Cornerbacks, cornerbacks, cornerbacks. It seems like that's all we talk about these days -- but it's well-deserved, because the Buccaneers really, really need themselves a cornerback. Badly. Incredibly badly. So badly, they'd be glad to grab Deion Sanders out of retirement and start him at age 45 if they could. Their current collection of cornerbacks would struggle to hold back even Michael Clayton from making an impact.
If Biggers isn't back next year, Tampa will need to find a corner who can shoulder the load of a full season's worth of snaps as a starter. Enter Sheldon Brown (+8.0). A veteran corner on an underachieving Cleveland team, Brown held up well last year, allowing more than five catches just three times and conceding over 60 yards just twice. The Browns seem unlikely to resign him, and while he won't be the most sought after corner on the market, he should be a nice stopgap if the Bucs plan to draft a corner in the coming years.
The knocks against Brown are few, but they are relevant. First and foremost, he will be 34 when the 2013 season starts, and aging corners who lose their speed and agility usually find the bench in a hurry. Also, the nine penalties Brown racked up last year are more than you'd like to see out of any player.
A 34-year old cornerback who isn't good enough to return to the Cleveland Browns and gets penalized much too often. Did PFF miss the four-year-old note that Bruce Allen had moved on to Washington and Jon Gruden was stuck on Monday Night Football?
This is exactly the kind of player you do not want to sign: a veteran who is declining rapidly. Because you can't trust them to hold up, stay healthy and because they'll just leave you with the exact same hole on your roster a year later. Better to fix the holes now for the long term.
Luckily, Mark Dominik knows this. The free agents he has gone after have almost exclusively been on the younger side of 30, and that's especially true for the free agents he has pegged as starters. Sheldon Brown isn't a solution for any team needing a cornerback, and he wouldn't be one for the Buccaneers, either. Why go after someone like Brown when free agency is filled with solid (though not spectacular) cornerbacks still in or about to enter their prime?