Free agency - why it's not all it's cracked up to be
The Buccaneers have certainly been pretty active in the first two weeks of free agency, signing the likes of Cato June, Luke Petitgout, Kevin Carter and Patrick Chukwurah amongst others. But does this immediately make the 2007 Bucs a better team and one destined for the playoffs?
Err no. With a few exceptions, most of the players available in free agency are not wanted by their original teams for one reason or another. Look at who the Bucs left unsigned - Dewayne White because he wanted $5M per season in a long-term deal. The Bucs knew he was probably not worth that amount but the Lions were desperate for such a signing so they did.
Then you can take Sean Mahan, as the Steelers did. Not a lot more than a useful back-up at center and guard, Pittsburgh gave him $3M per season to replace a retired starter. Good luck to him but no way was he worth the Buccaneers signing at that level.
So with that in mind, you then have to look at the Tampa Bay signings in the same light. Kevin Carter is entering his 12th NFL season and although experienced and with a good health record, is not going to turn the defense into the No.1 unit again overnight. Petitgout was not being chased by any other team with a degree of seriousness, so I don't think LT Anthony Davis needs to start looking over his shoulder too much yet (at least not for Petitgout, watching Chris Simms getting sacked again is another matter).
The one good signing was Cato June, as he fits the Buccaneer defensive mould perfectly - but again, why did the Colts not make more of an effort to re-sign him. Think back to 1995 when Tampa Bay went after Alvin Harper. Dallas made no effort to stop Harper leaving as a free agent and we quickly found out why. This is not to say Cato June is Alvin Harper Mk II, but it is something to bear in mind.
A few random thoughts
Is it just me, or do other people immediately associate the name Cato with the Oriental manservant from The Pink Panther films? I've got this image of Monte Kiffin creeping round One Buc Palace a la Peter Sellers, armed with a baseball bat, expecting Cato to jump out and attack him.
Did you know that Kevin Carter, has an elder brother, Bernard, who was a 6th round pick of the Buccaneers in 1994. Bernard was a linebacker out of East Carolina who did not make the team out of camp and never played in the NFL.
I got hold of some Mike Alstott golf balls the other day. Nine times out of ten they just go straight up the middle.
Time to give some props to a new friend across the Atlantic, Patrick Gilligan. This is the man who finally got me a game DVD of one of the three replacement games from 1987. Hence I have recently been poring over the game film, taking snapshot images here, there and everywhere, to enable me to update the profile pages of these players with pictures of them actually playing for the Buccaneers.
Another game that Patrick was able to get for me, was the 1982 Monday Night game against the Miami Dolphins, the one that made me a Buccaneer fan all those years ago. A former member of the FFL, Matthew Peat, lent me his tape copy many years back, but this was the first time I have really been able to sit down and watch Mike Washington's endzone interception that made me choose that team in orange as the one to support. Otherwise of course, you would not be reading this article on this website!
Paul Stewart, March 2007