The NFL calendar officially flips to 2014 with the start of free agency Tuesday. A three-day negotiating period began Saturday, allowing teams and prospective free agents to begin the matchmaking process.
With $20 million available under the $133 million salary cap, the Buccaneers are expected to address a number of needs as the first-year tandem of head coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht shape the roster.
For seven straight days, The Tribune and TBO.com will feature one position each day. We’ll provide analysis of the position and list the players to consider. So, here’s your chance, Bucs fans — you be the GM.
Go to TBO.com/Bucs and tell us what you would do.
The Bucs are fairly set in the secondary. That is, as long as they hold on to CB Darrelle Revis, With Revis on board, they have two starting-caliber corners in Revis and second-year pro Johnthan Banks, two nickel corner options in D.J. Moore and Leonard Johnson, and two starting-caliber safeties in Dashon Goldson and Mark Barron. The Bucs are most happy with Revis, of course, and the trio of Goldson, Barron and backup Keith Tandy at safety. The team’s one concern is at the nickel spot. Moore and Johnson are adequate, but the Bucs might seek upgrades. Coach Lovie Smith believes you can never have too many good corners. He wants them to be physical but has expressed a desire to add more speed to the secondary. Upgrades here are not among the Bucs’ biggest needs, but this spot could get some attention the next few weeks.
Bucs under contract for 2014
CB Marc Anthony Physical zone corner, played for OC Jeff Tedford at Cal.
CB Johnthan Banks Should continue to improve after solid rookie season.
CB Deveron Carr Needs some coaching but has intriguing natural skill.
CB Bobby Felder Was on DC Leslie Frazier’s Vikings practice squad in 2012.
CB Anthony Gaitor Missed all of last year with a hamstring injury.
CB Leonard Johnson Has flashed some big-play ability.
CB Rashaan Melvin A standout at training camp last year.
CB Darrelle Revis Arguably the best corner in the game.
S Mark Barron Started to come into his own in second season last year.
S Dashon Goldson Needs to adjust his tackling to modern-day NFL rules.
S Kelcie McCray Has the skill to battle for third safety job.
S Bradley McDougald A little slow but a willing tackler.
S Keith Tandy Converted corner with impressive skill set.
Bucs potential free agents
CB Michael Adams – Solid veteran backup struggled with injuries last year.
CB Danny Gorrer – Has potential but Bucs might be able to do better.
NFL potential free agents
CB Vontae Davis, Colts – Only 26, could provide some long-term dividends.
CB Captain Munnerlyn, Panthers – Has steadily grown into a solid cover corner.
CB Alterraun Verner, Titans – Lots of upside to this 25-year-old.
S Jairus Byrd, Bills – Bucs could be interested in son of CBs coach Gill Byrd.
S Major Wright, Bears – Had big 2012 season playing for Bucs coach Lovie Smith.
Thursday: Running back
Friday: Offensive line
Saturday: Defensive line
Sunday: Wide receiver/tight end
Today: Defensive back