Dwight Freeney: Could He Replace the Buccaneers' Da'Quan Bowers?

Tom EdringtonSenior Writer IMay 11, 2012

Dwight Freeney is the Sultan of Sacks.
Dwight Freeney is the Sultan of Sacks.Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Pay attention, once again, to the upcoming date, June 1.

You're going to see some big-name veteran players showing up on the waiver wires in the days and weeks to follow. One of them could be Indianapolis beast Dwight Freeney, the man with more than 100 sacks.

There was speculation prior to the draft that the Colts were looking to trade Freeney. The drawback there might have been the fact that Freeney is due to make $14 million this season and will count $19 million against the Indy salary cap. Gulp!

Even the Indy faithful are preparing for the possibility.

We wouldn't be talking about this today had it not been for a freak injury—some really bad luck over there at One Buccaneer Place Thursday when Da'Quan Bowers went down with a torn Achilles' tendon in his right foot.

Bowers is already proclaiming he'll be back this season. Maybe it's because Andrew Economos tore his and was back for the final nine games last year. But Bowers is a defensive end, not a long snapper. Economos isn't expected to sack quarterbacks, fight off 350-pound linemen and tackle strong running backs.

The sensible thing to do at this point is to expect that Bowers will miss the season. With a guy like this, you want him to have a proper amount of time to come back and come back strong. They have a second-round pick invested in him, so what would be the point of having him play three or four games and possibly risk further injury? He's already got the delicate left knee.

There will be other possibilities besides Freeney. There are always options.

The defensive ends on the current Buccaneer roster look like this:

– Adrian Clayborn: Best motor on the football team. Starter on the right side.

– Michael Bennett: Becomes No. 1 on depth chart at left defensive end by default.

– E.J. Wilson: third year out of North Carolina.

– George Johnson: veteran player out of Rutgers.

– Hilee Taylor: undrafted rookie free agent out of North Carolina.

– Quintin Anderson: undrafted rookie free agent out of Wagner.

– Daniel Te'o-Nesheim: third year veteran out of Washington.

If you look at the free-agent defensive ends out there right now, it's thin. One familiar name is Jimmy Wilkerson. The Bucs didn't re-sign him and he ended up in Seattle. He's available.

Biggest name out there is Vonnie Holliday. Holliday, a former star at North Carolina, hasn't been re-signed by the Cardinals. He's 6'5", 285 pounds.

The thing to keep in mind is that there's no need to panic over the loss of Bowers. Mark Dominik is exploring his options as you read this. He'll come up with something; there may yet be a rabbit to pull out of the hat.

The Bucs will need one.