By Eric Schmidt

As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prepare for the start of the free agency period as well as the upcoming NFL Draft, the team will likely focus on rebuilding the defensive side of the ball. The Buccaneers are going to have to answer questions about two defensive players and whether they fit in the Tampa Bay plans going forward, LB Quincy Black and S Ronde Barber.

Barber shifted over to the safety position this season and had a solid season but he is slated to become a free agent and heading into possibly his 17th season in the league. Head coach Greg Schiano told reporters at the NFL Combine on Thursday that the team has had no discussions with the veteran and are in no hurry to start talks but the team plans to chat with Barber prior to the start of free agency on March 12.

The Buccaneers might have to add a linebacker this offseason as the return of LB Quincy Black. Black is scheduled to earn $5.5 million this season, but the timetable for his return to the field is up in the air. Black suffered nerve damage after trying to tackle Chargers RB Ryan Mathews on November 11. Black underwent nerve graft surgery according to general manager Mark Dominik. Dominik told reporters on Thursday that it will take time to determine whether or not his surgery was successful.

 

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