Tampa Bay Buccaneers
You be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers GM: Running backs
The NFL free agency period begins at 4 p.m. on Tuesday. That means the Buccaneers and 31 other teams have only a few precious days left to decide which of their own free agents to bring back and who to pursue — and how much money to spend — when players hit the open market. The Bucs are about $33 million under the 2013 salary cap of $123 million. Fifth-year general manager Mark Dominik is in charge of shaping the roster, and there are plenty of needs and variables to consider. So, Bucs fans, what would you do? Now is your chance. You be the GM.
When the Bucs traded back into the first round to draft Doug Martin last year, they expected him to be productive as a rookie. Martin surpassed all expectations, reeling off five 100-yard games en route to a 1,454-yard season.
Martin also displayed his versatility by averaging 9.6 yards on 49 receptions, finishing with 12 touchdowns and providing balance for an offense that set a franchise record with 5,820 yards.
LeGarrette Blount, just two years removed from a 1,000-yard season, carried only 41 times in 2012 and rarely appeared on the field in the second half of the season, leaving his future as a Buccaneer in doubt.
Veteran D.J. Ware is a dependable third-down back, but the Bucs are seeking depth behind Martin, who averaged 23 touches a game.
BUCS UNDER CONTRACT FOR 2013
Erik Lorig: Former DE has seven starts at FB in each of past two years.
Doug Martin: The league’s most productive rookie back has a surprising burst.
Michael Smith: Seventh-round pick is still looking for his first pro carry.
D.J. Ware: Reliable blocker who can contribute on third down.
POTENTIAL BUCS FREE AGENTS
LeGarrette Blount (RFA): Doesn’t seem to fit Greg Schiano’s profile in the backfield.
POTENTIAL NFL FREE AGENTS
Reggie Bush, Dolphins: Finished strong in 2012; intriguing complementary back.
Shonn Greene, Jets: Offers plenty of power, but not much speed.
Danny Woodhead, Patriots: Shifty back is a pass-catching threat.
Felix Jones, Cowboys: Speedy former first-round pick has durability issues.
Peyton Hillis, Chiefs: Ex-Browns standout appeared lost in KC.
Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants: Foot surgery is the latest medical setback.
LaRod Stephens-Howling, Cardinals: Posted Arizona’s only two 100-yard games.
Monday: Defensive line
Wednesday: Defensive back
Thursday: Tight end
Saturday: Offensive line
Sunday: Running back