Getting pressure on the quarterback has effects that aide your defense from the front line to the backfield. Though improved this season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers still have more work to be done. Enter my number one free agent target, Frank Clark, defensove end.
Young Up and Comer
In 2015 the second round draft pick out of Michigan came onto the scene. That year the rookie jumped into a rotational role logging 33% of the defensive snaps. As a result he had three sacks, a forced fumble, two pass deflections and two stops for loss. It should be noted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded into the second round in 2015 losing their third round pick.
After a successful rookie campaign the Seattle Seahawks would double his snap count and let him start. It would pay off. Because of being on the field for 683 snaps in 2016 he would see a leap in production. Consequently Clark would record 10 sacks, two forced fumbles and sic stops for a loss. The 2017 season he performed well again showing his consistency and growth as a player. He would reach nine sacks, two forced fumbles, two pass deflections and four stops for loss.
2018 proved to be a break out season. Clark would see the field even more than before, logging 73% of the defensive snaps. As a result he would put the opposing quarterbacks on the ground 14 times, force four fumbles, have an interception, and record some more pass deflections and stops for loss.
An Amazing Pair
Imagine the Tampa Bay Buccaneers having Clark lining up on the opposite end as Jason Pierre-Paul. With Vita Vea and Gerald McCoy on the inside. It could be the best defensive line in the league. Add that to the fact Clark can also line up on the inside from time to time. Therefore he is perfect for a Todd Bowls style flexible defense.
Frank Clark is an amazing commodity. It will require shelling out a large amount of money and there could be a bidding war for his employment. Hence his contract would likely be in the range of $11.5 million to $13 million per year. With his age he could see a four or five year contract.
How Could the Buccaneers Afford Him
Vinny Curry is 30 years old and overpaid. Brought in to be a starting defensive end and apply pressure to NFC South opponent quarterbacks he has been a free agent miss. There is a reason he was a rotational player in Philadelphia. He has logged only one season of more than four sacks and that was in 2014. Due $8 million non-guaranteed dollars next year he is expendable and I would cut him. I would also cut Mitch Unrien who never even saw the field after a concussion. His career may be over and is due $3.75 million. William Gholston is someone who could be cut saving $3.75 million. Another possible cut is Beau Allen $3.75 million.
Could Clark find himself in sunny Tampa teaming up with JAson Pierre-Paul? Maybe.