A year ago, the Buccaneers were perhaps the most active team in the NFL when free agency opened, signing Michael Johnson, Anthony Collins, Alterraun Verner, and Evan Dietrich-Smith to long-term deals, and adding a new starting quarterback in Josh McCown. Of course, that spending spree didn’t exactly work out for the Bucs, as Lovie Smith‘s club stumbled to a league-worst 2-14 record and the first overall pick in 2015. While Tampa Bay may not be quite as aggressive in free agency this time around, last year’s failures won’t discourage the team from being involved next month, according to Smith.
“We’d like to build [the roster] through the draft, but I think you use every avenue possible to improve your squad,” Smith said at the combine, per Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com. “Free agency is coming up. It’s not like we’re out of the free agency business. Hopefully, we can make some better decisions. Just because something didn’t turn out, we’re not going to stop playing football. We’re going to get back up on it and start doing things better. We’re going to do a better job in free agency and everything else this year.”
Heading into his second year as the Bucs’ head coach, Smith added that he’s much more familiar with the team’s roster now, which should help the team make better decisions in free agency. And in spite of last year’s investments, Tampa Bay still has plenty of room to maneuver this winter. According to Over The Cap’s data, the Bucs are currently about $32.6MM under the projected 2015 cap.