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Buccaneers needs, players to target in 2022 NFL free agency

We go over the Buccaneers top positional needs in free agency and some players they may try to sign this offseason.

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a lot of soul searching to do this season, not to mention some major roster decisions. The first question they’ll have to answer is what to do at quarterback now that Tom Brady is calling it a career. Beyond that, they have a long list of household names headed for free agency, from Rob Gronkowski to Chris Godwin and so many more. Their Super Bowl odds are now sitting at +2800, but that could change depending on what they do in free agency.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers free agency preview

Positional needs: QB, DL, RB, OL, TE

Tom Brady’s retirement leaves a glaring, obvious hole for the Bucs to fill. That’s obviously not going to happen via free agency, or even the draft, so they’ll have to plan the rest of their moves around that. Center Ryan Jensen and guard Alex Cappa are both pending free agents. Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones and Gio Bernard are all scheduled to be free agents too, which could leave the Bucs thin at running back. OJ Howard and Rob Gronkowski aren’t under contract for 2022 either.

Players to target

Cordarrelle Patterson, RB/WR

Patterson’s not a one-to-one replacement for any of three running backs the Bucs are poised to lose this offseason, i.e. he’s not an every down, between-the-tackles guy. And that’s fine. His versatility is his calling card, making him a matchup nightmare for defenses. He could not only help replace the backfield losses, but help with potential losses at wide receiver and tight end.

Ryan Jensen, C

The best free agents are often your own. Jensen’s a monster blocker, and with a huge hole at quarterback, the Bucs may need to lean more on the ground game next season with a lesser passer under center. Jensen is going to command a massive deal, but it’s hard for the Bucs to justify letting him get away.

Dont’a Hightower, LB

At 31, he’s just beyond the prime of his career, but he can still be a foundational player for a defense. A solid run stopper who can also do a little pass rushing on third downs—he had 1.5 sacks last season and one tackle for a loss—he’s a nice complement to defensive tackle Vita Vea in front of him.