March 4, 2013
With free agency only nine days away, it's unclear whether the Buccaneers will be doing a proverbial cannonball into the free-agent pool.
Earlier this month, G.M. Mark Dominik suggested that, with the spending space created by the late-2013 restructurings by receiver Vincent Jackson and guard Carl Nicks, the Bucs will be ready to splurge.
"That has actually opened a lot of cap room for us going into 2013 – a tremendous amount," Dominik told the Tampa Tribune. "We've got a chance to be [heavily] involved in free agency again."
But Rick Stround of the Tampa Bay Times writes that it's unlikely the Bucs will spend big, pointing to the relatively flat cap in 2013 and 2014 and the need to keep cap space around to sign quarterback Josh Freeman (if they choose to) and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.
If the Buccaneers make another aggressive move at the launch of free agency, one thing is fairly clear: They won't be writing any big checks in the immediate future. The guaranteed money initially will come in the form of guaranteed salaries.
Positions of need include defensive back and defensive line.
The broader need is to win, and to win consistently. For plenty of reasons, the current Bucs don't connect with the locals the way the 2002 Super Bowl champions did, and still do. To re-connect with the fans base, the Bucs need to contend once again for championships. Buying up big names won't matter.
Thus, the Bucs need to spend, or not spend, based on no factor other than that one.