The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were once riding high after their 2021 Super Bowl victory. Now, however, have found themselves in a precarious position as they navigate the post-Tom Brady era. With a mix of veteran talent and youthful promise, the Bucs are now at a critical juncture. They need to bolster their roster to build on the momentum they gained in 2023. As the dust settles from the 2024 NFL Draft, it’s imperative for the Buccaneers to strategically target key free agents to address lingering gaps and enhance their competitive edge. This article highlights three free agents who could significantly impact the Bucs' quest for another playoff run.

Reflecting on the 2023 Season

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers started the 2023 season with an impressive 3-1 record. They had victories against the Vikings, Bears, and Saints. They found themselves atop the NFC South standings heading into their Week 5 bye. However, post-bye week, the Buccaneers hit a rough patch. They lost four consecutive games and six of their next seven, dropping to 4-7 overall.

Despite these setbacks, Tampa Bay rallied to win five of their final six games. They eventually improved on their 8-9 record from the previous season. They finished tied with New Orleans but clinched the division title based on a better record against common opponents. In the Wild Card Round, the Buccaneers hosted the defending NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles and triumphed 32-9. Their playoff journey continued to the Divisional Round, where they faced the Detroit Lions and were eliminated in a hard-fought 31-23 loss.

Buccaneers Baker Mayfield with fire in his eyes surrounded by moneybags at Raymond James Stadium

The Buccaneers' 2024 NFL Draft

In the 2024 NFL Draft, the Buccaneers focused on fortifying both their offensive and defensive lines, recognizing the need for stronger trench play. Their first-round pick was offensive lineman Graham Barton from Duke. He should provide immediate stability to a beleaguered offensive line. In the second round, they selected EDGE Chris Braswell from Alabama, a dynamic pass rusher with the potential to invigorate the Bucs' pass rush. Additionally, the Buccaneers addressed their secondary issues by drafting safety Tykee Smith from Georgia in the third round. That's a move aimed at shoring up their pass defense. Sure, these additions are promising. However, the team still has critical holes to fill through free agency.

Here we'll look at the three free agent players whom the Tampa Bay Buccaneers must target after the 2024 NFL Draft.

Jarvis Landry, WR

Jarvis Landry is a proven veteran receiver. He has also played with incumbent Bucs QB Baker Mayfield before. Landry could be the perfect addition to the Buccaneers' offense. His consistent hands and route-running precision would complement Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. He could provide the Buccaneers with a reliable slot receiver who excels in moving the chains. Landry would also offer a dependable target in short-yardage situations and crucial third downs. His presence would diversify the Bucs' passing attack. This would make it more difficult for defenses to key in on Evans and Godwin. It would help Mayfield stabilize the offense with his savvy play.

Zach Cunningham, LB

Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Zach Cunningham (52) tackles Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) after a catch during the first half of a 2024 NFC wild card game at Raymond James Stadium
Zach Cunningham tackles Mike Evans

Next is Zach Cunningham. He is a seasoned linebacker with a reputation for his tackling prowess. Cunningham could bring much-needed stability to the Buccaneers' defense. Known for his exceptional ability to read plays and make decisive stops, Cunningham would be a valuable addition to the Buccaneers' linebacker corps. His experience in both run defense and pass coverage would address the inconsistency that plagued the Bucs in 2023. Adding Cunningham would not only enhance the team's defensive capabilities. It would also provide a veteran presence that could mentor younger players and help solidify the unit's overall performance.

Marcus Peters, CB

Marcus Peters is known for his ball-hawking skills and aggressive play. As such, he would be a perfect fit for a Buccaneers' secondary that struggled with consistency in 2023. Peters' knack for creating turnovers and his competitive edge could transform the Bucs' pass defense into a more opportunistic and formidable unit. Pairing Peters with Jamel Dean and Zyon McCollum would create a formidable trio capable of matching up with the league's best receivers. Peters' experience and confidence would also bolster the secondary's morale. He would provide a much-needed infusion of swagger and reliability.

Looking Ahead

As the Buccaneers look to sustain their form following a promising 2023 season, the importance of making astute free agent signings cannot be overstated. Jarvis Landry, Zach Cunningham, and Marcus Peters represent high-impact additions that could address critical areas of need. They could also elevate the overall performance of the team. Landry's playmaking ability, Cunningham's tackling and defensive acumen, and Peters' ball-hawking prowess collectively offer the Bucs a chance to dominate the NFC South. For a franchise with aspirations of returning to Super Bowl contention, these signings could be the key to unlocking their full potential and securing a brighter future.