Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rumors & News

Jameis Winston Wants Bucs To Sign DeSean Jackson

Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston lobbed on Wednesday for the club to sign Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson in free agency, according to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. “I’ve met him before, and we want DeSean. You better believe we want DeSean here,” Winston said. “I think he would be a great asset to our team. Me growing up an Eagles fan, seeing what he did for the Eagles and back in his Cal days and even with the Redskins, I would love to have DeSean.” The 30-year-old Jackson is coming off his fifth 1,000-yard season and might command upward of $10MM annually on the open market. Tampa Bay is among the NFL’s leaders in cap space, though, and PFR’s Dallas Robinson noted Monday that the speedy Jackson could be a fit for its receiver-needy offense.

More from the NFC:

  • Saints defensive tackle Nick Fairley is likely to test free agency, and if he does, he could seek a contract worth around $10MM per year, writes Larry Holder of NOLA.com. The Saints would likely go to around around $6MM per annum for Fairley, suggests Holder. An annual average of $10MM would be a notable step up for a player who had to settle for one-year deals in each of the previous two offseasons. Fairley, 29, made $3MM last season in potentially his only year in New Orleans and totaled career highs in starts (16), tackles (43) and sacks (6.5).
  • It’s possible the Lions will do something significant at tight end this offseason, per ESPN.com’s Michael Rothstein, who lists the Patriots’ Martellus Bennett as a potential target in free agency. Signing Bennett, who appears likely to leave New England, would cloud starting tight end Eric Ebron‘s future in Detroit. Still just 23, Ebron set career highs in receptions (61), targets (86) and yards (711) last season, though he finished toward the bottom of the league in drops (seven) and only caught one touchdown. The Lions must decide by May whether to exercise Ebron’s fifth-year option for 2018.
  • Speaking of the state of Michigan, Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh took a shot at 49ers CEO Jed York on Thursday in a podcast with Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News. Harbaugh quipped that he deserves “an endurance medal” for working with the much-maligned York for four years, from 2011-14. San Francisco was a powerhouse under Harbaugh, as it went 44-19-1 and earned a Super Bowl berth, but the two sides parted ways over his poor relationship with management. The polarizing Colin Kaepernick was Harbaugh’s starting quarterback for most of the coach’s tenure in the Bay Area, and Harbaugh told Kawakami that “there’s no doubt” Kaepernick is still capable of being a No. 1 signal-caller. Kaepernick’s time with the Niners could be on the verge of ending, though he did have a positive meeting Wednesday with new general manager John Lynch.

Buccaneers To Cut CB Alterraun Verner

The Buccaneers are releasing cornerback Alterraun Verner today, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). "<strong

Verner has not lived up to expectations in his three seasons in south Florida. The 28-year-old was scheduled carry a $6.5MM cap number in 2017, a number that was not at all palatable for Tampa Bay. Verner hasn’t been a regular starter since 2015 and last season he did not show any signs of getting back to his old form. In 16 games, he made three starts and finished the year with 12 total tackles and seven passes defensed. Verner saw only 241 snaps on the year, putting him far behind Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves in terms of playing time.

Verner will now enter a competitive free agent cornerback market. As of this writing, A.J. Bouye, Trumaine Johnson, Logan Ryan, Stephon Gilmore, Prince Amukamara, Morris Claiborne, and Dre Kirkpatrick are all potential unrestricted free agents.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Mike Glennon Changes Agents

  • Pending free agent quarterback Mike Glennon has left his representation at Vanguard Sports and Athletes First, but he’s expected to re-sign with Athletes First agent David Dunn, tweets Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal. Glennon, 27, hasn’t played regularly for the Buccaneers since his rookie season in 2013, but if Kirk Cousins sees the franchise tag as expected, Glennon will be the top quarterback on the market.

Latest On DeSean Jackson

For months now, there has been speculation about DeSean Jackson returning to the Eagles via free agency this offseason. The wide receiver hasn’t done much to stop that talk with his latest comments to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (audio link). "<strong

It definitely is a great story or ending, I guess you could say,” Jackson said (via PFT). “Starting your career somewhere then going to a division rival team [and] having the possibility of maybe going back. You just kind of think about all of that when you start somewhere maybe you could finish it. There is just a lot of speculation of a lot of thoughts. It all sounds good, but you really never know until the final decision is made. I’m just a firm believer that if you work hard, you put in the work, continuously go out there and show everybody what you’re capable of [then] the sky’s the limit.”

