Bucs Free Agent Focus, Part 4

For the next several days, Scout.com and Bucsblitz.com experts will debate free agent issues surrounding the Buccaneers. Today, Adam Caplan, Tyler Frazier, and Matthew Postins discuss the team's situation at wide receiver and what the Bucs must do to improve there in 2010. Want to find out who the Bucs should target? Take a look

It seems like there's a yearly question in Tampa Bay – what are they going to do at wide receiver? No one knows for sure if they'll go after anyone in free agency, even the one solid wide receiver they had last year in Antonio Bryant. When you look at the list of free agents, who stands out as the type of WR that could help accelerate Freeman's development?

Adam Caplain, Scout.com senior NFL reporter: Malcom Floyd (Chargers/RFA) makes sense depending on what level of tender he gets. He has good size and runs well. He's not getting the ball enough in San Diego because of the presence of Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates. (Note: The Chargers have offered Floyd the highest possible tender, which would result in first- and third-round picks for San Diego if someone attempts to sign Floyd and the Chargers do no match the offer).

Tyler Frazier, Bucsblitz.com co-publisher: A dream scenario here would involve the Bucs pursuing and landing Cowboys restricted free agent Miles Austin, but Jerry Jones has already announced that the team intends to lock him up as soon as possible. Fans may be hoping Brandon Marshall lands in Tampa because the Bucs need a playmaker receiver so badly, but his off the field drama may be too much for such a young and impressionable locker room. Restricted free agents Malcolm Floyd, Steve Breaston or Lance Moore could be attractive options for the Bucs depending on what they would have to give up. Unrestricted free agents Kevin Walter and Chris Chambers could also attract some interest in Tampa.

Matthew Postins, Bucsblitz.com contributor: Hmmm, gosh, let me think – anyone? Anyone at all? Just about any of the Top 20 wide receivers, as ranked by Scout.com, would make a good fit in Tampa Bay (and I suppose that includes Bryant, though I don't believe he'll be back). The problem is the CBA situation. Every solid receiver of note will likely be stuck as a restricted free agent. In many cases, that means teams are probably going to have to give up at least a second-round pick in order to sign that player (assuming his current team tenders him an offer). So while Miles Austin, Brandon Marshall, and Malcom Floyd are all great options to consider, they're not coming to Tampa Bay unless they're signed by their current team and the Bucs try to swing a deal (an NFL version of a sign-and-trade). So the real question here is which unrestricted free agent might the Bucs pursue? The top two UFAs are Terrell Owens (boy that'll be a circus) and Bryant (not nearly consistent enough for my taste). Aside from those guys, the pickings are pathetic. I agree with Frazier that Walter and Chambers might be attractive short-term options, but they don't have the long-term return I'm looking for, that is finding a young receiver or two that can grow with Freeman. What does that mean? Well, the Bucs, sadly, will make few moves in free agency when it comes to wide receiver. If they make a splash it will be as a result of a trade (I wouldn't rule it out – they swung a deal for Kellen Winslow last year that worked out well for them). I see this franchise stocking up in the draft on at least two receivers instead. It'll be another year of constant issues at WR.


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