping Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, Patterson could be brought in as a utility player. It would keep defenses guessing on whom the quarterback will throw it to. Cordarrelle Patterson would be crucial to the potential backfield, receiver, and tight end losses.
Dont’a Hightower, Linebacker
He is 31 years old and in the later part of his career, but the hope is that Dont’a Hightower could be a mentor to the young defensive line. Last season for New England, Hightower had 1.5 sacks and one tackle for a loss, a far cry from his usual stats. With Vita Vea already on the roster, Hightower would be a complement to the Buccaneers’ defense.
Leonard Fournette, Running Back
Lombardi Lenny. Why wouldn’t you want to keep Fournette on your team? Especially when there is uncertainty in the running back position, having a constant figure in the fold would help the transition to a run-first offense. In his two seasons with Tampa Bay, Fournette has become the reliable back even though his stats were different from his Jacksonville days.
Even though Fournette is 26 years old and has durability issues, he is expected to receive multiple offers from teams that need a running back. The Buccaneers would be best suited to sign Fournette to a modest deal. Just enough to keep the other free agents in tow.