2012 NFL Free Agents: 4 Offensive Weapons to Bolster the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers have some good, young talent on the roster, but there are still holes that need to be filled. In fact, Tampa Bay needs to make sure to grab some free agents because it will be difficult to fill all of their needs in the draft alone.
Tampa Bay needs some help both defensively and offensively, but the Buccaneers proved last year that they can be absolutely awful on offense.
Josh Freeman was unable to play well, which was due in a large part to the porous effort given by his offensive weapons. The only solid thing about the Buccaneers' offense last season was the offensive line, and even that group looked bad in some games.
If the Buccaneers want to compete in the tough NFC South in 2012, then they will have to get some players who will help them do just that.
The Bucs could honestly use some help at just about every offensive group except the quarterback position. They may even decide to bring in a more reliable backup this year.
However, let's focus on four offensive players that the Buccaneers should target in the 2012 NFL free-agency period.
Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Dwayne Bowe has been a beast since entering the NFL five years ago.
The Kansas City Chiefs drafted Bowe in the first round out of LSU, and he has been their No. 1 receiver ever since.
Bowe has caught for over 1,000 yards in three of his five NFL seasons and the last two years in a row. He has also reeled in 36 touchdown passes throughout his short NFL career.
Standing at 6'2" and 221 pounds, Bowe is just the guy the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need.
The Buccaneers have a decent group of receivers now, but none are true No. 1 guys. Mike Williams, who has led the team in receiving the past two years, would thrive as the No. 2 guy, and Arrelious Benn could be a very good slot receiver.
It will be difficult for the Buccaneers to get Bowe away from Kansas City, but he expects big money this offseason, and Tampa Bay can offer that much to him.
Bowe would immediately become a consistent target for young quarterback Josh Freeman, and a reliable one at that. Bowe has caught at least 70 passes in four of his five years.
Carl Nicks, G, New Orleans Saints
Carl Nicks may be the best guard in all of football, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could definitely use a player like that.
At left guard, Jeremy Zuttah is a decent player, but Nicks is an immediate upgrade and consistent All-Pro at the position.
Nicks has the ability to open up running lanes and shut down opposing pass rushers. He also would be a great leadership presence in a locker room that could use some more of that.
The Buccaneers offensive line played solidly in the 2011 season. They allowed only 32 sacks and 64 quarterback hits, both of which were in the top 10 in the NFL.
However, the Buccaneers were not so good at running the ball. They averaged 4.2 yards per carry during the season, which was 16th in the league.
With a young quarterback like Freeman, the Buccaneers want to have a strong running game, and that starts with the offensive line.
Nicks is a guard who excels in the run game, and if the Buccaneers place him next to Donald Penn, then Tampa Bay can just run left the entire game.
Fred Davis, TE, Washington Redskins
Fred Davis is a tight end who has the potential to be dominant in the NFL. He has been backing up Chris Cooley with the Washington Redskins for four years now, and it is time that he gets a chance to show what he can do.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the perfect landing spot for Davis.
The Buccaneers currently have Kellen Winslow on the roster, but Davis would be an upgrade at the tight end position.
In 2011, Davis caught 59 passes for 796 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged 13.5 yards per catch and only played in 12 games in the season.
Winslow played in all 16 games but managed only 763 yards and two touchdowns on 75 catches.
Davis is only 26 and is bigger and more athletic than Winslow.
The Bucs may decide to trade and ship Winslow off or even cut him, especially after last season. If they do, then Davis would be a more than capable replacement.
Ryan Grant, RB, Green Bay Packers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers undoubtedly need some depth at the running back position, and Ryan Grant of the Green Bay Packers can help that problem.
I do not think that the Buccaneers will draft Trent Richardson in April because they can fill the need through free agency or in the later rounds of the draft.
I believe that the Buccaneers' ideal situation is for LeGarrette Blount to become the feature back and pick up a good change-of-pace runner. Grant can provide that for the Buccaneers.
Grant was used sparingly while in Green Bay, and I would not be surprised to see him walk away from the Packers with their recent emergence of James Starks, Brandon Saine and John Kuhn.
Grant is a guy who can complement Blount pretty well for the Buccaneers. Blount is a downfield, physical runner, where as Grant is a more elusive, cut-back style of runner.
The Bucs would be happy to have Grant come into the game in certain situations and provide some depth for the team. The Buccaneers could still choose to draft a runner in the late rounds even with the addition of Grant since he is 29 years old.
However, despite his age, Grant has only played four full seasons in the NFL. In three of those four seasons, Grant has accumulated over 900 rushing yards.