The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been here before. Terrible start to the season defensively, end it with promise. We saw this already with the 2017 team which lead to an extension for Mike Smith. Yikes. Fast forward to 2018 where the Bucs find new ways to lose horribly and axe Smith mid season. With the bar so low for the defense already, they see a few bright spots closing out the year. One of those bright spots was free agent addition, Safety Andrew Adams.
Legit Starter or Tandy 2.0?
Remember when Keith Tandy came out of nowhere and was a major factor in the stout run of defense back in 2016? Closing out the season with four crucial interceptions, Tandy looked to be the Bucs new Strong Safety and headed towards a contract extension. fast forward to 2017 and Tandy racked up a “monster” 18 tackles over three games before facing injury and ultimately cut from the team.
Here we are, post 2018 and now have a similar situation to assess. Safety Andrew Adams naturally comes off the bench and outperforms every starter in the secondary. Also, just like in 2016, the attempts were valiant, but too little too late for the Bucs. The Defense could not recover its first half of the season deficiencies and watched the playoffs from the couch yet again. With that behind the team, it’s time to look at next steps. Does Licht learn from his previous mistakes or do they have a legit player in Adams?
Take a look at Keith Tandy’s stats from 2016:
Now take a look at Andrew Adams’ 2018:
Awfully similar outcomes if you look at the averages.
The Business side
Currently, Andrew Adams is not under contract and is an unrestricted free agent. His effort for the last half of 2018 may have earned him a nice contract. But will it be with the tampa Bay Buccaneers? There’s also a lot of chatter about Arians pursuing ex-Cardinal Safety Tyrann Mathieu which would put Adams behind on the depth chart yet again. Even worse, he’d immediately be out of favor due to the familiarity of Mathieu with Bowles and Arians.
In more recent and related news, Buccaneers appear to be all in with current favorite Gerald McCoy. Mathieu immediately voiced his praise of the move with a “This is a win!” tweet. Is there a connection with Mathieu and the Bucs already? Maybe. This could also just be respect be given from one talent to the other. Nobody knows at this point, but it’s raising eye brows for sure.
Not to be the party-pooper here, but the return of McCoy also brings the return of his massive contract. Something that would most definitely limit the ability to go out and sign big name free agents. Mathieu signed a 1yr deal with Houston last year for $7M. If that’s where we can expect his next contract to be, then the current Buccaneers cap space total of $15M needs to grow a bit. If it doesn’t then a player like Adams would be more cost efficient. His play, however, would be hard to imagine at the level with that of Tyrann Mathieu.
Do they or don’t they?
With Free Agency only 20 days away a lot has to happen before any current Buccaneers can see new contracts. Big contracts will need to be restructured. Some fan favorites will likely be on new teams as well. All of this is an unfortunate reality, but an absolute necessity to success. As it currently stands, it would be financially prudent to develop Adams and focus the rest of the cap on other positions. However, if something happens where we trade or release someone with a heavy cap total we could make room for new toy on defense.
Strap yourselves in Bucs fan. Even with a meager cap total, I fully expect the new regime to make some waves. We may not agree with all of them, but we rarely do. Trust in the (cliche) process and that Arians knows what he’s doing.