The hour is approaching, the day is here and as a service to Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans everywhere, we humbly present this Free Agency Primer and update for your inspection:
When the clock strikes 4 p.m. ET today, it's on. The rebuilding of a team that needs some serious rebuilding will begin. Hopes are high, the money is there. Now it's in the hands of Buccaneer GM Mark Dominik and his pro personnel people.
There will be hundreds of rumors, but for now, there remains hope that the Bucs will strike some free-agent gold that will fill holes and provide solid players to fill gaping needs.
Curtis Lofton is a name that has jumped to the front of the line, and rightly so. The most pathetic part of the Buccaneer defense was its linebacker corps. Geno Hayes: awful. Quincy Black: gives new meaning to the word awful. Mason Foster: Don't blame the kid, he did the best he could under the circumstances. Rookies don't stand out but he had his moments, and if Lofton decides that Pewter and Red are his colors, Foster could move to the outside and flourish.
Lofton would be a splash signing, no doubt about it. It would also fill perhaps the biggest need on defense.
Here's a few for you to go with Lofton:
Martellus Bennett (TE): Might as well keep it all in the family. He's the brother of defensive end Michael Bennett. When you talk about tight ends for the Buccaneers, you're talking Kellen Winslow Jr., who doesn't know what a block looks like and has knees that are eligible for Social Security.
Bennett is a big, physical guy. Head coach Greg Schiano wants a "physical" team and Bennett fits the bill.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis (RB): You want a reliable, steady, play-making running back? He's your guy. All you need to know is 536 regular-season touches, NO fumbles. Are you listening, LeGarrette Blount? If he's good enough for New England, he's damn sure good enough for the Bucs.
Mike Tolbert (RB): His name has come up and this San Diego Charger would be a great addition. Versatile and fills the third-down playmaker needs.
Aaron Ross (CB): The Giants signed Terrell Thomas, which leaves Ross available. Good value here, not an earth-shattering amount of money.
Dwight Lowery (S): You think the Bucs need help at safety? There was nothing safe about the safeties last year. Want a good laugh? Former Buc coach Raheem Morris wants Sean Jones. Good for you Raheem. He's all yours. In the meantime, Lowery, who played last season for the Jaguars, might look good in the Buccaneer secondary.
Robert Meachem (WR): Here's the guy no one's talking about. The Saints are grinding to get a deal done with Marques Colston, and that would make Meachem available. Solid receiver, vertical speed and he won't break the bank.
Eric Winston (OT): Winston was released yesterday by the Texans. They might be making desperate moves to try to keep Mario Williams. Winston was slated to make $5.5 million this year. That's a bargain for a starting tackle. Could push Jeremy Trueblood right to the bench.
So think about those guys for a moment. The would fit in nicely with plenty of cap room to spare.
They would fill holes, take care of immediate needs.
Let the fun begin.
Don't be upset if the Bucs don't sign a bunch of guys today, this isn't a race, it's an opportunity.