The calendar has flipped to 2019 leaving the Buccaneers with some important decisions. Fans would love to see Tampa Bay beef up the offensive line and bring in a top-tier running back this off-season. There are obviously big names like Le’Veon Bell and Kareem Hunt currently seeking employment, but would it be smarter for Tampa to look at this in a different way in 2019?
The Buccaneers need to shore up the offensive line in 2019. In 2018, Tampa Bay could not put away games in the 4th quarter due to their inability to run the ball. There simply weren’t holes for Peyton Barber to run through in 2018. Barber racked up 871 yards with 5 touchdowns. He averaged 3.7 yards per carry on 234 total carries. Would Bell and Hunt be able to run behind our offensive line in 2019? This type of run game just won’t cut it.
Currently, the Buccaneers offensive line looks like this: Donovan Smith (UFA), Ali Marpet, Ryan Jensen, Alex Cappa, and Demar Dotson. The tackle position has been an eyesore for the Buccaneers, and there is a plethora of very talented tackles hitting free agency in 2019. There are a couple of names that jump off the list to me: Cameron Fleming, Jared Veldheer, and Ty Nsekhe. What do these tackles have in common? They were key parts to successful running teams in Dallas, Denver, and Washington. Flemming is the young guy in the group at age 26. Veldheer and Nsekhe are both in their 30s, but still very productive. The contracts may serve to be very favorable for the Buccaneers in 2019 if they can sign one or two of these tackles. If they spent the money on the offensive line what does that mean for the running game?
Le’Veon Bell turned down $70+ million dollars from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Kareem Hunt is on the Commissioner’s Exempt List requiring him to serve a suspension. A signing of Hunt may create bad press for an organization that has weathered the Jameis Winston storm clouds. Nonetheless, Kareem Hunt would be a dream signing for the Buccaneers considering the talent and price tag. Again, would the Buccaneers want the bad PR?
Tampa could spend money on their tackles and look at second-tier running backs to fill their void. The Buccaneers may choose to bring back Peyton Barber in 2019, but why when there are several running backs that are better options? The Atlanta Falcons are going to let Tevin Coleman walk to free agency, but guess what? Tampa Bay will be waiting to scoop up the dual-threat runner. He would be the perfect fit in our offense. The Buccaneers won’t stop there because they need a runner that compliments Coleman. The perfect free agent for that would be Houston Texans running back: Alfred Blue. The Buccaneers backfield could look like this for 2019: Coleman, Blue, and Ronald Jones. Tampa Bay would spend about the same amount of money on those two backs as they would on Bell.
Now, this is obviously just an opinion, but if you want more bang for your Buc, this option would be more efficient for the Buccaneers in 2019. The fans may not like that we choose to pass on the big names, but this is a better plan for the organization. It will allow more flexibility and the offensive line will get better, and the backfield is upgraded exponentially. The future is now for the Buccaneers. Can’t have a nice house with a great insurance plan and that’s what these moves would be for quarterback Jameis Winston. As always, look for breaking news from All Things Bucs and Bucs Life News.