The Bucs finally made a move for a veteran receiver.
Tampa Bay acquired Eagles receiver Reggie Brown for a sixth round pick in 2011.
The 29-year-old Brown originally was a second-round pick in 2005 out of Georgia and very productive early in his career. But he slipped steadily on the Eagles' depth chart the past two seasons and was their fifth receiver. Brown was inactive for the first two games of the 2009 season, starting just one game when Jeremy Maclin was injured.
Brown caught only nine passes for 155 yards and no touchdowns last season. In 2008, Brown was plagued by injuries and lost his starting job to DeSean Jackson. Eventually, he fell behind Jason Avant and Kevin Curtis and was inactive for their NFC playoff game against the Cardinals.
Contrast the last few years with the start of Brown's career. As a rookie, he took over in the starting lineup for suspended receiver Terrell Owens. He led all rookies with 571 receiving yards and was second with 43 receptions.
Brown is signed through 2014. He agreed to a five-year extension in 2007 that included $10-million in guarantees. Brown has 177 career receptions and 17 touchdowns.
The Bucs say they want to surround quarterback Josh Freeman with some weapons. But his corps of receivers is really nothing to shout about.
First, the Bucs lost WR Antonio Bryant to the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bucs had concerns about Bryant's knee injury and said he didn't run good routes. He signed a four-year, $28-million deal with the Bengals.
The Bucs essentially replaced Bryant with Brown. The other receivers are second-year pro Sammie Stroughter (33 receptions), Maurice Stovall, who primarily is a special teams player, and underachieving veteran Michael Clayton.
The Bucs will not be active in the free agent market for receivers. But another trade is possible and they hope that other players may be cut.
--The Bucs continue to look for safety help.
Philadelphia Eagles free agent safety Sean Jones is scheduled to visit Tampa Bay on Friday.
Jones, 28, played in 15 games with nine starts for the Eagles in 2009. He recorded 44 tackles with two interceptions and has 16 career INTs.
The Bucs were hoping to meet with Cleveland Browns safety Brodney Pool, 28, but he agreed to terms with the Jets Thursday.
The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Jones has started 53 games since entering the league with the Cleveland Browns in 2004. The Bucs also have been trying to set up a visit with Miami Dolphins safety Gibril Wilson.
The Bucs are looking for a safety to replace Will Allen, who signed as a free agent this week with the Pittsburgh Steelers. They also want to create competition for Sabby Piscitelli.
-Love Manchester, Hate Glazer.
That was the banner hanging from Old Trafford on Wednesday during Manchester United's European Champion League's victory over AC Milan.
A consortium of wealthy businessman called the "Red Knights," has employed Japanese investment bank Nomura to help with its $1 billion takeover attempt for the club.
"The Red Knights are pleased to confirm that Nomura, the global investment bank, has agreed to advise on a possible acquisition of Manchester United," the group said in a statement.
"Nomura will work closely with the Red Knights, Manchester United Supporters' Trust (MUST) and other potential investors to co-ordinate and formulate the proposal to be put to the Glazer family."
The Red Knights are frustrated that Manchester United is more than $1-billion in debt. The Glazers recently launched a bond issue to raise more than $750-million to reduce their amount in the red.
The Glazers have said they have no interest in selling Man U.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "This isn't Sam's Club." -- Bucs coach Raheem Morris on the team's lack of activity in free agency.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
The Bucs traded a sixth-round pick to Philadelphia for WR Reggie Brown. They also need some safety help, having lost S Will Allen to the Steelers via free agency. They also want to create competition for starter Sabby Piscitelli.
Tampa Bay owns the third overall pick in the draft and hopes that either DTs Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy is available. If not, then the Bucs will entertain offers to trade down as many teams will want to move ahead of the Redskins at No. 4 to take a quarterback. If the Bucs have to pick at No.3, they will consider Tennessee S Eric Berry or a left tackle.
1. Defensive line: The Bucs allowed nearly 160 yards rushing per game last season and plan to revamp their defensive line, most likely through the draft. Many of their 2009 starters may not return. DE Jimmy Wilkerson is a UFA and coming off a torn ACL. Chris Hovan is likely to be replaced by second-year pro Roy Miller and the Bucs traded Gaines Adams to the Bears for a second-round pick. Fortunately, the draft is deep at all defensive line positions.
2. Wide receiver: The Bucs need some targets for second-year QB Josh Freeman. The team decided not to re-sign free agent Antonio Bryant. That leaves Sammie Stroughter, RFA Maurice Stovall and underachieving Michael Clayton. Tampa Bay should come out of the draft with at least two receivers and Dez Bryant is a possibility if they trade down.
3. Offensive tackle: If you're going to have a franchise QB, you need a franchise left tackle. Both starting tackles Donald Penn and Jeremy Trueblood are RFAs. Penn was miffed because the Bucs did not offer him a contract extension. Don't discount the Bucs using the No. 3 overall pick on a left tackle.
MEDICAL WATCH: No changes.
FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
--LB Angelo Crowell was placed on injured reserve before the start of the season. Bucs have little interest in bringing him back after the play of Quincy Black at on the strong side.
--S Jermaine Phillips broke his hand and finished the year on injured reserve.
--DE Jimmy Wilkerson has started at left defensive end is recovering from a torn ACL. He proved he's not an every down player.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)
--LB Matt McCoy (not tendered as RFA).
--FB Byron Storer (not tendered as RFA) spent the year rehabbing his knee. He could be done.
--LB Rod Wilson (not tendered as RFA) is a special-teams player and backup middle linebacker.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (*indicates restricted because of uncapped year)
--WR Mark Bradley (tendered at $1.809M with second-round pick as compensation).
--*OT Donald Penn (tendered at $3.168M with first- and third-round picks as compensation) is a very capable left tackle and did his best the first weeks of 2009. But then he seemed to shut it down and gained weight.
--*LB Barrett Ruud (tendered at $3.268M with first- and third-round picks as compensation) is a solid, if not flashy middle linebacker who thrives in the current system. The Bucs would like to see more nasty in his game.
--*WR Maurice Stovall (tendered at $1.176M with third-round pick as compensation) came on late in 2009 after injuries were experienced by Michael Clayton. He's a tall, rangy receiver.
--*OT Jeremy Trueblood (tendered at $1.759M with second-round pick as compensation), as the starting right tackle, led the Bucs in penalties against last season.
--*RB Cadillac Williams (tendered at $2.299M with first-round picks as compensation) was the Bucs' most inspirational player who played in all 16 games despite tearing previously the patellar tendon in both knees.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.
PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: None.
--WR Reggie Brown (trade Eagles).
--P Josh Bidwell (released).
--WR Antonio Bryant: UFA Bengals; $28M/4 yrs.
--WR Brian Clark: Not tendered as RFA/Lions; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--CB Torrie Cox (released).
--P Dirk Johnson (released).