Jackson is reportedly eyeing a return to the Eagles, though he is also on the record as saying that he wants to stay with the Redskins. Jackson, 30, could be on the verge of losing his trademark speed, but he was still productive last year as he hauled in 56 catches for 1,005 yards and four touchdowns. There will be a healthy market waiting for Jackson in March and the Eagles won’t be the only team pursuing him. That group of suitors could include the Buccaneers. Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears the Bucs could be a possible destination for DJax and his relationship with quarterback Jameis Winston could help to facilitate a deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 3 Offseason Needs: Tampa Bay Bucs

In advance of March 9, the start of free agency in the NFL, Pro Football Rumors will detail each team’s three most glaring roster issues. We’ll continue this year’s series with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who added three wins to their 2015 record to finish 9-7 under first-year head coach Dirk Koetter.

Depth Chart (via Roster Resource)

Pending Free Agents:

Top 10 Cap Hits for 2017:

  1. Gerald McCoy, DT: $13,750,000
  2. Brent Grimes, CB: $8,000,000
  3. Doug Martin, RB: $7,000,000
  4. Jameis Winston, QB: $6,913,985
  5. Alterraun Verner, CB: $6,500,000
  6. Robert Ayers, DE: $6,250,000
  7. Lavonte David, LB: $6,000,000
  8. J.R. Sweezy, G: $5,000,000
  9. Mike Evans, WR: $4,655,478
  10. Evan Smith, OL: $4,500,000

Other:

Three Needs:

1. Grab a No. 2 wide receiver: The Buccaneers’ offense had its successes in 2016, as quarterback Jameis Winston took a leap in his sophomore campaign, wide receiver Mike Evans ranked among the NFL’s top-six receivers in receptions, yards, and touchdowns, and the offense as a whole finished 18th in DVOA. Tampa Bay’s running game struggled — we’ll address ways to fix that facet of the club a bit later — but the more pressing need for the Bucs is at receiver, where the team lacks depth beyond Evans.

Tight end Cameron Brate ranked second among Tampa receivers in catches, yards, and scores, and adds a solid dimension to the Buccaneers offense, while Adam Humphries managed 55 receptions for 622 yards and two touchdowns. Humphries, 24, garnered the second-most targets in Tampa Bay’s offense, and while he’s a reliable security blanket for Winston, Humphries is best served in the slot. Veteran Cecil Shorts, meanwhile, suffered a potentially career-ending injury last December and won’t be back, meaning the rest of the Buccaneers wide receiver depth chart is comprised of Josh Huff, Freddie Martino, Donteea Dye, and Bernard Reedy.

In addition to Shorts, other internal free agents exist at the wideout position. Veteran Vincent Jackson, now 34 years old, is coming off a partial ACL tear and could theoretically opt for retirement given that he’s only played in 15 games over the past two seasons. Jackson, though, is a respected presence in the Tampa Bay locker room, and a cheap re-signing isn’t out of the question, as Roy Cummings of FanRag Sports recently detailed. Russell Shepard, too, is heading for the open market, but is viewed as a “priority” free agent after another campaign as an excellent special-teamer.DeSean Jackson (Vertical)

Even if Jackson and Shepard return, though, the Buccaneers will still have a need for a standout No. 2 receiver who can help Evans threaten opposing defenses. In free agency, Redskins pass-catcher DeSean Jackson stands out as one option who could interest Tampa Bay. Jackson, 30, is expected to garner a double-digit yearly salary, but could add another feature to Tampa’s offense. While averaging 17.9 yards per reception, Jackson led the league in yards per catch for the second time in three seasons, evidence of his deep-ball acumen. Jackson’s teammate Pierre Garcon could also be on the Buccaneers’ radar, though he’s more of a possession receiver, and the Bucs weren’t among the recent list of teams expected to express interest in Garcon.

Elsewhere on the free agent market, Michael Floyd looks like an obvious fit for Tampa Bay, especially given that Bucs general manager Jason Licht was a member of the Cardinals’ front office when Arizona made Floyd a top-15 overall pick in 2012. Even with Floyd’s off-field concerns, the Buccaneers would face competition for Floyd’s services, including from the Patriots, who hope to re-sign the pending free agent. Tampa could eye Vikings’ wideout Cordarrelle Patterson as it looks to improve its special teams unit — the Bucs lost 8.7 points of field position on kick returns and 2.1 points of field position on punt returns in 2016 — while Terrance Williams, Kamar Aiken, and Robert Woods might also interest the club.

