Shopping at Free Agents R Us
Every day in March, we awake to news of this free agent and that free agent potentially coming to Tampa Bay. "John Doe would love to play for the Bucs" gushes his agent Richie Rich, failing to admit that the rest of the sentence is " as he hasn't had an offer anywhere else and it's the Bucs or McDonalds".
This is not knocking the Bucs, it's just a fact of life. Right now, any agent worth his salt (and Drew Rosenhaus) is constantly phoning the likes of Roy Cummings and Jim Flynn, trying to get them to run stories about their players being a perfect fit for the Buccaneers. And 99% of it is complete crap.
Just for a moment, step back and consider the Bucs' free agents. Chris Hovan, Mike Alstott, Juran Bolden, Matt Bryant - all considered important enough to be re-signed. Dexter Jackson, Jameel Cook, Kenyatta Walker - thanks but no thanks lads. The moral here is that we kept the players whom we considered important and valuable, and let the others walk.
So why do you think the likes of Matt Hopkins and Jason Fabini are looking for a job in Tampa Bay? Why are non-entity receivers like Kevin Johnson and Marc Boerigter visiting One Buc Place? Because their existing teams think the same of them as we do the likes of Dexter and Kenyatta.
So for all the bulletin board trolls out there who have been complaining that the Bucs are not signing any big-name players every day, just consider that they might be big players in name only. The Bucs' coaching and scouting staff know a lot more about how good a player really is than any of us ever will. Give them some credit here please.
But unfortunately, at this time of year, the news wires are stories of players going here, there and everywhere in the blue light shopping special and when it comes to free agency rumours, you just can't get enough.
Some other thoughts
I would like to be the first to congratulate Dan Snyder on winning the spring Super Bowl for the fifth straight year with his recent free agency signings. Unfortunately for little Dan, the actual season runs from September to January.
A week into free agency and all the really good players (and they're weren't many of them) have been signed and are busy spending their signing bonuses. All those still hoping for a big payday, please step forward.... err Kenyatta, that doesn't mean you.
NFL Europe kicks off this weekend. Just like a tree falling in a remote forest, does a receiver catching a touchdown in front of no crowd still count as a touchdown?
Denis Crawford's latest excellent column talks of Pepin-Rood Stadium, the original training home of the Buccaneers. Am I sad that I immediately recognised one of the pictures as being used in "The Ricky Bell Story"?
How many honest and decent agents does it take to change a lightbulb? Both of them.
You've been great - enjoy Depeche Mode.
Paul Stewart, March 2006.