June 14, 2024

Scoring Tampa Bay Buccaneers free Agency and CB Trade Prospects

How did the Buccaneers do on the first day of free agency this year?

Monday was the unofficial start of the offseason, as the legal tampering period began and started the clock on NFL Free Agency.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers mostly sat things out, opting to instead take care of in-house items before looking at the open market. Most teams went on a free agent frenzy, with agreements flying around all afternoon. Meanwhile, Jason Licht and the Bucs have been hard at work for the last two weeks trying to hammer out deals with key free agents, a task which was impressively completed before the legal tampering period even began.

With one day of unofficial free agency in the books — deals can’t be made final until Wednesday — let’s look at what the Bucs did and hand out some grades.

Grading the Buccaneers first big moves of 2024 free agency

Franchise tagged Antoine Winfield Jr.

The jury is still out on this, although the mere fact that the Bucs are attempting to extend the window for negotiating with Antoine Winfield Jr. is a positive sign.

Buccaneers place franchise tag on All-Pro safety Antoine Winfield Jr. -  Yahoo Sports

It seems like a matter of how much he’ll get paid rather than whether a deal will get done before the deadline passes. Tampa Bay has until July 15th to work out a deal with its All-Pro safety, and the tag suggests there’s no way he plays the season on anything other than a long-term deal.

Winfield was not only the best defensive player for the Bucs but arguably the team’s most valuable player. He saved the season in Week 18 with yet another goal line punch fumble, something he made a habit of doing throughout the year. He posted career highs in just about every meaningful category and firmly established himself as the heart and soul of the defense.

There’s almost no chance he gets away, and even a depressed safety market won’t prevent him from getting paid what he’s owed and resetting the value of his position.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Trade of CB Carlton Davis III to Detroit Lions Graded

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a move on Monday that didn’t involve signing or losing free agents when they traded cornerback Carlton Davis III to the Detroit Lions. In a classic ‘if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em’ situation, Davis III will leave the Buccaneers to join the same team that ended his former team’s season just two months ago.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Carlton Davis III Trade to Detroit Lions Graded -  Tampa Bay Buccaneers | BucsGameday | Sports Illustrated

As payment for the services of Davis, who has one year left on his current deal, the Lions are sending a 2024 3rd-round pick (No. 92) to Tampa Bay.

The Bucs are also sending two sixth-round picks – one this year and one next – and will save $6.3 million against their 2024 salary cap obligations. All of this landed the Buccaneers a ‘B’ letter grade for the deal, according to CBS Sports’ Jeff Kerr.

“Trading Davis was a necessary move for the Buccaneers, who needed to clear cap space after retaining Mike Evans and Baker Mayfield in free agency,” Kerr said. “They also franchised tagged Antoine Winfield Jr., putting a significant dent in their cap space to retain one of the best safeties in football. “Someone had to be dealt, and it was better for the Buccaneers to get compensation for Davis rather than release him to save cap space.”

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