How we can improve our roster

Ok so we disappointed this season yet again, the oline was a mess and we have cap issues. Sound familiar? It’s getting repetitive isn’t it? Year on year the same issues, the same problems. And this year we get to also go through a change in the defensive scheme.

Now usually if we were to change defensive schemes teams would go into free agency and make a splash,2 or 3 signings at least and also use at least half of their draft picks on defensive players in order to make it a smoother transition to their new defensive co ordinater and scheme. But didn’t we have a defensive draft last year? Didn’t we make our fa splash last year with Brandon Carr?

I’m sure a man of Monte Kiffins stature and nous would have looked at our roster before taking the job, and I’m sure he would have some changes in mind personnel wise be it people that won’t fit, and others that he will want to acquire. Is it possible though with our cap situation to make any additions?

I hear so much that our roster lacks depth, we have so many glaring holes to fill and there is a general lack of talent on our roster so I have done a bit of digging and reading up and compile a list of free agents and cuts I think would be possible to help improve the quality of starters on our roster and the overall depth.

So firstly let’s look at how we can help Monte out on the defensive side of the ball


Most people have a solution for this-move hatcher inside, move lissemore inside, ware at de so on and so forth. Myself however I don’t want square pegs in round holes.

DT is our biggest need, it’s been a position we have carried 2 players at for the past 2 seasons, and this year we lost josh Brent. This leaves us with only Jay Ratliff as a natural DT, Sure hatcher and lissemore could play this role however I feel hatcher would be better utilised opposite d ware. If he can manage to get pressure on the qb in a 3-4 I think he could excel at left defensive end. Either that or see if we can garner a 4th round pick for him.Lissemore I think can and will man a dt role in the new system and I see this as his strongest position-I think he is better suited to this role rather than a de in the 3-4

Fa up for grabs

Now there are a few premium DT’s listed as entering free agency, assuming they aren’t resigned by their teams, people such as

Alan Branch

Jason Jones

Henry Melton

Sedrick Ellis

I’d love a pairing of branch and Melton, but none of these four are going to be affordable for us given our cap situation.

Best of the rest

Sammie lee Hill

Derek Landri

Roy Miller

Pat Sims

Now any one of these four I feel would be attainable for a minimum salary.Im not saying vet minimum, I just mean I don’t think these four would command a great deal of money, certainly not much more than $1.5mill cap hit

Out of the four Derek landri would be the least favourable, I think in Ratliff and Lissemore we already have 2 smaller type dt’s.Instead I’d prefer a bigger bodied type to eat up some space like Sammie lee Hill, Or a Roy Miller who has been playing the Tampa 2 scheme ever since he was drafted. Any of these would be a cheaper option than Marcus spears or Kenyon Coleman and to me would be an upgrade at DT which is where Coleman or spears would likely line up


This position offers a couple of Players I would be interested in

Michael Bennet

Matt Shaunessy

But I very much doubt we would be available to afford either of these, Nor a Paul Kruger coming from a 3-4 olb to 4-3 DE. So I think our best hopes of improving here is through the draft.

Line Backers

To me this offers the most intriguing prospects in what is already a position of strength. I mean 2 of the positions are already nailed down with brucelee.The 3rd position though is up for grabs, Alex Albright or Ernie Sims could man it, but I’d prefer to have them as depth and try and add a starter through free agency.

Justin Durrant

Thomas Howard

Rey Maualuga

DeAndre Levy

Jason Phillips

Barret Ruud

With the exception of Ruud the rest are all still young and have plenty of speed. Whereas Barret Ruud spent his entire career up until the 2012 season manning the mlb role in Tampa Bay’s Tampa2 system. The addition of him or Rey Maualuga would see them man the mlb role with Lee and Carter manning the wlb and slb roles. Jason Phillips is a career back up but I feel if he was given a role as a starter he would excel, and could form an excellent trio with Sean lee and Bruce carter.

Durant, Levey and Howard would man the olb role and leave Sean Lee in the mlb position. All three possess plenty of speed for a line backer.

Out of all the names listed Ruud would bring the most experience in the tampa2 system with him and be the cheapest option along with Jason Phillips.Levy, Maualuga, Durrant and Howard I think would all still be affordable and if we were to cut Dan Connor who I feel isn’t going to be a fit in the tampa2 then I think any of these additions would be any more expensive than him.

Personally I like Maualuga just because he can really hit, although I do think he would struggle dropping into zones.

Corner backs

We all know who our starters are here, but what have we got after that? Mike Jenkins is gone. And Orlando Scanderick is overpaid and after that we have a couple of signings from other peoples practice squads. So we lack some depth here.

There are 2 players entering free agency here that I believe would bring some depth to our ranks

Zach Bowman

E.j Biggers

Both of these guys are 6ft plus. Both are speedy corners and both have spent their careers in the tampa2 system. This being said neither are big name acquisitions but already have our 2 starters set in Claiborne and Carr so Bowman and Biggers would be coming in as backups and in my eyes would certainly be an upgrade over our current backups. As I said earlier-they are both well versed in the tampa2 system so would bring some experience in the system with them.

Safety Position

For how long now have we been waiting for safety duo to really launch this franchise, a ball hawk that dominates the middle of the field and stikes fear into opposing offences?

An earl Thomas/cam chancellor or whitener/goldson type pairing?