The Buccaneers could also pursue a few pass-catchers who aren’t actually on the open market just yet: if the Jets release either of Brandon Marshall or Eric Decker, Tampa might jump at the chance to add a dependable veteran to play opposite Evans in “12” personnel. Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap recently placed both Marshall and Decker on his list of potential wide receiver cuts, and while Marshall says he hasn’t heard anything from New York about his future with the team, he could certainly hit free agency in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, the 49ers may be willing to trade Torrey Smith, who could offer a Jackson-like deep threat to the Bucs’ offense.Corey Davis (vertical)

The draft represents yet another avenue by which Tampa Bay can acquire wide receiver talent, and while the club likely won’t be able to land Clemson’s Mike Williams barring a trade up in the first round, Western Michigan’s Corey Davis is a legitimate target at pick No. 19, and was recently mocked to the Buccaneers by Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN.com. Davis will miss the scouting combine after undergoing ankle surgery, while fellow Round 1 option John Ross (Washington) is expected to go under the knife after the combine, but both receivers should be ready for training camp. Cooper Kupp (Eastern Washington), Zay Jones (East Carolina), and JuJu Smith-Schuster (USC) could figure into Tampa’s Day 2 plans.

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Souhan: Bucs Are Good Fit For Adrian Peterson

  • Speaking of Peterson, Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune lays out a list of teams that the long-time Vikings star is most likely to play for next season, and the Buccaneers are at the top of the list.

Buccaneers Hire Danny Breyer

  • The Buccaneers announced that they’ve hired Danny Breyer as a defensive assistant. Breyer spent the 2016 campaign as an analytics staffer in Tampa Bay, worked for the Dolphins year prior, and coached in the college ranks before heading to the NFL.

Buccaneers May Retain RB Doug Martin

After running back Doug Martin was suspended four games for PED usage at the tail end of last season, the general thought was that Martin wasn’t long for the Buccaneers roster. However, Tampa Bay intends to “play the Martin situation out” and see where things stand in a few months, according to Roy Cummings of FanRag Sports.Doug Martin (vertical)

[RELATED: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Depth Chart]

Part of the reason for the Buccaneers’ stance on Martin is contractual — because Martin was suspended, his previously guaranteed $7MM base salary for the 2017 campaign is no longer guaranteed. Additionally, Martin is banned until Week 3 of next season, so Tampa doesn’t have to make a call on Martin until nearly a month into the season.

At that point, the Bucs will be able to more fully assess their needs and options at the running back position, and decide if retaining Martin is worth the risk. One player who could fill the void in Tampa Bay’s backfield is Jacquizz Rodgers, who rushed for 560 yards in his first season with the Buccaneers. Rodgers is a pending free agent, however, and though he appears to be a priority for Tampa, the club has not started a dialogue regarding a new deal, per Cummings.

Because the Buccaneers rarely use large prorated signing bonuses, they can release Martin without any dead money accruing on their salary cap. If he is cut, the 28-year-old Martin — who averaged only 2.9 yards per carry last season — would join a free agent running back class that includes Le’Veon Bell, Latavius Murray, LeGarrette Blount, and Eddie Lacy

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Roddy White Retires From NFL?

Despite being linked to handful of teams in 2016, former Falcons receiver Roddy White wound up sitting out the entire year. Now, after a conversation with WSB TV’s Zach Klein and Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it sounds like he won’t be returning to the game. White “is done playing,” Schultz writes. Roddy White

During his chat, White went into detail about how close he was to finding an NFL home last season. Interestingly enough, he was close to signing with the Patriots after Atlanta cut him loose in March. Before the two sides could finalize an agreement, however, the Pats opted to sign Nate Washington instead. The Vikings reached out to White after their 5-0 start but by the time the team was ready to sign him, they had begun their slide. He also turned down interest from the Titans and Buccaneers either because he didn’t view them as contenders or worried about playing time. Ultimately, he stopped working out in mid-October when it was clear he would not land with a contender.

White, 34, made four Pro Bowls and was a first-team All-Pro in 2010, when he caught a career-high 110 passes for 1,389 yards and 10 touchdowns. Unfortunately, he wasn’t used much in his final NFL season and finished with just 43 catches for 506 yards and a touchdown. White will be remembered fondly by Falcons fans and he’ll likely be inducted to the team’s Ring of Honor sometime soon.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Mike Glennon Trade Interest Diminished

  • Mike Glennon serves as another UFA option, but has an interesting profile. At least six teams inquired about Glennon’s availability during the 2014 draft to Buccaneers GM Jason Licht, per FanRag Sports’ Roy Cummings, but that interest diminished as years passed. Glennon drew “a couple” of trade inquiries in the 2015 draft, and the soon-to-be backup quarterback did not draw any offers during the ’16 draft or before last season’s trade deadline, Cummings notes. However, his sample size — 18 starts, with 30 TD passes and 15 INTs mixed in — makes him a less volatile commodity than Brock Osweiler in Cummings’ mind. Glennon is expected to draw interest as a free agent, with the bidding potentially going as high as $15MM per year. The Jets are reportedly intrigued by Jameis Winston‘s former backup.