- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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Most significant signing: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers coaching staff is particularly excited about the addition of former Dallas linebacker Bruce Carter. He instantly becomes the starter at middle linebacker. That was a position where the Buccaneers didn’t get what they wanted last season. Previous starter Mason Foster wasn’t as good in pass coverage as the coaching staff would have liked. That’s why the team had no interest in bringing back Foster. Carter showed he can be a playmaker against the pass with five interceptions last season.
Most significant loss: The Bucs didn’t have any huge losses, but the signing of defensive end Adrian Clayborn by Atlanta could come back to haunt them. Clayborn was a former first-round pick. His career in Tampa Bay was star-crossed by injuries. Clayborn still has plenty of upside and could prosper with a fresh start. The Bucs will have to face him twice a season.
Biggest surprise: The biggest surprise is that the Bucs have yet to sign a defensive end or an offensive lineman. Those were the two biggest needs heading into free agency, and the Bucs failed to address them. That wasn’t due to a lack of trying. The Bucs pursued defensive ends Trent Cole and Derrick Morgan but missed out. The team also lost out on several offensive linemen.
What’s next: The Bucs have to use the next wave of free agency to get a starting-caliber defensive end and one or two offensive linemen. But that might be easier said than done. There aren’t many high-level free agents remaining at either position.
547dPhil Sheridan and Mike Triplett