It appears as if there are only 5 potential free agents (not including Doug Martin) playing in the Pro Bowl this year. That means that these 5 players will be the target of recruitment from all other players to join their own teams. The advantage for the Bucs, Jameis Winston is a much better recruiter than most!
Here are those 5 potential free agents at the Pro Bowl ranked by importance for the Bucs:
1. Eric Berry - Safety - Chiefs
The Bucs secondary entire defense was abysmal last season. Other than Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander at linebacker, every position can be upgraded. While we all know the Bucs need a better pass rush, having an elite safety can change the way a team plays defense. Berry is an elite safety who made a miraculous return from cancer this season. Odds are Berry returns to the Chiefs, who stuck by him during his cancer treatments. However, if he somehow hits free agency, Berry would be the type of free agent not as likely to bust as others have.
2. Alex Mack - Center - Browns
While Mack is not officially a free agent in March, he does have the opportunity to opt out of his contract with the Browns, which he'll likely take advantage of. The Bucs had a minor miracle with the acquisition and play of center Joe Hawley in 2015. He wasn't great, but he wasn't near as bad as Evan Smith had been at center. Yes, Hawley knows Dirk Koetter's offense, but a player the caliber of Alex Mack would be a tremendous upgrade over Hawley. Taking into account the fact that Logan Mankins may retire this off-season, perhaps Hawley would be able to shift to left guard until a long-term answer at that spot is found. Needless-to-say, Jameis Winston might have his hands all up on Mack's backside, so hopefully they can have more of that touching in Tampa for years to come.
3. Tamba Hali - Edge - Chiefs
Hali has been a leader in the Chiefs' 3-4 defense for the last decade. As free agency approaches, Hali has said he is not considering retirement, and wants to end his career with the Chiefs. We have seen aging pass rushers move on to other teams and have success later on in their careers. Hali might not be an elite pass rusher any more, but the mindset and leadership he brings could be just as valuable to a team like the Bucs.
4. Richie Incognito - OG - Bills
Remember when the Bucs offensive line was awful in 2014 and the team visited with Incognito? Ultimately, Incognito just didn't meet the strict character guidelines that then head coach Lovie Smith had. Which does beg the question of why the Bucs even brought Incognito in for a visit in the 1st place? My assumption is that Bucs GM Jason Licht brought in Incognito for the visit, but once Lovie Smith said no, Licht had to move on. With Logan Mankins possibly retiring, wouldn't it be something to replace Mankins with Incognito at left guard?
5. Chris Ivory - RB - Jets
Ivory is the last of the free agents in the pro bowl this year. While I do like him as a player, he just doesn't fit a need area for the Bucs. If things don't work out with Doug Martin, and the Bucs don't feel he is worth the franchise tag salary, Ivory would be at least a nice secondary option. Again, likely won't happen, but I did promise to write about all of the potential free agents at the pro bowl Jameis Winston might be able to recruit.
UPDATE: Adam Jones was added to the Pro Bowl roster and will be a free agent this off-season as well.null