With just two safeties on the roster, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be looking for one in free agency. With limited cap space (for now) they are not expected to spend huge in free agency. Still, safety is a position of need and there is talent out there. Could they go spend big at safety, and if so which one?
A big need this off-season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is in the secondary, as they have chosen not to tender Andrew Adams or Isaiah Johnson. Leaving Justin Evans and Jordan Whitehead playing the safety position. Evans has been the starter for his career but has not been able to stay healthy missing six games last season. Whitehead played as a rookie starting in eleven of fifteen games played and was adequate, but not outstanding.
There are several safeties who were not re-signed and will be available for the Buccaneers in free agency. These safeties range from the top tier to the mid-tier safeties. Here are five of them who could help the Buccaneers shore up their secondary.
Collins has started in every game he has played (59) with 428 tackles 22 for loss, 8 interceptions one for touchdown, with 32 pass breakups, 4 sacks, and has been a Pro Bowler the last three seasons. There was interest last season as the old regime and GM Jason Licht reportedly attempted to trade for him at the deadline offering a third round pick. Being one of the top safeties available, he could command more money than the Buccaneers are willing to shell out. Obviously, if signed by the Buccaneers, he would bring an immediate impact to the secondary. The Bucs defense has not seen a dominant safety in a long time.
Mathieu has a history with current Buccaneers coaching staff and GM Jason Licht from his Arizona days. He has played in 82 games with 73 starts totaling 394 tackles 33 for loss, 13 interception for one touchdown, with 49 pass breakups, 7 sacks, and has one Pro Bowl appearance. There has been much speculation this off season that Coach Arians would be interested in reuniting with Mathieu in Tampa. He would bring some much needed leadership to the Buccaneers secondary but his cost might be too high.
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Amos just completed his 4th season in the league playing in 60 games with 52 starts totaling 260 tackles 13 for loss, three interceptions for one touchdown, with 18 pass breakups, and two sacks. With zero connection to anyone in Tampa he might be a stretch for the Buccaneers to sign. Although Amos doesn’t have as much star power as previous names mentioned, he will likely be a cheaper option if the Buccaneers choose to go after him. Finally coming into his own last season and showing that he can be an elite safety in the NFL. His skills and experience would bring some senior leadership to the Buccaneers young secondary.
Clinton-Dix was a staple of the Packers defense during his career before being traded at the deadline last season. During his career he has played in 80 games with 74 starts totaling 456 tackles 8 for loss, 14 interceptions, with 28 pass breakups, 5.5 sacks, and was a 2016 Pro Bowler. As one of the most productive safeties available in free agency he could be an option for the Buccaneers. He would immediately bring leadership and experience to the young secondary. The problem could be the amount of cash he asks for.
A lesser know option could end up being Phillips who was a starter last season. Philips also became a Pro Bowler for the first time in his career. While playing in 57 games he has started in 19 totaling 205 tackles with 8 for loss, 5 interception, and 18 pass breakups. With the least amount of experience he would probably be the cheapest option for the Buccaneers.
With these five options from top tier safeties to lesser known names, any of them could be options for the Buccaneers to sign. From what has been reported the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are likely to pass on top tier free agents. We could see them become more active in the second wave. Likely then, that means that Collins and potentially even Mathieu are off the table. If that is that case Amos, Clinton-Dix, and Phillips could be some options who would provide talent and experience to the Buccaneers secondary. Now you tell me Buccaneers fans, which of these options do you think the Buccaneers might sign? Who would you prefer that they do sign?