Buccaneers playing it slow-close to vest in free agency so far

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Outside of the seemingly ever-increasing speculation that they’ll make a big play for wide receiver DeSean Jackson, the Buccaneers didn’t make a lot of noise on the first day of legal tampering in the NFL.

There was speculation going into the day that the Bucs might continue to lock up more of their own unrestricted free agents after signing Will Gholston on Monday but they don’t appear to be eager to do that either.

It seems the Bucs are willing to let not only their own free agents but some of those that have been linked to them from other teams test the market before jumping in with an offer of their own.

That may seem like a risky maneuver but it’s actually pretty smart. Free agents tend to get overpaid no matter what so it’s better to let another team set the market for a player than to set the market yourself.

Besides, the Bucs have to think a bit beyond this year in terms of how they spend their money. After all, they’re in the brink of likely having to extend the contracts of some key players of their own.

The Bucs are already factoring extensions for wide receiver Mike Evans and tight end Cameron Brate into their spending plans and by this time next year they’ll be doing the same for quarterback Jameis Winston, middle linebacker Kwon Alexander, left tackle Donovan Smith and right guard Ali Marpet.

Those deals all figure to be quite pricey, so even though they have more than $65 million worth of cap space to work with, the Bucs still have a reason to be a bit prudent here.

We’re not saying the Bucs are going to pass on free agency. That won’t happen. What they very well may do, though, is sit back for a bit and let other teams make their offers for the players they want before they make their best offer.

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