When’s the last time the Bucs actually landed a top flight free agent? Well, if you can’t quite remember, it was back in 2001 when the team signed former Arizona Cardinals defensive end Simeon Rice. Since that time the Bucs have been the cellar dwellers of dumpster diving free agent bargain basement hunters.
That’s all going to change this offseason or at least that’s what Don Banks of Sportsillustrated.com thinks. Even after the team has repeatedly stated on numerous occasions that there primary focus will be on rebuilding a depleted roster by way of the draft. Banks speculates that Dunta Robinson the highly regarded top prized free agent corner to hit the open market in the coming days will sign with the Bucs.
Dunta Robinson, cornerback
Where he will sign: Tampa Bay — The Bucs clearly won’t break the bank for the former Texans franchise player, but if Robinson’s market turns out to be soft and the price tag is reasonable, the Bucs could target him and land a youthful (27) but experienced option (six-year veteran) to replace the aging Ronde Barber, who turns 35 in April. Other teams expected to shop in the cornerback market this offseason include the Falcons, Vikings, Titans and Packers.
On the surface adding a veteran corner is a need, but with the teams payroll on a steady decline over recent years. Even if Robinson services are met by a soft market. It’s still more then what the Bucs would be willing to shell out in the form of a signing bonus and guarantees for a 27-year old corner, who played in all 16 games last season, for the first time since being sidelined with knee injuries in 2007 and 2008.
Robinson played in 1,002 snap for the Texans defense last year and was rated as the 57th best corner according to Profootballfocus.com among corners who played in atleast 50% of there teams snaps. He allowed 11.0 yards per reception and a catch percentage of 65.9% or 54 receptions out of 84 targets and a quarterback rating of 99.3% based on passes thrown in to his area.
While he was only ranked one spot below the aging Ronde Barber in Profootballfocus’ rankings. One should be mindful that he was hampered by injuries for two straight seasons before rounding back into shape during 2009.
Now if somehow Mark Dominik can pull off a miracle type contract with high base salaries and circumvent the 30% rule with little to know signing bonus money, a signing of Robinson would go a long way in rebuilding quality depth. Robinson is just not a realistic option based on the current situation in Tampa though.