Free agency hits in 10 days and while the Buccaneers have their own players to worry about retaining, they also should look elsewhere for some assistance. More specifically down south.
The Miami Dolphins have some players ready to hit the open market. Doug Martin will most likely not be tagged by the March 1 deadline which is under 24 hours from now so he may go elsewhere and sign. While Miami Dolphins running back Lamar Miller looks to be set to test free agency waters, the Dolphin I am referring to here is defensive end Olivier Vernon.
The 25-year-old has posted 25.5 sacks since becoming a starter in 2013. His pass rush ability is one the Buccaneers need and haven’t had for quite some time. Another benefit to Vernon’s game is consistency. Turning on his highlights from the past two seasons, you see him easily split double teams and play the run well. Vernon also sniffs out passes out into the flat as well as screens as good as they come.
Many haven’t been able to truly wrap their heads around why the Bucs ever let go of Michael Bennett. I mean, there are reasons why. But none are justifiable enough to warrant getting rid of what was your best pass rusher. They can make up for it by signing Vernon.
On the other side of that, there could be a slight problem. There have been reports that Miami may want to put Vernon through a tag-and-trade which will cost any team more than what they would probably want to spend on him. If that doesn’t happen and he does hit the open market, Jason Licht and company should make every effort in making him a member of the Buccaneers.
The consensus is that Tampa Bay should draft a defensive end. They could very well do that. But with how often drafted players aren’t sure bets, I want at least one that is certain this offseason. And I will get that with Vernon.