The Tampa Bay Buccaneers entered this offseason period with some key needs on defense. There were questions surrounding the defensive line, linebacker and secondary positions. Tampa jumped right out of the starting blocks at the beginning of free agency with the signing of S Dashon Goldson, but has settled back at a more relaxed pace in recent days. So what are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers up to?
One of the biggest needs for the Buccaneers is at the cornerback position. The Buccaneers have been linked to multiple reports that they are interested in trading for New York Jets corner Darrelle Revis. When healthy, Revis can be a complete beast, taking away one half of the field. However, Revis is coming off ACL surgery. Given the remarkable comeback of RB Adrian Peterson last year, I believe people are taking his recovery now to become the new norm and disgrard the severity of the injury and how it might impact player’s play on the field in subsequent years.
Revis would be a nice addition for the Buccaneers but the team has to know that he is healthy first and then know that they will be able to reach an agreement with him long term. Reports suggest that he might want upwards of $16 million per year.
However, as each day passes, I believe that it is more and more unlikely that a deal will be reached. While the Bucs and Jets reportedly work on a deal for Revis, the secondary became even more depleted with the departure of E.J. Biggers to the Washington Redskins. Biggers wasn’t a superstar by any stretch, but he did provide some much needed depth.
So what is the plan? Why no discussions with Nnamdi Asomugha? I realize he had a down year in 2012, but he can be a very effective man corner. Brent Grimes was rumored to be a fall back plan for the Buccaneers. Grimes is coming off an Achilles injury and the Tampa Bay Times suggest there is no interest from the Buccaneers.
DeAngelo Hall anybody? Talented but a very explosive personality and I could see Hall and head coach Greg Schiano going at it right from the start. Mike Jenkins? If I remember correctly, there were rumors linking Jenkins to the Buccaneers last season. Given his age, if scouts that he was a starting caliber corner, he’d likely have been signed elsewhere by now.
The team has not said what the future holds for Eric Wright, who is still on the roster, but it’s likely he’ll have to re-structure his deal in order to remain.
Other than Wright, the current Buccaneers roster at the cornerback position consists of Anthony Gaitor, Danny Gorrer, Leonard Johnson, James Rogers, Keith Tandy and the oft-injured Myron Lewis who has really failed to live up to his potential.
Well, let’s not stop in the secondary, what’s going on with the defensive line? Buccaneers fans were told that the team would use some of it’s vast cap space to re-sign some of their own players. Then the leading sack specialist for the Buccaneers, Michael Bennett, walks right out the door and lands in Seattle with a very affordable contract. Bennett has made statements about the Bucs after signing with Seattle so there might be more to that story than we know. The Buccaneers seem high on Da’Quan Bowers but right now that hope is based on unrealized potential. Bowers also has a pending gun charge.
Defensive tackle Roy Miller departed and is now with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Miller played well last season and his departure now creates a void on the interior of the line. Tampa has four other interior linemen besides Gerald McCoy, Richard Clebert, Gary Gibson, Corey Irvin and Matthew Masifilo. Perhaps the suits at One Buc Place will realize that the Oakland Raiders are releasing Tommy Kelly this afternoon.
I’m sure that the front office has a plan in place, it’s just not too apparent at this time what that plan is exactly. There are three or four glaring pieces of the puzzle that need to be added before this team can take a serious step forward.