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Bucs free agents likely to follow Welker’s lead
Posted Mar 6, 2013 by Roy Cummings
Updated Mar 6, 2013 at 05:28 PM
BY ROY CUMMINGS
TAMPA – The latest word out of New England is that slot receiver Wes Welker has no plans to re-sign with the Patriots before testing the open market, which should come as no great surprise to anyone.
With a three-day window opening up on Saturday in which teams can negotiate potential deals with other club’s free agents, very few free agents are likely to re-sign with their own clubs before the market officially opens on Tuesday.
You can count the Buccaneers top free agents in that group as well, meaning it’s highly unlikely the Bucs will re-sign defensive end Michael Bennett or defensive tackle Roy Miller before the start of the signing period.
There’s a chance the Bucs might surprise everyone and re-sign Ronde Barber before Tuesday rolls around, but that will only happen if Barber and the Bucs agree that Barber should return for another season.
Barring that, look for all of the Bucs free agents, including cornerback E.J. Biggers and right tackle Jeremy Trueblood, to be on the open market, at least for a brief period of time.
Meanwhile, the news regarding Welker could be very pleasing to the Bucs, who are definitely in the market for an upgrade at slot receiver and may have some interest in Welker.
Granted, he’s 31, but after making 118 catches for the Patriots a year ago he seems very capable of helping a Bucs team that is in dire need of either a top-end slot receiver or a top-end tight end.
Not that Welker is the only option the Bucs have to explore. The Rams Danny Amendola is a possibility, too, since he bounced back well from a broken clavicle the year before and caught 63 passes in 11 games.
Both players bear watching as the staggered start to free agency approaches.