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Beyond figuring out who its quarterback will be, Tampa Bay needs help at offensive tackle and its pass rush.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers saw a two-win improvement In Bruce Arians’ first season, which included a four-game win streak in the middle of the season. But now the Buccaneers are at a crossroads.
After five inconsistent seasons, quarterback Jameis Winston is a free agent. Although he led the NFL in passing with 5,109 yards last season, Winston also threw a league-high 30 interceptions.
The Buccaneers could say goodbye to Winston and find a new signal caller to take advantage of one of the NFL’s best wide receiver groups.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9), missed playoffs
Despite losing their final two games of the season, the Buccaneers have some momentum under Arians. If they want to continue it, these positions need to be fixed:
- Quarterback: “[If] we can win with this one, we can definitely win with another one too.” That’s what Arians said about Winston, suggestions he’s ready to move on from the former No. 1 pick. The question is whether or not Arians wants to coach up a rookie quarterback or go after a veteran. If it’s the latter, the Buccaneers are in a tough spot holding the No. 14 pick. Utah State quarterback Jordan Love could be there, but he’s a project. The same can be said for Washington’s Jacob Eason.
- Offensive tackle: On the left side, Donovan Smith has been consistent but unspectacular. On the right side, Demar Dotson is a free agent. Smith could be upgraded in the draft, which is packed with offensive tackles. Or the Buccaneers could take someone like Austin Jackson of USC or Josh Jones of Houston and play them on the right before eventually moving to the left.
- Pass rusher: Tampa Bay finally found a good pass rusher with Shaq Barrett, who had 19.5 sacks a season ago. Unfortunately, Barrett is a free agent, though the Buccaneers are expected to use their franchise tag on him. That still leaves Jason Pierre-Paul and Carl Nassib, who combined for 14.5 sacks last season, to hit the open market.
What Bucs Nation wants most this offseason: The emphasis must be figuring out what to do about the quarterback position. With rumors tying the Bucs to Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, and Teddy Bridgewater, it’s clear the smoke is coming from somewhere and once it clears, we may see a new signal caller in Tampa Bay. They also need to address the offensive line, especially if they plan on bringing in a quarterback who is not as mobile as Jameis Winston was in the pocket. — Gil Arcia
We’ll check back on the Buccaneers after free agency to see what they still need heading into the 2020 NFL Draft.