Barber Signing (Indirectly) Promotes Youth Movement


It wasn't a shocker that the Bucs came together on a 1-year deal with Ronde Barber to keep him in a Buccaneer uniform for his 15th season. 

After all, Raheem Morris said he wanted Barber back at the end of the season.  Mark Dominik was open to bringing him back.  And, given, how well Ronde played this season, it's obvious he's still playing at a high enough level to be not just productive, but impactful in this defense. 

So exactly how does keeping the old dog around for another year promote youth?

First, it gives the coaching staff another full year to evaluate both EJ Biggers and Myron Lewis as the counterpart-of-the-future to Aqib Talib.  Both guys have shown flashes of being productive players, but both have shown limitations you would expect out of young players. Putting aside the fact that Raheem is promoting competition at every position this fall, Biggers and Lewis will put forth what should be an outstanding competition for the nickel CB spot in camp (presuming we have a season), as I doubt either will unseat Barber. Keeping these developing youngsters in the nickel and not having to face off regularly against an opponent's #2 WR isn't a bad thing right now.

For Lewis and Biggers, having Ronde around is also an invaluable learning experience.  Being around one of the best cornerbacks to ever play in the Tampa 2 system (and one of the best people and teammates you could ever ask for) has to be an absolute sponge for a couple of guys who will be playing in their second full NFL seasons in 2011 (hopefully...*knocks on wood*).

It also allows the Bucs to pass on corner with high value that could fall in their laps.  Unless the Bucs view that CB as an absolute can't miss player (and I'm not sure who that would be in this draft at the 20th position), they can pass and focus on a player they might not rate quite as highly, but fills a stronger need. Even though the Bucs placed RFA tender on Quincy Black, it's unknown how that tender will work under a new CBA, or if it would even have any effect.  In a typical season under the old CBA, a player would be a UFA after 4 years of service, which Black has.  As such, it's conceivable he could still be a UFA whenever the two sides hammer out a new agreement.  It's also unknown if DE Stylez White will be back, although I'd bet against it if I were a betting man, which makes the already desperate need for DE help a slight bit greater.  There's also a better-than-good chance that Barrett Ruud might not be back. As such, given the possible need to fill a number of positions in the front 7, being able to put off replacing Ronde Barber for one more season makes it easier on Dominik and his staff to roll the dice on a LB or DE in round 1.

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