Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rumors & News

Bucs Cut CB Greg Mabin

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

10 Centers The Saints Could Pursue

Saints center Max Unger went under the knife to help fix an issue with his foot, and that surgery will cause him to miss the start of the season. With no exact timetable in place for his return, the Saints will likely consider out-of-house options to help fill the void.

With some help from PFR’s Dallas Robinson, here are centers that New Orleans could look into acquiring:

  • Nick Mangold (free agent): Mangold remains on the open market and he stands as the most obvious choice for the Saints to consider. The Saints would be hard-pressed to find anyone with a resume as impressive as Mangold’s and the seven-time Pro Bowler probably wouldn’t cost all that much at this stage of the offseason. At the same time, there’s a reason why he is still available here in May and word of clubs asking him to change positions isn’t exactly encouraging. "<strong
  • Jason Kelce (Eagles): Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com was quick to connect the dots on Monday morning after word of Unger’s injury broke. The Eagles reportedly have had Kelce on the trading block for some time now and the Saints would now be a logical landing spot for him. The Eagles beat writer suggests that a Kelce deal could see running back Mark Ingram going to Philly, but I personally have a hard time seeing that happen. If the Saints are unable to meet the Eagles’ asking price for Kelce, however, they might be able to swing a deal for another interesting option on their roster.
  • Stefen Wisniewski (Eagles): If the Eagles were to trade Kelce, Wisniewski or guard Isaac Seumalo would be the top candidates to step into the starting role. However, Wisniewski himself would make lots of sense as a stopgap for the Saints. Wisniewski was a starter for five straight years with the Raiders and Jaguars before landing with the Eagles as a reserve. In addition to that starting experience, he also offers experience at guard, so he could be used at multiple spots once Unger returns to action. Pro Football Focus ranked him 39th among 72 eligible guards last season with strong marks for his pass blocking skills.
  • Joe Hawley (Buccaneers): The Buccaneers are moving Ali Marpet to center and he could very well wind up as the starter. There’s also Evan Dietrich-Smith and guard/tackle Ken Pamphile to consider for the No. 1 job and that could make Hawley expendable. The 28-year-old (29 in October) has been the Bucs’ primary center for the last two years, but he could be on the outside looking in after camp concludes. This offseason, he re-signed with the team on a two-year, $5.5MM deal with just $1MM guaranteed. It’s an affordable deal that the Saints could easily wiggle out of next year, if need be. Alternatively, the Bucs may want to dangle Dietrich-Smith in New Orleans’ direction.
  • Tim Barnes (49ers): Barnes just showed up in San Francisco, but indications are that the Niners will use Jeremy Zuttah as their starting center in 2o17. Before getting cut this offseason, Barnes spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons as the Rams’ starter. Another Niner, Daniel Kilgore, could have appeal for the Saints.
  • Cameron Erving (Browns): The Browns are planning to move Erving to right tackle now that J.C. Tretter is in town, but perhaps the Saints would be interested in seeing what he can do in the middle. Then again, he was shifted to right tackle last year after performing poorly in 12 games at center.
  • Matt Slauson (Chargers): Slauson isn’t guaranteed to start this year thanks to the presence of Max Tuerk, Forrest Lamp, and Dan Feeney. All three players are rookies (Tuerk didn’t play in 2016 thanks to his knee injury) but the team is high on each of them. In theory, Slauson could be shifted over to guard with Tuerk starting in the middle, but it’s also possible that Feeney starts at right guard over him. Slauson would be a valuable swing reserve for Los Angeles, but the Bolts might also be willing to trade him thanks to their glut of O-Line options.
  • Joe Berger (Vikings): Vikings coach Mike Zimmer sees third round rookie Pat Elflein as a center, and that could potentially make Berger expendable. Berger, 35 later this month, has started 68 games over the course of his career. He graded out as the 12th best guard in the entire NFL last season, according to PFF. He earned an even stronger overall score in 2015 when he primarily played in the middle. Berger still has plenty in the tank, so it would be harder to pry him away than some of the other names on this list.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bucs Not Expected To Sign Riley Cooper

  • A Riley Cooper comeback is unlikely to commence with the Buccaneers, who allowed him to audition this weekend during their rookie camp. Tampa Bay is not expected not to sign him, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times notes (on Twitter). Cooper played six years with the Eagles and signed a five-year, $25MM extension during the Chip Kelly regime. But his Eagles career did not continue into the post-Kelly era, and the 29-year-old did not play in the NFL last season. Tampa Bay added DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin this offseason to their bolster a receiving corps that became quite reliant on Mike Evans in 2016.

