Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Once again, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have one of the youngest teams in the NFL.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are one of the youngest teams in the NFL. They've been among the youngest teams in the NFL forever -- in 2010, 2011 and 2012. The 2013 is likely to be much the same. Football Outsiders, at least, found a new way of measuring age: by weighting snap counts. It's interesting data, and you can find the full analysis here, but the results are incredibly predictable. The Bucs are ranked 30th on total team age, 22nd in age on offense and 30th in age on defense.
The Bucs may be young across the board, they're not as old on offense as they are on defense. This is probably caused by a few matters. First, the Bucs have brought in several free agents with significant playing time on offense. Vincent Jackson is the most obvious addition, but Carl Nicks and Jamon Meredith should be mentioned, as well as D.J. Ware. The defense also saw a little more turnover, with numerous suspensions and injuries in the secondary forcing the Bucs to give younger and less experienced players more playing time. There were no Danny Gorrers on offense this season.
Perhaps we'll see the consequence of the youth on defense this offseason. The Bucs have a lot of cap space -- enough to be extremely active in free agency. They're likely to use that cap space on defense. Specifically, on cornerbacks. That should see the average age on defense raised just a little. The question is: is that really a worthy goal? Youth is useful for a number of reasons. Players are more athletic at younger ages, they're cheaper when they're young, and the future outlook is better when your team is youthful. Still, experience has its uses too -- and youth alone hasn't brought the Bucs a single playoff appearance over the past four seasons.