Tampa Bay Buccaneers Free Agency: Solid Free Agents Who Won't Break the Bank

Tom EdringtonSenior Writer IMarch 12, 2012

Robert Meachem is a solid alternative at wide receiver.
Robert Meachem is a solid alternative at wide receiver.Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

While you're daydreaming about Super Mario Williams, Carl Nicks and Vincent Jackson, with free agency nearly upon us, maybe it's time for a solid reality check.

With the salary cap now set at $120.6 million, the Bucs would find themselves $42.7 million underneath that number.

When the whistle blows on Tuesday, let's consider some solid prospects who won't break the bank, some solid guys who can help this football team.


Wide Receiver

When you look at what the Washington Redskins gave up to move to the No. 2 spot in the April draft, you can sense the insanity. That's exactly what it is, and in giving up so much the Redskins will put even more pressure to perform on Robert Griffin III.

The Redskins are now in that "we'll pay whatever it takes" mode to go after Vincent Jackson. From the looks of things, he's the guy Bucs fans love, but it makes no sense to get into a bidding war with Daniel Snyder. No sense at all.

So if V-Jax is targeted by Washington, here's some nice alternatives:

Pierre Garcon

If he's good enough for Peyton Manning, he's damn sure good enough for Josh Freeman and the Bucs. He can get deep.

Ted Ginn Jr.

The Bucs had a chance to get him two seasons ago. They passed. Ginn has speed and experienced resurgence with the Niners.

Robert Meachem

If Marques Colston demands too much, Meachem is a solid vertical threat.



This Ronde Barber "I haven't made a decision yet" nonsense is exactly that. If Barber isn't 100 percent committed, then the heck with him. Time to move on. The last thing you want is a guy who isn't all in. The more you think about Cortland Finnegan and the fact that he may ask for $9 million a year, the more you want to think about alternatives.

Terrell Thomas

He'd be a solid guy. He was injured last year for the New York Giants, and it will depend on his health. Thomas is a solid prospect who is young enough to fit in.

Tracy Porter

Not sure what the New Orleans CB is worth, but again, if Finnegan wants $9 million, let someone else pay him that.



Sure, we hear the screams for Curtis Lofton, but he's another guy who will ask for $9 million a year.

Stephen Tulloch

Tulloch is a solid guy who will earn less than Lofton.

Davin Hawthorne

He's 27, fits in and may not re-sign with Seattle.

Dan Connor

Connor has been hampered by injuries with Carolina. Signing him would depend on his health, but it could be a bargain.

You'll hear a lot starting today. Can't see this Mike Wallace from Pittsburgh stuff, and Mike Tolbert from San Diego isn't a guy Tampa should overpay.

There are solid players out there.

Look for the Bucs to hire some solid players this week, just don't expect the moon—or Mario.