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Buccaneers plan to be active in free agency

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The Buccaneers struck out in free agency last offseason, but coach Lovie Smith says that won't prevent Tampa Bay from going back to the well come March.

"We're building our team through the draft," Smith said this week at the NFL Scouting Combine, per the Tampa Bay Times. "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."

The roster wasn't helped much by last year's signing of veteran quarterback Josh McCown, who was cut earlier this month after a turnover-plagued campaign. Fellow free-agent addition Michael Johnson battled through an injury-marred campaign at defensive end that saw him post just four sacks. Meanwhile, bookend Anthony Collins finished the year as a healthy scratch while expensive addition Alterraun Verner didn't make anyone forget about Darrelle Revis at cornerback.

With so many needs, though, the Bucs remain committed to attacking the open market ahead of April's draft.

"Again, we'd like to build it through the draft, but I think you use every avenue possible to improve your squad," Smith said. "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."

One position we don't expect them to address through free agency is quarterback. With the No. 1 overall pick, the Bucs sound like a lock to add either Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota come draft day.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast breaks down all the latest from the combine and gives updates on Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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