Scout.com Senior NFL Reporter Adam Caplan reported in his free agency blog on Saturday that league sources said the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be among several teams interested in Arizona free-agent wide receiver Bryant Johnson.
Caplan talked to league sources that said the Buccaneers, Vikings, 49ers and Titans appear to be the most likely candidates for the services of the 6-foot-2 Johnson.
"Those teams run scheme that fits Johnson's talent well," Caplan wrote.
Caplan also wrote that Johnson is considered an under-the-radar talent by many teams and will likely not draw as much interest as the top free-agent wide receivers, such as Chicago's Bernard Berrian and Seattle's D.J. Hackett. In fact, it is believed the Buccaneers will not get into a bidding war with any teams for any free agent wide receivers. The Buccaneers have not been big spenders in free agency in the past at any position.
Johnson was drafted the same year as Anquan Boldin but became lost in the shadow of both Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, drafted a year later. Even with the presence of those two Pro Bow-caliber players, Johnson has been a productive player in the Cardinals' offense. He's caught at least 40 passes each of the last four seasons as the No. 3 receiver.
The 6-foot-3, 213-pound receiver has a reputation for being a great runner after the catch. In 2006 Johnson averaged 18.6 yards per catch and averaged 12.7 yards per catch during his career in Arizona. He is considered a downfield threat, something the Buccaneers crave this offseason.
Free agency begins next week.
Caplan also told Bucsblitz.com that, while there is no reported interest in Houston's Andre Davis on the part of the Buccaneers, the sixth-year pro could be a good fit for the Bucs based on cost.
Davis is injury prone, as he has never started for a full season and has played a full season just three times in his career, with last season being one of them. He caught 11 passes combined for New England in 2005 and Buffalo in 2006 before receiving a career boost in Houston last year. Davis became a solid fill-in starter for the injured Andre Johnson and ended up with 33 receptions for 583 yards and 3 touchdowns.
But where Davis adds value, Caplan said, is on kickoff returns. That's something the Bucs know all too well, as Davis returned a 90-yard kickoff for a touchdown against the Bucs in the Texans' 28-14 victory last season. Davis ended up with three kickoff returns for a touchdown and averaged 30.3 yards per return, with 22 returns of 20 yards or more.
The Bucs averaged only 23.3 yards per kickoff return last year, and only Michael Spurlock scored on a return.
Meanwhile, another name to pop up on the radar is Minnesota's Troy Williamson, who the Vikings revealed on Friday is now open to seeking a trade.
Vikingsreport.com's Tim Yotter told Bucsblitz.com exactly what it would take to get Williamson out of a Vikings uniform.
"Williamson would probably be available for a mid-round pick, but the head coach, Brad Childress, said reporters ‘might be surprised' by his value," Yotter said. "There are about eight teams that are interested in him, according to his agent, and Jacksonville and Miami have been mentioned the most. He still has the speed that rocketed him up the draft boards in 2005 and worked hard to overcome his eye-hand coordination troubles during the offseason, but he still dropped far too many passes, which is why he's on the trading block."
Scout.com Senior NFL Writer Adam Caplan contributed to this report.
Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. An award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers Association, he appears frequently on Scot Brantley Show from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1470-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.