Quick Hit: Buccaneers shift philosophy?

Does the signing of Jeff Faine represent a shift in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' philosophy on free agency? Bucsblitz.com examines that issue, based on what the Bucs are rumored to have done the first day of free agency. All this, plus links to Bucsblitz.com's free agency coverage, analysis on Faine and Bucs coverage from the NFL Scouting Combine.

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With one big-ticket item already under contract, will the Tampa Bay Buccaneers seek some more?

The answer to that question may be no.

The Bucs' rumored second signing — Bears TE John Gilmore — hasn't come off yet, but it could today. If it does, then the Bucs will have spent the first two days of free agency pursuing the top center on the market and a third-string tight end.

Oh, and they re-signed their own linebacker, Antoine Cash.

That doesn't mean the Buccaneers were not busy on Friday.

But if you look at their confirmed and rumored meetings and conversation, one thing becomes clear — they're not looking to spend a ton of money.

Faine's deal may end up being their high water mark (and $37.5 million is pretty high). Most of the players they're rumored to be talking to represent the Bucs' free-agent strategy of past years — signing players that might not be big-ticket items, but are good fits for the Bucs' offensive and defensive systems.

That's the type of player Gilmore would represent, if signed. He's considered an exceptionally good blocker and can be used in that capacity in two-tight end sets. He would essentially replace the departed Anthony Becht.

And those the type of players the Buccaneers appear to be in pursuit of at the moment.

More notes from Day 1:

Quarterback: As expected, there have been no conversations between the Bucs and any quarterbacks. There's really no need with four under contract. There's also no trade talk for Chris Simms, perhaps their most marketable player at the position.

Wide receivers: Their only reported meeting was with Devery Henderson. They appear to be staying out of the Bernard Berrian sweepstakes, though Scout.com's Adam Caplan has told me that could change. The Bucs may be waiting for next week to pursue wide receivers. In fact, aside from Berrian, most of the free-agent wide receivers have generated little interest, perhaps signaling that they're really not worth big contracts. The Bucs may benefit by waiting and acquiring one of them for a price below market value. There's also a school of thought that says most of them are waiting for Berrian to sign and set the market.

Depth: Expect the Bucs to address their depth at linebacker, defensive tackle and cornerback, though the signings likely won't light the world on fire. They've met with or plan to meet with players at those positions in the next 72 hours.

The NFC South: The Saints have been busy, trading for Jonathan Vilma, re-signing DT Brian Young and LB Mark Simoneau. They're not done. They could be trying to steal away a player the Bucs also covet. The Saints have about $30 million in cap space and can be as competitive in free agency as the team they finished second behind in the division.

Want to hear the rest of the rumored player visits and player moves that could affect the Bucs? Click here to access the story, which is constantly updated.

How does the signing of center Jeff Faine affect the Bucs, and what exactly are they getting? Click here for the inside scoop.

Can't keep up with all the player movement? No problem. Just access the Bucsblitz.com Free Agency tracker, which will keep you abreast of all of the Bucs' confirmed signings and departures. Click here to access the tracker.


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.


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