Bucs View McNichols As Three-Down Back

  • Bucs running back Jeremy McNichols underwent surgery shortly after the Combine to repair a torn labrum, per Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. Laine reports McNichols’ timeline hovers at around four months, noting the Boise State-developed back hopes to be ready for camp. McNichols arrived via fifth-round pick for a Bucs team that has questions about Doug Martin‘s future. The team still employs Jacquizz Rodgers, Charles Sims and Peyton Barber on the roster. McNichols caught 103 passes at Boise State in three seasons, but Jason Licht views him as a possible three-down back as opposed to a passing-game specialist.

Buccaneers To Audition WR Riley Cooper

Former Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper will try out for the Buccaneers during their rookie camp, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Caplan (on Twitter). Cooper, 29 in September, has not been heard from since he was released by Philly more than a year ago. Riley Cooper (vertical)

[RELATED: Buccaneers Sign 14 UDFAs, Cut Two Players]

At this stage, it sounds like Cooper may have to settle for a one-year, non-guaranteed pact and it’s no certainty that he can make the Bucs’ roster. Cooper was a favorite of former Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, but coach Doug Pederson & Co. didn’t hold him in the same esteem. Not long ago, Cooper signed a five-year, $25MM deal with the team that included $10MM in guarantees. Now, he’s on the fringe of the NFL.

Cooper’s best season came in 2013 when he established new career-highs in receptions (47), receiving yards (835), and receiving touchdowns (8). He followed that up with a decent 2014 season (55 catches, 557 yards, three touchdowns), but his targets decreased by more than 50% in the following season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Buccaneers Sign 14 UDFAs, Cut Two Players

The Buccaneers have announced agreements with 14 undrafted free agents. Here’s the group:

To clear room on their 90-man roster for those players, the Buccaneers cut offensive lineman Ben Gottschalk and tight end Kivon Cartwright on Monday, per Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link). Both Gottschalk (2014) and Cartwright (2016) went unpicked in their respective draft years. Gottschalk is the only of the two who has seen NFL action, having appeared in two of the Bucs’ games last season.

Dolphins Deal No. 223 To Buccaneers

The Dolphins made an intrastate trade late in the draft, dealing the No. 223 pick to the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay gave Miami its seventh-round pick this year (No. 237) and its seventh-round choice next year, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald notes (on Twitter).

With the higher pick, the Bucs selected USC defensive tackle Steve Tu’ikolovatu.

 

Buccaneers Acquire 107th Pick From Jets

The Buccaneers have acquired the final selection of the draft’s second day, No. 107 overall, from the Jets. Tampa Bay gave up the 125th and 204th picks to land the 107th choice, and has taken LSU linebacker Kendell Beckwith.

The 252-pound Beckwith broke out in earnest in 2014, when he accumulated 77 tackles – 7.5 for loss – and two sacks. He then combined for 175 tackles, 16 of which were for loss, and 4.5 sacks over his final two seasons at LSU. Unfortunately, Beckwith tore his ACL late last season, which could further limit a player who already had speed issues before the injury, notes Pro Football Focus.

Assuming he’s healthy, Beckwith should serve as much-needed middle linebacker depth for the Buccaneers as a rookie. The club entered the draft in need of bodies behind starter Kwon Alexander.

Teams Interested In Packers’ No. 33 Pick

Teams are already interested in the Packers’ No. 33 overall pick, the first selection of the second round, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Those clubs include the Chargers (No. 38), Jets (No. 39) and Buccaneers (No. 50), reports Adam Schefter of ESPN (Twitter link). Both the Chargers and Jets are attempting to move up for Cal quarterback Davis Webb, according to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com. Meanwhile, if the Packers keep the pick, they’ll select either Florida State running back Dalvin Cook or Washington cornerback Kevin King, per Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com.

Here’s a look at some of the other notable names that remain on the board as we head into Day 2:

Why Bucs Passed On Dalvin Cook

  • The Buccaneers passed on FSU running back Dalvin Cook in the first round in part because of what they’ve seen out of Doug Martin, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Rapoport hears that he has been the most impressive player at the facility so far this offseason. Martin was disappointing, to say the least, in 2016, but he has shown in the past that he can produce like a top running back.