MARCH 7 RECAP
If you live in or are vacationing in Tampa Bay and decided to take in a spring training game Tuesday afternoon instead of monitoring the NFL, you made the right call.
While you were enjoying sunshine and baseball, the first day of the league’s “legal tampering” period came and went with little news of consequence.
Here’s a recap of the Bucs-centric developments:
- DeSean Jackson: NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported that Tampa Bay will make a “strong push” for the receiver. Philadelphia, New England and Dallas also have been mentioned as destinations. Clarence Hill Jr. of the Star-Telegram, however, said a source told him that Jackson was out of the Cowboys’ price range. That makes sense -- Dallas has only about $9 million in cap space.
Times columnist Martin Fennelly feels the Bucs should pass on Jackson. “I’m not paying a No. 2 receiver No. 1 money.”
- Alshon Jeffery: Don’t be surprised if the 6-foot-3, 218-pound target stays in Chicago, ESPN’s John Clayton writes. The Bucs, Eagles and Titans are in “desperate need of wide receiver help, but the Bears have a big need there, too.”
- A.J. Bouye: ESPN’s Michael DiRocco linked the breakout cornerback to the Bucs, Eagles, Jaguars, Bears and Titans. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reported that every team in the AFC South was competing for Bouye’s services. He also named the 49ers and Browns as suitors.
Pro Football Focus ranked Bouye second among free agent cornerbacks (after Stephon Gilmore, who played for the Bills last season).
“Coming into the 2016 season, Bouye had logged less than 900 snaps of NFL experience on defense, and was fourth on the Texans’ depth chart. Thanks to injuries, he got his shot, and played like one of the top cornerbacks in league. Bouye was the only cornerback with 10 or more pass breakups and less than 10 yards per catch allowed in 2016. With just two missed tackles, he was one of the surest tacklers at the position. The biggest concern is that Bouye has only shown this ability over one season. He’s going to earn a pay day, but it’s very possible that he will never reach this level of play again. If he is able to reach it, though, some team might get a steal.”
- Calais Campbell and Chris Baker: The Jaguars are pursuing Campbell, according to Mike Klis of 9News in Denver. Klis also noted that the Bucs and Broncos are “hot” on Baker.
Baker, who has played for Washington in the past five seasons, landed on Pro Football Focus’ list of “under the radar” free agents.
“Interior defender Chris Baker will turn 29 in 2017, but he has been a very good all-around player on the defensive line for two seasons. Baker gets consistent pressure on the quarterback, but is an even better run defender, as you’ll rarely find the veteran out of position. While Baker’s production took a slight step back in 2016 from 2015, he still is a reliable and dependable option for teams looking for stability on the D-line.”
- Charles Johnson: The Panthers announced they re-signed Johnson, one of the few defensive ends on the market. Tampa Bay never was linked to Johnson, at least not this offseason. He got Bucs fans hopes up last March when he tweeted, “2mor u will know my future!!! It’s going to be epic.” He chose to stay in Carolina for another season at $3 million.
- Patrick Omameh: The former Bucs guard re-signed with the Jaguars. Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union reported the terms: one year at $775,000. Tampa Bay signed Omameh off San Francisco’s practice squad in 2013. He started 16 games in 2014 and was released before the 2015 season.
And this reminder: Players can’t sign contracts -- at least officially -- until 4 p.m. Thursday.