Offseason priorities: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The young core of Tampa Bay Bucs overachieved in 2010, winning a surprising ten games because of Josh Freeman’s development and his knack for late game heroics.

It was a hard-working group greater than the sum of its parts.  So can they take the next step in 2011?

The schedule is going to get tougher and they have some big decisions to make this offseason before they can start printing playoff tickets again.  Let’s take a deeper look at their free agent priorities.

(Our offseason priorities series has already discussed the Packers, Steelers, Seahawks, Colts, and Falcons.)

The Big Ones: Guard Davin Joseph and linebacker Barrett Ruud.

It was hard to pick just one of these two cornerstone young starters.  They are both good, but not necessarily great young players.  Joseph will probably be the bigger priority because he’s shown more signs of being a dominant player.

Still, Joseph is coming off a relative down year in which he missed the final five games to injury and the Bucs young line survived without him.  He could make a killing on he open market.

Ruud has led the team in tackles since 2007, but previously felt unappreciated by the team.  The Bucs reportedly don’t want to use the franchise tag on either player.  It wouldn’t shock us if Joseph and Ruud got better deals elsewhere.

The Key Ingredients: Safety Ronde Barber, linebacker Quincy Black, and running back Carnell Williams.

The Bucs should be able to come to an agreement with Barber, who seems ageless.  The team would like to bring back Cadillac in a third-down role.   Black started 23 games over the last two years.  He’ll be a lot cheaper to keep than Ruud.

Might be on the way out: Fullback Earnest Graham, tackle Jeremy Trueblood, and defensive lineman Stylez G. White.

Graham is due a lot of money for a fullback/reserve runner and could be cut.  The Bucs can survive letting Trueblood go, and the team doesn’t figure to re-sign White because of repeated questions about his work ethic.

Final take

The Bucs don’t have a huge amount free agents, but they do have important ones.  They can probably only afford to re-sign Ruud or Joseph and may lose boh.   We’d try to bring back Quincy Black so that the linebacker group isn’t depleted.

12 responses to “Offseason priorities: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  1. Barrett Ruud is horrible and hated by nearly all Buc fans. Not only will the Bucs not re-sign him, the fans will be ecstatic to see him go.

    Quincy Black should be re-signed, he is versatile and is a likely candidate to go over to Mike when Ruud is allowed to leave.

    Ronde Barber and the Bucs have already stated publically that they will renew their relationship for 2011. It’s all but signed and sealed.

    Re-signing Joseph would be nice, but the team noticed no visible drop-off when both he and Jeff Faine went down with season ending injuries. All rookie and 1st year starters filled in admirably and should continue to improve as they mature and become more physically ready for the league.

  2. I think the bucs will be about 40 million under the cap if there is a cap. They can sign or resign just about anyone they want.

    I don’t know if they want to sign Ruud, he is a soft MLB. If they can find an upgrade they will let him walk if not he will return.

    Bucs want to build through the draft, but will sign a FA if they think he is a good fit.

  3. Gregg… those little squiggly lines underneath words in your article…reread and correct them before posting an article next time…here, I’ll help:

    on he open market

    lose boh

  4. @brasho says:….Barrett Ruud is horrible and hated by nearly all Buc fans.

    Especially those who don’t know diddly about football. Geeez enough now about Ruud.

  5. With the owners continuing to be tight with their money for Buc salaries I sure hope they don’t waste any on Barrett Rudd. Joseph and Black are much more valuable to the Bucs. Rudd has always been overrated. I am pretty sure any NFL linebacker could have had at least the same numbers he has had in his position in that defense. Going to the games and watching him live shows he is not much more than a role player even more than it appears on TV. I wouldn’t mind seeing Rudd test the open market and realize he is not all he thinks of himself and then come back to the Bucs for a lesser role and a lesser contract that is more indicative of his true NFL value.

  6. Are these offseason priorities blogs done in any kind of order? Wouldn’t it make sense to do it by division or by record? I am so thrown off by how you do these things.

  7. Ruud isn’t flashy but he’s intelligent and is one of the most fundamental players in the league. He may not have a ton of splash plays, but he doesn’t make mistakes. He’s an important re-sign because the Bucs don’t have anyone on the roster that fits at MLB, and early draft picks need to be spent elsewhere. GM Mark Dominik allots dollar values to each position and will only spend so much on each one. If Ruud wants to stay, he’ll need to fall in or close to that price range or else they’ll let him walk. They will have a little more flexibility with Joseph because they can adjust the dollar values along the OL accordingly.

  8. P.S. If the Bucs have a MLB they like that falls in the 4th-5th round range they feel that he could step in and play early, they will take him and not think twice about letting Ruud walk.

    Oh, and Black is a physical monster, but highly overrated as a football player.

  9. @brasho. Quincy Black has no chance to play middle linebacker in Tampa. What on earth makes you think there is any possibility of that?
    Let Ruud go and test the market. He will find there aren’t many suitors for a middle linebacker getting ran over by running backs.
    I would like to see Joesph back, but not for the money he will get somewhere else.
    Keep building through the draft Tampa! We will be much better off that way.

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