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Lovie Smith: Bucs won't sit out free agency

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers aren't scared after what happened to them in free agency last year.

Left tackle Anthony Collins was a bust, quarterback Josh McCown was disappointing, defensive end Michael Johnson played through assorted injuries and didn't produce much and center Evan Dietrich-Smith was ordinary. Cornerback Alterraun Verner was the only truly productive free agent.

The Bucs are going to head into the opening of the league year somewhere around $30 million under the salary cap. And they plan on spending in free agency.

"We're building our team through the draft," coach Lovie Smith said. "But you still have to use free agency when you feel the need. We felt the need coming in and didn't know our roster well. We know our roster a lot better now.

"Again, we'd like to build it through the draft, but I think you use every avenue possible to improve your squad. Free agency is coming up. It's not like we're out of the free agency business. Hopefully, we can make some better decisions. Just because something didn't turn out, we're not going to stop playing football. We're going to get back up on it and start doing things better. We're going to do a better job in free agency and everything else this year."

The bottom line is the Bucs will be active in free agency. Some of their cap space could go toward a new contract for linebacker Lavonte David. But they have enough money to be players in free agency.