Unfortunately as with all the other positions we just don’t have the cap space to grab one of the top safeties that’s going to be available.Jairus Byrd or Dashon Goldson are just going to be out of our price range. However there could be some more affordable safeties that although aren’t top tier just yet, would provide an upgrade and could if in the right pairing become a great safety tandem.

Louis Delmas

Kenny Phillips

William Moore

Would certainly be 3 names I would look into, maybe they would command too much money, But maybe with this year having such a strong safety class then teams may look to this rather than free agency so a bargain could be had.

Kenny Phillips is a top tier safety that just cannot stay healthy, but I think he should be our 1st choice to go after, we could offer him say a 3 year deal, the first two years for a low cap hit, and the third for being a higher cap hit, but if we worked the contract so that it made him cut table after the first two years without any cap penalties it would basically be a prove it contract, prove you can stay healthy, and you get rewarded with a big pay rise. Or just give him a 2year deal for low cap hit and it would work the same way. If he stays healthy we got ourselves a great safety, if he get injured it isn’t going to take much cap space or cost much to cut.

The other two players, Delmas and Moore also represent an upgrade over sensi for me.At the same time I don’t see either commanding a large salary.

All that being said, IF Barry Church comes back healthy and IF Johnson is ever healthy and the player most on BTB expect him to be would we need another safety? Or could we address this in the draft? In my opinion it comes down to dollars. For the sake of a $2million or $3million cap hit id roll the dice on anyone of these and enable us to go bpa in the draft rather than need to pick a safety.

Defensively I think that has us covered, the four most pressing needs have been covered, and if we could 2 holes on our defence with any of the above mentioned players I think we just upgraded our defence for a minimum outlay.

Offensively we are all aware the biggest need is on the oline.But I really do not see a viable option here.Andy Levitre would be a dream and will always remain that as he is going to command a figure relative to Carl Nicks or Ben Grubbs last year. Louis Vasquez would also represent a huge upgrade for us, but again I see him going for top dollar.

The thing that infuriates me on the oline is that David Arkin made our 53 man roster, yet after all the cuts were made then we incurred some injuries did he play?No.Instead they called in Derrick Dockery and then trade for Cook.Im sorry but if Dockery is a better option than Arkin why did arkin make the cut? Some will say-oh Arkin wasn’t ready, he needs more time to develop.Im sorry but that doesn’t cut it with me, how we know if he is ready or not if he hasn’t had a chance to prove it.And if Derrick Dockery walking in off the street is a better option than Dave Arkin is never going to be ready because at his best Dockery was never more than a below average guard.

Similarly at tackle, I don’t see the dollars available here, I think our best option is seeing who we could trade for? Anthony Collins I have long wanted on the cowboys line, don’t laugh but I also think J’marcus Webb could do a better job at RT in place of Doug Free and if as expected Chicago go oline early in the draft I think he could be attainable for a 4th or 5th rounder-now getting an immediate starter for a 4th or 5th rounder would make me happy. But out of the free agents I only see ones as someone that could be affordable and come in as a starter and that’s Eben Britton from the jags.

Britton started at RT and this year was moved to guard. He comes with attitude and a point to prove after falling to a 2nd rounder when he was widely expected to go in the 1st.I think moving him back to rt would be a good move and don’t believe he would command much money. Another ‘prove it’ contract

Running back

This is short and sweet as for me there’s one guy I want-Chris Ivory! Never really got a chance as the main man in New Orleans, but sell it to him that he would be coming here to split duties with Demarrco Murray and I think he would take less money to do that rather than go to another team as a backup. He is the type of runner (like Murray) that will bounce through tackles and lift an offence.

Wide receiver-Firstly I want to say,im done with Miles Austin. I love the guy, think he is as talented as they come, but for me his contract and his injuries just don’t make it’s not a case of ‘if’ Austin picks up and injury more of ‘when’. So for me I let him go. We also need to fill the hole left by Laurent Robinson.Dwane Harris showed a lot of promise, as did Cole Beasley and I think these can make an impact. But in light of the Austin cut I think we could sign a wide out or that’s available?

Forget about the superstars,

Greg Jennings

Victor Cruz

Dwayne Bowe

Wes welker

All out of our price range, more likely

Johnny Knox

Dontario Alexander

Devery Henderson

Would be the type of wide outs more in our price range, I’d love to use Austin’s money on Alexander and Knox. Alexander at 6’5 is the type of wide out I love, a qb just has to through the ball up in the air and let him go make a catch, much like megatron, and some could say he is a poor man’s megatron and heck with our cap situation we are poor men. I think Dontario Alexander on 1 side and Dez on the other-we got ourselves a great pairing there. I don’t think he would be too expensive either. Throw into the mix the speedster Johnny Knox as well who could be used in the slot, or out wide and I like what we have as a threat there.


We missed a trick here last year, we really missed a trick, We should of done what the patriots did and signed the lad that the Giants tried to get through waivers. Other than that I don’t think anyone in free agency is going to come in.Hanna is going to show in 2013 he is the man to fill Jasons Wittens enormous cleats.

Again like on defence,we cant afford to fill all our holes.But 2 or 3 of these players should be affordable additions.Personally I’d cut mile and take Alexander and knox at wr and chris ivory at rb,we just added some weapons for our offence and address the line in the draft.

I don’t think anyone on here is out of our price range, and could quiet easily see a way to land 4-6 of them on low contracts and see them make an improvement on our roster. Not big name players, but solid additions as we look to become stronger as a starting unit and as a roster on the whole. What do you think? Am I dreaming?

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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